Your doctor just let you know that you’re at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes—he or she may have even told you that you have pre-diabetes. What can you do to manage pre-diabetes and prevent full-blown type 2 diabetes? Is it even possible to prevent type 2 diabetes?
The good news: By taking charge of your health by committing to lifestyle changes, you can prevent type 2 diabetes. Think of a pre-diabetes diagnosis as a warning sign: This is an opportunity to take better care of yourself. Commit today to making changes that are going to have a positive impact on your health.
Many people, when warned that they have pre-diabetes, are at an unhealthy body mass index or BMI (25 or greater). This is not the case for everyone, though—even thin people can develop type 2 diabetes. However, if you need to lose weight, then now is the time to get started. Excess fat—especially abdominal fat—is one of the things that make it more difficult to use insulin effectively. By trimming pounds, you can improve how your body uses insulin, which helps our body use sugar for energy.
The best ways to lose weight are to reduce portions and to exercise more or start being more active—and those 2 things can also help you prevent diabetes, conveniently enough.
Making healthier food choices, limiting your calories (eating fewer calories than you expend every day), and watching your portion size are all excellent ways to lose weight and prevent type 2 diabetes. Work with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) who is a certified diabetes educator (CDE) to help create a personalized meal plan that will help you eat better. An RDN/CDE can help you work in more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, and he or she can also teach you about creating balanced meals every time you eat. For ideas of how to eat well, check out our Recipes Center. The Center includes recipes for tasty appetizers, entrees, snacks, dessertes, beverages and more. All of the diabetic-friendly recipes were developed in conjunction with a culinary institute and analyzed by a registered dietitian who provided a through nutrient analysis.
Being more active has many benefits—for people with or without diabetes. Exercise can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight. Exercise can also make your body use insulin better. The idea of exercising can seem overwhelming if you haven’t done it in awhile. It’s perfefctly fine to start small and build up. The important thing is to get moving every day. A good long-term goal is 30 minutes of aerobic exercise most days of the week. You can get that by walking, jogging, swimming, biking, taking an exercise class—whatever works for you and your lifestyle. One of the keys to succesfully sticking to an exercise routine is figuring out how to incorporpate exercise into your everday routine, while also looking for any opportunity to move. You'd be amazed at how things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking at a spot far away, and walking to do your errands can really impact your body in a positive way.