Consider yourself lucky if you have been told you have prediabetes. Why? Because over 86 million Americans have prediabetes, and 9 out of 10 don’t even know it! Which means they miss the wake-up call to make the lifestyle changes needed in order to reverse prediabetes and prevent full blown diabetes.
Diabetes complications significantly diminishes quality of life and is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States.
But just because you have prediabetes doesn’t mean type 2 diabetes is the cards for you.
If you have prediabetes, making healthy lifestyle changes can reverse it and cut your chances of developing diabetes by up to 58%.
Now that’s promising!
You can start by doing these 5 things…
1. Move More
Exercise is good for blood glucose (sugar) regulation by stimulating your cells to take up glucose from the blood stream and utilizing it for energy, as well as increasing insulin sensitivity – the key to reversing prediabetes.
The current physical activity recommendation is 150 minutes of moderate activity per week, or 30 minutes per day.
However, a recent study published by the American Journal of Physiology on beta cell function (the cells that produce insulin) has taught us that even just 10 to 20 minutes of short workouts that combine resistance training, aerobic exercises, and functional movements, also known as functional high intensity training exercises, can improve beta-cell function.
Participates engaged in this kind of physical activity for 10-20 minutes, 3 days a week for 6 weeks, had improved beta cell function, lost weight and body fat percentage.
So even if you are to new exercise – just get moving, even if its for 10 minutes!
2 . Sleep More
Getting adequate sleep is crucial to optimal health and is majorly overlooked as a health factor in our society. Sleep deprivation has been linked to increased risk of chronic disease.
In fact, just one night of sleep deprivation can show signs of glucose impairment that are similar to those seen in diabetics.
The good news is – if you start to get adequate sleep you can reverse some, if not all, of its detrimental effects.
The recommended amount of sleep hours for adults is anywhere between 9 to 7 hours per night. Anything less than 6 hours of sleep is considered sleep deprivation.
Make sleep a priority and you will feel the difference in your energy and overall health.
3. Eat more Fiber
Incorporating fiber into your diet from sources such as whole grains, nuts, fruit, and non-starchy vegetables has been found in many studies to reduce risk of type 2 diabetes.
High fiber foods will help keep you satisfied for a longer period of time which can help curb your hunger and assist in losing weight.
It will also slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, thereby helping to prevent your blood sugar from spiking.
Swap your refined flour and grains for whole grains. Start to introduce more vegetables into your meal such as throwing some vegetables into your morning omelet or sandwich. Top your oatmeal or yogurt with some fruit for natural sweetness.
4. Lose Weight
Many people find this task to be overwhelming if they are extremely overweight or obese. It may be an area of frustration for them, especially if they have attempted several times to no avail.
But here is the thing, you don’t need to lose a ton of weight to start seeing benefits. Just 5-10% of body fat weight loss has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity.
To put that into perspective, that’s 10-20 pounds for someone who weighs 200lbs.
A registered dietitian can help guide you through the lifestyle changes you need to make and provide you with the support you need to lose weight in a practical way that works for your condition.
5. Get Support
Although you are the only one who can be held accountable for your health choices, it helps tremendously to have a support system to make your surroundings conducive to a healthy lifestyle.
There are many ways to find support.
Whether it is your family who is on board with the changes that need to be made to the pantry at home, an online support group that is cheering you on and celebrating your successes, your doctor, your dietitian, your gym partner, or all of the above.
You are responsible for your health, but support will ease the transition as you begin to make the changes you need to reverse your prediabetes for good.
Taking all of these lifestyle changes upon yourself all at once can feel overwhelming. If you feel this way, that’s okay and perfectly normal.
Choose one thing at a time, work on it until it becomes routinely part of your life, and then move on to the next one.
The only way for these changes to stick is if you turn them into habits that will last.
It is possible to regain your health if you consistently make progress! Remember, aim for progress and not perfection.
You have a very good chance to reverse prediabetes and prevent yourself from ever developing diabetes and it is largely in your hands – you can start today by making these healthy lifestyle changes for a healthier and happier you.
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