Prediabetes is a precursor to full-blown diabetes — a warning sign that something needs to change. At this early stage, a few simple lifestyle adjustments may help turn the tide and keep a dangerous disease at bay.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), prediabetes is caused by the body’s inability to process glucose — sugar that comes from the food you eat and is the body’s main source of energy.
When the body has trouble processing sugar, the sugar levels increase in the blood, potentially leading to complications.
Prediabetes can be reversed or prevented if you choose to live a healthful lifestyle and make changes to manage your weight. It comes down to what you eat, how active you are and your ability to reach a healthy weight.
Hearing that you need to lose weight can be intimidating. Thankfully, you don’t have to have a perfect body mass index to see results when you are dealing with prediabetes. The NIDDK suggests that losing just 7 percent of your total weight can make a big difference in improving your body’s ability to process sugar.
Before getting started, make sure you have the support you need. Find a workout buddy, check out apps that can help you stay well and talk to your health care team about your goals.
Eating for Good
To help your body reduce the high level of sugar in your blood, consider cutting back on carbohydrates, calories and saturated fats.
Take small steps to help make changes more manageable. If you drink soda or juice, swap out a few drinks a day for water, gradually transitioning to drinking mostly water. Work more vegetables into your diet and try starting meals with a filling green salad.
Tracking your food intake can be a big help, too. Just stopping and recording everything you eat and drink may help you make changes. It’s easier to see areas of improvement, and you can feel good about the progress you’ve made as you log days full of healthy vegetables and lean proteins.
The next piece of the prediabetes prevention puzzle is physical activity. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. It’s important to mix it up — daily activities such as walking and taking the stairs are just as important as aerobic activity, strength training and working on your flexibility.
Set yourself up for success by finding a workout buddy or joining a community of like-minded people. Again, tracking can be your best friend and a great motivator as you make mindful choices to improve your well-being.
With the right combination of food strategies and physical activity, you may reverse your risk of diabetes and help yourself stay well.