By Nutritionist Blogger Jeni Tackett, RD, LD
Many Americans don’t know they are prediabetic, or on the way to developing type 2 diabetes.
If you answer yes to this question – Are you a woman who has had a baby weighing more than 9 pounds at birth? – you might be.
Prediabetes is the in-between stage where your fasting blood sugar is not normal (under 100 mg/dl) but not to the level of diabetes (126 mg/dl or higher). Thus, the gray area of a fasting blood sugar of 100-125 mg/dl is a red flag that you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, heart attack, and stroke.
A diagnosis of prediabetes may be the wake-up call you need to change eating habits and increase exercise. Eating healthier, exercising, and losing weight can normalize your blood sugar.
Here’s how to improve your blood sugar:
1. Strength train: Adding strength training 2 days a week can help your body use insulin effectively. This is a real benefit when – as a prediabetic – your fat cells begin losing the ability to process carbohydrates well. Strength training changes your body composition so your cells can use insulin better. Start with a workout DVD, stream a video from Netflix, or sign up with a personal trainer at the gym.
2. Move more, sit less: Increasing your physical activity will help to burn fat and change your body composition as well. Walking is an easy exercise for most people and can be done inside or outside. There are walking DVDs or you can walk on a track, in the mall, or outside when the weather cooperates. The latest Physical Activity Guidelines encourage you to get exercise throughout the day in small increments such as a 10-minute walk, 5 minutes in the stairwell, or 20 minutes at the gym. The important part is that you are moving, increasing your heart rate, and burning calories.
3. Eat more plants: A plant-based diet with high-fiber foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, and seeds helps with weight control and reduced type 2 diabetes risk. A study found a 23% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in individuals who ate read meat and dark-meat poultry. Make an effort to reduce the amount of red meat in your diet and choose plant proteins such as beans and tofu or fish more often.
4. Reduce added sugar: Cutting out regular soda pop, sweet tea, sweetened lemonade, fruit juices, and sweetened alcoholic drinks helps to reduce your overall calories from simple sugar. Instead, enjoy whole fruits for desserts and limit your portions of desserts. For example, if you have ice cream, try just a scoop instead of a shake!
If you are pre-diabetic, think about your diet and exercise. Set some goals today to better your health. You are worth it, and you are in the driver’s seat to change the course of your health!
|Meet Jeni Tackett, Let’s Move Quad Cities Nutrition Blogger. Jeni is a registered and licensed dietitian for Rock Valley Health. Jeni counsels her clients on weight loss and nutrition. You can read Jeni’s bio and other blog posts by clicking here.|