If you were told by your physician that you have prediabetes, believe it or not this is not the worst news. It’s definitely not good news, but it does mean that you still have a standing chance to prevent yourself from developing type 2 diabetes or at least slow down its progression if you take action now. This is a crucial time for you to have a second chance at turning your health around, so don’t let this slip any further. Let’s take a look at the numbers, shall we? A shocking 86 million people in the US alone have prediabetes…and unfortunately, the majority of people with prediabetes will eventually advance to type 2 diabetes. Another scary fact – only 11 percent of people with prediabetes are even aware of their condition. That’s right, the majority of people affected by prediabetes don’t even know it.
Numerous studies have shown that early diagnosis and major steps towards monitoring and managing prediabetes has been proven to delay or even prevent type 2 diabetes from progressing. The earlier you detect health issues, the earlier you can make major lifestyle changes for the better. We’ve put together 5 important starting steps to help you fight prediabetes and hopefully turn things around. Keep reading to find out how you can alter the direction of your health today by making these choices.
1. Get Tested
Do you have a family history of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes? Have you been letting your diet slip? Are you getting enough exercise? These are some of the risk factors for prediabetes and if any of these common risk factors apply to you, it is important you get tested to see if you are at risk for diabetes. Even if you don’t believe you are at risk, take the initiative to schedule an appointment with your doctor to examine your blood glucose level to be certain. You can also skip the hassle and order an online Hemoglobin (Hb) A1C blood test taken at your nearest LabCorp to measure your average blood glucose level.
2. Become more active
The time is now to incorporate a more physically active daily routine. No, you don’t have to hit the ground running (literally)! You can start with smaller steps. Do you count your daily steps? Can you go on more walks? Consider parking a little further from your destination to get more cardio in? Maybe take a walk around your neighborhood park after work every day for 20-30 minutes? Make a list of realistic things you can do to add more walking or physical activity in every day and give them a try. Standing more often instead of sitting or other sedentary behavior (such as being a couch potato) can also improve your metabolic health and show positive changes. If you have a gym membership or thinking of signing up for one, there are personal trainers and a variety of classes available with trained instructors to introduce new exercises, teach proper form, educate on diet, among other things for anyone interested.
3. Portion your meals
A great first step to changing your eating habits is to start eating smaller portions. This way you can portion your meals in order to train your stomach to feel satisfied, even in smaller quantities. This is also a good way to be more aware while monitoring your daily caloric intake with a committed meal plan; this is especially true if you consume a lot of sugary, high carbohydrate foods. This helps eliminate the excuse of not knowing what to eat or having enough time to cook, which in turn also reduces the possibility of caving in and choosing less healthy alternatives such as junk or fast food. It is important to also make a huge effort to cut down on sugary beverages – this alone is a main culprit to excess calories and weight gain.
4. Lose excess weight
Losing weight will actually offer major health benefits, such as lowering your blood sugar levels and blood pressure, improve cholesterol and energy levels, and decrease risk factors in certain types of cancers, such as breast and colon cancer. Losing 10-20 extra pounds can be a life-changing accomplishment for you. Not only will you look better, you will feel better, along with all of the positives that come along with losing some pounds. Kick-start your weight loss by considering adding more cardio into your workout regimen, practicing a low-carb diet, and intermittent fasting. You can also get your hormone levels checked if you have been working hard but can’t seem to hit the normal weight. Thyroid, sexual, or stress hormonal imbalances may be causing a road block on your weight loss. Shed the weight, it will be well-worth it!
5. Get support
If you feel alone, overwhelmed, and scared in this situation, it’s okay! You along with the 86 million other Americans affected by prediabetes can overcome this challenging time changing your lifestyle with some help and support from many sources. Consult with doctors, mentors, family members, coworkers, friends or anyone else going through a similar situation for guidance and have your questions answered. You can even go to your local community centers or search online to find lifestyle aid programs with certified lifestyle coaches to help you along your journey every step of the way! There are many sources available online to further educate yourself to get a better understanding of prediabetes.
Being diagnosed with prediabetes doesn’t have to be the end of the world. See this instead as a life challenge to overcome. The time is now to start making some changes that will determine whether or not you can avoid your prediabetes turning into a more serious health condition. Use the steps listed above as a guide to help you get started on your journey to a healthier you. Don’t feel pressured to tackle every step at once, but make sure to take diabetes blood tests to get a better understanding of your overall risks and health. You can start with trying out one or two of the steps and work towards building it into a lifestyle you may eventually adopt. The key is to stay committed and consistent and you will begin to see positive changes and great results. Don’t let prediabetes be the end all be all. Let it be a wake up call for you to get your health back on track to the healthier person you’ve always wanted to be. Do it for yourself, you deserve it.