3 Steps to Preventing Diabetes if You’re at Risk
Whereas type 1 diabetes usually shows up in early life and is a genetic condition, type 2 diabetes is linked to lifestyle, which means it can be prevented. Current data shows that around one in 10 people in the US have diabetes. It’s likely that you or someone in your immediate circle has it or is at risk of developing it. Thankfully, diabetes can be managed very well these days, but it’s a lot easier to prevent it from happening in the first place. If you are at risk of diabetes, the following steps should help.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight dramatically increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Around 40% of the US population is classed as obese, which means they have a BMI over 35. This is a sharp increase from the figure of 30.5% in 1999.
Losing just 7% of your body weight, which equates to 21 pounds if you currently weigh 300 pounds, could see your risk of developing diabetes drop by 60%. If you can lose even more, you will realize even greater benefits. It’s a win-win.
Weight loss isn’t easy for many people. What works for one person might not work for another. It’s important to talk to your doctor if you are very overweight. Set some short-term, achievable goals, and encourage family and friends to help you achieve them. Losing weight is very difficult if you don’t have the right support in your life. To make it stick, you will need to make many lifestyle changes, or the weight won’t stay off long-term.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Long-term weight loss isn’t achievable without a healthy diet. You won’t lose weight if you eat fast food all day long. Instead, look at the kind of food you currently eat and switch unhealthy options for more fresh fruit and vegetables. Consider trying a plant-based diet rather than one that prioritizes red meat.
A diet full of fiber is much healthier and will reduce the risk of diabetes, as well as help you lose weight. Start eating more non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli and cabbage. Learn to love beans and lentils. Embrace wholegrain rice, quinoa, and oats.
A diet rich in fiber will lower blood sugar levels and inflammation. It’s also a more filling diet, so you won’t feel hungry again so quickly.
Consider trying a CGM monitor if you’d like to check how your blood sugar levels spike during the day. A glucose monitor is an essential tool for anyone with diabetes, but it can also be useful if you have prediabetes. Monitoring blood sugar levels helps you see which foods are causing blood sugar dips and peaks, as well as how your body responds to exercise. It’s a powerful tool for diabetes and prediabetes management.
Take More Exercise
Diet is important but unless you commit to moving more, it won’t be enough to help you hit your weight loss goals. A massive 60% of US adults don’t take enough daily exercise. Many are completely inactive. This is hugely damaging if you are at risk of developing diabetes. Engaging in exercise will help control blood sugar spikes and troughs, so the more you do, the better.
Aim to increase your activity levels slowly. For example, if you currently take no exercise, start walking for 10-15 minutes a day, to build up your resistance to exercise. Once you are comfortable doing this, increase the amount of time you spend on your feet to around 30 minutes a day. Try non-aerobic, resistance-based exercise too, such as lifting weights or yoga.
Speak to your doctor if you are concerned about your risk of diabetes. They can offer advice based on your personal medical history.