Losing weight with pre-diabetes involves making healthy changes in your daily habits to help you shed pounds while managing your blood-glucose levels. Pre-diabetes is a condition that affects the way your body responds to insulin, resulting in an excess of glucose, or sugar, in the bloodstream. By losing weight, you can gain control your blood-sugar levels. Losing 5 to 10 percent of your weight can make a difference in blood-sugar regulation. A pre-diabetes weight-loss plan should include nutrient-rich foods and regular physical activity to help you shed pounds and manage your blood-sugar levels. Consult your physician before starting any new weight-loss program.
Your diet should include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Proteins like soybeans, lean beef, fish, legumes, poultry, fish and low-fat dairy are necessary for tissue repair and muscular development. Get 10 to 35 percent of your calories from protein daily, the Mayo Clinic website advises. Carbohydrates have a more dramatic effect on your blood-glucose levels than fats or proteins, so they need to be closely monitored. Focus on complex carbohydrates like whole grains, vegetables and fruit that digest slowly and keep your blood-sugar levels steady. Simple carbohydrates like sweets and foods made with white flour can raise your blood sugar and should be limited. Get 45 to 65 percent of your calories from carbohydrates daily, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Healthy fats like nuts, seeds, salmon and olive oil help the body absorb essential vitamins. Aim to get 20 to 35 percent of your daily calories from fats.
Exercise plays an important role in weight loss if you're pre-diabetic. Engaging in regular physical activity burns glucose for fuel and helps your body to use insulin, according to the Mayo Clinic website. Include a balance of resistance training and cardiovascular activity in your exercise program. Resistance training builds muscle and boosts metabolism, so you burn more calories. Do resistance-training workouts three days per week. Include exercises such as push-ups, triceps dips, lunges, shoulder presses and sit-ups for three sets of 15 repetitions. Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular health and burns fat. Do aerobic activity like biking, walking on the treadmill or jogging outdoors at least four days per week.
Cut your regular three square meals in half, and have five to six smaller meals per day. Having a small meal every three hours helps keep your blood sugar steady and increases your energy levels, according to author and registered dietitian Maureen Callahan. Eating frequently keeps you feeling satiated throughout the day. Skipping meals can lead to dips in your blood sugar and trigger hunger, which can lead to poor food choices and weight gain. At each meal, have a serving of protein and carbohydrates, such as 4 oz. of baked chicken breast, ½ cup of whole grain pasta and 1 cup of field greens. Have the same amount of carbohydrates at each meal to help regulate your blood sugar.
Weight loss requires burning off more calories than you consume. It takes 3,500 calories to make 1 lb. of body fat, so you need to burn at least 3,500 calories to lose 1 lb. per week, according to MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Health. Decrease your daily intake by 500 calories per day to lose about 1 lb. per week. Use a food journal to keep track of your daily calorie totals.
- MayoClinic.com: Nutrition Guidelines; February 2011
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Nutrition for Everyone; February 2011
- MedlinePlus: Tips for Losing Weight; October 2009
- MayoClinic.com: Diabetes; March 2011
- MayoClinic.com: Diabetes Management; June 2009
- Natural Health Magazine: Eat Around the Clock; Maureen Callahan, R.D.