Pre-diabetes is a condition characterized by higher than normal blood glucose levels as a result of the body’s impaired sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that regulates glucose in the blood. If not addressed, pre-diabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes, a serious health condition in which the body does not properly process insulin. The good news is that pre-diabetes doesn’t automatically advance to type 2 diabetes. Weight loss and other lifestyle changes can prevent the onset of diabetes and may even reverse the pre-diabetic condition.
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Eat a Healthy Diet
People with pre-diabetes should focus on eating healthy foods and avoiding the sugar and trans fats commonly found in processed foods. Choose whole foods whenever possible. Eat vegetables, fruits, lean meats and healthy fats such as those found in fish, avocado, coconut and olive oil. Limit consumption of refined carbohydrates like bread and cereal. Instead of a roll with dinner, have a baked sweet potato or other high-fiber starchy vegetable.
Set Small Weight Loss Goals
If you are significantly overweight, the thought of losing a large amount of weight can be overwhelming. Studies show that dropping as little as 5 to 10% of your body weight can dramatically improve blood sugar control and greatly reduce your risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Consider setting an initial weight loss goal of just 5%.
Daily moderate exercise not only promotes weight loss, it also improves your body's ability to process insulin, thereby improving blood glucose levels. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days each week. You don't have to join a gym if that's not your preference. Just go for a walk, ride a bike or join the kids for a swim. Look for ways to add activity to your day such as taking the stairs or parking farther from the entrance at the grocery.
Studies show that adequate sleep plays a key role in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Experts recommend eight to nine hours of sleep per night for adults, yet American adults on average get less than seven hours. Sleep deprivation negatively impacts endocrine function, and even short-term insomnia results in impaired glucose tolerance. Adequate sleep is a key factor for anyone trying to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Make Lasting Changes
Strive for lasting lifestyle changes that support a healthy weight and overall good health. Make eating well, regular exercise and adequate sleep a priority. With dedication you can achieve your optimal weight, thereby dramatically reducing your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.