It’s true! There are things you can do right now to help prevent Type 2 Diabetes and the best part is that making these choices can also lower your risk for other diseases and health-related problems.
Let’s start with the basics:
Always talk to your doctor or health care professional first. There are certain risk factors that can increase your chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes such as:
- Being overweight
- Having a relative with Type 2 Diabetes
- Having gestational diabetes during a pregnancy
- Being diagnosed with prediabetes
The good news however, is that making a few lifestyle changes can help lower that risk which could delay or even prevent it entirely.
Nothing to lose, everything to gain… worth a shot right?
So, where to start? First things first…
- If you’re overweight, talk to your doctor and work out a plan to lose weight and keep it off. For many people, this can be quite a challenge so be sure to enlist the support of family and friends. You may need to develop a new routine or try things you haven’t in the past.
- Set a goal to move more. Just 20 minutes a day can make a BIG difference. For some fun ideas on where to start and how to stay motivated check out this article.
- Make healthy foods part of your daily routine. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables and other nutrient-rich foods to your menu isn’t as hard as you think. Really. But, if you need some inspiration, read The Delicious & Nutritious Superpowers of Diabetes-Friendly Foods
- Pay attention to portion sizes. Yes – they do matter. Very often our cravings or hunger can be satisfied with a smaller portion, a tall glass of water, or even a 5-minute walk. You can also use a smaller plate at mealtime. And then, a good rule of thumb is to make sure that 1/2 of your plate is filled with fruits and veggies, 1/4 with protein (beans or lean meat), and 1/4 should be whole grains.
- Put together a team. Lifestyle changes usually involve people in your life. Tell them about your goals and ask for their support. Having a support system in place will help you stay on track and keep you motivated. You may even be surprised at how much your friends, family, or co-workers want to help you succeed. There are also built-in support systems in more places than you think. Ask around at your gym, local community center, church, schools in your area, your hospital, or community health center. There may be support groups or services just waiting for you to join. There are even diabetes prevention programs in some areas where you can meet people taking similar steps to improve their health.
There are plenty of strategies out there to make these lifestyle changes easier and you can customize all of them based on your specific needs. For example: find a walking partner, a gym buddy, or download an app to help you move more. Or take a cooking class, research your own healthy recipes, or call a friend when you feel yourself being tempted by pudding or potato chips.
And don’t worry if you have to keep changing your routine. Finding the right combination of tools, support, and motivation can take some time. The important thing is that you keep trying and remember that the good choices you make now will not only help you feel better but can also delay or prevent Type 2 Diabetes.