Diabetes is more prevalent than ever and 95% of cases diagnosed are type 2 diabetes.
The National Diabetes Institute says that 18.8 million people are diagnosed with it, while 7 million people live undiagnosed. Those numbers combined, diabetes affects 25.8 million people of all ages — 8.3 percent of the U.S. population.
Those are scary numbers, but fortunately with Type 2, there are plenty of things you can do right now to avoid that diagnosis down the road!
Heading Off Pre-Diabetes
Before diabetes type 2 becomes fully developed, you go through a stage known as pre-diabetes. But losing just 7% of total body weight can bring down your risk greatly, even if you are pre-diabetic. Making my 7 action points part of your daily routine can help you lose weight – and if you’re already at your target weight, then do some good and share them with loved ones who might be at risk!
#1 – Stop Portion Distortion. Reduce the amount of food on your plate — but the fastest way to weight loss is to limit packaged foods, fast food, and take-out. Make simple meals at home with ingredients that are high in water, fiber, or protein that help to fill you up with a lot less calories.
#2 – Limit sugar. Eating loads of sugar is like putting the wrong gas in your car, it might run for a while but eventually it breaks down. Not only does sugar make your blood sugar spike and then dip — bad news for diabetes — but processed sugar has zero nutrients and on top of that, it pushes you out of the fat-burning zone, important for weight loss or weight maintenance.
#3 – Make friends with fiber. Fiber is highly underrated for health. Not only does it help your digestion, but fiber can help to keep blood sugar steady — key to keeping cravings at bay and keeping your body in that fat burning zone. Fiber also helps you to feel fuller with less calories — a natural weight loss aid that you don’t even have to think about. High fiber foods include berries, broccoli, beans, artichokes and peas.
#4 – Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day. If you keep a bottle of water with you and sip frequently, you’ll be surprised how much you do drink throughout the day. Sorry, coffee and soda don’t count. Staying hydrated can mean less calories and even less sugar cravings throughout the day since many times, thirst is interpreted as cravings for food by the body.
#5 – If you are feeling peckish, skip the candy or cereal bar. Instead choose a healthy snack that is high in fiber and is made with real food. Try dipping raw broccoli in hummus or sprinkling berries on low fat plain yogurt for a high-fiber snack that’s also filling. If it has to be something sweet or chocolaty, try my avocado chocolate shake — it has 4 grams of fiber and only 169 calories for 2 cups.
#6 – Identify the “repeat offender”. You know, the one food or “treat” you have every day or at least 5 times weekly. Cutting out just this one food — could mean 10 to 15 pounds in less than a year without making any other changes! 1/2 cup of ice cream at 250 calories might not seem like much, but if it’s five times weekly, in eight months that’s the calorie equivalent to 11 pounds!
#7 – Exercise is good for you in so many ways — from improving your waistline to your mood, and even relieving built-up stress. Don’t consider exercise as a way to deal with last night’s binge – rather, see it as a way to built up more muscle that will increase your basal metabolism… in other words, by having more muscle tone, you will burn fat even in your sleep when you’re not exercising! But if you are not used to exercise then start in moderation. 15 minutes gentle walking each day will ease you into a regular exercising pattern — so shoot for a little exercise each and every day, until you’ll get hooked.