On the verge of diabetes? Eat right to keep it at bay.
When type 2 diabetes sets in, you can expect a life full of tedious and exact portion control, medications, blood tests, and injections. But what if you could catch diabetes before it ever set in, and thereby avoid all of these potential problems?
Thanks to a diagnosis of pre-diabetes, you can. If you’re willing to change your diet.
Know the Numbers
With pre-diabetes, your fasting blood sugar level (level of sugar in your blood) is between 100 and 125 mg/dl. These measurements butt up right against the 126 mg/dl that indicates you’re diabetic, and if you don’t make some lifestyle changes, you can easily enter the land of diabetes. By watching what you eat, you can actually lower your blood sugar levels, preventing pre-diabetes from turning into type 2 diabetes.
Ready to sidestep diabetes by what you put in your mouth? Then sit down and take notes on your new diet plan.
If you’re overweight and have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, your first step toward a healthier diet that can reduce your risk for diabetes is to lose weight. The best way to do that is to look at how much you eat every day. Spend time eating out of boredom? You can’t do that any more. If you’re going to fight off diabetes, you’re going to have to eat for energy. That means listening to your stomach and only eating when you’re hungry and stopping when you’re full. A few easy tips to help you do this include drinking a glass of water before each meal, going to bed earlier (this will prevent unhealthy late-night snacking), and chewing your food well and slowly.
Now that you’re eating less food each day, you’ll need to eat the right kinds of foods if you really want to help your blood sugar. Instead of greasy, fatty foods, go for something a little healthier. This means grilled or broiled instead of fried food, more fruits and vegetables, and leaner cuts of meat. It also means saying no on occasion, but there is good news about your sweet tooth.
While you don’t want to stock up on cookies and cakes, you don’t have to mark them off your list altogether either. With pre-diabetes, the secret to success is moderation and being choosy. That means only having a small slice of cake during very special occasions. And instead of going back for seconds, relish in the piece you had and enjoy it so much that you don’t need a second piece.
In addition to choosing which sweets to eat and when, you’ve got to make other dietary decisions on a daily or even hourly basis. Should you go with chicken or a hamburger? Baked beans or a salad? Find out what is in different dishes and opt for the option that has less sugar, fat, and calories. Low-fat, low-calorie options not look too appetizing? Then go for the hamburger. But only eat half of it and skip the fries. Tomorrow, give the chicken a try. Or better yet, give up meat one day a week and focus on getting more fruits and vegetables.
Eat Up the Gym
As you probably suspected, what you put in your body doesn’t have the final say over whether or not your pre-diabetes will turn into type 2 diabetes. If you want to fend off diabetes and pull yourself out of the pre-diabetic realm, you’ll also need to spend some time in the gym.
By working out regularly, you help your body make use of the food you eat each day. That way, your food gets burned off as energy instead of sitting around and increasing your blood sugar levels. So eat well, and make sure you couple your new eating habits with regular physical activity for maximum diabetes-fighting power.
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