If you’ve been told that you have pre-diabetes, you might already be thinking about all the bad things that are going to happen to you once you get diabetes. While it’s easy to expect the worst, there’s also a chance that you’re doing all that worrying for nothing! This is because not everyone who has pre-diabetes will go on to develop type 2 diabetes. Many experts believe that making some changes to your lifestyle can help reverse pre-diabetes altogether.
What is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is a condition in which your blood glucose or A1C levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be considered true diabetes. But, it does put you at high risk for getting diabetes.
What are other risk factors for getting diabetes?
Common risk factors for getting diabetes include:
- Having diabetes run in your family
- Having diabetes when you’re pregnant
- Being overweight or obese, especially if the extra weight is in your belly instead of your hips, thighs, or butt
- Not being physically active
You might already know about some of these, but others could be new to you. Remember: the more you learn about diabetes, the easier it is to take care of yourself.
What can you do about your pre-diabetes?
Just like being overweight, obese, or inactive, having pre-diabetes is a risk factor for getting diabetes. But, just like those other risk factors, you can make changes that remove these risk factors.
So, how do you do it? The answer is: lifestyle changes. These are changes you make to your daily routine that can improve your overall health.
Here are 6 easy steps from the American Exercise Council that can help you get on track to a life free from diabetes:
1. Start eating healthy by making smart food choices. This means eating more fruits and vegetables; lean proteins like fish, chicken, tofu, and beans; good fats like olive oil and walnuts; and fewer sugary or salty foods like soda and chips.
2. Get moving. Shoot for 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week (150 minutes total). You can do this by walking, jogging, gardening, playing with your kids, riding your bike, or taking a dance class.
3. Lose weight. Eating right and exercising will help you get to your goal weight and stay there. Be sure you set realistic goals—and celebrate when you reach them.
4. See your healthcare provider regularly for medical checkups. It’s much easier and safer to take care of little problems early, before they turn into big problems.
5. Build a support system for yourself. Don’t just tell your friends and family about your plans to be healthier—get them involved! Ask them to walk with you, or take a class at a local gym. Friends can also help you make smart foods choices when you’re out to dinner—like choosing a salad instead of a cheesy pasta dish.
6. Stay positive. Keeping your spirits up with a good attitude will help you stick to your plan.
You can do it! And remember, the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be on the path to getting rid of your pre-diabetes. Making these lifestyle changes will help you feel happier and healthier—so go for it!