Feeling stressed because your doctor said you have pre-diabetes?
I totally understand.
Being given the news of something wrong with your health is always overwhelming, especially because it usually means you need to make changes—changes you weren’t expecting that may seem a little confusing.
Today I’m here to help you feel a bit more confident so you know exactly what to do to take good care of yourself moving forward.
The Good News: You Have PRE-Diabetes.
It is actually good news to be told you have ‘pre’ diabetes rather than a full Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis because it means you can prevent your health from deteriorating further.
You can have pre-diabetes for up to 10 years before being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. And right now you have the ability to turn everything around and avoid many of the negative health consequences.
Many studies have shown that people who eat better, exercise regularly and adopt a healthier lifestyle can avoid diabetes altogether.
So, take a deep breath—because having pre-diabetes is actually good news.
If you have pre-diabetes you have insulin resistance, which means the cells in your liver and muscles have become resistant to the hormone insulin. Since insulin unlocks the cells to allow glucose in, the insulin resistance contributes to glucose intolerance and higher blood sugar.
Exercise helps to improve your insulin sensitivity and get the glucose out of the bloodstream and into the cells more efficiently.
What you want to do is aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. Even a walk is enough to help. But if you can also include resistance exercises such as some bodyweight training where you might do squats, lunges, bridges and so forth, this will help even more.
Without a doubt, your diet is a critical factor in preventing Type 2 Diabetes. And when it comes to diet, there are two things you need to understand so you can get better results.
- Carbohydrates influence your blood sugar the most.
- The quality of the foods you eat is very important.
There are many different carbohydrate foods – breads, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, pies, candy, ice cream, cake, fruit, and even vegetables.
The amount of carbs you eat and the type of carbs both have an impact on your blood sugar. Although there are different types of carbohydrate foods, they all affect your blood sugar differently.
For example, refined white sugar that you might find in cakes and candies will cause your blood sugar to rise quickly and make it difficult for you to gain any good control. Conversely, eating fiber rich vegetables (which are also a form of carb) such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, leafy greens and such will not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar.
Therefore, you likely need to minimize your carbohydrate intake. Most people eat way too many and have an imbalance with other nutrient-dense healthy foods.
There are various recommendations for the required amount of carbohydrates to eat. But recent research has shown that a lower carb diet (120 g/day maximum) can be a beneficial strategy for managing pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes alike.
Then there’s the quality of the foods you eat. Cut down on processed and packaged foods and start choosing whole foods like chicken, fish, lean meats, eggs, avocado, olive oil, and a wide variety of non-starchy, fiber-rich vegetables. These types of foods should make up the majority of your everyday diet.
Your job right now is to get to know your carbohydrate foods. Then, start working on changing the foods you eat to more quality items. This can take a little time but is well worth the effort.
Motivation and Mindset.
Motivation is often difficult for many of us, even when we don’t have a health condition. But knowing something is wrong can help provide you with an inner motivation to avoid diabetes.
Trust me, no one likes to talk about it, but complications like blindness, amputations, and heart disease are fairly common in diabetics, and you don’t want to end up there!
Keep those things in mind every day to inspire you to make healthier choices and take good care of yourself.
Get your family and friends on board and make sure you educate them about your condition too. You want to have as much support around you as possible.
You could also join a local support group or search online for a forum to join. There are lots of people going through the same thing and there are lots of places to get help, support and encouragement.
And, as hard as it can be sometimes, always try to keep a positive mindset. Decide to take care of yourself by making simple changes every day and moving forward in the right direction. Pat yourself on the back for making simple changes, and reward yourself with something other than food—like a massage, hot bath, or sitting back to enjoy a good book.
There are many people who stick their head in the sand and ignore their condition. Please don’t let that be you. Like we just pointed out, you don’t want to end up with Type 2 Diabetes and you can avoid it.
Knowledge is power. Be informed. Learn and educate yourself about pre-diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes. Instead of seeing it as a chore, see it as a great adventure into learning more about yourself and your health!
Here are some places to help get you started:
- Dr Mark Hyman
- Zoe Harcombe
- Diabetes UK
- Diabetes Meal Plans Blog
- Institute for Responsible Nutrition
- Dr Sarah Hallberg
- Diet Doctor
Though there are loads more sites online to find information, these places have some of the best and most up-to-date information about diabetes and quality nutrition.
The overall goal is to be consistent. Consistency is much more important than perfection!
If you can eat healthy, think positively and exercise regularly, then in no time at all you’ll find your health moving in a positive direction.