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Make a Lifestyle Change

Charlyn Fargo on

The statistics say that 1 in 3 U.S. adults is currently at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes. The problem is most adults don't know that.

For anyone worried about getting Type 2 diabetes, know that there are lifestyle changes you can make to prevent it.

Diabetes runs in my family. My grandfather, father and brother all had it. Those statistics always catch my eye.

Here are a few of things we can do to lower our risk:

No. 1: Lose weight. The goal is for anyone overweight (body mass index over 25) to lose 7% of their starting weight through diet and physical activity.

No. 2: Choose a healthier diet. Changing what we eat can dramatically improve blood sugar control. Try a Mediterranean diet that cuts back on refined grains and cereals, added sugars, salt and processed meats and relies more on healthy oils (olive, canola), fruits, nuts, seeds, vegetables, beans, minimally processed whole grains, seafood and yogurt. Choose red meat less often.

 

No. 3: Make fiber your best friend. Aim for three servings of whole grains every day. Soluble fiber is found in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and beans. Adding soluble fiber to meals reduces blood sugar spikes after a meal. We need 25-35 grams of fiber daily.

No. 4: Hit the treadmill. We need to be physically active every day. If it's not the treadmill, find something you love to do to get moving -- biking, rowing, walking outside, jogging -- whatever you love. I recently got a treadmill with an iFit program and love walking all over the world. As our travel has been limited due to COVID-19, this makes me feel like I'm in Zimbabwe or Turks and Caicos or wherever I'm signed up to be with a trainer. I'm learning about the culture, having fun and working out.

No. 5: Check your numbers. The way you'll find out if you have diabetes is to check your hemoglobin A1c (every three months) and your blood sugar. It's also a good idea to check your vitamin D, as supplementation may lower risk of developing Type 2 diabetes for some. A simple blood test can tell if you're adequate in vitamin D.

The good news is with a few lifestyle changes, this disease is something we can all prevent. There's no better time to get started.

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