November is American Diabetes Month® so it’s a good time
to consider your risk for diabetes and figure out what you can do about it. Lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease is a smart way to manage your health. These two
diseases account for a large portion of our nations public health issues, as
well as health care costs. And the good news is: they are somewhat preventable.
Start with some simple steps toward reduced risk and better health:
Eating. Eating healthy
is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk for type 2
diabetes and heart disease. Healthy eating needs to be an ongoing goal. Choosing 'real' food at meals and at snacks (whole grains like oatmeal and whole wheat bread; fresh fruits and vegetables; low fat milk, yogurt and cheese; lean meats, eggs, nuts; and much less sugar and packaged foods). Work at
improving your eating habits every week. Seek support to help you set goals and
get on the right track.
Weight Control. This is perhaps the most important step you can take to prevent type 2 diabetes and the problems associated with it (heart disease, high blood pressure, unhealthy cholesterol and lipid levels). If you already have diabetes and are overweight, losing weight is very important toward your goal to better manage blood glucose.
Blood Pressure. High blood
pressure raises the risk of heart disease and stroke. A healthy diet and body
weight can help reduce your risk of high blood pressure. If you already have
high blood pressure, be sure to check in with your doctor regularly, take
medication as prescribed, and continue to work at achieving or maintaining a
healthy weight. Along with weight loss, a diet high in fruits and vegetables,
and calcium, can help reduce blood pressure.
High Blood Sugar. Managing your blood glucose
(sugar) can help you prevent and manage type 2 diabetes. You do not have to
avoid all sugars in your diet when you have diabetes, but a diet low in sugar
is your best bet. Overall calorie control and carbohydrate management is key.
Well-managed blood sugars (blood sugars that are within normal range and
consistent most of the day) help prevent many of the additional health
complications that go along with long-term diabetes (heart disease, kidney
disease, nerve damage). Working with a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) can
help you understand your unique situation and lifestyle. Take advantage of
local group diabetes education classes in our area and at Meadville Medical Center.
Activity. It’s not
just about what you eat, but how also much you move. Exercise and physical
activity help manage your blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol and
lowers your risk for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (not to mention help you control weight).
Prioritize exercise and schedule it into your day; and then schedule your
priorities don’t prioritize your schedule. If you aren’t healthy, you won’t be
able to go to work, school, or have any fun with family or friends. Do it.
Small Changes Add Up. As we say at Real Living Nutrition Services: "Goodbye Diets, Hello Lifestyle Changes" In coaching our
clients at reallivingnutrition.com we encourage small changes, as they do add
up to big results. Often, people don’t know where to begin. Support can be
found in many places: Working
with a certified diabetes educator and a registered dietitian can help you
define small goals to get your diet and blood glucose management in check; working
with a personal trainer can help motivate you to get out the door to exercise,
and do so safely without injury; using a diet and exercise journal to work through
your eating and exercise plan can also help provide you with a clear picture of
your goals and progress. Check out the programs at http://www.reallivingnutrition.com and my book: Calorie Counter Journal for Dummies® to help you set goals and a vision for better health.
healthy and stay healthy. Do your part to prevent diabetes or control its
complications on future health.