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Weight Loss and Prediabetes

Weight Loss can lead to better health and help you avoid prediabetes.As sure as April showers bring May flowers, the comfort foods of winter bring on those extra pounds. When we step on the scale or wriggle into our cutoffs on the first warm day, we suddenly realize those fireside snacks have taken their toll. It’s time to do something! And while looking good in a bathing suit is a worthy reason to shed those pounds, there is an even more compelling reason to do so—reducing your risk for prediabetes.

Prediabetes isn’t just a precursor to full-fledged type 2 diabetes; it is a condition with its own set of dangers. If you have prediabetes, the long-term damage to your heart and kidneys that come with type 2 diabetes can already be taking effect. So prediabetes is a wake-up call. A change in lifestyle can keep you from progressing to type 2 diabetes, but even if you aren’t at risk and just want to lose those winter pounds, consider making some changes now that will benefit you for a lifetime.

It’s probably not a surprise that the first step has to do with watching “carbs.” While eating carbohydrates doesn’t necessarily cause prediabetes, a diet dominated with carbs does. Eating carbs that digest quickly leads to what is known as a “blood sugar spike.” When your body has a difficult time lowering blood sugar levels after those spikes, you are considered pre-diabetic. That’s why it’s important to avoid foods that cause spikes—mainly refined carbohydrates like white bread, russet potatoes, white rice and pasta, and desserts, soda and juice.
Adding foods with fiber goes right along with avoiding refined carbs. Fiber-rich foods help you feel fuller longer and avoid the “crash” that comes after the spike. Adding more legumes, fruits and vegetables and whole grains can make a significant difference in keeping your blood sugar levels on an even keel.

Also, be mindful of your protein choices: select beans, soy, nuts, seafood and lean beef instead of the standard “meat and potatoes” or deli sandwich items to keep you from those pesky carb accompaniments and reduce the amount of saturated fat—a good idea no matter what your condition.
And along with making changes in our diet, we have to get moving! Being active has benefits way beyond maintaining a healthy weight. Exercise causes muscles to use glucose for energy and makes the cells work more effectively with insulin, which is good news for those at risk for prediabetes.

Finally, start small—don’t get caught-up in making an ambitious lifestyle change that you will never be able to follow. Make a few changes each week and before you know it, you will be lounging by the pool in style—healthy on the inside and out.

Sue Moulton – Sue Moulton is a new volunteer with NOVA Scripts since March 2018. She has volunteered for the Diabetes Awareness Project in March in Woodbridge, VA. She is a retired sales representative with Eli Lilly and Co. Sue holds a B.S. in Pharmacy from University of Iowa.