Fitness Facts: Preventing diabetes
By Connie Colbert
Director, Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic
November is American Diabetes Month. What better way to begin the holiday season than talking about ways to prevent this terrible disease, one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.
One in 10 Americans have diabetes, and another 84 million adults in the U.S. are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This disease can cause blindness, nerve damage, kidney disease and loss of limbs if not controlled.
The good news is it can be prevented and even reversed with good nutrition and exercise.
Make a determination that you will not be the 1 in 10!
Here are a few suggestions from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services:
- Reduce portion sizes: If you are trying to eat smaller portions, eat half of a bagel instead of a whole bagel or have a 3-ounce hamburger instead of a 6-ounce hamburger. Three ounces is about the size of your fist or a deck of cards. If you do not know what a portion is, here is a guide published by Web MD to help: https://www.webmd.com/diet/healthtool-portion-size-plate
- Keep meat, chicken, turkey and fish portions to about 3 ounces.
- Share one dessert.
- Drink a large glass of water 10 minutes before your meal so you feel less hungry.
- Use teaspoons, salad forks or child-size forks, spoons and knives to help you take smaller bites and eat less.
- Make less food look like more by serving your meal on a salad or breakfast plate.
- Eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to send a signal to your brain that you are full.
- Listen to music while you eat instead of watching TV (people tend to eat more while watching TV).
- Try to be active for at least 30 minutes five days a week. Walking is a great way to get started, and you can do it almost anywhere at any time. Bike riding, swimming and dancing are also good ways to move more.
- Turn up the music and jam while doing household chores.
- Work out with a video that shows you how to get active.
- Catch up with friends during a walk instead of by phone.
- March in place while you watch TV.
- Stir fry, broil or bake with nonstick spray or low-salt broth. Cook with less oil and butter.
- Cook with smaller amounts of cured meats (smoked turkey and turkey bacon). They are high in salt.
- Choose foods with little or no added sugar to reduce calories.
- Compare food labels on packages.
- Take time to change the way you eat and get active. Try one new food or activity a week.
- Think before you eat. Try not to eat when you are bored, upset or unhappy. This can be one of our greatest battles.
- Many of us eat for many other reasons other than being hungry. Understanding this first can decrease our chances of overeating.
- Always ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Many times we are actually just thirsty. Try a glass of water first and then see how you feel.
Find ways to make healthy food choices. This can help you manage your weight and lower your chances of getting Type 2 diabetes.
Keep a written record of what you eat for a week. It can help you see when you tend to overeat or eat foods high in fat or calories. We often do not realize what we eat until we see it written down.
Make small changes first! This is a marathon, not a sprint. It needs to be sustainable. Making small changes and seeing progress can lead to more changes and a lifetime of healthy choices!
Take time to change the way you eat and get active. Commit to trying one new food or activity a week.
For more resources to help, visit the National Diabetes Education Program or call 1-888-693-6337/TTY: 1-866-569-1162 to get your free “GAME PLAN to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes” booklet.
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