Diabetes has tripled over the past 18 years from 171Mn to a scary 451Mn this year. Often times, we read numbers like this, forget about it, and go about our daily business. But, for me, the threat of diabetes is real because it runs in our family.
My dad had type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes basically have higher than normal blood sugar levels and, for those with type 2, the body loses their ability to respond to insulin and thereby becomes insulin resistant. It’s a life-long disease. I grew up watching my Dad and Mom struggle to manage the illness, especially when it came to Dad’s special diet. My dad loved to eat so I was witness to several playful fights over sugary treats or fruits that Mom forbade Dad to eat!
As for me, I’m a relatively healthy eater, but my sugar has always been borderline probably thanks to my genes. It’s a constant reminder for me to be very mindful of my (and my kids’) sugar intake and to be knowledgeable about diabetes.
My dad passed away 10 years ago, just as I was starting on my wellness journey. I wish I knew then what I knew now because I could’ve helped him adopt a healthier lifestyle (and significantly reduce the diet arguments with Mom hah!) Here are simple changes you can do now to prevent diabetes:
Drop the weight. Being overweight increases your chances of getting diabetes. Just by reducing your weight, you can cut your risk for type 2 diabetes in half. Although this may sound a bit difficult, the truth is if you adopt a healthy lifestyle, the weight will just come off naturally.
Stop smoking. Part of living a healthier lifestyle is to rid yourself of this habit. Seek the help of a doctor or friend for support. You could also switch your addiction with cigarettes to something healthier such as taking a stroll around a park after a meal or climbing office stairs instead of taking a cigarette break at work.
Move. You don’t need to start running marathons to get healthy. Just be more active throughout the week because exercising moves your muscles, which then use insulin. Try walking for 30 minutes 3x a week. Better yet, if you can get a fitness tracker, aim for 5,000 steps daily and slowly increase that until you can reach 10,000 steps daily. You can also try different workouts – zumba, yoga, crossfit, pound, boxing, and more – until you find one that feels fun for you.
Eat well. Focus on eating healthy carbohydrates and high-fiber food, like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, and get your protein from heart-healthy choices such as fish. Avoid heavily processed food, sugary drinks, fast food and trans and saturated fats.
For a quick and easy healthy meal, you can try Glucerna. Glucerna is the only clinically proven nutrition formula for people with diabetes. It contains a slow digesting, low glycemic carbohydrate blend that helps manage blood sugar, heart health, and weight. It can actually control your hunger for up to 4 hours.
While Glucerna is designed for people with diabetes, I learned that even non-diabetics like me can take it occasionally as a snack or meal replacement. While it’s still best to eat a healthy and fresh diet, this is a better option to junk or fast food after a workout or when I’m in a rush. It helps that it’s delicious, too!