There are ways to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. The key is to losing weight. Even a small amount of weight loss can be helpful. Those who have diabetes can also benefit from the improved blood sugar control that results from losing a few pounds.
To get started, use these tips to help you move more, make healthy food choices, and track your progress.
Reduce Portion Sizes
Portion size is the amount of food you eat, such as 1 cup of fruit or 6 ounces of meat. If you are trying to eat smaller portions, eat a 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.
- Drink a large glass of water 10 minutes before your meal so you feel less hungry.
- Keep meat, chicken, turkey, and fish portions to about 3 ounces.
- Share one dessert.
- 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).
How much should I eat?
Try filling your plate like this:
- 1/4 protein
- 1/4 grains
- 1/2 vegetables and fruit
- dairy (low-fat or skim milk)
Move More Each Day
Find ways to be more active each day. Try to be active for at least 30 minutes, 5 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.
If you are looking for a safe place to be active, contact your local parks department or health department to ask about walking maps, community centers, and nearby parks.
- Show your kids the dances you used to do when you were their age.
- Turn up the music and jam while doing household chores.
- Work out with a video that shows you how to get active.
- Deliver a message in person to a co-worker instead of sending an e-mail.
- Take the stairs to your office. Or take the stairs as far as you can, and then take the elevator the rest of the way.
- Catch up with friends during a walk instead of by phone.
- March in place while you watch TV.
- Choose a place to walk that is safe, such as your local mall.
- Get off of the bus one stop early and walk the rest of the way home or to work during the week if it is safe.
Make Healthy Food Choices
Find ways to make healthy food choices. This can help you manage your weight and lower your chances of getting type 2 diabetes.
Choose to eat more vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Cut back on high-fat foods like whole milk, cheeses, and fried foods. This will help you reduce the amount of fat and calories you take in each day.
- Buy a mix of vegetables when you go food shopping.
- Choose veggie toppings like spinach, broccoli, and peppers for your pizza.
- Try eating foods from other countries. Many of these dishes have more vegetables, whole grains, and beans.
- Buy frozen and low-salt (sodium) canned vegetables if you are on a budget. They may cost less and keep longer than fresh ones.
- Serve your favorite vegetable and a salad with low-fat macaroni and cheese.
- Stir fry, broil, or bake with non-stick spray or low-salt broth. Cook with less oil and butter.
- Try not to snack while cooking or cleaning the kitchen.
- Cook with smaller amounts of cured meats (smoked turkey and turkey bacon). They are high in salt.
- Cook with a mix of spices instead of salt.
- Try different recipes for baking or broiling meat, chicken, and fish.
- Choose foods with little or no added sugar to reduce calories.
- Choose brown rice instead of white rice.
- Have a big vegetable salad with low-calorie salad dressing when eating out. Share your main dish with a friend or have the other half wrapped to go.
- Make healthy choices at fast food restaurants. Try grilled chicken (with skin removed) instead of a cheeseburger.
- Skip the fries and chips and choose a salad.
- Order a fruit salad instead of ice cream or cake.
- Find a water bottle you really like (from a church or club event, favorite sports team, etc.) and drink water from it every day.
- Peel and eat an orange instead of drinking orange juice.
- If you drink whole milk, try changing to 2% milk. It has less fat than whole milk. Once you get used to 2% milk, try 1% or fat-free (skim) milk. This will help you reduce the amount of fat and calories you take in each day.
- Drink water instead of juice and regular soda.
- Eat foods made from whole grains every day, such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, oats, and whole grain corn.
- Use whole grain bread for toast and sandwiches.
- Keep a healthy snack with you, such as fresh fruit, a handful of nuts, and whole grain crackers.
- Slow down at snack time. Eating a bag of low-fat popcorn takes longer than eating a candy bar.
- Share a bowl of fruit with family and friends.
- Eat a healthy snack or meal before shopping for food. Do not shop on an empty stomach.
- Shop at your local farmers market for fresh, local food.
- Make a list of food you need to buy before you go to the store.
- 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.
- Compare food labels on packages.
- Choose foods lower in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, calories, salt, and added sugars.
Take Care of Your Mind, Body, and Soul
- Take time to change the way you eat and get active. Try one new food or activity a week.
- Find ways to relax. Try deep breathing, taking a walk, or listening to your favorite music.
- Pamper yourself. Read a book, take a long bath, or meditate.
- Think before you eat. Try not to eat when you are bored, upset, or unhappy.
Honor your health as your most precious gift. There are many more ways to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by making healthy food choices and moving more. Discover your own and share them with your family, friends, and neighbors.
Reference: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Last update: April 15, 2013.
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