Being inactive, overweight and following a poor diet are factors that increase your chance of developing type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form.
However, Vina Bajaj MD, an endocrinologist at Group Health, says that implementing two lifestyle changes now can significantly lower your risk of developing the disease.
Get to Your Healthy Body Weight
“There’s a study called Diabetes Primary Prevention, or DPP study, and that study was done in patients who had impaired glucose tolerance, which means they were not normal, but they didn’t have diabetes yet,” Dr. Bajaj explains.
As part of this study, patients were split into groups. Each group was prescribed to a different diabetes treatment method, some of which included:
- Going on metformin
- Going on insulin
- Implementing lifestyle modifications (exercising and adopting a healthier, portion-controlled eating style)
The patients who were assigned to the lifestyle modification had a 58% reduction in the development of diabetes, whereas those who went on metformin had a 28% reduction in the development of diabetes, Dr. Bajaj points out. “So, lifestyle modification is very helpful,” she adds.
Your Ideal Body Weight: How to Get there
#1: Exercise Regularly
Dr. Bajaj suggested exercising 30 minutes a day, five days each week. Your workout routine doesn’t need to be rigorous, either. “Just brisk walking,” she says. “You don’t need to be an Olympic runner.”
#2: Control Your Portion Sizes
Managing your total calorie intake, especially carbohydrate-based calories, is especially critical for maintaining your ideal body weight and staving off diabetes. Talk to your doctor about how many calories you need, according to your height, weight and activity levels.
Dr. Bajaj recommends eating three to four carbs at each meal. One carb is equal to 15 grams. She suggests:
- 45 to 60g of carbohydrates at breakfast, lunch and dinner
- 15 to 30g of carbohydrates around bedtime.