Diabetes is one of the most common health conditions in the United States, according to Jennifer Spann, health and fitness expert and owner of Get In Shape For Women in Marietta.
Currently, 25.8 million Americans, 8.3 percent of the population, suffer from diabetes, and an additional 79 million are prediabetic, meaning they have a strong likelihood of developing the condition.
“The Get In Shape For Women results-oriented system focuses on a four part transformation model that includes weight training, cardio, nutrition support and accountability,” said Spann. “All of these elements are critical in combating the onset of type 2 diabetes and preventing serious health complications.”
Spann has some tips for reducing diabetes risk. If you’re already diabetic, these guidelines can help stave off further health risks and even reverse your current symptoms in the long term:
1. Develop healthy eating habits. Poor diet is one of the main contributors to type 2 diabetes: sweets, sodas, greasy, over-processed fast food and packaged snacks are not the foundation of a healthy diet, Spann said. Replace your fast-food diet with one rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains (think brown rice and whole-wheat bread), lean protein like chicken and fish, beans and low-fat dairy products.
Replace sodas and other high-calorie beverages with water, tea and other low-calorie options. In addition to being better for you, water is essential for life and can help flush out excess waste and keep your body and skin healthy, Spann said.
2. Be active. Even 30 minutes of activity on a treadmill or elliptical counts as exercise. Over time, build up the length and intensity of your workout to keep your body guessing and increase the amount of calories burned, Spann said. For example, after a month of brisk walking, consider adding in a few one-minute jogging intervals, or incorporate strength training into your routine.
3. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight greatly increases your risk for type 2 diabetes and related conditions including hypertension, heart disease, and stroke, Spann said. To get back to a healthy weight for your height and body composition, you must burn more calories than you consume. This should be done through a combination of diet and exercise.
Be wary of fad diets or programs that promise rapid, dramatic weight loss with minimal effort; those are not usually ideal for the long term. A good rule of thumb is to aim for losing one-half to two pounds per week, with more weight loss in your first two weeks.
4. Get some R&R. Life is full of little stressors: between kids, work, bills, and everything else you have to manage on a daily basis, it can be hard to stay on track and develop positive habits. Find a way to de-stress: whether you become a member at a gym, meditate at home or just get more sleep, finding your own balance is crucial to developing a new, healthier lifestyle, Spann said.