Prediabetes is the stage identified just before type 2 diabetes, but it's just as dangerous. A small percentage of individuals can take control of the situation and turn it around, and you can be one of them.
If you were diagnosed with prediabetes, sometimes referred to as borderline diabetes, I would encourage you to consider yourself diabetic moving forward. Do not waste another moment playing with your health – it sounds harsh, but you need to think of your condition as serious. Too often, individuals aren't scared enough by a "pre" diabetes diagnosis to change their health at all.
Why do I say this?
If you don't take your health seriously, the consequences can be dire. Diabetes is a chronic condition; it's serious and warrants an unconditional and assertive approach.
According to the American Diabetes Association, the Hemoglobin A1C test measures your average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months. The advantages of being diagnosed this way are that you don't have to fast or drink anything. Your physician likely tests you each time you see him/her if you show any signs of obesity, as this is a primary indicator of diabetes risk.
Diabetes is diagnosed at an A1C of greater than or equal to 6.5 percent:
Normal: less than 5.7%
Pre-diabetes: 5.7% to 6.4%
Diabetes: 6.5% or higher
Steps after Prediabetes Diagnosis
1. Meet with a Dietitian or Certified Diabetes Educator, preferably one with a Certification in Adult Weight Management.
2. Lose weight! Research from The American Diabetes Association shows that you can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by 58 percent by:
- Losing 7 percent of your body weight, or 15 pounds if you weigh 200 pounds.
- Doing moderate exercises, such as brisk walking, 30 minutes a day, five days a week
Don't worry if you can't get to your ideal body weight. Losing even 10 to 15 pounds can make a huge difference.
3. Test your blood glucose values at least once daily. Glucometers are available at all pharmacies, and you can ask your physician if he/she has any to give you – they usually have supplies stored to give away to patients. Get a prescription for lancets and possibly a rebate card for test strips. Testing your blood sugar three or more times on some days can give an optimal picture of your blood sugars.
A full day of testing might go as follows: Fasting blood sugar upon rising; two hours after breakfast; before lunch; two hours after lunch; before dinner; two hours after dinner; before bedtime.
Keep a record of what you eat and the blood sugar that coincides. Learn how food affects these numbers. Doing this for a week can teach you a tremendous amount about you and food. Sharing this information with your diabetes educator or physician can help you develop a program to optimize your health and wellness plan.
4. Return to your physician every 3 months and know your Hgb A1C trend.
Your weight loss plan should include copious amounts of vegetables. Depending on body size, I encourage 6 to 10 cups of vegetables a day, along with 2 to 3 servings of fruits, and 6 to 12 ounces of lean protein. Also incorporate 4 to 10 servings of starches, preferably gluten-free as I've seen this make a huge difference in many individuals’ blood sugars and ability to lose weight. Lastly, include a few naturally occurring fats like nuts, avocados, olives, and a few monounsaturated oils, like olive and canola oil.
If you can’t swallow the thought of vegetables, use your NutriBullet to puree vegetables and incorporate them into other recipes so you don’t see, smell, or taste them!
An individualized plan is very important to ensure caloric balance and prevent muscle wasting and early plateaus. Keep open lines of communication with your physician and do everything you can to prevent your prediabetes from developing any further.