Losing weight, getting active, and eating better are all important changes you can make for your health. These are the best things you can do to prevent prediabetes or to stop it from turning into type 2 diabetes. Three steps can help you get started.
1. Know your reason. Before you set a goal, think about why you want to make a change. If your reason comes from you-and not from someone else-it will be easier for you to make a healthy change for good.
Maybe you want to avoid the hassles that come with type 2 diabetes, such as taking insulin or testing blood sugar. Or maybe you are worried about the health problems diabetes brings. You might simply want to enjoy your life and have more energy. Your reason for wanting to change is important.
2. Set long-term and short-term goals. Start by setting a big, or long-term, goal. Maybe you want to lose 10% of your body weight to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. If you weigh 200 pounds, that means losing 20 pounds. Break down your big goal into smaller, short-term goals. These are the steps you'll take to reach your big goal.
Do what works best for you. It's important to set goals you can reach. For example:
- Week 1: Set a goal to walk for 15 minutes, 5 days a week.
- Week 2: Continue to walk for 15 minutes, 5 days a week. And this week, when you reach for a snack, make it carrots or celery sticks instead of potato chips or crackers.
- Week 3: Keep up your walking program and eating healthy snacks. Gradually increase walking to 30 minutes for at least 5 days each week. Pay attention to your hunger levels when you eat meals. Stop eating when you feel full.
- Fitness: Adding More Activity to Your Life
- Fitness: Walking for Wellness
- Healthy Eating: Starting a Plan for Change
- Healthy Eating: Recognizing Your Hunger Signals
3. Prepare for slip-ups and barriers. Plan for setbacks. Use a personal action plan(What is a PDF document?) to write down your goals, any possible barriers, and your ideas for getting past them. By thinking about these barriers now, you can plan ahead for how to deal with them if they happen.
Tips for staying on track
- Get support. Tell family and friends your reasons for wanting to change. Tell them that their encouragement makes a big difference to you in your goal to prevent type 2 diabetes. Your doctor or a professional counselor can also provide support.
- Pat yourself on the back. Don't forget to give yourself some positive feedback. If you slip up, don't waste energy feeling bad about yourself. Instead, think about how much closer you are to reaching your goal than when you started.