Can I Stop the Progression of My Prediabetes?
If diabetes runs in your family, you and your physician may be on high alert for your own possible diagnosis. Although genetics play a large role, studies have been done that show lifestyle changes can seriously impact the progression of prediabetes to full-blown type 2 diabetes.
A study on the progression of prediabetes
A study called PREVIEW was started in 2013 and was made up of a population from all over the world, including Australia and Denmark. The study assessed diet changes and physical activity, and their effects on the progression of prediabetes to type 2 diabetes. “For the first phase of the 36-month intervention, participants were assigned to a low-calorie diet via meal replacement (800 kcal per day) for 2 months to achieve rapid weight reduction. For the second phase, participants were assigned to one of two dietary approaches: a high-protein/low-glycemic index diet or a moderate-protein/moderate-glycemic index diet. Researchers asked participants of both diet groups to increase their physical activity to high intensity for 75 minutes per week or moderate intensity for 150 minutes per week, for a total of four treatment arms.”1
The results of the prediabetes study
The participants were evaluated throughout a three-year period to monitor their goals and progress. The study concluded “If you can lose a fair amount of weight, much like these participants in PREVIEW, and you can keep the weight off, the chance of reducing your risk for type 2 diabetes is significant. The initial 8-week weight loss demonstrated here certainly put these patients into orbit, so to speak. It showed them that they could experience reasonably good weight loss and then move on to a maintenance phase.”1
Why is slowing the progression of prediabetes difficult?
The physician discussing this study went on to say that it is important to recognize the difficulty in sustaining these kinds of changes. There was a 50% drop out rate in this study. So what is holding people back from making these changes when they are so beneficial to overall and future health? If you have ever tried a strict diet, you know exactly why! Hunger pains, removing favorite foods from the diet, and soreness from increased activity level can all lead to giving up on major lifestyle modifications, even when we know they are good for us.
Tips for realistic changes
If you are trying to adjust some things in your life, here are a few tips that may help you stick it out!
Take it slow
If your goal is weight loss, it may be easier for you to sustain if you start with baby steps. Jumping into an aggressive fitness routine, as well as an entire diet renovation, may be so difficult that you give up before you have really even gotten started. Start with diet changes such as eating more vegetables and less processed foods.
Slowly increase your activity level
A goal of 150 minutes of physical activity per week is the gold standard. But it may take some time to build up the stamina to that. Try progressing from 1-2 days per week to 3 and then 4 days per week. Some weeks you may not be able to reach those goals. Do not give up, keep trying. Varying your exercises, finding workout buddies, and using videos or machines at home, are all great ways to spice up your fitness life.
Monitor your progress
Stepping on the scale each week and noticing changes in the fit of your clothing are both great ways to track your progress. You can also check in with your physician to see if any blood levels should be monitored.
Things to keep in mind
- Always speak with your physician to discuss which exercises are safest for you
- Consider meeting with a registered dietitian to better understand healthy eating
- Be kind to yourself as you make these changes
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