Healthy Habits During the Holidays (Part 1)--Prevention of Diabetes NOW
For many, the beginning of November signifies the beginning of the holiday season. With the colder weather and shorter days interfering with outdoor time, and increased consumption of large meals, alcohol and sweets at celebrations, the risk of developing health complications rises.
Among these complications includes the development of prediabetes or type 2 diabetes—when your blood sugar is higher than normal, and the body has a hard time using insulin or producing enough to transport sugars to your cells. This type of diabetes is the most common form, with about 90-95 percent of diabetes cases in adults being type 2, according to the NIDDK. An important thing to keep in mind is that once you have diabetes, there is no cure. Instead, there are measures you can take to manage your diabetes and live a healthy life.
So how can you take control of your life NOW and help prevent the onset of diabetes and reduce your risk naturally, even during a time when healthy habits often fall by the wayside?
First, it’s important to understand what puts people at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This includes:
A family history of diabetes
Weight (overweight or obese)
Age (45 or older)
Even if you aren’t at risk for developing type 2 diabetes, practicing healthy habits now can put you on the right track towards living a long, healthy life without health problems or reliance on medicines.
One of the easiest ways to cut down on weight and reduce lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes is through monitoring food intake. Most times, portions at restaurants and even our own servings are much larger than what we should be eating to be healthy. Fill most of your plate with fruits and vegetables, and consider switching to whole grain options and lean meats such as chicken, turkey or beans. Try switching out soda with a flavored sparkling water. These simple steps can quickly reduce the amount of calories, fat and sugar that you eat daily.
If you need help identifying foods that may be doing more harm than good, consider talking to an ND. Naturopathic doctors can help guide your food plan to ensure you stay full and alert through the day, while offering healthy options for meals and mid-day snacks.
Exercise is the other half to leading a healthy lifestyle. The National Institutes of Health recommends getting at least 30 minutes of exercise in, five days a week. If you are new to exercise, it doesn’t have to be intimidating! Start with a walk around your block or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Stretch while you watch TV instead of just sitting on the couch—a little can go a long way! Consider getting friends and family involved and create a community committed to living a longer and better life.
Not sure where to start or have any physical challenges that have you worried? Talk to your ND about how to approach healthy weight with exercise and the best ways to change your lifestyle in the long run.
Lifestyle as Prevention
Ultimately, choosing to lead a healthier life begins with you. The best way to treat diabetes is to assess your lifestyle early and make a long-term plan to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. Work with your doctor to develop a holistic plan for change—one that accounts for your unique individual needs and is both realistic and attainable.
During the holiday season, unhealthy foods are abundant and our motivation to get exercise often goes down, which puts many people at a higher risk or contributes to individuals actually being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Don’t fall into bad habits this winter—take steps now to ensure a healthy life for years to come!
Do you already have type 2 diabetes? The tips above and support from a naturopathic doctor can also help manage your symptoms and decrease medications. Stay tuned this month, National Diabetes Month, for more ideas on how to enjoy the holidays with your family and friends while also managing your diabetes and living life to the fullest!
If you would like to learn more send me an email or give me a call.