Diabetes Prevention

How to Reverse Prediabetes: 7 Lifestyle Tips for Doing It Right

July 2021

Prediabetes is a condition where your blood sugar levels are high, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is like a red flag, if left ignored, it could eventually lead to type 2 diabetes. However, not everyone who is diagnosed with prediabetes progresses to type 2 diabetes. Some can reverse the condition and keep their blood sugar levels in check.

Developing healthy lifestyle habits can go a long way to reverse prediabetes or at least slowdown/delay the progression to type 2 diabetes.

Prediabetes Treatment: How to get your blood sugars in control

If you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, your blood sugar levels will remain higher than normal. Ideally, the prediabetes fasting blood sugar range is between 100 and 125 mg per dL. If your blood sugar falls in this range, your doctor might want to check for your HbA1c levels (which considers the blood sugar readings of the past three months). The HbA1c range for prediabetes falls between 5.7% and 6.4%.

However, even with a diagnosis of prediabetes, your doctor might not want you to take pills to get your blood sugars in control. Instead, the first line of treatment for prediabetes is lifestyle modifications.

Like diabetes, even in the prediabetes stage, either insulin secretion slows down, or the cells in the body become resistant to insulin. Insulin is the hormone secreted by the beta cells of the pancreas, which helps in glucose absorption after metabolism.

However, with relevant lifestyle changes, insulin resistance can be reduced and functions of beta cells revived. Diet modifications and weight loss can help to achieve this without medication, and also lower chances of complications due to elevated blood sugar levels.

Reversing Prediabetes: Lifestyle changes that can add more years to your life

When we talk about lifestyle changes, there are many things you need to consider. Changing your lifestyle is a 360-degree approach that can’t be achieved with diet tweaks and weight loss alone. Here are a few ways in which you can reverse prediabetes:

   1.Walk more, drive less:

Well, we aren’t telling you to walk to your workplace for two hours straight (it would be great if you can do that too). But break the habit of being behind the wheel every time you step out of your house. Ditch the car when you go to the local grocer, to drop your kids at the bus stop, to pick up laundry; walk that half or one mile. It is going to do wonders for your cardiovascular health and improve insulin sensitivity too. Make it a habit to walk more.Try to walk at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week. If you have lived a sedentary lifestyle for too long, this might look like a monumental task. So, start with walking 15 minutes a day and gradually build up your pace. Also, try to walk more whenever you can, especially to run errands. Regular walking, along with proper diet changes, can help improve insulin sensitivity and reverse prediabetes.

   2. Reduce a few inches from your waistline:

If you can make regular walking a part of your daily routine, next up your game with some more exercise plans, like strength training. One of the risk factors of prediabetes is obesity or being overweight. Therefore, weight loss becomes an integral part of prediabetes management, especially losing fat from the abdomen.Abdominal fat increases one’s risk for diabetes by manifolds. If you have fat around your abdomen and have been diagnosed with prediabetes, it’s a double-edged sword hanging above you. Studies suggest that a 5 to 10 percent reduction in body fat percentage can help control sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity.Insulin resistance is also directly proportional to your waist circumference. The more the waist circumference, the more are your chances of suffering from insulin resistance. An ideal measure of the waist should be 35 inches or less for women and 40 inches or less for men. A scientifically planned weight loss and inch loss regimen can help you reach those numbers and keep blood sugars in check. Incorporate strength training along with your regular walks to attain your health goals.

One way to know how many calories you are burning to keep your blood sugar in control use the Fitterfly Wellness App to track your activities. Elevated sugar levels in your bloodstream also make the major muscle groups in the body weak. A combination of cardio (walking, jogging, swimming, aerobics, Zumba) and strength training will help you become stronger and improve blood sugar readings too. You don’t have to bench press to start with strength training. Instead, do other body-weight exercises like lunges, squats and push-ups. Then up your game with strenght training gradually.

   3. Practice clean eating:

Say no to processed foods, high fat- high sugar foods. Replace the doughnut with a plate of fruit salad (minus the sugary dressing) for your evening snack. Don’t just be focused on numbers – calories. Eat more nutrient-dense foods – fruits, vegetables, whole grains. Ensure that you eat foods that improve your glycemic response. It is essential to cut down on your carbohydrate intake and choose the healthier carbs. Go for complex carbs over the simple one – replace your white rice, white bread, white flour (maida), breakfast cereals with brown rice, millets, quinoa, whole grains, whole wheat – as they release glucose slowly into the bloodstream and helps to control blood sugar levels, especially postprandial.Make a note to pick up foods that are high in fibre and low in carbs, for better blood sugar control. You may benefit from adding – dark leafy vegetables, fruits, dry fruits, beans, broccoli, avocados, and berries into your shopping cart. Don’t miss out on micronutrients – iron, zinc, calcium, vital vitamins, magnesium – as a deficiency of these can also make your blood sugar levels go haywire and affect other functions of the body.Try and eat an early dinner. Research has shown that having a 12 hour window between meals (your dinner and breakfast) improves insulin sensitivity, blood pressure readings and beta-cell functions.

   4. Reduce screen time before sleep:

If you don’t want your condition to progress into type 2 diabetes, do these things before sleeping:

  • Keep your smartphone in the living room
  • Stop replying to emails at night
  • Stop watching web series after hitting the bed

Excessive screen time at night can affect sleep quality and studies have shown that people with poor sleep quality are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes with the progression of time. Bad sleep habits can be detrimental in many ways. For example, sleep deprivation is linked to obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Alternatively, if you suffer from chronic sleep troubles like insomnia or sleep apnea, get yourself checked and start with the proper treatment. It will help to gain control over your blood sugar readings and help to practice good sleep hygiene.

   5. Have a positive outlook:

As you change your lifestyle habits to keep sugar levels in control, tame your mind to be calm and control stress. Stress harms blood sugar levels. It can also impact your thinking, energy and moods, making you less motivated to make the necessary lifestyle changes to reverse prediabetes. Not taking care of your mental health can cost you dearly and lead to chronic depression and anxiety problems. Studies also suggest that depression increases the risk for diabetes vice versa.

   6. Quit smoking:

No questions asked; if you have been diagnosed with prediabetes, quit smoking, cold turkey. Smoking is a risk factor for insulin resistance, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes and different forms of cancer.

   7. Stay hydrated:

Did you know dehydration can cause blood sugar levels to rise? So, stay hydrated to reverse prediabetes. Here are a few ways in which you can do it:

    • Have at least eight glasses or 2 litres of water every day
    • Keep reminders on your smartphone to drink enough water
    • Always carry a bottle of water with you wherever you go
    • If you are stationed at your desk most of the day, get up to take frequent water breaks
    • Make sure to drink a glass of water before and after every meal

To reverse prediabetes, a personalised and scientific approach is necessary. This is where Diabefly Pro – A digital therapeutic program for diabetes and prediabetes management comes into place. At Diabefly Pro, a team of specialists, including – a nutritionist, a certified physiotherapist and a clinical psychologist, help you to achieve individual health goals with tailor-made diet and exercise plans according to your needs. In addition, regular counselling will help you feasibly align your goals to sustain them lifelong. With Diabelfy Pro our coaches would take into account every minute detail through the Fitterfly Wellness App to track your diet and lifestyle and a CGMS device to come up with a tailor-made nutrition plan to help reverse prediabetes.

Every year 15-20% of people with prediabetes progress to diabetes. A healthy lifestyle can help delay the onset of diabetes and help you live a diabetes-complication free life for longer – one that is free from medication as well. Use our prediabetes risk calculator to assess your health status.

To know more about how Diabefly Pro and how it can help you smartly take control of your prediabetes, visit our website www.fitterfly.com/prediabetes or speak to one of our counsellors on 022 48971077 (Ext 1)

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