Ah yes, we are now possibly tearing open the wrappers of many a piece of candy and finishing off those sugary treats as we enter November and the month of the Thanksgiving Feast! Perhaps that is why November is considered National Diabetes Month. This observance was created so individuals, health care professionals, organizations, and communities across the country can bring attention to diabetes and its impact on millions of Americans. The American Diabetes Association reports that “half of all Americans age 65 or older have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. An estimated 11.2 million (nearly 26 percent) Americans over age 65 have already been diagnosed with diabetes, a figure that will continue to increase if we do not act to prevent diabetes in this population.”
There are many things the “experts” tell us to do to get to and stay at a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes: Choose healthy foods, make healthy meals, be active 30 minutes a day. But where should you start? It’s can be overwhelming. And it can be even harder if you have a lot of changes you want to make.
It’s easier to make lifestyle changes one step at a time. Think of each small step as one piece of your effort to change your habits. Making changes one step at a time gives you the best chance to reach and stay at a healthy weight and prevent type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that making just a few small changes can make a big impact on your weight and health. Learn how to make these changes step-by-step.
Things that you want to consider are:
- Weight: Staying at a healthy weight can help you prevent and manage problems like prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease, high blood pressure, and unhealthy cholesterol.
- Diet: Always ask your healthcare provider about healthy eating plans and what you can and can’t have in your diet. Each person is different and industry standards have changed.
- You may want to check with your health care provider or dentist if you find chewing difficult, don’t want to eat, or have trouble with your dentures.
- You feel that life events such as the death of a loved one or moving from your home are keeping you from eating well.
- You think your medicines may be making your food taste bad or affecting your appetite.
- You think you should take a daily vitamin like iron or vitamin C.
- Exercise: Physical activity can do a lot for your health, even if you haven’t been very active lately. Take a walk, do chair aerobics, just get up and move if you can! As with all health changes, discuss your exercise plan with your primary care physician.