Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Can I keep from becoming diabetic?

Short answer; yes.

This doesn't seem to get as much media airplay as it should, but then no one stands to profit much by extolling the virtues of moderate diet and exercise habits.

Becoming diabetic should concern you if you are overweight, and especially if diabetes runs in your family, you have high blood pressure or abnormal cholesterol tests. In fact, it's not so much what the scale says as your waist circumference (at the belly button, not at the hips). Over 40 inches in men and over 35 inches in women predicts folks who are likely to develop diabetes.

The good news?

Losing weight can reduce your odds of becoming diabetic by about 80% or more, and it doesn't take as much as you probably think. Losing 5-7% of your weight will do it. If you weigh 200 pounds, that means losing 10-14 pounds, not the usual 30-50 pounds that people often say if I ask them.

This can be done by limiting your calories to 1,800/day, avoiding any food over 30% calories as fat (check the Nutritional Fact labels) and getting a fast walk in for 30 minutes, 5 days a week. Just enough to break a little sweat will do. Sorry, "being on my feet all day" doesn't help. Yes, just eating smaller portions does help. The problem here is that many people eat up to 3,000 calories a day!

Most folks can lose about 4-6 pounds a month this way. 10 pounds off lowers your blood pressure by 8-10%, which is as good as starting doses of medicines for this. 7% weight loss, and you really cut down your odds of ever seeing me every 3 months for diabetes.

You get a taste for it and want to keep losing weight because you feel better and like what you see in the mirror, well the rest is gravy!

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