Make A Game Plan To Lower Type 2 Diabetes Risks

You’ve probably heard a lot about how many more adults today get type 2 diabetes. It affects almost 400 million people across the entire world, and in the United States (US), about 1 in 10 adults.

In addition, another 80 Americans have pre-diabetes. This is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. However, if you have pre-diabetes you have a great risk of getting diabetes.

Diabetes is also linked with many other health issues, including kidney problems, nerve damage, blindness, heart attack, and stroke. So it is very important to prevent diabetes, or take good care of yourself if you do have it.

Diabetes care isn’t always easy, so the experts at the National Diabetes Education Program have put together a diabetes care booklet with a simple message: small steps can lead to big rewards.

Make a game plan for diabetes care

When you have diabetes, there’s a lot you need to do to take care of yourself—check your blood glucose, take all your medicines on time, follow your meal plan, exercise, and count carbs. Doing all this is hard, and sometimes it can seem like there’s so much to do that you don’t know where to start.

For this reason, it’s important to keep things simple! So, the NDEP plan begins with 3 simple steps:

  1. Set a weight loss goal.
  2. Make healthy food choices.
  3. Move more.

Here’s a more in-depth look at what goes into each of these small steps.

1) Set a weight loss goal

Weight loss is essential to prevent diabetes and pre-diabetes. If you already have the disease, losing weight makes it easier to keep your blood glucose under control. Past studies have found that if you lose just a twentieth to tenth of your current weight it can lead to lots of health benefits (such as a lower risk of getting diabetes), so this is a good goal to have. If you weigh 200 pounds, this means you must lose 10 to 20 pounds.
How do you do this? Steps 2 and 3 will help make your goal a reality.

2) Make healthy food choices

Eat in a healthy way to reach your weight loss goal. The basic rule is that to lose weight you need to burn more calories than you eat each day. While there are many different weight loss plans to choose from, a healthy eating plan should include:

  • Plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Healthy fats, such as those found in salmon, mackerel, sardines, walnuts, almonds, and avocados.
  • Lean protein from chicken, fish, beans, lentils, or tofu.
  • Whole grains from breads, cereals, brown rice, and oatmeal.
  • Small amounts of sweets—treating yourself once in a while is okay.
  • Try to avoid packaged and processed foods, which are usually high in salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats.

3) Move more

The more you move each day, the more calories you’ll burn, and the more weight you’ll lose. A good starting point for a daily exercise goal is 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, 5 days a week. Examples of moderate-intensity exercise include:

  • Dancing
  • Brisk walking
  • Swimming laps
  • Riding a bike
  • Jogging
  • Any other physical activity that gets your heart rate up—this could be house work, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or playing with your kids

You don’t have to do all 30 minutes of exercise at once. You can break it up into two 15-minute blocks, or three 10-minute blocks. Sometimes this is easier, especially when you are just starting your exercise plan. It’s important to start slow, and not push yourself too much, especially if you’re feeling tired.

The take home points

  • Diabetes is a dangerous disease and caring for it can be a challenge.
  • The good news is that you can lower your chance of getting diabetes if you follow the 3 simple steps listed above.
  • If you have any questions about what you read here or about diabetes in general, talk to your healthcare provider at your next office visit.



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Constance Brown-Riggs, MSEd, RD, CDE, CDN—an award-winning RD, certified diabetes educator, and past national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, is the author of The African American Guide to Living Well With Diabetes, which received the Favorably Reviewed designation from the American Association of Diabetes Educators, and Eating Soulfully and Healthfully with Diabetes.

Dr. Lori Shemek, PhD, CNC, CLC, the best-selling author of “Fire-Up Your Fat Burn! and leading health and weight loss expert, is also known as “The Inflammation Terminator.” She has made it her mission to educate the public on the toxic effects of certain foods and lifestyle choices and how they create inflammation in the body. She is a leading authority on inflammation and its role in weight loss, preventing disease and optimizing health.

Rebecca Bitzer – MS, RD/LD, CEDRD is an award-winning Registered Dietitian, writer, speaker, blogger, and REBEL Dietitian business owner. Rebecca and her team of six Registered Dietitians have counseled thousands of clients struggling with diabetes for over twenty-five years. They work closely with each other along with internists, endocrinologists, therapists, and families.

Maureen Sullivan – RN, CDE has worked for many years as a Registered Nurse, most of them in emergency and trauma services. She is a Certified Emergency Nurse, Certified Diabetes Educator, and the former manager of a hospital stroke program. Maureen’s wealth of knowledge, passion for nursing and education, and ability to engage people makes her an excellent teacher and a captivating lecturer. Recently, Maureen has been concentrating on writing, speaking and teaching, as well as working on her award-winning weekly podcast, “The Health and Humor Show.”

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN is a nutrition communications specialist, registered dietitian in private practice, social media consultant, speaker, spokesperson and corporate consultant. She is currently the owner of Nutrition Starring YOU, LLC and Lauren strongly believes that we should “Think Healthy, not Skinny”, and “EveryBODY is unique, your diet should be too”. Lauren was co-host of the Family Food Experts Kitchen radio show, available for listening on iHeart Radio and iTunes. Also known as one of the “NutritionBabes”, Lauren co-founded, a popular Health and Wellness website in 2009. was voted one of Healthline’s Top 100 Health Blogs in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

Mark Heyman, PhD, CDE is a clinical health psychologist and the director of the Center for Diabetes and Mental Health (CDMH). In addition to treating patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, Dr. Heyman provides training for health care providers on how to identify and address the emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes in their patients. He also works with pharmaceutical and medical device companies to help them understand these issues and incorporate this information into their sales, marketing, and patient education materials. He is particularly interested in empirically supported behavioral interventions that promote behavior change and improve physical and mental health in people with diabetes.

Katie Ferraro, MPH, RD, CDE is a nationally-recognized registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and author with an expertise in nutrition communications and curriculum development. She is the co-author of “Diet Therapy in Advanced Practice Nursing” (McGraw Hill, 2014) and an Assistant Clinical Professor of Nutrition at the University of California San Francisco and University of San Diego’s graduate schools of nursing.

Dr. Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE (aka “Dr. Bev”) is a clinical psychologist and certified diabetes educator, author and speaker. She specializes treating the emotional issues of people with diabetes. In her private practice, she provides individual, family and/or group therapy utilizing a cognitive behavior therapy orientation, combined with a spiritual approach. Her goal is to empower her patients to manage their diabetes.

Dr. Bev is the author of two self-help diabetes books. She has written numerous articles which are published in print and online – always focused on diabetes from the emotional perspective. She also speaks to audiences of people living with diabetes, as well as, to audiences of healthcare professionals and diabetes educators. Dr. Bev, herself, has been living successfully with type 1 diabetes for 40+ years.

In August 2016, Dr. Bev was honored to receive the “CDE Entrepreneur of the Year” Award from her Metropolitan NY Association of Diabetes Educators.

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND is an internationally recognized nutrition and diabetes expert with more than two decades experience. Through writing, speaking and one-on-one coaching, Jill empowers people to grab control of their health. She has worked as both a nutrition counselor and a diabetes educator in the hospital and research settings, and now in private practice in Newport News, VA. Jill is known for her practical approach and caring attitude. Her no-nonsense strategies to eating well include foods that both taste good and are good for you.

Marlene Koch (pronounced ‘cook’) is a nationally recognized nutritionist, popular TV personality and New York Times bestselling author. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from UCLA with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutritional Science. She is a registered dietitian and one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics.

Marlene has taught professional chefs from the American Culinary Federation the principles of healthy cooking and eating. She has been adjunct Nutrition professor and cooking instructor for Columbus State College and the Columbus State Culinary Academy, and she is a nationally recognized expert in weight loss, diabetes, child and adolescent nutrition, and sugar substitutes.

Marlene has sold over one million cookbooks, and is a regular guest on QVC.

Barbara Ruhs – MS, RDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of Neighborhood Nutrition LLC, a consulting firm focused on providing solutions to help food companies and supermarkets improve consumer health & wellness. She’s a former supermarket dietitian and has run a successful business for 17 years. A leader in the field of nutrition, her mission is to help people by impacting the way food is produced, marketed and sold. She’s a strong advocate for supermarket dietitians and believes the retail food industry has the greatest potential to impact public health.

Cheryl Orlansky has over 25 years of experience in health promotion and chronic disease prevention and management. Her first career as a registered dental hygienist led her towards a path of wellness and nutrition! Her expertise is in diabetes, weight management and cardiovascular disease for individuals and groups. She works in a large private practice including endocrinology, internal medicine, rheumatology, neurology and sleep medicine. She is an award winning dietitian with current leadership positions in state and local dietetics organizations.

She has been interviewed and quoted in media outlets for WebMD, Atlanta Sports and Fitness, Georgia Public Broadcasting, and the Atlanta Journal and Constitution. She has partnered with V-103 Radio to lead supermarket tours as part of a community outreach during National Nutrition Month.

Cheryl helps her clients reach balance through lifestyle choices: cooking and eating, activity and purpose in life.

Jackie Newgent, RDN, CDN, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and classically-trained chef. With a passion for helping people (including her father) with diabetes, she’s author of The With or Without Meat Cookbook: The Flexible Approach to Flavorful Diabetes Cooking and the award-winning The All‐Natural Diabetes Cookbook, both published by the American Diabetes Association. Jackie is also author of 1,000 Low-Calorie Recipes and Big Green Cookbook. Her next book, The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook—2nd Edition, was published in 2015.

Nutritionist Rania Batayneh, MPH is the author of the best-selling book, The One One One Diet. She holds a master’s degree in public health nutrition from the University of Michigan School of Public Health and is also a Wellcoaches Certified Health and Wellness Coach endorsed by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

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