Q: I'm prediabetic and may have to go on an oral diabetes medication. I don't want to start taking pills if I don't have to. What are my alternatives?
Richenda M., Toronto
A: You have many smart alternatives! Start by getting the Five Food Felons (added sugar and sugar syrups, any grain that isn't 100 percent whole, all saturated and trans fats) out of your house. Then get moving! Talk to your doc and set a goal — we like walking 10,000 steps a day. It's more fun and easier to stick with the routine if you have a workout pal, and you'll do best if you each get a pedometer to keep track. Leave a second one in the car or at the office so you're never without one! Spend 30 minutes twice a week doing strength training with hand weights, stretch bands or on weight machines at a gym. Plus, sprinkle in daily stress management using Hatha yoga, progressive relaxation or meditation. Your bonus: Not only will you get better glucose control, but a recent study found that moderate physical activity is just as effective as medication when it comes to reducing the risk of dying from complications of prediabetes, such as heart attack.
Want more ways to reverse your prediabetes without medication? Follow these steps.
1. Start by driving by (and not into) fast-food restaurants. They may have healthier choices on their menus these days, but the temptations to go off-road can be irresistible.
2. If you need to lose weight, do so. But set realistic expectations and goals: Aim to lose no more than 1 pound a week.
3. Eat whole grains, fresh fruit and/or lean protein for breakfast, and make your lunch for work (think of all the money you'll save!).
4. Get your family involved in your healthy-eating plan; grocery shop and cook together.
We bet that in six months or less, you'll see your glucose numbers come down into a healthy range. You'll feel better, and your doctor will be thrilled.
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