If you have recently been diagnosed with prediabetes, you might be wondering what is the most efficient way to reverse its course and keep it from developing into Type 2 Diabetes. And if you are reading this blog article, chances are, you have already set your mind on preventing the onset of diabetes 2. I commend you for that!
You are prediabetic, now what?
About 1/3 of people diagnosed with prediabetes will be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes within 5 years. Scary, right? Especially when we know that among the complications of diabetes, we find heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, and even amputation. Not to mention that Type 2 diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Something to be taken seriously, right? But the good news is: there is a lot WE can do to prevent Type 2 Diabetes, and even after being diagnosed with prediabetes, there are clear steps we can take to prevent that prediabetes does not progress into diabetes.
If you have been diagnosed recently, your physician might have set you up with Metformin. Metformin is a very common treatment for prediabetes, and an efficient one too. Chances are your doctor also told you to lose weight if you are overweight or obese, watch your diet, and to start exercising. Going home with your prescription is pretty straight forward and you know exactly what to do. When it comes to losing weight, eating healthy, and moving more, it seems more complicated. Many people diagnosed with prediabetes end up relying mostly on the meds, because that is simple and easy. Unfortunately, that’s the biggest mistake you could make!
Best treatment is NOT metformin
The National Diabetes Prevention Program (NDPP) was a large study that began in 2002. it tracked, for a duration of 15 years, more than 3000 overweight people diagnosed with prediabetes. The goal of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of different treatments when it comes to reducing the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes.
One group was given Metformin and recommendations to improve their nutrition and to be more active. We will call it the Metformin Group. Another group was given no medicine but was treated with lifestyle interventions. We will call this the Lifestyle Group. Concretely, they were guided through nutrition improvements, increase of physical activity, and behavioral changes that lead to 5% to 7% of their weight. The results are mind-blowing! The Metformin Group reduced their short-term risks of developing Diabetes by 31%. Not bad, right? But wait! The Lifestyle Group who lost a moderate amount of weight reduced their short-term risks of developing diabetes by 58%!
It gets even better! 10 years later, the Lifestyle Group had seen their risk diminish by 43%, and the Metformin Group by 18%. And 15 years later, the Metformin group still had reduced their risk by 18%, while the risks for the Lifestyle Group had diminished by another 27%.
Best way to reverse prediabetes
What does this mean? Well, it’s pretty straight forward! The best way to reduce your risk of developing diabetes (whether you have already been diagnosed with prediabetes or not) is to find the support and guidance you need in order to lose a little bit of weight, eat healthier, and move more. Whether you work with your doctor, with a nutritionist, with a certified health coach, a nurse, or a personal trainer, your chances of making a real difference in the evolution of diabetes will be way higher than if you just take meds.
Now don’t get me wrong! I am not saying that your shouldn’t take Metformin! Far be it from me to make such a statement. Metformin works, and if your doctor puts you on it, it probably means that you need it. But can you imagine the results you will get if, on top of Metformin, you also implement lifestyle changes and lose a little bit of weight if you are overweight or obese? Think about it for a minute. Doesn’t this give you hope?
Changes required to help reverse prediabetes
You might wonder what it means to change one’s lifestyle. For the study mentioned above, the goal was a healthy weight loss of 5% to 7%, as well as 150 minutes of physical activity per week. I am not saying that this is easy. But don’t you think that it is attainable, if you know where to start and get support along the way?
Let’s put things into perspective. For someone who weighs 200 pounds, that mean losing between 10 to 14 lbs. And 150 minutes of physical activity is two and a half hours over the course of a week. It a little over 20 minutes each day, or 30 minutes 5 days a week. Again, it might not be easy at first, but it is feasible. It is totally within your power!
What can YOU do in your daily life?
From what I have seen, the biggest road block is giving up before even getting started because we think it will be to hard and make us unhappy. You now know better, so that’s out of the way! You’re welcome!
The second road block is that people don’t know where to start and how to start. If that’s your case, I encourage you to Join my FREE Private Facebook Group “West Seattle Support for Prediabetes and Weight Loss” (you don’t have to live in West Seattle!) because we talk a lot about simple ways to live a healthier life, and you would probably enjoy the support, the community, and all the tips and resources that are provided daily and at no charge in this group.
I also recommend that you request FREE Intro Consultation where you and me will discuss what might be the best path forward for you and how you could reach your goals considering your needs, your preferences, and your budget. I am opening a few extra slots this month as I want to help as many people as possible get in motion toward altering the course of their prediabetes.
The first step is often one of the hardest ones. You have already seen your doctor, you have been diagnosed with prediabetes or you have realized that you were at risk for diabetes. Don't stop there, keep moving into the right direction, you can totally do this!
* This article is based on information from the Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group (2002, 2009, and 2015) as reported by the American Council on Exercise.