In July 2015, I was diagnosed with prediabetes. A yellow light started flashing, a warning that Type 2 diabetes may be around the bend.
Like many people with prediabetes, I left the doctor’s office nervous and knowing nothing. A diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes will get you expert education that is paid for by insurance; if you are prediabetic, it’s more of a DIY deal. Eat better and exercise.
Here’s what I wish someone had told me when I left the doctor’s office:
- I have a very common problem – in fact, 1 in 3 Americans are prediabetic, although most don’t know it.
- While being overweight is an established risk factor for prediabetes and diabetes, to believe that “I did it to myself,” is shortsighted. Many, many overweight and obese people do not develop diabetes. Family history, age, race, waist-to-hip ratio and additional, not well understood factors can contribute to a diagnosis of prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
- There is no universally agreed on “right” diet.
Well-regarded national experts have suggested the following diets to help with high blood sugar: low fat, with moderate protein and moderate unrefined carbs; higher protein and fat, with low to moderate unrefined carbs; keto; and plant based vegan.
- It’s important to pair a high carb food with a high protein food. This prevents blood sugar spikes and crashes, which leave me hungry and more likely to overeat.
- Although I need to watch carbs forever, that doesn’t mean I have to deprive myself of foods I love. Instead, I need to learn to balance food needs with food wants, healthy foods with splurges.
This way of eating, done right, is not a hardship.