Don’t Want Diabetes? Avoid These 3 Bad Habits



Twenty six million Americans have diabetes, but many of us don’t even know
it. In addition, another 79 million Americans have
prediabetes (a form of insulin resistance) and by the year
2020 it’s estimated that  77% of men and 53% of women in the US are predicted to
have diabetes or prediabetes. With diabetes growing at epidemic proportions,
you may be wondering whether you’re putting yourself at risk.

Your nutrition and lifestyle choices are a major factor in your risk of
developing type 2 diabetes. But when you’re aware of what behaviors can
increase your risk, you can start to make small, simple changes to lower your
chances of being diagnosed with this debilitating disease. And even if you’ve
been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you can still decrease your risk of
developing complications associated with this disease by avoiding these
three main lifestyle and dietary bad habits.

You Ignore the Scale (Or Your
Waistline!)

Being overweight or obese can dramatically increase your odds of developing
type 2 diabetes. Your Body Mass Index (BMI) is an indication of whether your
weight for your height falls within a healthy range. To calculate your BMI, you
divide your weight in pounds (lbs) by height in inches (in) squared and then
multiply by a conversion factor of 703. Or you can just click on this BMI calculator to do the math for you.


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If your BMI falls into the overweight or obese category, you have an
elevated risk of developing type 2 diabetes. But don’t fret—losing just 10-15
pounds can significantly lower your risk. How can you shed the weight?
Review your current diet and identify 100 calories a day you can shave from
your typical intake. By cutting out this small amount of calories, you can lose
10 pounds in a year which will lower your overall diabetes risk. That’s as
simple as switching from cream to milk in your cup of coffee or by taking in
just two less teaspoons of oil per day!

Even if your BMI indicates you’re at a healthy body weight, you still may be
at an increased risk for diabetes if you have a wide waistline
(30 inches or wider for women or 35 inches or wider for men). A wide waistline
indicates an excess amount of visceral fat, otherwise known as belly fat, which can
increase insulin resistance in your body—not to mention increase your risk for
heart disease and certain cancers as well.

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To slim your waistline, avoid simple sugars and refined
carbohydrates and choose whole grains instead. In addition, include healthy
monounsaturated fats (such as those found in avocados and olive oil) and
omega-3 fatty acids (such as those found in fish and chia seeds) into your diet
on a regular basis as these fats have been found to shrink inches from your
waistline.

You Dismiss the Signs of Stress

Research
has shown that chronic stress can elevate the risk of diabetes. If you’re
constantly tired and anxious, incorporate deep breathing into your regular
daily routine or any time you’re faced with a stressful situation. Deep
breathing has been shown to be one of the best ways to lower stress in your
body—and the best part is that you can do this anywhere! When you breathe
deeply it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. To do this,
follow these easy steps:
  • Sit in a comfortable
    position and place one hand on your stomach just below your ribs and the
    other on your chest.
  • Breathe in deeply through
    your nose so that the air pushes out your belly, but the hand on your
    chest remains stationary.
  • Now, breathe out slowly
    through pursed lips as if you were whistling. The hand on your stomach
    should go in. Push all of the air out of your lungs.
  • Then repeat these slow, deep
    breaths 5 to 10 times.
Deep
breathing can slow your heart rate, reduce tension, and reduce elevated stress
hormones helping to protect you against chronic stress and diabetes.
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You Sit Still
 
Inactivity not only increases your risk of becoming
overweight or developing heart disease, but it’s also a large factor in
developing diabetes. The more active you are, the more sensitive your cells
stay to insulin and the better they can process blood sugar. When you’re
inactive, your cells are more likely to become insulin resistant, meaning they
won’t allow insulin into the cell. This causes your blood sugar, which is
transported by insulin remaining in the blood stream, to elevate over time. To
prevent this, aim to be physically active for a
minimum of 30 minutes per day
. And keep in mind, exercise is
cumulative! That means that if you walk briskly for 10 minutes three times per
day, it’s just as beneficial to your health as walking for 30 minutes all at
once. So get up and start moving!

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