Do you think that switching to honey or brown sugar, or buying sugar free foods is going to help if you have prediabetes or are worried about developing prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes? Think again... AND avoid these 7 mistakes:
#1 Using large amounts of honey, maple syrup or brown sugar instead of white sugar - and thinking it will help. Truth is ... they're all about the same to your body. The good news is that in a month or so, as you decrease added sugars, you'll get used to less-sweet versions of the foods you eat often. Your tastes WILL change... you just have to be patient and tough it out for the first few weeks. Try plain oatmeal with some frozen or fresh blueberries, have fruit for desserts or snacks, and for a treat: unsweetened yogurt with a little vanilla extract, fresh berries, cocoa powder, and a dusting of crushed walnuts or almonds should do the trick!
#2 Buying lots of sugar-free foods. Most foods sold as 'sugar-free' are PROCESSED foods that you should stay away from. They often are high in fat and very low in fiber and nutrients. Instead, eat real food that nourishes your body. Once you begin doing this, your body will give you IMMEDIATE feedback if you try eating the way you used to. Feeling good in our bodies isn't something we want to give up once we've got it (back).
#3 Giving up soda pop but continuing to have other sweet drinks. These include sweet tea, bottled green and flavored teas, yogurt drinks, sweet coffees, fruit juices, sport and energy drinks, and more. If you don't like water, now is the time to turn that around and gradually up your intake. Add a slice of lemon or lime or orange or tangerine to water... or drink unsweetened tea.
#4 Trying to eat less food without increasing vegetables/salad. This is a recipe for being REALLY HUNGRY. It's a good call to reduce fatty, rich foods and simple (sugary and processed) carbohydrates, but doing this without increasing plant foods can leave you hungry, under-fibered, and walking around with unhealthy gut bacteria that may be contributing to overweight. Not to mention... feeling REALLY crabby because you're so hungry. Double or triple non-starchy veggies instead - your friends and family will thank you!
# 5 Seeing hunger as the enemy. In the 21st century, many of us never get hungry. Hunger is supposed to happen a few hours before the next meal. It is a sign your body is working as it should. Hunger gets a bad rap when we are hungry and don't have A PLAN. Keep a couple of healthy go-to foods on hand, have a plan for when you're hungry and when the next meal will be, and hunger will lose its sting - especially as clothes fit better and compliments are given!
#6 Ignoring exercise. What you eat is important, but so is moving more. Did you know that current research shows we need to do better in TWO areas on the exercise front? We need to make sure we've got regular exercise in place (that could be a 30 min walk every day, or higher intensity exercise 3-4x/wk, or MANY other possibilities). We've ALSO got to pay attention to how many hours a day we're sitting - and start to use a system of reminders (an alarm on your phone, a pact with the person working next to you) to get up and move for a few minutes periodically throughout the day.
#7 Delaying or skipping getting your blood sugar tested or re-tested. You want that feedback to see if you're doing enough or if you need to up your game. Remember - most people with prediabetes don't even know they have it. There often aren't any symptoms or clues.
Whatever you've noticed or discovered in reading this post ... don't let it end here. Have a conversation with a friend or family member. Pick one of the 7 and decide to do things differently. It's hard to imagine making a change FOREVER, so start with a week, notice what is better because of the change you made, and keep going!
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