Why do I prevent Type 2? – A question to reflect on if you received the news from your doctor you have prediabetes. It’s a question to explore as you decide to change your health outcome. Because you know what? You have the power to do so!
The three-letter question word ‘WHY’ evokes your inner drive and motivation. Just as powerful is another three-letter question word – ‘WHO ‘. WHO is the person you want to become? With deep reflection, you get clear on the importance of preventing type 2 diabetes in your life.
I’ve asked myself the same question when I had gestational diabetes in both my pregnancies:
- Why do I prick my fingertips after every meal?
- Why do I write down every food I eat?
- Why do I choose a healthier alternative instead of processed junk food?
The answer was crystal clear. I had a human being growing inside me whom I was responsible for. And I wanted the best for my baby.
Two Steps Back to Move Forward
Years later, after I was clear of gestational diabetes and had healthy deliveries, I relapsed into my usual eating habits. Adding to the unhealthy route equation was the lack of sleep and increased stress levels that came with the experience of motherhood.
I was too busy to take care of myself as I prioritized the well-being of my children. Does that sound familiar to you?
I would have been on the path to prediabetes and possibly type 2 diabetes had I not picked up the phone to finally schedule a doctor’s annual exam. I skipped it for a few years with the thought that I felt fine and in good health. Little did I know that this would be the turning point in my life. When I received my blood panel results, I was instantly shaken.
My A1C and triglyceride levels were much higher than I expected. A1C was borderline prediabetes levels, while triglycerides were three times higher (over 140)! These two factors indicated insulin resistance and were also indicators of metabolic syndrome.
Awareness to Change
More than 1 in 3 adults in the United States have prediabetes, with more than 80% not knowing they have it. It could have been me since my primary care provider wasn’t concerned about my levels at the time. Perhaps because I was at a healthy weight. However, I knew my body carried more fat than muscle.
Who knew what my health would look like today if I had taken his advice to not worry about it?
Instead, I got curious and read about insulin resistance and diabetes. As a result, I discovered my history of gestational diabetes put me at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. In fact, according to CDC, “about 50% of women with gestational diabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes.”
Another factor was my Asian descent. A National Institutes of Health article indicated that more than half of Asian Americans with diabetes are undiagnosed. They found, “One difference between Asian Americans and the other groups studied is that Asian Americans often develop type 2 diabetes at a lower body mass index (BMI).”
The recommendation today by the American Diabetes Association is for Asian Americans with a BMI of 23 or higher to get tested for prediabetes. What does it look like to have a BMI of 23+? For example, if you’re five feet and weigh 120 pounds, your BMI is 23.4. However, BMI is only one measure.
A better measure would be waist circumference which indicates the presence of fat mass around the waist. Studies revealed Asian Americans who are at high risk of type 2 diabetes had much of their fat mass concentrated around their waist even at a normal weight.
Know your Risk!
What’s one easily accessible way to find out if you’re at risk is to take the prediabetes risk test? Go to DoIhaveprediabetes.org, take a 3-minute quiz, and note the score. If you scored high, consider visiting your doctor to get tested.
I think it’s amazing how our experiences shape who we become based on our choice. So after I learned of the powerful impact of a healthy lifestyle, I made it my mission to follow this path. To make changes in my lifestyle, so I can take charge of the outcome of my health.
It’s incredible how our body responds well to positive lifestyle behaviors: eating primarily whole, unprocessed foods, moving consistently and building muscle, coping with stress in healthy ways, getting good quality sleep, and having a loving relationship with oneself and others.
So back to the question – Why do I prevent type 2 diabetes?
For me, it’s all about being well to serve well.
To serve my loved ones in the best way possible, I want to be well – to feel good inside and out. Not to be bogged down by worry about a condition I know is preventable. I want to set the example that having vitality and health is not about restriction, but making choices that lead me to be well-nourished in body, mind, and spirit.
We can all be leaders of our health and well-being! An Invitation
I believe we can lead ourselves to better health and well-being. From my personal experience and being a witness to others take charge of their health, I’m continuing the mission of a healthy lifestyle as the path towards thriving.
Do you know about theres’s a Lifestyle Change program designed to prevent type 2 for individuals who have prediabetes or at high risk for type 2 diabetes? It’s a group program with guidance and support from a lifestyle coach and fellow participants. This program was established after a study revealed that lifestyle modifications focused on eating well, movement, and reaching a healthy weight reduced the risk for type 2 diabetes.
If you or your loved ones are experiencing difficulties with making lifestyle changes on your own, this might be the right program for you.
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