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Lifestyle Reset: Your 24-Hour Prediabetes Action Plan

Prediabetes is a wake-up call. It’s a sign that something is metabolically awry. Your very best opportunity to reverse prediabetes or slow it’s progression is today! Here’s your 24-hour prediabetes action plan to help with your lifestyle reset.

healthy fish and salad for prediabetes action plan

Prediabetes: A Complete Guide is your lifestyle reset to stop prediabetes and other chronic illnesses. It’s nearly 300 pages of strategies, recommendations and sound science to help you prevent type 2 diabetes and become your healthiest self. It covers meal planning, physical activity, eating mindfully, managing emotional eating, sleeping well, breaking bad habits and forming new ones, grocery shopping, restaurant eating and more.

No matter what your lifestyle is now, there’s room for improvement. Use this sample 24-hour prediabetes action plan to see what you might want to change.

24-Hour Prediabetes Action Plan

It’s okay to make changes slowly. In fact, that’s typically my preference because it gives people opportunities to practice, mess up, get back up and move on. Making a lot of difficult changes at once, puts too much emphasis on the changed behavior and too little emphasis on the process of behavior change. Long-lasting success is less about taking a walk and eating more vegetables than it is about finding the activities you enjoy, learning to make time for them, experimenting with different ways to cook vegetables, finding a way to shop for groceries regularly and so on.

7:30 am: Eat a health-boosting breakfast.

You have an infinite number of options here such as 1 cup cooked oats with milk, berries, almonds and walnuts; an egg or two; and a cup of coffee.

Try to pick at least a couple foods from this prediabetes shopping list. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) finds that diets with ample berries, nuts and coffee are linked to less type 2 diabetes. And oats have a fiber, called beta-glucan, which lessens insulin resistance and lowers cholesterol levels. Barley has it too. And here are more than 20 recipes with oats or barley.

8:00 am: Build some strength.24 hour prediabetes action plan infographic

Take as much or as little time as you have to strength train. If all you can squeeze in is a 5-minute session of push ups and sit ups, then go for it. But try to get a full-body strength training session in two or three times per week. Why? Muscle is where your blood sugar likes to go after eating. So if you have more muscle, you have a bigger storage space. Imagine trying to catch rain in a bucket. You’ll get more rain if you have a bigger bucket. It’s a similar concept. Plus, resistance exercise, such as lifting weights, doing push ups and using elastic bands, lowers insulin resistance – a hallmark of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Morning: Get Out of that Chair!

Sedentary behavior is harmful. The activities of your workday and leisure time matter a lot. Inactivity  – even among people who exercise regularly – raises the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, weight gain, certain cancers and more. To stop prediabetes or to manage diabetes, the ADA recommends breaking up long periods of sedentary behavior with 3 minutes of light activity such as walking, leg lifts, and toe raises every half hour. Depending on your work or other obligations, getting out of that chair can take some creativity. Here are some strategies to stop sitting so much at work and home.

12:30 pm: Eat a health-boosting lunch.

As an example, enjoy a cup of black bean soup or this lentil sloppy joes recipe. Pulses – like lentils, beans and split peas – are linked to less chronic disease and healthier blood sugar levels. Pair it with a salad to include tons of your favorite veggies. Dress it with oil and vinegar. Sip iced tea. Like coffee, tea appears to help prevent type 2 diabetes. Here’s lots more about tea.

Afternoon: Get out of that chair! And enjoy an optional snack.

Pay attention to how much you’re sitting. It might be more than you think. Use a restroom on a different floor. Do lunges between sedentary activities. Walk the dog. Do toe raises while on the phone. Just move!

Have a snack if you get hungry in the afternoon. Contrary to popular belief, snacks are not necessary to mange blood sugar levels (and they are sometimes harmful), and snacking does not boost metabolic rate. An example of a good snack is Greek yogurt and fruit. Yogurt is another food linked to a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.

6:00 pm: Eat a health-boosting dinner.

Of course, there are unlimited choices for this meal too. A disease-fighting option is this fish with mustard lemon caper sauce with a side of whole grain barley or brown rice pilaf and your favorite roasted vegetables.

6:45 pm: Take a 20-minute walk.

If you don’t have 20 minutes, take advantage of whatever time you do have. Walking after a meal is a great way to lower blood sugar levels. And as little as 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise can boost your body’s response to insulin for 24 hours! Here are your basic exercise recommendations for diabetes and prediabetes.

9:00 pm: Wind down for bed.

Sleep is a critical part of your lifestyle reset and prediabetes action plan. So settle into a nighttime ritual that makes settling into bed and drifting off to sleep easy and pleasant. Power down the electronics, dim the lights, and pick a soothing activity like reading, chatting with a family member or listening to calming music. Drink a cup of decaffeinated tea to get another dose of health-shielding phytochemicals. Unless you’re hungry or need to replenish after a hard workout, avoid eating after dinner. It’s smart to extend your fasting time.

10:00 pm: Hit the hay.

Quality sleep is not optional! Too little sleep bumps up your risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity. In fact, even one night of poor sleep harms insulin sensitivity. Here are 5 ways too little sleep hurts your blood sugar.

Tell me what you’re doing now or what you want to start doing for your lifestyle reset to stop prediabetes.

Jill Weisenberger

Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, is a Nutrition, Culinary & Diabetes Expert, Wellcoach®-certified health and wellness coach, Freelance Writer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's also the author of four books, including a best-seller. She's a nationally-recognized media expert in high demand for print and online interviews, as well as corporate and one-on-one nutritional counseling. Jill's philosophy is that nutrition science should be understandable, realistic and oh so delicious.

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Like most of my patients and clients, I lead a busy life. You probably do too. Fortunately, you don’t need weeks, days or even hours to start living better and healthier. This blog offers timesaving strategies and bite-sized nutrition and health information. Come by often for tips and inspiration to healthy living – no matter how busy you are. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist offering credible, practical nutrition advice to keep busy people healthy. Yes indeed, we can be both busy and healthy.

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