New Year’s resolutions are commonly fraught with the desire to lose
weight. However, good intentions in January can fade to lost desires by
February. Maintaining a healthy weight is a great goal, as carrying extra
weight is one of several factors that raises one’s risk of developing
type 2 diabetes (T2D). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) says approximately 29 million Americans have T2D and another 86
million have prediabetes.
The good news is prediabetics can reduce their risk of developing full
blown diabetes by losing weight, exercising and eating a healthier diet.
One local program that helps its participants lose weight, keep it off
and lead a healthier lifestyle is the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.
Pulse recently spoke with Jamisson Costa, regional program director of the YMCA’s
Diabetes Prevention Program and Kristen Ng, MPH, RDN, a clinical dietitian
at Torrance Memorial Medical Center, to learn some of the helpful tips
taught in the program held at the Torrance YMCA and supported by Torrance Memorial.
Here are strategies from the dietitians at Torrance Memorial for successful
Carbohydrates should come from whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy. Examples
of whole grains include: brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa and whole wheat bread.
Other healthful, less common whole grains are: barley, freekeh, millet,
kamut, bulgur and farro. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables contain fiber
which aids in satiety when seeking weight loss.
fats, eat the good, healthy fats known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated
fats. These fats are “unsaturated” and are found in olive
oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados, seeds (such as chia and flax) and fish.
Reduce intake of saturated fats and avoid trans fats as these are less
healthy fats that could contribute to risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Control portion size. (An overview can be found at choosemyplate.gov.) For portion control for
people with diabetes or prediabetes, view this interactive resource that
addresses carbohydrates specifically for these conditions:
Remember the acronym
SMART, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timeframe-based,
as a way to set goals about eating and physical activity to reach your
overall goals of weight loss and diabetes prevention. This will help you
stay on track to make small lifestyle changes that are not overwhelming.
The YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program has been successful in helping participants
make the lifestyle changes needed to lose weight and keep it off. “The
highest weight loss achieved by a participant was 58 pounds,” says
Costa. Thus far, 63 people have completed the 12-month program and 85
more are in the queue to finish. And as Ng reminds us, there are no quick
fixes. “Participants are encouraged to remain diligent with self-monitoring
and celebrate small victories as they seek to make lifestyle changes to
prevent diabetes.” This is wise advice for anyone who wants to lose
weight and/or reduce their risk of developing T2D.
TIPS FROM THE CDC AND YMCA COACHES:
- Get moving. Engage in at least 150 minutes of physical activity per week.
- Eat healthy snacks such as carrot sticks, celery sticks with peanut butter
or a piece of fresh fruit if you’re hungry between meals. This is
a good way to keep your appetite in check so you’re not overly hungry
when mealtime comes.
- Journal your food intake each day. Many people discover they’re eating
much more than they thought. This is a good way to prevent overeating.
- Monitor your fat intake as fat has more calories than protein and carbohydrates.
- For holidays or special events, have a healthy snack before you go so you
aren't tempted to overeat at the party.
- Cook your meals at home using fresh, natural foods as much as possible.
- Eat balanced meals and monitor portion size.