Take small steps

November is National Diabetes Month so it’s the perfect time to talk about prediabetes.  Prediabetes is a serious health condition affecting more than 88 million Americans, most of whom don’t even know they have it.  Prediabetes puts you at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.  In fact, people who have prediabetes have a 50% chance of developing diabetes over the next 5 to 10 years.  The good news though is that by making small lifestyle changes, it is possible to manage or reverse prediabetes and prevent it from turning into type 2 diabetes.    

Check out these tips from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) about how to manage and even reverse your prediabetes:

  • Start with small changes to your lifestyle: Making changes to your lifestyle and daily habits can be hard, but you don’t have to change everything at once. Start small.  Add one serving of vegetables to your lunch or dinner, replace one soda a week with a seltzer or buy a smaller package of your favorite snack.  Small changes can add up to big results
  • Move more: Limit the time you spend sitting and try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days a week. Start slowly by breaking it up throughout the day.  Park farther away at the grocery store or from your office, use the bathroom on a different floor, wear sneakers to work so it’s easier and more comfortable to move around, schedule a walking meeting.  Ten minutes here and there can easily add up to thirty minutes a day. 
  • Consume healthier foods and drinks: Choose real food, food that came from the earth, that isn’t overly processed.   Build a plate that includes a balance of non-starchy vegetables like green, red, and orange vegetables, lean protein such as fish and skinless chicken, and carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and brown rice.
  • Lose weight and keep it off: You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 7 percent of your starting weight.  Log onto mycigna.com to connect with a health coach who can help you or join a free diabetes prevention workshop.   Cigna members from Middlebury College, Norwich University and St. Michael’s, may also be eligible to participate in the Omada Diabetes Prevention Program. To see if you’re eligible for this program go to your school’s landing page.
  • Seek health support from your doctor: People are more successful at managing their prediabetes if they have regular contact and support from trusted health care professionals.  

Staying healthy is a marathon, not a sprint and that means that we don’t have to do everything all at once.  Changing our habits slowly by taking small, consistent action is really all we need to do.  Marathons get run one step at a time and one step at a time we can move toward better health.  Start today by taking one small action and then do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next.  Over time you’ll be amazed at the impact these small actions have on your overall health and well-being.