How to Reverse Type 2 Diabetes
Learn the lifestyle changes that can get rid of your type 2 diabetes.
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
Type 2 diabetes can't be cured, but it can be reversed by eating right and exercisingregularly. Do what Karen Parrish, 53, did: Take control of your disease rather than letting your disease control you.
Parrish received her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes with little surprise. Both sides of her family have a history of the disease, and she knew the consequences of ignoring it.
Still, Parrish, didn't fully commit to the lifestyle changes necessary to get her diabetes under control.
"Knowing what you have to do is not the problem," says Parrish, an antiques seller in Sharpsville, Pa. "The problem is doing it."
In early April 2010, Parrish learned that her blood sugar levels were off the charts. The disease had begun to damage her eyes, threatening her with blindness, not to mention the heart problems, kidney failure, stroke, and other serious health concerns that come with diabetes.
"The blood work was so bad it scared me," she says. "Now, I'm trying really hard."
The payoff has been a big one. Significant changes to her diet, trips to the pool, and regular walks have helped put her diabetes in retreat. For people like Parrish with type 2 diabetes - the vast majority of the estimated 23.6 million people with diabetes in the U.S. - there's no better prescription than eating right and exercising.
"If you take obesity out of the picture, your diabetes will improve dramatically," says Osama Hamdy, MD, PhD, the medical director of the Obesity Clinical Program at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston.
Watch What You Eat
Parrish began her new routine by eliminating many of her favorite foods from her diet: pizza, mashed potatoes, potato chips.
"I am really watching what I put it in my mouth," she says. "Before, all I ate were carbs."
Lowering carb intake is crucial, says Betul Hatipoglu, MD, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic, because too many carbohydrates will cause your blood sugar levels to spike. But dealing with diabetes requires paying attention to your whole diet.
Here are some quick tips from Hamdy and Hatipoglu:
- Pass on the peas, corn, carrots, and other starchy vegetables. Focus instead on leafy greens.
- Get most of your protein from poultry rather than red meat.
- Eat oily fish twice a week - it's full of healthy fat.
- Pick breads that have a lot of fiber.
- Learn to read nutrition labels.
- Make an appointment with a dietitian or nutritionist. They are often covered by insurance.
Eating the right foods is essential, but so is eating the right amount. Hamdy says that people with diabetes who are overweight - and most are - should expect to cut 700 to 1,000 calories from their daily diet. He recommends healthy meal replacements because portion control is built in.
"That's a jump-start to weight loss," Hamdy says. "It's very good for beginners."Complete Article
I am looking for a lifestyle change not just quick weight loss. The 20 lbs I need to lose before June 16th is for vanity reasons really but long term I want healthy weight loss. I also started a food log today to keep track and be accountable to what I eat.