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Winter Exercise Ideas

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

I have pre-diabetes and have been doing a pretty good job of exercising outdoors during the spring and summer months.  Now that the weather is starting to cool down, I am trying to determine what I can do for physical activity in the colder months.  Suggestions?

Answer:  Its great to hear that you have enjoying the outdoors the past few months and engaging in physical activity.  Regular physical activity is a lifestyle modification that can help to lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes in the future.  Below are some suggestions for physical activity that can be done in the colder months:

  • Winter sports/activities  including down hill skiing, snow boarding, snow shoeing, ice hockey, or ice skating
  • Purchase a membership at a local gym or sports/recreation center with a walking track, pool and/or fitness equipment
  • Walk laps at a local mall or shopping center
  • Try group exercise classes or tapes
  • Purchase a piece of exercise equipment such as a treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical machine
  • Use free weights to tone your arm and leg muscles
  • Opt to park farther away from a store entrance to increase the distance you have to walk

Diabetes & Healthy Tailgating

My husband has diabetes and this time of year we attend a lot of football games.  Before the game we often will meet up with friends for tailgating parties.  Can you give me some healthy ideas of what we can eat during the tailgate?

Answer:  Often times, football games are accompanied with high fat and calorie dense items, including burgers, hot dogs, chips and other treats.  Below are a few tips that can lead to a healthier tailgate party and football season:

  • Choose  grilled lean cuts of meat such as skinless chicken breast instead of a cheeseburger or bratwurst
  • Drink no/low calorie beverages such as water or diet soda rather than full calorie sodas or alcoholic beverages
  • Opt for salsa or guacamole with a whole/multigrain chip or pita instead of high fat dips
  • Choose fresh fruits, vegetables and salads for side items and snacks instead of chips, popcorn or candy

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

I have pre-diabetes and am struggling to eat healthy.  My brother and his family live with me and there are tons of junk food temptations in my kitchen.  I want the entire household to start eating healthy with me, they can all benefit, but they are resistant.  Any suggestions?

Answer:  It can be difficult to get everyone on the same page and wanting to eat healthy.  Here are a few suggestions that may be of help:

  • Sit down with your brother and his family to discuss yours thoughts, ideas and goals.  Make sure to explain why it is important for both you and your family to eat healthier.  If your brothers family includes children, you can explain that you want to be a good role model for them to promote a life free of health ailments, including pre-diabetes.
  • Make meal time a family event.  Invite your brother and his family to help prepare the meals and then sit down together at the table to enjoy the meal.
  • Try rearranging the kitchen.  Designate a small area of the kitchen to less healthy snacks.  Make sure to fill majority of the kitchen/storage areas with healthier snacks that are tasteful and will help satisfy your cravings
  • Make an agreement with the individual(s) who do the grocery shopping.  For example, set a limit to how many unhealthy snacks can be purchased each trip, or how much money can be spent on these items each month.

Fruit & Pre-Diabetes

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

I was diagnosed as having pre-diabetes earlier this year.  Since then I have completely changed my eating habits and become a vegetarian.  I’ve lost weight but want to lose more.  Can you tell me which fruits have a high sugar content?  I am wondering about apples, raisins, bananas, and strawberries.  I already know I need to avoid orange juice. Thanks for your help!

Answer:   Congratulations!  It seems like the changes you have made are a step in the right direction!  Fruit is in essential part of your diet and can be a great addition to meals and snacks.  Below are some tips to help you with your daily fruit selection :

  • Choose whole pieces of fruit first to maximize the vitamin, mineral and fiber content – 1 whole piece of fruit (i.e. apple, banana, pear, peach, orange) is equivalent to 15 grams carbohydrate
  • Watch your portion size of dried fruit –  1/4 cup of raisins, cran-raisins or other dried fruit contain roughly 30 grams of carbohydrate
  • Limit fruit juices to no more than 1x/day – 1/2 cup apple, grapefruit, orange, pineapple juice or 1/3 cup cranberry, grape, prune juice is equivalent to 15 grams carbohydrate

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

What is the difference between Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes?  Could you tell me the diagnostic criteria for both as well as the treatment?

Answer:  Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and can develop at any age.  Essentially, the pancreas loses its ability to secrete enough insulin in response to meals.   Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed with one of the following tests:

  • Fasting blood glucose level higher than 126mg/dL on two occasions
  • Oral glucose tolerance test higher than 200mg/dL 2 hours after the test
  • Random blood glucose level higher than 200mg/dL with some of the common symptoms (increased thirst, urination or fatigue)

Treatment options may include dietary changes, physical activity, weight loss, medications to help control blood sugar levels and self monitoring of blood sugar levels.

Pre-diabetes, meaning “before diabetes” essentially means blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.  Pre-diabetes is diagnosed with one of the following tests:

  • Fasting blood glucose level between 100-125mg/dL on two occasions
  • Oral glucose tolerance test between 140-199mg/dL 2 hours after the test

Research shows those with pre-diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes by making lifestyle changes including a healthy diet, physical activity, and weight loss (if indicated).

Here is a questions I recently received from FOODPICKER.org:

I was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes and was prescribed medication.  I have been following a diet to lose weight but unfortunately in the past few weeks, I have actually gained a few pounds.  When I was eating whatever I wanted without the medication, I stayed the same weight.  In the past, I have exercised at least 3 days a week but after a year of doing this I only lost about 10 pounds.  Do you have any suggestions?

Answer:  Some medications used to control blood sugar levels can result in weight gain.  At your next appointment with your physician, I would recommend discussing your blood sugar control, the weight gain and any other concerns you may have. Your physician may choose to change the dosage or medication prescribed.   Here are some other tips to help you achieve your weight loss goals:

  • Physical activity – Try to engage in at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. Remember that physical activity does not need to be ‘planned’ – the goal is to get active and stay active by doing things you enjoy such as swimming, walking, dancing, running, team sports, etc. 
  • Meal frequency and portion size – Try to eat 5-6 small meals/day.  Make sure to watch the portion sizes and read labels.
  • Try keeping a food diary with all foods and beverages you eat and drink throughout the day.  When you look back on your days intakes, ask yourself what you could have done differently to promote weight loss and better eating habits.  i.e. smaller portion sizes, fewer calorie dense beverages, less condiments, more fresh fruits, etc.
  • Balance intake and expenditure – one pound is equivalent to 3500 calories.  To lose 1 lb in a week, you would need to either consume 500 fewer calories/day, burn an additional 500 calories/day or a combination of the two.
  • Make dietary changes to incorporate more fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy products and limit fat.

Diabetes & Munchies

Here is a question I recently received from FOODPICKER.org

I have diabetes and have grown tired of munching on carrots when the crazy hungry munchies hit.  I’m replacing chocolate bars with almonds in an attempt to lower my weight.  What exactly can I snack on when these munchies hit?

Answer:  Here are some ideas on what you can snack on when the “crazy hungry munchies” hit:

  • Almonds are a great item to use as a snack, but is important to watch your portion size as they are a high source of fat and calories. When eating nuts, you may find it helpful to remember the phrase “enjoy a handful not a can-ful”
  • Other non-starchy vegetables including broccoli, cucumbers, celery, sugar snap peas, peppers, tomatoes are great items to snack on.  Consider having them prepared and ready to grab when you need a quick snack or are on the go.
  • Low fat yogurt with granola and fresh fruit mixed in
  • 1/2 sandwich on whole grain bread with a protein source (i.e. peanut butter, skinless chicken or turkey)
  • Fresh fruit