In Prevent Diabetes KC-part 1, we met Steve, a fifty-something, metro Kansas City man who was on a quest to get healthier. He was overweight, suffered from osteoarthritis and had a family history of type 2 diabetes. Steve was determined to find help to achieve his goal of losing 60 pounds and to not follow in his family’s footsteps down the path to type 2 diabetes. What steps does Steve take to prevent a type 2 diabetes diagnosis? Let’s take a look!
Know Your Numbers
First, Steve goes in for his annual physical and learns that he is at a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In fact, his blood glucose level puts him in the “prediabetic” category. Steve’s doctor tells him about a CDC-recognized program called the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) that seeks to help prediabetic adults prevent or postpone type 2 diabetes. He directs Steve to preventdiabeteskc.com and encourages him to explore his options for DPP in the Kansas City area. Steve has seen how diabetes effects the people he loves, and decides to check out preventdiabeteskc.com.
After reviewing the website, Steve wants to learn more about DPP from one of the local organizations offering classes. He contacts the program facilitator via the contact information on the website and learns that the organization is holding an informational meeting about DPP the next week. Steve attends the meeting and learns that although DPP is a year-long program, it is evidence-based and effective in preventing type 2 diabetes. He also learns that he will be a part of a group that meets weekly and works together to make healthy lifestyle changes. Even though DPP sounds like quite a commitment, Steve decides that it is worth it in order to prevent type 2 diabetes.
Manage Your Weight
Steve begins attending DPP once a week for one hour. In his class, Steve learns that losing weight is the best way to prevent a type 2 diabetes diagnosis. So, with the help of his physician and his DPP group, he sets a 60 pound weight loss goal and begins learning about weight loss through healthy eating and physical activity. Steve also learns that losing weight too fast can be harmful for his body, so he decides to set a smaller weight loss goal of 2 pounds per week until he reaches his larger goal of 60 pounds.
Steve learns that in order to lose 2 pounds per week, he needs to cut about 1,000 calories from his diet each day. That means he will have to discover how many calories he is currently eating so he knows what his new calorie goal should be. Steve decides to start writing down everything he eats and drinks and adding up the calories. After a week of tracking his food, Steve discovers he is averaging about 3,200 calories per day. Cutting 1,000 calories from his diet makes his new calorie goal 2,200 calories per day. In class, Steve learns several different ways to reduce his calorie intake, including cutting back on fatty foods. Steve replaces the fatty foods he used to eat with fresh fruits and vegetables. He also decides to cook at home more often so he can better control his meals.
Steve’s DPP class also talks a lot about getting more physically active. Steve sets a goal of reaching 150 minutes of physical activity each week, which is about 30 minutes per day for 5 days. Steve has decided to take his dog, Lucky, for a 30 minute walk every day after work instead of letting Lucky out in the fenced-in backyard. Steve also regularly checks out a couple of workout videos from the library to do at home when the weather is cold or rainy. Steve is diligent about his physical activity because he has learned how important it is to keep his heart healthy and his body strong.
One Year Later
Steve goes in for his next annual physical. All of his blood values are within normal ranges and Steve learns he is no longer prediabetic. He has successfully completed the Diabetes Prevention Program and met his weight loss goal of 60 pounds. Steve is now a healthy weight for his height and build and he feels great! He continues to get regular moderate-intensive physical activity and is more confident than ever. Steve is so glad he decided to commit to his health and learned how to make lasting, healthy lifestyle changes that will help him avoid developing type 2 diabetes.