The physical health and security of the next generation is already and likely to continue to be a hotly debated topic. Many of the issues and controversies will be debated and addressed on the steps of our nation’s capitol, outside of the reach of the average American. Yet with so much out of our hands, we can all take control of our own health and wellness. By incorporating a few basic changes, Dr. Tobie Bresloff, an endocrinologist with St. John Physicians, and Kristy Cover, a registered nurse at OSU Medical Center and certified diabetes educator, say you can stave off diabetes and the serious complications that can stem from this disease. Plus, you’ll feel better right away, they promise.
Covey suggests your first step should be to visit your doctor. Those yearly checkups give you the peace of mind of knowing whether what you are currently doing, regarding your health, is working or not.
“It’s so important to get regular screenings from your doctor,” explains Covey. “Doctors are now diagnosing people with pre-diabetes. By knowing early, your small changes can make a bigger difference in preventing this disease.”
Bresloff confirms the importance of early detection by saying that once you are diagnosed, you are already experiencing the effects and the damage.
“You are dealing with the iceberg before you see it,” he explains. “It’s easier to turn the ship around before impact.”
Next, Covey suggests relearning about healthy portion control. She suggests visiting choosemyplate.gov.
“It shows you how to divide up your plate,” says Covey. “Portion size is so important, especially when dining out. Cutting back will do so much.”
Portion control helps with long-term health by letting you have what you crave but in a reasonable manner.
“So many of my patients think you can’t eat anything white or with sugar,” explains Covey. “We tell them you can eat anything you want. Just watch your portion sizes and stay within your allotment.”
Bresloff says to focus on what you eat.
“All calories are not equal,” clarifies Bresloff. “If there is a healthier option, pick it. Choose broiled over fried. Maybe leave the cheese off.
“Reducing 500 calories a day means losing a pound a week,” he adds.
Moving is also important to prevent diabetes, but scrap the idea of endless hours on the treadmill, though.
“It doesn’t’ have to be a marathon; just move,” promises Bresloff.
Cardio, weight training, yoga, pilates, anything will work, adds Covey.
“Find something you love like biking or gardening,” she recommends. “You will get more out of it and stick to it longer.”
Finally, avoid the empty, sugar-laden calories found in sodas and fruit drinks.
“Soda has no nutritional benefits,” explains Bresloff. “Fruit juices have limited nutritional value. Water is really best.”
If sugary drinks are too much a part of your diet to completely give up, Covey suggests cutting your normal intake in half or trying sugar-free options like Crystal Light.
“If you are making changes before you have diabetes, you can make the changes slowly,” encourages Covey. “It may seem hard, but make it doable. Remember diabetes is preventable and all the complications are preventable.”
By going to your doctor, eating healthy portions, making smart choices, exercising and removing empty calories, we can all take charge of our health, and maybe reverse the scary statistic that says this may be the first generation to not live as long as its parents.
“Oklahoma is one of the fattest states in our country,” comments Bresloff. “I think we can change that reputation. We can do better.”