UPTOWN Professional Jan 10, 2011

Defeating Diabetes

By Angela Ginn, RD LDN CDE

Angela GinnThe go-go life of rising executives often means poor eating habits and the onset of preventable lifestyle health disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Don’t let a busy lifestyle do you in. Prevention is priceless.

Before you take the next desk job, beware. The visceral fat often carried around your waistline produces inflammation hormones that can be harmful to your health when it comes to developing Type 2 diabetes (the most common form of the disease) and cardiovascular disease. The risk of cardiovascular death is two to four times higher for those diagnosed with diabetes.

The common warning signs of diabetes include, but are not limited to:

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Reoccurring infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow healing of cuts or wounds
  • Dry itchy skin
  • Numbness and tingling in hands or feet.
  • Some individuals with Type 2 diabetes may show no symptoms at all.

At-risk: Overweight, sedentary, 45 and older, have a family history of diabetes, or have gestational diabetes (started or was diagnosed during pregnancy). In 2007, the cost of diabetes topped $174 billion and is projected to grow.

Help yourself. To reduce excess weight, lower calorie intake by about 100 to 200 calories per day. Choose water over a 12-ounce regular soda and save 150 calories. Choose whole fruit over chips and save 200 calories. Share larger portions with a colleague or ask for a child-size portion at your local restaurant to reduce calorie intake by 250 calories or more.

Create a grab and go! Get more nutrients per bite. Reach for lightly salted nuts or a low-fat yogurt. Pack an orange or a pear in the briefcase for a sweet snack. Smear nut butter on whole wheat crackers, or pack crunchy carrots or grape tomatoes to go. Utilize the office refrigerator and keep salad mixes with light dressing for a nice add-on to lunch meetings. For a mid-day crash, stock healthy protein options with low-fat cheese, lean turkey or hummus. Even hard-boiled eggs can be a nice addition to whole grain bread.

Walk. Take a break for exercise and spend half of it walking. Wear a pedometer when you are traveling, and try to reach 10,000 steps. Take advantage of the free fitness center at the hotel. Remember to pack sneakers and strength bands in your carry-on luggage. Prevention is priceless and is the key to this life-altering disease. Start today. Eat better, get active and visit your health care provider for screening.

Angela Ginn-Meadow, founder of Learn 2 Live, is a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist and national spokesperson for the American Diabetes Association.