Participating in a lifestyle change program, such as the Diabetes Prevention Program, can lower your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by 58%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, making lifestyle changes can be tough. The DPP encourages healthier eating to support weight loss and lower blood sugar, as well as increased physical activity. If you are just starting with a DPP or are feeling your motivation flag, these are six tips for sticking with your DPP.
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1. Participate Fully
It is possible to “get through” the year-long DPP without putting in much effort, but you can get more out of it if you put in your all. This can include attending each of the 26 meetings if you are enrolled in a YMCA DPP or other in-person program, as well as filling out your meal logs and physical activity logs.
Staying engaged is just as important when you are in a virtual DPP. With Lark, you might want to think about logging into the app daily to access the missions and daily check-ins that supplement the CDC curriculum. You can also log all of your meals as soon as you eat them, keep your phone on you to catch your physical activity, and enable notifications so you get reminders.
2. Make Small Changes
It is important to set realistic goals. In the DPP, making small changes can help you stick to your goals. Instead of vowing to avoid all carbs for the next year, it can be more feasible to commit to goals such as selecting more higher-nutrient carbohydrates, such as whole grains and fruit, and fewer refined carbohydrates, such as desserts and white bread.
3. Develop Habits
Turning healthy choices into habits can help you make those good choices automatically. That makes them easier so that you can make those healthy choices without thinking, and eventually you can add more small changes to your routine. These small, low-effort choices can lead to big improvements in health and diabetes risk, and since they are habits, they can last a long time for sustained benefits. By checking in daily or more often with a virtual DPP, and receiving reminders from Lark, you can build habits.
4. Identify and Address Barriers or Challenges
There may be times when you do not hit your goals, or you find yourself at a plateau with weight or fitness. It can be easier to hit your goal if you identify and address barriers or challenges. For example, do you have a lack of time? Are you bored with your routine? Do you feel deprived on your meal plan? After identifying your barriers, you can come up with a plan to overcome them.
5. Stay Motivated
Lifestyle changes can feel challenging, especially at times when you may be getting up before dawn to take a walk or you are passing up a slice of cake. At these times, it can help to remind yourself who you are doing this for: yourself. If you want to make healthy choices, you have the privilege of being able to do so – and you get to reap the rewards. Some ways to increase motivation include:
- Reminding yourself that you are doing this for yourself.
- Reminding yourself of possible benefits, such as preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes.
- Writing down your reasons for enrolling in a DPP and posting that piece of paper where you can see it frequently.
6. Work with Your Doctor
Keeping your healthcare provider up to date on your progress in the DPP has the potential to improve your results. For one thing, knowing you are going to talk to your doctor can increase your feelings of accountability. For another, your doctor may have ideas to help further your success or overcome barriers.
If you have prediabetes or risk factors for type 2 diabetes, participating in a DPP can help with lifestyle changes to lower your risk of developing diabetes. You can learn the CDC curriculum while establishing healthy habits to last for years.
Some people may enjoy an in-person DPP because they enjoy the face-to-face interaction with their lifestyle coach and other participants in the program. For these people, a local YMCA that offers a DPP can be a good option.
Other people may have trouble finding a program near them, or they may have trouble attending in-person meetings due to reasons such as scheduling conflicts or childcare needs. For these people, people who may want unlimited coaching and coaching during off-hours and weekends, and people who may feel reluctant talking about their personal health journey to others, a digital DPP may be more appropriate.
A DPP may be available to you at no cost if your health insurer includes it as a covered benefit. If you feel that an in-person DPP may be the right choice for you, you may want to check to see if your local YMCA offers one and if it is a covered benefit. If a digital DPP such as Lark DPP sounds like it fits your lifestyle better, click or tap here to find out if you may be eligible to join. You could be minutes away from taking the first steps to starting your journey to manage prediabetes and improve health.
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