Obesity and Prediabetes
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Obesity and prediabetes have a lot in common.
- They are both widespread. Over 2 out of 3 Americans are obese or overweight, and 1 out of 3 have prediabetes.
- They both raise diabetes risk.
- They are both likely to be largely in your hands.
Obesity and prediabetes go hand in hand, and you can turn that relationship into a good thing. If you are carrying around extra pounds, you can lower your risk for prediabetes and diabetes by losing weight.
Obesity Attacks Your Body
Obesity has far less to do with how you look and what size clothing you wear than about your health. Fat cells do not just puff out your jeans and give you a muffin top. Instead, they act like harmful little enemies to your body. Fat, especially around your midsection, changes your body. It can:
- Cause unhealthy inflammation
- Increase harmful oxidative stress.
- Alter your hormone balance.
Obesity and the changes it causes are linked to many of the most common chronic conditions, including:
- Heart disease.
- Kidney disease.
- Certain types of cancer.
- Alzheimer’s disease.
Obesity and Prediabetes and Your Diabetes Risk
Fat cells are working behind the scenes to hurt your body. One of their sneaky tricks is to increase insulin resistance, and insulin resistance is the cause of prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. As excess body weight increases, you are more likely to have increasing insulin resistance and the development of high blood sugar – first at prediabetic levels and then in diabetes.
Is it really that simple? Is obesity really that closely related to diabetes? In many cases, yes. Prediabetes does have other risk factors, but obesity is one of the strongest and most consistent. It is no coincidence that
Consider these astonishing numbers. Compared to having a so-called “normal” body mass index (BMI) under 25, your risk for diabetes is: 
- 1.6 times as high if your BMI is 25-29.9 (Overweight).
- 3 times as high if your BMI is 30-34.9 (Class 1 Obesity).
- 6 times as high if your BMI is 30-34.9 (Class II Obesity).
- Nearly 12 times as high if your BMI is 30-34.9 (Class III Obesity).
How Obesity Comes…and How to Chase It Away
Weight gain and weight loss are related to calorie balance. You take in calories from foods and many beverages. You expend, or burn, calories, by using them for staying alive (think breathing, digesting food, and keeping your heart beating) and for activity.
- Maintain your weight: balance the calories in with calories out.
- Lose weight: Burn more than you eat.
- Gain weight: take in more calories than you need.
How many calories lead to obesity? Every time you take in an extra 3,500 calories, you can expect to gain about 1 lb. of weight. When you burn off about 3,500 extra calories, you can expect to lose about 1 lb. of weight. That works out to 500 calories per day for 1 pound a week, 250 calories daily for ½ lb. per week, or 120 calories per day for 1 lb. a month.
- A large blueberry muffin has 500 calories.
- A 20-oz. bottle of soda, juice, or coffee beverage has 250 calories.
- A 2-tablespoon serving of creamy salad dressing has 120 calories.
A Little Weight Loss Goes a Long Way
How many “extra pounds” are you carrying around? 25 lb.? 50 lb? Don’t worry. There is great news for those of us who may have had trouble with weight loss in the past. You do not have to turn your body into that of a supermodel. You do not have to hit someone else’s “goal” weight. The amount of weight you have to lose to gain health benefits is…about a pound.
If you are prediabetic and obese, each pound you lose can lower your diabetes risk by over 5%. Each kilogram (2.2. lb.) you lose lowers risk by 16%. If you can lose 5 to 7% of your body weight, or 9 to 13 lb. if you weigh 180 lb., you can lower your risk for diabetes by over 50%!
Bucking the Trend – How to Lose Weight for Good
Weight loss has the reputation of being difficult. You may agree if you are among the half of Americans who are trying to lose weight at any one time, or if you are among the vast majority of adults who have tried 1 or 5 or 10 diets in the past, or if you are at a loss for how to achieve weight loss.
It does not have to be so hard. Check these two top-tip lists to become an instant weight loss expert when it comes to health, obesity, and diabetes.
List 1. Skip These 10 Weight Loss Mistakes
- Eliminating entire food groups. It is not healthy or sustainable.
- Cutting out your favorite foods. Having a little treat, occasionally, may help you stick with your healthy lifestyle for longer.
- Confusing “healthy” with “good for weight loss.” They are often similar, but not always.
- Failing to include parties, restaurants, and the rest of “life” in your plan.
- Drinking your calories. You can hundreds or more calories without realizing it if you drink beverages with calories.
- Taking a short-term view. Your weight loss will end if your “diet” ends. Your weight control will continue if your “healthy lifestyle” keeps up.
- Using cookies, bars, or shakes instead of nutritious and filling foods.
- Comparing your weight loss to that of others. You do your job, and your body will follow. Everyone is unique.
- Following extreme diets incorrectly. “Low-carb” can turn into “high-fat and high-calorie,” while “low-fat” could turn into “high-sugar and high-calorie.” Neither of those will help with weight loss!
- Forgetting to read labels for calorie counts.
List 2. Top 10 Weight Loss Secrets
- Eat more vegetables. Raw vegetables and salad greens are especially filling and low in calories.
- Drink more water. It is a calorie-free way to suppress hunger and prevent energy drops from dehydration.
- Include lean proteins at most meals and snacks. Beans, poultry, egg whites, fish, tofu, cottage cheese, and plain yogurt are all nutritious and filling.
- Use a smaller plate. It helps you naturally take smaller portions.
- Trim the fat, literally. Trim visible fat from meat and remove poultry skin before cooking it to save on calories.
- Trim the fat, figuratively. Cut back on “extras” by taking half or less of your usual amount of high-calorie add-ons such as butter on bread or vegetables or mayonnaise on a sandwich.
- Plan for unprocessed snacks. Fruit, vegetables, yogurt, cottage cheese, and hard-boiled eggs are more filling and lower-calorie than processed snacks such as granola and energy bars, pretzels, and chips.
- Track your food with a health coaching app. Food logging is linked to weight loss and prevention of weight gain.
- Go halves when it comes to higher-calorie foods. For example, have only half your usual amount of pasta and instead, have a side salad.
- Make small swaps. For example, have zucchini noodles (“zoodles”) instead of spaghetti, or baked carrot fries instead of French fries.
Finally, here are some practical changes you can make. Choose one each day to build up a 250-calorie deficit and lose about ½ lb. per week.
List 3. 10 Ways to Lose ½ lb. per Week
- Have a mini-bagel with ½ cup cottage cheese instead of a large bagel with 2 oz. cream cheese.
- Swap a 20-oz. soda for water.
- Brothnot cream soup
- Salad tip
- Have 1 oz. of unsweetened dark chocolate instead of 1 cup of chocolate ice cream.
- Have ¾ cup of bran flakes instead of granola.