How to Use SparkPeople When You Have Pre-DiabetesFree Weight Loss Tools and Healthy Living Tools
-- By Amy Poetker, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator
Welcome to SparkPeople, America's most active weight-loss and healthy living website! This article will introduce you to all of the SparkPeople features that can help adults take control of pre-diabetes. Studies have shown that by making healthy changes to your diet and increasing physical activity, you can increase your chances of delaying or preventing the development of type 2 diabetes. We offer a variety of free tools, trackers, articles and support options that can help you achieve success in the lifestyle management program that your doctor, health care provider and/or Certified Diabetes Educator has outlined for you.
SparkPeople can help you with the diet, exercise and weight-loss components of your treatment plan, but please note that our website is no substitute for regular medical care. While certified diabetes educators helped develop these articles and tools, you should follow the treatment guidelines given to you by your doctor and/or certified diabetes educator should you encounter any contradictions to your treatment plan.
Before developing the serious health condition of type 2 diabetes, a person will almost always have pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, but the levels are not quite high enough to yield a diagnosis of diabetes. While pre-diabetes in itself isn’t necessarily dangerous, many people with pre-diabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years. Early diagnosis and treatment of pre-diabetes can delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes and its serious health consequences. <pagebreak>
In our Type 2 Diabetes Condition Center (found under the "Your Health" tab at the top of the site), you'll find dozens of healthy lifestyle articles we created specifically for people with type 2 diabetes and borderline or pre-diabetes, including:
A Safe Weight-Loss Plan. Studies have shown that losing weight is key to delaying or preventing type 2 diabetes. In fact, it is likely the most important thing you can do. SparkPeople's meal plans and nutrition trackers, combined with our vast resources and support teams, have helped thousands of people lose weight slowly, safely and permanently. Following our trademark SparkDiet (a healthy lifestyle change) can help you reach your weight-loss goals. To learn more about our weight-loss program and recommendations, click here. And remember that even a modest weight loss of 7% to 10% of your body weight has been shown to have positive results.
Exercise Plans and Workout Information. Physical activity (and its accompanying weight loss) will lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and boost your health in other ways. SparkPeople offers hundreds of workouts, exercise articles, free fitness videos and a Fitness Tracker to help you start and sustain a sound exercise rogram—for life. To get started, check out these exercise basics or begin a walking program with our Walking Guide.
Free Meal Plans. Cut excess calories, sugar, saturated fat and trans fats from your diet, and you will cut your risk of developing diabetes. Improve your health by including more healthy fats, fiber, whole grains, fruits, and veggies using the Nutrition Resource Center or free meal plans as a guide. Our meal plans were created by registered dietitians and meet the dietary guidelines for Americans. We also provide a calorie range based on your current weight and goal weight (to help you lose weight safely). You can access your meal plans by visiting your Nutrition Tracker page (found under the "My Trackers" tab at the top of the site).
- Community Support. Positive support and encouragement is the foundation of SparkPeople, and our community provides ample opportunities for you to connect with experts, peers, people with pre-diabetes and others like you who are trying to lose weight and get healthier. We even have Teams to support people who want to quit smoking (smokers are 50% to 90% more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers) and just about any hobby, interest or medical condition imaginable.
Taking control of your health will require some education and commitment, but SparkPeople is here to help you along the way. Our articles, tips and support resources will help you establish a healthy lifestyle, lose weight and keep diabetes at bay. You can learn more about healthy cooking, fitness, general nutrition and motivation by visiting the Healthy Lifestyle resource centers (found under the "Healthy Lifestyle" tab at the top of the site).
For more specific information or help, talk to your health care provider. The American Diabetes Association's National Call Center also offers live advice from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Monday through Friday at 1-800-DIABETES or 1-800-342-2383.