One of the most powerful tools available to prevent diabetes is you.

You have the power to take a look at your lifestyle and make a change.

April is Defeat Diabetes Month, making it the perfect time to look at some simple steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing the disease.

According to the Defeat Diabetes Foundation, there are four things that we all can do that can reduce our risk of developing diabetes by as much as 55 percent. The foundation recommends:
– Eating five to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
– Eating three servings of whole grains daily.
– Getting 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity five times a week.
– If you’re overweight, lose just five percent of your body weight. (For most of us, that is only 10 to 20 pounds.)

Where do you start?

It’s easiest to make a change to your lifestyle one step at a time. Take a look at your eating and activity habits and look for a specific adjustment you can make. Here are some examples of attainable, life-changing goals from the American Diabetes Association:
– For the next month, I will eat two pieces of fruit a day – one at breakfast and one as an afternoon snack.
– The next five times I go to a fast food restaurant, I will order a small French fries and a single hamburger instead of a large fries and double burger.
– For the next month, I will take a 15-minute walk after lunch five days a week.

What’s next?

If you work on attainable goals for several months, they will become new habits. If you can’t do it, try an easier goal. Keep trying!
Gradually, add new goals and you’ll find yourself eating healthier and getting more active. You’ll look better, feel better and be working toward preventing diabetes.