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Can pre-diabetes be reversed?

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Old 04-10-2010, 08:10 AM   #1
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nancyjo HB User
Can pre-diabetes be reversed?

Hi all--

I saw an endocrinologist last week for some labwork. My fasting A1c came back at 5.9%, which he said translates into an average blood sugar level of 123mg/dL.

After spending most of my life being underweight from eating disorders, the last few years of a bad marriage and subsequent divorce totally changed my life: I had to start working, raised my sons alone, and started experiencing loads of stress as a result. Oh, and I started gaining weight - rapidly; I am currently 80 pounds overweight.

A couple of questions:
1. With diet and exercise, can I turn this around?'
2. My doctor offers a weight loss program which consists mostly of shakes and protein bars. What are your thoughts on this? It's VERY expensive and I'm on a tight budget as it is, but I DO want to give myself a "fighting chance".

I do have a fairly active job (lots of walking, stair climbing, and lifting throughout the day), but have started walking 30 minutes each day since getting the lab results.

I followed the principles of the GI diet several years ago and lost a nice amount of weight, plus my waist circumference went down pretty quickly. For now, I am back to following that.

The numbers don't lie; there is no more denial. Instantly, my desire for junk food went away; I have worked very hard to raise my sons into responsible young adulthood, and I want to be here to see them get established in their careers, get married, and have kids.

Do most of you get your support from this board, or is there perhaps a local group I could join? The weight loss plan at my endo's office includes weekly group meetings, but the cost is $100/week...I just can't afford it.

So, is it possible to lose the weight and get my blood sugar down by following a low GI diet?

Finally -- and this is likely to be a stumbling block -- I despise meat. I can handle some grilled chicken and baked turkey, and am going to try grilling some shrimp (do not eat fish at all, but am OK with a little shrimp). Do you have any suggestions for other low-fat protein sources? I do like tofu, and I drink one or two protein shakes per day (soy milk, protein powder, stevia, ice).

Thank you in advance for any information and encouragement.


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Old 04-10-2010, 08:43 AM   #2
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Re: Can pre-diabetes be reversed?

It looks like you know how to lose body fat / waistline, based on a successful previous experience. The key is making that a permanent lifestyle change so that you don't gain it all back afterward.

If you can make that and increased exercise a permanent lifestyle change, then you have a good chance of normalizing your blood glucose and HbA1c numbers. Even if that is insufficient, that will likely allow for less medication than if you had higher body fat and less exercise.

With exercise, increase the output as your physical fitness improves. E.g. walk faster and perhaps add some more vigorous exercise as your physical fitness improves.

Old 04-10-2010, 10:52 AM   #3
red horse woman
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Re: Can pre-diabetes be reversed?

a GI diet couldnt be more perfect--only make it a perminent life style change the doctors diet plan sounds like it would not be able to be a 'for life' change. plus EVERYTHING i have ever read says that if your number is under 6.2 u r not even a pre-diabetic.but a glycemic diet is soooo healthy-its a great one. get your whole family on it or at least get all the chips and candy out of the house, your kids dont need them either. and walk together-have fun!

Old 04-10-2010, 05:52 PM   #4
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nancyjo HB User
Re: Can pre-diabetes be reversed?

Thank you both for your responses and words of encouragement; I truly appreciate it.

Red horse woman, thank you for telling me that my A1c number generally would not qualify me as being pre-diabetic; that puts my mind at rest, but of course the number is also a serious wake-up call.

My dog will be thrilled with the extra exercise, that's for sure! My teenage son got home from a spring break trip complete with an Easter basket full of ICK (candy) that I used to find irresistible -- definitely a time for change all around.

Thank you again for your support!

Old 04-10-2010, 07:55 PM   #5
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Re: Can pre-diabetes be reversed?

The normal range for a non-diabetic for a1c is from 4 - 6% although many docs feel that if it is above 5.5 there is some level of glucose intolerance. It depends on how aggressive the doc is. I think that if your a1c is 5.9, then you are probably close to the divide that separates non-d from pre-d.
Dxd T1 1966, 2001 dialysis, 2002 kidney transplant, 2003 insulin pump, 2008 pancreas transplant

Old 04-11-2010, 04:44 PM   #6
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cjsoma HB User
Re: Can pre-diabetes be reversed?

It can be reversed...I know 'cause I did it and I am 78 years old and unable to walk without my walker, therefore can't get much exercise.

My Hb 1 ac was 6.6 the first time it was checked. My doctor prescribed Januvia and told me to try to lose some weight. Three months later, it was 5.9 and I'd lost 8 pounds, another 3 months and I'd lost 12 pounds. I'm now at two years later, I'm on no diabetes medication, lost 22 pounds total and my number is staying at 5.5 or close by.

It wasn't easy. I first cut out starches that were easy to get rid of...potatoes, bread, rice and pastas and most desserts except for special occasions like eating out or with friends. I keep sugar free dark chocolate available and eat low sugar, 40 calorie fudgecicles for dessert. (Chocolate is a lifetime weakness!) Now that I feel my blood sugar is stable, I occasionally indulge in the pasta dishes I love. I also cut down the size of my servings and haven't fried anything in so long I've probably forgotten how.

Fresh vegetables, chicken, turkey, pork are my diet staples. Italian type seasoning, olive oil, garlic and garden salads are great and I eat all the salad I want.

Determination and will power can work miracles!

Old 04-24-2010, 07:14 AM   #7
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nancyjo HB User
Re: Can pre-diabetes be reversed?

Thank you, cjsoma; your post gave me tremendous hope and encouragement! I thought I had responded earlier, but failed to do so...I apologize for the late response!

It is good to know that this condition can be reversed, and I am working toward that. For about a week after the diagnosis, I was afraid to eat and didn't want to eat. Food was my "friend" throughout a miserable marriage and the ensuing divorce, and pre-diabetes seemed like just one more "betrayal", if that makes sense.

I realized, however, that I became incredibly thirsty when I didn't eat, so I knew not eating was making matters worse. So, I have started having three small meals and a couple of snacks (all low glycemic index foods). I have lost 14 pounds and 4 inches from my waist in less than a month, which just goes to show you how hideous my previous eating habits were!

I marvel at just how far I let myself go, and now it's time to "pay the piper" and work hard to turn this thing around. Again, thank you so much for your words of encouragement!


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