As a health advocate for almost 40 years, I’m happy to raise awareness of diabetes... and ways to help prevent it! Since November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, now is the perfect time for all of us to take some simple steps to help prevent this chronic disease, which affects so many of us. And although genetics plays a factor in Type 2 diabetes, the good news is that lifestyle tactics can go a loooong way in helping to prevent it! It’s all about keeping healthy and watching what you eat. Prevention is key!It’s important to know that even if you’re in a healthy weight range, you could still be carrying dangerous belly fat – not the little pooch just above your jeans, but visceral fat lying deep within the abdomen that wraps your internal organs. This type of fat interferes with your metabolism and can damage your health, putting you at risk for serious conditions such as Type 2 diabetes.But don’t throw your hands up in despair! It’s best to take action, by making sure you go to your doctor, checking your blood sugar and A1C, and sticking to a healthy lifestyle. There’s a lot of people that are pre-diabetic and knowing where you stand, there's ways you can help change your lifestyle for the better. We all need a wake up call sometimes. I put together a diabetic-friendly nutrition plan with the top nutritionists of our country, in my 10-Week Plan. It will help you ease in to a healthier lifestyle which can help reverse the weight gain that contributed to your diagnosis. Try your free trial today and see what you think - there are other healthy eating plans, too, so there's something for everyone!Here are my best tips for targeting your tummy and blasting away that unwanted, unhealthy belly fat that can be a contributor to diabetes.
- Crank up the cardio. Cardio includes any type of exercise that gets your heart rate up. My favorite form, especially for beginners, is walking – it can be done anywhere, anytime! Start with just 10 minutes a day and work your way up to 30. My 10-Week Plan includes a 30-minute interval walking plan that varies your speed and pace every few minutes and keeps different muscles engaged – a really effective way to blast away fat! The best part about cardio is that your metabolism stays charged for up to two hours afterward, so you’ll continue to burn fat even after you stop exercising.
- Build more muscle. Fat burns two calories per pound, while muscle – even at rest – burns six to 10. And when in motion, your body’s muscle can help you burn up to 15 to 20 calories per pound! Therefore toning exercises like pushups, lunges, dumbbell curls, and overhead presses are all fabulous metabolism boosters that will boost your body’s overall fat-burning potential.
- Savor a splurge. Food should be your friend – not your enemy. Aim to eat healthy six days out of the week, and then enjoy a splurge on the seventh day. It helps you enjoy yourself and not feel so deprived, so you’re ready to recommit to healthy eating the following week.
- Lose weight the FAST way. Try to “fast” for 12 hours each night. Eat most of your calories during the day, when your body is naturally active and you need the calories for fuel. Then close down the kitchen at 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. the next morning, when you can start your day off fresh with a big healthy breakfast to help rein in your appetite for the rest of the day. As a bonus, you’ll probably sleep better at night!
- Do the instant tummy tuck. One of my favorite tricks allows you to work your ab muscles all day long and helps you look better instantly: Simply sit or stand up super straight! It might help to imagine that there's a string attached to the crown of your head and it's pulling your whole body upward, tucking your hips under and pulling your abs in tight. If you can keep it up all day, just imagine how 16 hours of ab work will strengthen your core!