Tipping the balance

Losing weight involves a change in the balance of calories consumed and expended.

Weight loss is an important topic when it comes to preventing Type 2 diabetes. Research shows that if a person with prediabetes loses five to seven percent of their body weight, they will improve their health and decrease their risk percentage of becoming diabetic. When the sugar or glucose in a person’s blood is high, but not high enough to be considered a Type 2 diabetic, a person may be diagnosed with prediabetes.

Normally a person’s body uses a hormone called insulin to carry the glucose out of the blood and into the body. When that is impaired, glucose builds up in the blood and can cause a person to become diabetic, which can cause damage in many parts of the body. What you eat, as well as how much physical activity you do each day plays a very important role in obtaining a healthy weight and lifestyle, thus decreases the risk of this preventable disease.

We eat calories to fuel our bodies. Sometimes we eat more calories than our bodies need and we may not get the amount of physical activity needed to create a balance to maintain a healthy weight. Calorie balance is when the amount of calories taken in equals the amount of calories expended through physical activity and other body functions, such as breathing. A rule of thumb to keep in mind is that one mile of brisk walking equals about 100 calories used.

Tipping the balance depends on what you want to accomplish. If you would like to stay the same weight, then your calories in would equal your calories out. If you would like lose weight, your calories in would be less than your calories out (it is unhealthy to consume less than 1200 calories per day). If you would like to gain weight, your calories in would be more than your calories out.

Keeping track of what you eat and drink and how much physical activity you do each day, can be very helpful in brining awareness to the types of foods and drinks you consume and how active you are. One pound of body fat stores 3,500 calories, so it is very important to work on losing a healthy moderation of one to two pounds per week.

We cannot change our genes but we can have control over our lifestyle and lower our risk for Type 2 diabetes. By connecting with Michigan State University Extension, you can find a wealth of information for creating and maintaining a lifestyle and decreasing your risk of diabetes and disease.

For healthy menu ideas visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/.

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