Prediabetics - reactive weight loss first or lifestyle change?

Hi everyone!

I just crossed over into a prediabetic diagnosis and I'm not sure what to do. I've been to a nutritionist about a low sugar meal plan and they told me that losing weight (about 25-30lbs) would be beneficial; however, I'm not sure whether I should focus on losing a chunk of the overall weight first, or if I should focus on making sustainable changes that will help me avoid turning into a full blown diabetic.

I tend to yo-yo diet, so I'm hesitant to drop weight somewhat quickly, but I don't know if attempting to make a lifestyle change is the right move if I also need to lose that much weight. I'm in my mid-20s, so I think that much of the prediabetic tendencies are coming from drinking, which is a very manageable change, but not enough to help me drop the weight.

Any suggestions?



  • lorrpb
    lorrpb Posts: 11,464 Member
    Gradually make changes to your diet to help you lose a few pounds sensibly and start working out. Even walking can help. You can definitely beat this, but need to take action now. 20s is too young to be dealing with diabetes. I assume you mean type 2.
  • crackpotbaby
    crackpotbaby Posts: 1,297 Member
    Do both the if you can, but making the dietary changes to reduce your diabetes risk should be your priority.
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,464 Member
    I believe this is a matter of "why not both?" Eat like a diabetic which is very healthy. Fill up half your dinner plate with veggies, include a portion of protein always, and watch the size of your carbs.

    No crash dieting.

    With the diet change and steady weight loss you will start to feel a lot better.
  • katfbell
    katfbell Posts: 2 Member
    Thanks everyone :) do any of you have cook books or recipe blogs you find particularly helpful in the low-carb world?
  • azulvioleta6
    azulvioleta6 Posts: 4,196 Member
    Why do you think that these are mutually-exclusive things? Jgnatca has good advice above. You don't necessarily need a cookbook, it's more of a paradigm shift than a question of finding new recipes.

    What kinds of things do you typically eat now? Make a list and we can give you some ideas about how to tweak those so that they are a better fit for diabetic eating.

    The good news is that diet and exercise can make a HUGE difference in a situation like yours. You do have the power to change things.
  • qweck3
    qweck3 Posts: 346 Member
    Hi Kat,

    I've been Pre-Diabetic for almost 6 years. It really is more mental than anything at first but once you come to terms with it you make changes and live your life. The good thing is this disease is controllable with eating right and exercising. This isn't a "I can't eat that" disease but rather a "I can eat that in moderation disease".

    Before you do anything I suggest you start by doing some research on how carbohydrates and the glycemic index/loads work. Not all carbs are bad. Carbs made up of nearly 100% sugar likely aren't going to be your friend but carbs with heavy amounts of fiber can be just fine. Right along with that learn about how to read nutritional labels. A serving doesn't mean the entire container for instance. Invest in a $10 kitchen scale to help control the servings.

    Here are a few examples:

    Good carb per serving! The carb is 12 BUT the fiber is 10! so 12 - 10 = 2 net carbs. Think as fiber as free. This is from a serving of avocado.
    Total Carbohydrate 12 g
    Dietary fiber 10 g
    Sugar 1 g

    Now a bad carb serving. The carb is 39 BUT it is 100% made up of sugar. This will likely be a major hit to your blood sugar level. This is from 1 can of Coca Cola.
    Total Carbs 39g
    Dietary Fiber 0g
    Sugars 39g

    Next, if you aren't exercising you want to get started. Find something you enjoy and stick to it. I do HIIT 5 times a week but do something that you like and is somewhat challenging.

    I'm assuming you have been told to test your blood sugars. You likely will want to invest in extra test strips for the first few months so you can test often after various foods you eat. An affordable brand is True Track. You can get 400 strips for like 50 bucks on Amazon.

    Read this site:

    As far as losing weight this will naturally happen as you start to eat better and exercise. Blood sugar can play a role in weight levels so once it is under control weight could drop off quickly.

    Happy to answer any questions you might have.
  • ninerbuff
    ninerbuff Posts: 48,399 Member
    You've confirmed you yo-yo diet and if you're just trying to lose a chunk of weight, why would approach it any differently than previously and not expect weight regain?
    Change comes with HABITUAL BEHAVIOR, so work on changing your overall lifestyle.

    A.C.E. Certified Personal and Group Fitness Trainer
    IDEA Fitness member
    Kickboxing Certified Instructor
    Been in fitness for 30 years and have studied kinesiology and nutrition

  • mcmasters06
    mcmasters06 Posts: 19 Member
    My dr. Suggested this app to me after I went to her for help. Then when she did blood she said I was right at the border. I do not want this I had gestational diabetes with my last pregnancy. So, I have been logging my food walking an hr a day, she said try for 10000 steps a day. I have been here about 2 wks and have lost 7.4 pounds. I also have not touched pop and if it reads not good in my log I don't have it again. You can do this!! There's lots of nice people here to help. Add me if you'd like.
  • jgnatca
    jgnatca Posts: 14,464 Member
    I vividly remember the day I got the diagnosis. My head was spinning with all the information, and I wondered if I could make such a radical change in my lifestyle. I happened drop in to a new restaurant by the office, specializing in Mediterranean dishes. I spied grandma in the kitchen. They had a variety plate on display and it was like I had an epiphany.

    Half the plate was a salad.

    There was rice stuffed in pickled grape leaves.

    A small protein portion.

    I was looking at the classic diabetic plate.

    For the first time I thought, "I can do this."

    Sadly, the fare has changed to fit local demand and now it serves mostly giant Donairs.

    No fancy recipes. Recognizable foods. It's only the layout that's new. Lots of veggies. Controlled starchy carbs. And a little protein always.
  • elffkin
    elffkin Posts: 13 Member
    Hi, as some others have replied, you will need to do both. Having been a prediabetic for years, crossed over into Type II as I got older, and now have my A1C at a normal level, I have had to lose weight, and change my eating habits gradually over the years. Weight loss is certainly beneficial and can keep you from having to take drugs, all of which have side effects. However, there is no quick fix with diabetes. Long term life style changes are in order, plus losing weight and maintaining the weight loss. In other words, a healthy life style and a different attitude about food. I no longer eat sugar or refined carbs, but I eat a lot of wonderful foods and enjoy what I eat. When I do try a bite of a sugary food, meaning with processed sugar, it seems so strange that I can't finish it. The sugar seems to burn my throat. Your doctor should send you to diabetes education classes, where you can learn healthier food choices from a nutritional expert.
    Also, there are many great helpful sites for diabetics on the internet, and if you explore around, that can be both fun and educational. Good luck to you in achieving your health goals.
  • amusedmonkey
    amusedmonkey Posts: 10,330 Member
    You already know what doesn't work for you (crash dieting), so that should be ruled out as an option. Look at the bright side: a diagnosis can be crushing, but it can also be used as a great driver for sustained change. With diabetes, sustained changes are way more important than anything else. Steady habit building as you lose weight is a good strategy, as you want this to stick. Yoyoing is one of the worst things you could do for your blood sugar.

    As for foods, you don't need to overhaul, just modify. Right now I don't need to control my carbs, but back when I had prediabetes I just modified my existing foods to be lower/slower in carbs. Smaller servings of rice, for example, and pairing it with protein and fat to blunt the sharpness of the spike, smaller servings of bread and switching to a higher fiber variety...etc. Of course, if you can sustain a certain low carb system, then great, but I couldn't, so I just modified things to find my own sweet spot with the help of a glucose meter.
  • RodaRose
    RodaRose Posts: 9,562 Member
    Stop the drinking completely. That is the best thing you can do for yourself. :star:

    Re the 25-30 pounds: work on that. You are not expected to take it off in a fast amount of time.
    Get started and make progress that you feel good about. :)
    Take some "before" pictures and "before" measurements and store them in your profile and in "charts and reports." With the before pictures and measurements you can see and feel your progress even on days that the scale does not seem to be cooperating.
    You can do this. <3

    Information in this thread might be helpful to you.

  • LisaEatSleepRun
    LisaEatSleepRun Posts: 159 Member
    Look at the bright side: a diagnosis can be crushing, but it can also be used as a great driver for sustained change. With diabetes, sustained changes are way more important than anything else.

    My insulin resistance diagnosis was a huge wake up call. I overhauled my lifestyle and regained insulin sensitivity in just a few months. I enjoy my low carb lifestyle and have taken up regular running. You are young OP, so try to make sustainable, incremental changes that incorporate better dietary choices and some regular exercise. Best of luck!

  • amusedmonkey
    amusedmonkey Posts: 10,330 Member
    edited April 2017
    LittleL78 wrote: »
    Look at the bright side: a diagnosis can be crushing, but it can also be used as a great driver for sustained change. With diabetes, sustained changes are way more important than anything else.

    My insulin resistance diagnosis was a huge wake up call. I overhauled my lifestyle and regained insulin sensitivity in just a few months. I enjoy my low carb lifestyle and have taken up regular running. You are young OP, so try to make sustainable, incremental changes that incorporate better dietary choices and some regular exercise. Best of luck!

    I said that from experience. Never have I thought I could lose 100+ lb before, or even considered it. I used to think it's something people with iron will and hero status do, only the kinds that make it onto magazine pages and TV programs. Turns out no super powers are needed. You only need the right nudge, a balanced head, and the willingness to learn about yourself and what works for you (as opposed to haphazardly slamming into every crash diet wall out there or stubbornly clinging to things that worked for others but not for you).

    That this remission is fleeting is also a great driver to stay the course long term because regaining weight often means regaining insulin resistance. I think of my diagnosis, scary as it was, as one of the better things that happened to me while hating that it happened at the same time, such a weird and conflicted relationship.
  • nutz4steelers
    nutz4steelers Posts: 2 Member
    edited March 2019
    Also recently labeled prediabetic, as a nurse for 40+years I'd know how to correct this. I initially joined this site to lose weight. I sat in on a class with an excellent diabetic educator for our hospital. She recommends 3 meals a day 45-60grams of carbs or 3-4 carb choices per meal, 2 snacks of 30g. I thought are you nuts!! I can't eat that many carbs! But the point is to maintain a steady blood sugar level throughout the day, not swinging up and down and not starving which releases more glucose into your blood stream.
    Look up carb choices, its easier to understand, and I have found 45 easier to deal with. And exercise!! Even if its walking 20-30 minutes will help.
    I bought an inexpensive glucometer and supplies at Walmart to test my fasting blood sugars in morning to not wait for my doctor appointment for my A1C to keep record. Didn't need a prescription to buy.
    Its a little more work but each morning my levels have been going down and most important I'm not gaining weight like I thought I would.
    Good Luck
  • cheryldumais
    cheryldumais Posts: 1,907 Member
    edited March 2019
    I was prediabetic before losing weight and now 3 years later am showing normal blood sugar readings. I suggest going on a reasonable calorie restricted diet. Personally I would lose the alcohol because it can mess with blood sugar but then I never really liked drinking anyway so it's easy for me. I started walking after a few months of eating right and losing weight and have maintained that. I believe it helps. When you decide what to do about all this please take your time and don't try to lose 20 lbs. a month and hit the gym daily. You won't be able to maintain that. Go slow and work up if that appeals to you but do what you can maintain for life. Good Luck.
  • sksk1026
    sksk1026 Posts: 213 Member
    This was me. I was pre-d and now I'm not. My a1c is normal. What I did/do: i asked to be put on metformin as i read it can help you tipping over into diabetic (my doc was fine with this). I realised that insulin resistance caused me to experience near uncontrollable cravings if i ate too many carbs - i now limit myself to 100g carbs a day. If possible, I limit each meal to 30g carbs max. If the meal is highfibre or the carbs have a low glycemic index i'll have a higger carb meal. Basically both those factors slow the release of glucose into your bloodstream e.g. a bean-based meal is a high fibre - low glycemic index carby meal but white rice isn't. I generally avoid the carb side we take for granted - mashed pitatoes or rice are a treat not a regular. But i have roast vegetables with butter on the side or just extra veg. Because i restrict carbs I don't worry about fat too much as long as I'm within my calories for the day - full fat products help me feel sated. I walk 45 minutes a day generally. I do this because i earn extra calories to eat, it relaxes me and i read that exercise burns up the glucose circulating in your body. Ive read that a 10 minute walk after every meal would work just as well. That's only once around the block after every meal. I have a high protein breakfast because it seems to help with cravings later in the day. After i lost 20lb my a1c was normal and I stopped taking metformin. I've picked up some of the weight but my a1c is still ok - I'm working on losing more weight. Now i do at-home strength training as well as walking because I have more energy and want to do more. Lots of small bad habits made me pre-d. It was lots of small good habits that reversed that. Just keep trying different things. You don't have to be perfect at this to get results. My best mfp day was when i found a thread on fast food recommendations - i hadn't realised that you could lose weight and eat fastfood!!! Omg, you can! if you need a cookbook recommendation - Skinnytaste cookbooks are great. She has recipes on her Skinnytaste blog too. I make her slowcooker meals and then dh and i eat them over 3 days. Her chicken enchilada soup is a favourite and about 350 calories a bowl. Good luck!!!