(Note: This is a health column submitted by Cherokee Choices)
Dear Cherokee Choices,
I just found out I’m 50 pounds overweight and my blood sugar is high. My mom has diabetes so I know I am at risk. I want to do everything I can to prevent getting diabetes but I have 2 young kids and I work full time so I’m crazy busy. I really want to get started with exercising and improving my health but I don’t know where to start?! Please help!!!!
First of all good for you for taking charge of your health. I know life can be busy with 2 kids and a full time job (I have a 4 & 7 year old J) but your kids can be your biggest motivation to be healthy. For Diabetes prevention, experts recommend doing 150 minutes of moderate physical activity per week (75 minutes of intense physical activity) and losing 7% of your body weight (if overweight) through healthy eating to decrease your risk of type 2 diabetes by 58%. To get started make a goal to do just 15 minutes of physical activity – start with 3 days and gradually increase OR it may be easier for your schedule to do 2- 3 longer workouts per week. Walking is great to start with then gradually increase intensity to burn more calories especially if your time is limited (i.e. jogging, elliptical). It is also equally important to add resistance/strength training 2 times per week. This could be floor exercises such as pushups, lunges, squats; light weights; weight machines, or a fitness class such as All Levels Yoga or Body Shred. Building muscle will help your body use the insulin better to keep your blood sugars at a healthy level.
Here are some tips to get started with your Health Goals:
- Do what you love! We all have lots of things we HAVE to do – make physical activity something you look forward to. If you don’t like ANY kind of exercise pair your workout with something you DO enjoy. For example, walk with a friend, play tag with your kids or watch your favorite show while doing strength training or walking on the treadmill. Remember, physical activity does NOT have to be in the gym- join a community sports league or start a home project/hobby that makes you move!
- Create a support system! Brainstorm what makes it hard for you to eat healthy and move more – problem solve to make the HEALTHY CHOICE the EASY CHOICE for YOUR life. For example, you may need to arrange child care, do meal planning in advance, or have a buddy or formal health program for accountability, such as joining the Cherokee Lifestyle Balance Community Health Challenge in March!
- Find Balance! Being healthy doesn’t need to be ALL or NOTHING. Choose two or three changes to focus on consistently to create healthier habits (do it every day for 21 days straight!). For example, replace soft drinks with water or walk or go to fitness/yoga class on your lunch break. Listen to your body – eat when you are hungry and stop when you feel satisfied (not over full). If you are really craving chocolate- have chocolate but a small piece and eat less at the next meal or workout longer/harder.
Cherokee is filled with amazing resources to help support you on your way to be healthy. Check out the Happenings section in the One Feather for upcoming health programming, yoga and fitness classes!