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Last updated: November 09. 2013 3:21PM - 878 Views
Mary R. Ehret, M.S.,R.D.,L.D.N. Contributing Columnist, Penn State Extension



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The clocks have moved back, the calendar has turned to a new month- its’s now November. Health professionals set aside a time each year to focus their efforts on preventing and treating various diseases. This month is the time to focus on biabetes prevention and management.


An alarming report was just released. America’s adult obesity rate increased in 2013 in comparison to last year (Reported by the Gallup Poll this past week). Obesity increases the risk for developing diabetes and heart disease. Raising awareness of diabetes, its costs and possible impact on the quality of life is important, not only in November, but throughout the year.


Gaining weight is a complex situation. Basal metabolism, leptin and ghrelin hormones, physical activity, sleep, emotional outlook and side effects of medications are just a few factors that complex the situation.


Where does one start? Learning more about the risk factors for diabetes and heart disease is a start. Understanding the consequences of not balancing the amount of calories eaten with being active is another. Balancing calories with the amount your body needs to exist is another challenge.


One first step is to increase your daily activity. Taking short walking breaks, getting up and moving around the house during commercials, parking farther away from the store in the parking lot are ways to increase our daily activity. Remember, it all adds up. Our goal is 30 minutes a day to maintain our weight, 60 minutes to prevent gaining weight.


A second step is to drink more water. Yes, plain water. If we fill our stomachs with 24 ounces of plain water and an apple instead of a morning donut, we save over 200 calories. It takes 3500 calories to lose one pound. Do the math. Increase the amount of movement and burn 150 calories more a day and eat 200 less ads up to 3500 calories or a one pound loss in one week. See if you can drink 64 ounces of plain water before dinner time. Many folks say that they get too full. Challenge yourself. Can you be active on your feet for 10 minutes, three times a day?


Water makes up 60 percent of our body’s weight. Our muscle cells hold more water than our fat cells. Lean people have a higher percentage of water as part of their body weight than overweight or obese folks. Women need about three quarts a day, men almost four. Drink a 12 ounce glass of water just before eating and see how much fuller you feel.


Penn State Extension has been teaching a class called “Dining with Diabetes” throughout the state. I have personally taught several classes and have found a renewed spirit in class participants in their ability to manage diabetes.


Some participants’ expressions were “ah ha” especially when reviewing the risks of not managing the disease well, how to read a food labels and learning new dishes to make and enjoy without the guilt. To reinforce some of the class’s key points, Penn State Extension is now offering a quarterly electronic newsletter “Diabetes Notes.”


Call or email our office at 1-888-825-1701 or email me at mre2@psu.edu and we will electronically send you the last edition.


Enjoy these ways to incorporate more water and feel fuller on no calories, into your day


· Carry a reusable water bottle which measures water in ounces.


· When you refill the water bottle, add a slice of lemon, lime, cranberries or pineapple.. This helps to keep track during the day.


· Before reaching for the evening snack, check your water bottle. How many slices of lemons are in the bottle? Did you finish it? If not, now is the time before reaching for the TV snack.


· Before turning out the kitchen lights, wash your water bottle and let it air dry. Keep it out on the counter to refill first thing in the morning. Enjoy!


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