Over 84.1 million people in the United States have pre-diabetes (this includes many of us here in Gardiner), but nine out of 10 of them don’t know they have it. I recently connected with Jennifer Stack, a chef, dietitian, and diabetes educator who lives in Gardiner, and who has a mission to help people lose weight, change their life.style and beat diabetes.
She is spreading the word about the epidemic of pre-diabetes, a condition where your blood sugar is above normal but not yet considered Type 2 diabetes.
Jennifer says “think of pre-diabetes as a courtesy call from your body asking you to make some changes NOW to avoid getting Type 2 diabetes in the future.” An online, pre-diabetes risk test (doihaveprediabetes. org) can help you see if you should talk to your doctor about your health status.
With over 20 years of experience as a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator, Jennifer also has a degree in the culinary arts from The Culinary Institute of America and is the author of the cookbook
The Diabetes-Friendly Kitchen 125 Recipes for Creating Healthy Meals.
She also provides weight loss and wellness coaching for people who want the help of an experienced, credentialed, health professional, but prefer not to see the dietitian or diabetes educator at their doctor’s medical practice or at a hospital clinic.
Jennifer has an office locally, but many people who prefer to take advantage of her online coaching sessions. Her practice uses a secure, private, HIPAA-compliant online platform and the Healthie app for text communications, photo food journaling and sharing progress.
I asked Jennifer to share encouragement and tips for those struggling to get started making changes, and I was surprised to learn that it takes losing only a small amount of weight (5-10% of your starting weight) to reverse pre-diabetes. One of Jennifer’s mantras is “you don’t have to be perfect to see improvements in your health,” and knowing this makes the task of getting started easier.
Another tip that helps many of her clients see improvements in their weight and health is to commit to including non-starchy vegetables with every meal, including breakfast! She suggests trying these three super simple ways to eat more vegetables:
- Add vegetables to scrambled eggs or a small break.fast burrito; make a breakfast salad; or try a side of roasted vegetables in place of fruit.
- Grill or roast almost any vegetables to bring out delicious flavors, then drizzle a little vinaigrette over them before serving, and you will be shocked at how quickly you can start liking vegetables.
- Start your meals with a broth-based soup loaded with vegetables. This will curb your appetite and help you meet your vegetable quota.
Another tip for success is add.ing 5-10 minutes of movement, such as walking, to each meal. She encourages “2 . minutes before and 2 . minutes after each meal, and working your way up 10 minutes per meal.” This sounds too simple to be effective, but she emphasized that action goals need to be simple and relatively easy because this increases the likelihood you will keep doing it.
Adding a total of 30 minutes of movement to your routine five days a week for a year is 130 hours, and this will make a significant contribution to your achieving good health.
Finally, Jennifer reminds us that “small steps can lead to big improvements,” but to get well, you do have to take the first step forward. Check out jstackchefrd.com for help getting started. You can also contact her at (917) 370-7888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.