Yep…that’s right! It’s a gift! And here’s why…
It’s like having a crystal ball. And that crystal ball is telling you that there’s a REALLY good chance you’re going to develop type 2 diabetes in the future! In fact, having gestational diabetes is the single biggest risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
The good news, though, is that you can do something about it. Taking action NOW can hopefully prevent it or at the very least delay the onset. Insulin resistance plays a big role in the development of type 2 diabetes, and weight loss is key! However, it doesn’t have to be a huge amount of weight loss to see benefits. Losing just 5-7% of your weight can make a big difference in insulin resistance.
Physical activity also makes a big difference. Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. Not only does this reduce insulin resistance, but it also reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. (Don’t forget to get clearance from your doctor before starting any new exercise program.)
One additional lifestyle change you can make has to do with sleep. If you have a newborn or little ones at home, I know this can be difficult. But not getting enough sleep increases insulin resistance. Try to keep to a consistent sleep schedule, if possible. Create a relaxing bedtime routine, and turn off all electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bed. Avoid caffeinated beverages late in the day or in the evening to help make sure you are tired when it’s time to go to bed.
And if you’re not motivated yet to take action, think about the financial aspect of preventing or delaying type 2 diabetes. A woman with type 2 diabetes has healthcare costs $9,100 greater PER YEAR than someone without type 2 diabetes. I don’t know about you, but I get really excited about double coupon day at the grocery store, and I haven’t saved anywhere close to $9,100 in my entire life with coupons. To save this much money by making lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise…you’d think it would be a no-brainer!
Focus on making small changes over time. When you add up all of the small changes, it can lead to big results.
Bellamy L, Casas J-P, Hingorani AD, Williams D. Type 2 diabetes mellitus after gestational diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Lancet. 2009; 373: 1773-1779.
Economic costs of diabetes in the US in 2017. Diabetes Care 2018;41:917-928 | https://doi.org/10.2337/dci18-0007