Reversing Prediabetes With These 5 Key Changes

If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes and wondering if and how to reverse it, you’re not alone. Although you probably got next to zero information from your doctor on how to manage this (let alone reverse prediabetes), there is hope!

reversing prediabetes with these 5 key changes

So today we’re covering:

  • 1-The guidelines for diagnosing prediabetes,
  • 2-Why it’s actually a good thing you were diagnosed,
  • 3-How genetics play into the possibility of reversing prediabetes,
  • 4-and What the best plan of action is to reverse prediabetes.

Guidelines for diagnosing Prediabetes

Let’s start out with defining what the criteria are for a diagnosis of prediabetes and how that plays into your goals in reversing prediabetes.

Usually prediabetes is diagnosed with a test called A1C (sometimes called HbA1C). This gives an average of your blood sugar levels from the past 3 months.

Sometimes your doctor will also do a fasting blood glucose test as well, because if your fasting blood glucose, or blood sugar levels, are above a certain number, that can also indicate insulin resistance, which is what is causing prediabetes.

So normal A1C levels are at 5.6 and below; prediabetes levels are between 5.7 and 6.4; and then if you go beyond 6.4, you’re in the Type 2 diabetic range.

The absolute goal in managing prediabetes is to reverse it altogether, or at the very least prevent your body from reaching the Type 2 diabetes state.

Because the further you get into higher blood sugar levels and A1C levels, the more damage your high blood sugar is doing to your body, and you have a dramatically increased risk of heart disease and stroke, not to mention other diabetes-related conditions like kidney damage, nerve damage, and blindness, just to name a few.

Why would a prediabetes diagnosis be a ‘good thing’??

Well, prediabetes is as a warning sign that your insulin sensitivity is decreasing, even if you haven’t had any symptoms.

More than 1 in 3 adults is prediabetic, and the majority of them don’t know that they have it.

So I know you’re probably freaked out, maybe bummed out that you’ve gotten this diagnosis, but I’m telling you—this is a blessing in disguise.

Because that majority that don’t know they have prediabetes usually finally find out they’re full-on Type 2 diabetic only when they have other serious health problems that show up.

And it’s much more difficult to reverse type 2 diabetes, if at all, once it gets to that point.

doctor at desk

So if you’re serious about your health, this warning sign tends to be a much stronger motivator than, say, wanting to get in shape before someone’s wedding or swimsuit season.

Because once those things are over, most people tend to revert right back to the diet and lifestyle that created the prediabetic state in the first place.  

This diagnosis can prompt real dramatic up-levels in your health that you stick to.

Genetics and reversing Prediabetes

If you have the genetics for diabetes, which can be inherited from your mother or father’s side of the family (or both), that means you will need to be very vigilant in your dietary and lifestyle choices.

Many people get into a prediabetic state from diet and lifestyle alone that don’t have the genetics for diabetes, and it *can* be easier for them to reverse their prediabetes diagnosis. That doesn’t mean that with the genetics it can’t be reversed.

But it does mean that it’s that much more important for you to make dietary and lifestyle changes that STICK to keep your body out of that danger zone where blood sugar levels are damaging your body.

man and woman having breakfast

So that means that these positive changes you need to make in your diet and lifestyle are ones you’ll keep from now on.

The thing is—once you make those changes and see how amazing you feel every day, you’ll just inherently want to stick with it and WANT to feel your best every day.

How to reverse Prediabetes- the *best* way

Now if you’ve been frustrated by your doctor’s office and the lack of information he or she gave you except maybe a prescription, you are absolutely NOT alone!

This is one of the most common complaints I hear from clients.

And it’s really no wonder—most people know right off the bat that this diagnosis means dietary changes for sure. But many people don’t know that there are lifestyle changes that can help significantly as well.

The best lifestyle changes to reverse prediabetes

1) Quit smoking if you smoke. Smoking will accelerate damage to your body, so take the steps to quit.

2) Lose weight. Now, not everyone with a prediabetes diagnosis is overweight. However, losing even 5-7% of your body weight can help increase your insulin sensitivity, thereby helping to control your blood sugar with that goal of reversing your prediabetes. {More on this in a bit…}

All of the lifestyle and dietary choices we’re covering should help you do that, so let’s get into it–

3) The total lifestyle framework I use in my practice to explain the relationship between lifestyle and diet factors in your health and wellness is called the CORE 4 of wellness.

This is an acronym that stands for:

  • Calm
  • Oscillate
  • Rest
  • Eat

These 4 things work synergistically for or against you in your health. And using this system to reverse prediabetes is no different.

So let’s talk about them and how they can play a role in reversing prediabetes and/or getting off of blood sugar medication.

1: Calm: stress management for prediabetes

The connection between stress and blood sugar levels is undeniable. Chronic stress triggers the release of hormones that can elevate blood sugar levels.

 Incorporating stress-relief techniques into your daily routine becomes pivotal in prediabetes management.

woman in a park meditating

Practices like meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness not only contribute to stress reduction but also positively impact your blood sugar control.

Prioritizing mental well-being is an integral aspect of your holistic health journey in reversing prediabetes.

2: Oscillate: exercise for prediabetes

Oscillation is about increasing daily movement as a whole.

But understand that Physical activity is a formidable ally in your prediabetes journey. Exercise enhances your body’s ability to use insulin effectively, which improves blood sugar control.

Aim for a mix of cardio like brisk walking, swimming, or cycling, and strength training to build muscle mass.

Consistency is key; even small bouts of physical activity throughout the day—or increased oscillation– can contribute to better blood sugar management.

Incorporating exercises you enjoy has been shown to make daily movement more sustainable, meaning you keep it up long-term, and hopefully permanently.

3: Rest: sleep for prediabetes

The next letter is R, which stands for Rest.

Sleep has been shown to have a huge effect on blood sugar as well.

Amid the various factors influencing prediabetes management, sleep often is unknown or completely forgotten.

Lack of sleep in time and quality can increase insulin resistance and raise your risk of developing diabetes. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night.

woman sleeping light bedding and room

Prioritize a consistent sleep schedule, create a soothing bedtime routine, and cultivate an environment conducive to restful sleep.

By nurturing healthy sleep habits, you’re providing your body with the support it needs to better manage your blood sugar levels.

4: Eat: your prediabetes diet

This is your diet and/or dietary style intended to reverse prediabetes.

The word “diet” can often be a source of confusion and anxiety.

What should you eat? What should you avoid?

There’s a lot of information about which diet is best for what, and I know that’s what you’re probably looking for right now, to know where to start.

The key when you’re starting out with a prediabetes diet lies in informed choices.

First and foremost, every single body is different, and it’s going to react differently to any dietary style.

This is why I start my clients out with learning how to eat a CLEAN anti-inflammatory diet, and how to balance each meal.

CLEAN eating to reverse prediabetes means eliminating ultra processed foods as well as refined sugars and refined flours.

This also means aiming for a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, lean proteins, and healthy fats. This blend provides your body with essential nutrients while preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels.

Portion control is another crucial aspect. Instead of overwhelming your plate, focus on smaller, balanced portions.

A trick I use at home is to use the middle-sized plates for meals—not the huge dinner plates, and not the tiny dessert plates—the middle sized one that’s probably meant for salads.

salmon on a salad in a black bowl with a dark countertop

It’s also helpful to eat your protein first, your fiber-filled vegetables next, and then save complex carbs for the end of the meal.

Now in this CORE 4 category, we also need to revisit weight loss.

Weight loss may be a key factor in helping you reverse prediabetes, as studies have shown that shedding just 5-7% of your body weight can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

That being said, reducing your total carbohydrates can help lose weight. So eating your macros in this order can help you feel full before you get to your carbohydrates, helping you eat less of them, because the other macros fill you up first and give your body time to signal that you’re full.

But…. keep reading… 👇

5: Weight loss to reverse prediabetes

Now, not everyone with a prediabetes diagnosis is overweight. However, (again) losing even 5-7% of your body weight can help increase your insulin sensitivity, thereby helping to control your blood sugar with that goal of reversing your prediabetes.

💎All of the lifestyle and dietary choices we just covered helps with that, BUT—I left this one last because I want to emphasize that if you’re jumping into losing weight before learning how to balance your blood sugar and monitor those levels— you’re making a HUGE mistake.

When people diagnosed with prediabetes or other insulin resistance conditions jump into weight loss programs, 2 things happen-

1: The first thing is that they may lose ‘weight’, but they usually are also losing muscle mass, which is critical to keep and even build up if you have prediabetes.

Muscle mass helps increase your insulin sensitivity, which keeps your blood sugar lower, which helps lower your A1C.

We often get the word ‘weight’ confused in this context, but fat loss is what we’re going for here—NOT muscle loss, and muscle weighs more than fat.

Once that weight loss program goes by the wayside, people will gain the weight back.

woman's feet on scale

2: And then the second thing that happens is that they’ve wasted a ton of time and money because they STILL don’t know how to balance their blood sugar—they’ve just been eating a bunch of foods designed to put you in a caloric deficit that aren’t right for your body when you also need to have balanced blood sugar.

So you’re back at square one.

💎Learning to balance and monitor your blood sugar really should be the very first thing you do start reversing that prediabetes diagnosis.

Because once you balance your blood sugar by learning to eat anti-inflammatory foods, and then incorporate lifestyle factors that accelerate those dietary changes, you’ll inherently start to lose body fat.

Discover How to Lower Your A1C Without Worrying About Weight Loss or Medications

70% of adults with Prediabetes progress to Type 2.

Learn how to be the 30% that stops Type 2 in its tracks.

Enter your name and email below 👇 to download the free Balanced Blood Sugar to Reverse Prediabetes Quick-Start Guide.

This guide gives you the 8 essential first steps to understanding your prediabetes diagnosis and lowering your A1C level with balanced blood sugar (before even thinking about weight loss!)

At that point, when these are daily habits that you’ve upleveled to keep your blood sugar balanced, that’s the time to jump further into weight loss, because at that point, it’s a just a matter of numbers with calories and macros —all WITHIN the correct foods that you’ve learned WORK for your body to have balanced blood sugar at the same time.

Here are two thing you can do right now to get more guidance learning to balance your blood sugar for good:

  1. Read the rest of this Prediabetes 101 series,
  2. AND check out our 4-Week Blood Sugar Bootcamp program linked below {click the image to learn more!}👇👇👇
blood sugar bootcamp for reversing prediabetes coaching


Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Author: Laura Brigance, MS, CHC

Laura is a Nutrition Specialist and Certified Health Coach with a Master of Science in Nutrition. Her goal is to help women reverse prediabetes by balancing blood sugar and reducing inflammation with a personalized Anti-Inflammatory Diet + Lifestyle.

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