So you’ve had an increase of weight, blood pressure, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and blood glucose levels while there’s a decrease in HDL (good) cholesterol. As if these symptoms aren’t scary enough on their own, your doctor uttered the words, “type 2 diabetes.” Maybe you’re pre-diabetic or headed that way. Scary stuff.

But it doesn’t have to scare you. In fact, you don’t have to be destined for type 2 diabetes at all. No matter what the doctors indicate right now, you still have a chance to reverse the numbers in your favor. As Cris Slentx, Ph.D., senior research scientist of Duke University Medical Center says, “You are in control of whether you will develop type two diabetes.” With just a few manageable lifestyle changes, you can reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes.

Lose Weight 

 In order to reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, you should to lose 5 to 7 percent of your body weight, according to Hope Warshaw, R.D., CDE, author of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy and a contributing editor to Diabetic Living. The most effective way to lose your 5 to 7 percent, and maintain this healthier weight, is by making realistic changes to your everyday eating and exercise habits. Decide for yourself what strategies will work for you, whether that’s to cut certain foods entirely or eat smaller portions of the foods you already enjoy. Find an exercise routine you’ll love, try a new exercise every day, or simply add more movement to your day-to-day activities by taking the stairs or making extra trips to carry groceries inside.

Improve Your Bedtime Routine

The quality and amount of sleep we get is tied to much of our overall health. Lack of sleep can lead to type 2 diabetes since being tired throughout the day leaves us less motivated to make healthy food and exercise choices. A tired body is also more likely to overheat, so any exercise you attempt could be cut short. Beyond lack of motivation and not feeling up to exercise, there’s a direct tie between few hours of sleep (5.5 hours a night or less) and an increase in blood glucose levels and higher insulin resistance. To get better sleep, turn off electronics at least a half hour before bedtime since artificial light messes with melatonin, the sleep hormone. Instead of taking in artificial light before bed, wind down with a cup of herbal tea, a hot bath, or some light stretching.

Choose Foods that Will Reduce Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Whatever we put in our bodies directly impacts our health, for better or worse. In order to reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, choose foods that increase muscle mass, bring your metabolic rate up, and help muscles intake glucose better. The best way to get this going on in your body is through protein, found in lean meats and nuts. Whole grain carbs and foods rich in dietary fiber are also great because they keep you feeling full and won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. Stick to fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and shy away from refined grains or grains with added sugar, since these can have the opposite effect.

By losing weight through healthy eating and exercise, getting better sleep, and choosing foods that directly reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes, you’re taking control of your health.