4 Tips to Improve Diabetes Lifestyle
There are probably many things that each of us would like to change about our life, but thinking about them all at once can be overwhelming. Instead, choose just one thing to improve now. Changing any of the things below could have an impact on your life with diabetes, both on your physical health and your emotional well-being.
Make testing matter
For people living with diabetes, testing more often is the key to manage your health. Frequent testing provides the data you need to make informed decisions about your medication, diet and exercise regimens. Your test results show you the effects of your diet and your activity on your blood glucose. Your test results also inform the conversation you’ll have with your healthcare professional about setting target range goals for yourself and they show you how well you’re achieving them. It also helps you understand how to adjust your own oral medications or insulin dosage if your doctor has taught you how to do this yourself. Over time, as you stay close to your target range, you’ll feel better each day and you’ll lower your risk of future diabetes complications.
Learn to count carbs
The amount of carbohydrates, starches and simple sugars you eat, has a significant impact on your blood sugar level. Counting them at every meal lets you match the carbs you eat or drink with the insulin you need to process it. Even if you’re not on insulin, it’s a powerful skill for managing your blood sugar on an ongoing basis.
Some of the benefits of counting carbs:
- It singles out the food with the biggest impact on your health.
- It allows you to enjoy any food you like with the proper amount of insulin.
- It puts you in control of your insulin doses.
- Overall, your health and your quality of life improve when you eat the right amount of carbs for your body.
Staying active is one of the cornerstones of managing your diabetes because the list of benefits for people living with diabetes is long. Physical activity can:
- Improve insulin sensitivity and glucose utilization.
- Lower your cholesterol, blood pressure and reduce stress.
- Improve cardiovascular health and quality of sleep.
- Reduce obesity, joint pain and coronary artery disease.
- Prevent osteoporosis and delay the onset of dementia.
- Increase energy, quality of life and self-esteem.
Talk to your doctor or your pharmacist about what type of activity is right for you and get moving at least once a day.
Be patient with yourself
Not every day is going to be perfect. In fact, you can eat and exercise exactly the same way two days in a row and have different results. Be patient with yourself, adapt any changes in your routine into your life and keep moving forward even if you hit any bumps in the road while managing your diabetes.
It’s also important that you don’t compare your experience with diabetes to others because everyone has a unique diagnosis story and people respond differently to exercise. Other issues like gluten sensitivity or a heart condition impact one’s self-management plan. In brief, it’s illogical to look at someone else’s life with diabetes and compare it to your own. Seek out what works for you and continue to learn.
Global Diabetes Community (2018). 5 ways of improving your quality of life if you have diabetes. Retrieved from: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/blog/2015/12/5-ways-of-improving-your-quality-of-life-if-you-have-diabetes/. Accessed March 10 2021.
Healthline (2018). 6 Tips for boosting your longevity with type 2 Diabetes. Retrieved from: https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes/tips-boost-longevity-diabetes#1. Accessed March 10 2021.
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