When someone is diagnosed with diabetes, it could feel intimidating to know where to begin and how to control diabetes. The majority of people are aware that if they do not take control of their diabetes, they might end up experiencing complications which could result in lost workdays, eye and kidney problems, and even hospital admissions.
Managing diabetes on a daily basis requires patience because every now and then, even if you eat right, take your medications as prescribed, and follow your healthcare professional’s instructions, you can still witness ups and downs in the blood sugar levels. The good news is that newer insulins and medications, easy-to-use and precise blood glucose meters and continuous glucose monitors, and devices like insulin pumps are here to make controlling your diabetes easier.
Learning how to keep your diabetes under control is a life-long process. Your blood sugar levels may not always be perfect, but you can still remain healthy and free of any complications by prioritizing a healthy lifestyle – Exercise and walking, Hydration – Sipping water from a water bottle regularly while avoiding sugar laden juices and drinks, and balanced diet – healthy meals cutting off processed sugar foods. Here are few ways of managing diabetes through a healthy lifestyle.
1. Eat healthy and Eat Smart
This is critical when you have diabetes because what you eat has an effect on your blood sugar. No foods are really off-limits. Just focus on eating as much as your body needs. Consume plenty of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Pick nonfat dairy and lean meats. You need to limit foods high in sugar and fat. You also need to watch your carb intake as carbohydrates turn into sugar. Take time at the supermarket to read the labels of items and make sure to include plenty of fruits and vegetables into the meal plan.
Carbohydrate counting is the simplest meal planning method that helps you include your favorite foods into your meal plan. When you read labels, look at the Total Carbohydrate section and also try to select high fiber options. It is understandable that cutting out sugar can be quite hard in the beginning. Hence small practical swaps are the basic starting point when you are trying to cut down on extra sugar. Trading sugary drinks, energy drinks and packed fruit juices with water, plain milk, fresh juice of selected fruits, coffee and tea without sugar can be a healthy start. Make sure you carry a stainless steel water bottle everywhere you go. Try to keep it the same from meal to meal. This is even more essential if you take insulin or drugs to control your blood sugars.
If you are not active right now, it is time to start. You don’t require to join a gym and start cross-training. Just walk, ride a bicycle, or play some game. Your goal should be 10-30 minutes of activity that can make you sweat and breathe a little harder. An active lifestyle is enough to control your diabetes by lowering your blood sugar. It can also lower your chances of getting heart disease. Also, it can help you lose extra pounds and decrease stress. Exercise has a good impact on insulin resistance by improving insulin sensitivity and transferring glucose into your muscles, where it is used for energy.
3. Stop smoking and Watch Your Alcohol
Smoking and alcohol consumption aggravates health issues are even higher. Smoking can also make it harder to exercise.
4. Be mindful
Stress management is a crucial part of controlling diabetes. Stress can spike blood sugar, even when you are taking medication as directed, following your meal plan, and working out. If needed, seek a therapist, join a yoga class, or discover mindfulness activities. Discover a way to wind down and relax on a daily basis. When you are stressed, your blood sugar levels tend to go up. Also, when you are anxious, you may not be able to manage your diabetes well. You might forget to exercise, take your medicines, or eat right. Find different ways to relieve stress through deep breathing, yoga, or hobbies that help you unwind.
5. Eat more fruit and veggies
Consuming fruit and veggies is good for you. It is always good to eat more of them at mealtimes and have them as snacks when hungry. This can help you receive the vitamins, minerals and fibre your body requires every day to keep you healthy. You might have a question about fruits if you ought to avoid them because they are sugary? The answer is no. Whole fruit is good for everyone, yes, even if you have diabetes as it is no different. Fruits do contain sugar, but it is natural sugar. This is entirely different compared to added sugar, also known as free sugars, that are in foods like chocolate, cakes and desserts. Products like fruit juices also include added sugar; hence it is smart to go for whole fruit instead. They can be fresh, frozen, dried or tinned. It is best to eat it all through the day instead of one huge portion in one go.
6. Get checkups done
Visit your doctor twice a year at least as diabetes can raise your odds of heart disease. So learn your numbers in cholesterol, blood pressure, and A1c (average blood sugar over 3 months). Get a full eye checkup every year. Visit a foot doctor to look for problems like foot ulcers and nerve damage.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), learning how to manage diabetes can improve your energy, healing ability and reduce your chances of other health complications like a heart attack, nerve damage, kidney failure, blindness and gum disease. With these lifestyle changes, you can be in a better position to manage your diabetes daily.
DISCLAIMER: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. Kindly consult your doctor before taking any medication. For any remedy, in case of doubt, consult your doctor and get it clarified.