Having a glucose meter if you have type one or type two diabetes is the first step to keeping you in good health. Diabetes is a dysfunction of insulin levels within a person’s body. Insulin can be too high or too low, making it difficult for your body to process sugars. This can result in future health complications if not treated.
Currently, diabetes effects more than 29 million Americans. In addition, another 86 million adults are considered prediabetic. Shockingly, only 1 in 4 people actually know they suffer from it.
Diabetes is a serious disease, especially when left untreated. Health complications can result if ignored, such as heart disease, vision loss, kidney failure and even stroke. Furthermore, this increased risk may cause the need for amputation of feet, legs and toes and potentially lead to premature death.
By properly managing diabetes, many of these side effects can be limited or avoided. Individuals that suffer from this disease can have very normal lives. Taking medications, introducing physical activity and following a good diet will keep the body healthy.
Healthy Diets for Diabetes Management
Diabetes management starts with a low sugar diet. This will effectively maintain proper blood sugar levels in your body. Knowing what to eat, how much you can have and knowing when to eat will keep your blood sugar within an acceptable target range. Here are a few tips to maintaining a healthy diabetic diet.
- Create a meal plan: Adhering to a meal plan keeps your glucose levels under control. It makes you feel satisfied while giving you necessary energy. It is advised that those who suffer from the disease eat several smaller meals throughout the day. This keeps blood sugars from spiking or falling under the target. If you are not properly eating, you can experience lightheadedness, excessive sweating, headaches or shaking.
- Choosing what to eat: In every meal plan, diabetics must be aware of the types of foods that will hurt them. Most vegetables help maintain fullness. Broccoli, peppers, tomatoes and more are part of a nutritious and vitamin packed meal. Fruits, especially those low in sugar, can also be good to eat.
- Avoiding fats and sweets: It should go without saying that chocolate bars, fried food and other junk foods should be avoided or only consumed in very low quantities. These spike your blood sugar and if consumed over long periods of time will cause an unhealthy, uneven absorption of sugars. When abused long-term, bad sugars can lead to further health consequences.
- Sugar free substitutes: If you have a sweet tooth, try other foods that contain healthy sugar substitutes to satisfy cravings.
- Track food consumption: One way to have great success is to utilize a food journal to track consumption. Use your glucose meter to test your blood sugar before and after meals to see how your food is effecting your internal levels. It is recommended to write about how you feel after each meal. This will allow you to understand how certain foods effect you.
A healthy diet will help you lose weight and have complete diabetes control. Choosing the right foods, as well as serving sizes, lowers other health risks and will make you feel good every day.
Exercising for Diabetes Control
Exercise for diabetes management coupled with eating right will help you succeed in managing appropriate blood sugars. Overall, exercise improves sleep, concentration and feeling happy. It has been proven that exercise attributes to sugar control but it does not have to be hard. Here are a few tips to get moving:
- Start small: Walking briskly, dancing and even doing housework are good places to start. It is recommended by the CDC to partake in these activities at least 20 to 30 minutes a day.
- Accountability: It is difficult to stay motivated, but when you find an accountability partner you will find it easier to stay fit. You can locate someone in your family, friends or even online diabetes management groups to help you on your journey.
- Set goals: Without a goal in mind, individuals may find they are not motivated. Make sure to be realistic and specific on the tasks you assign yourself. It is a good idea to keep a log of your goals and successes to share with your doctor.
- Keep a schedule: Just like scheduling time for work and social activities, diabetes management should be scheduled. This ensures you are not skipping days in your overall treatment toward better health.
- Choose an exercise you like: If you are doing activities that you loathe, chances are you will not continue. By choosing something you like, it will feel easier to reach your goals.
Whatever you choose, make it fun, realistic and attainable. Do not allow excuses to get in the way. In the long run you will be thankful for it.
How to Manage Diabetes with Lifestyle Changes
Lowering blood sugar can seem like a huge undertaking, especially if you are not used to it. Train your brain to look at it as a lifestyle change, rather than a diet program. Managing diabetes is not something that can start and stop in a month. It is for the long haul. Over time, good habits will replace old ones and these changes will become effortless.
In addition to food and exercise here are a few other ways to push you toward a healthier lifestyle:
- Quitting smoking cigarettes: In general, smoking is bad for you. It can cause heart disease or stroke. Diabetics who smoke are three times more likely to suffer from these ailments. Consider ways to cut back or quit smoking altogether by working with your health care provider. Obtaining and practicing certain coping mechanisms can help replace the desire to smoke.
- Drinking alcohol: Alcohol consumption should be within moderation. If you are on diabetic medication or injecting insulin, overconsumption of alcohol can lower your blood sugar to dangerous levels.
Managing diabetes may seem overwhelming at first, but taking small steps toward a healthy lifestyle makes all the difference. Creating new habits will become easier overtime.