Being diagnosed with diabetes changes your life. It comes with several do’s and don’ts that will simply modify so many things you might not even expect. Also, the internet is filled with suggestions. When you do research to figure out what to do, it is very difficult to figure out what is completely legit and what is just bad advice.
The truth is that the most important thing to do is to respect the treatment plan recommended by your doctor. Besides that, several lifestyle changes will help you keep the condition under control. Those that are really promising and you have to be aware of are the following:
Track And Control Your Diet
When you learn how to manage both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, a very big part is monitoring your nutrient and carb intake. Also, you need to prioritize the complex carbohydrates over processed, sugary foods. The diet needs to include several fruits, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains.
It is also a good idea to experiment with the low glycemic diet. This involves the use of glycemic index with the purpose of creating meal plans filled with foods that will take a longer time to break down and turn into sugar inside the bloodstream.
Tracking several numbers is a vital part of controlling blood sugar levels. This might involve using apps and being more organized than you ever were in the past.
Consuming Enough Protein
Protein is a very big part of a healthy diet but it is crucial for diabetes patients. It will help stabilize your blood sugar levels while also aiding with feeling fuller for a longer period of time.
Before you consume a protein shake or some chicken breast, you have to know that there is a high possibility you will have to deal with kidney problems because of the condition. As you consume too much protein, waste will build up inside your bloodstream, which leads to the development of kidney disease, together with several other possible issues.
All of this means around 20% of your calories should come from protein on a daily basis. Do not go for more since this would be problematic.
Exercising Is A Necessity
If you want to manage diabetes, exercising is a key part, according to several studies. This is because it will help you to improve the body’s insulin sensitivity, which is what keeps blood sugar levels stable. There are, of course, several other benefits of exercising, like:
- Improved mood
- Losing weight
- Much better heart health
But how much working out do you really need? The ideal scenario is a mix of strength training and moderate-intensity cardio exercises. You need to exercise for a minimum of 150 minutes weekly.
Your workouts can spread out over many days. However, you should not let over two days pass between workout sessions.
If you do not know much about exercising or never really did it, aim to start slow and small. For instance, start to take more steps every day. Then, join a beginner strength training class with a qualified personal instructor.
Limit Alcohol Intake
Besides the fact that you have to stay hydrated, which is practically mandatory for everyone, limiting alcohol intake is a huge part of managing diabetes.
Doctors did not find long-term effects on blood sugar levels when you consume less alcohol, but alcohol consumption does increase low blood sugar risks. This is especially the case when taking insulin.
In the long run, excessive drinking creates higher blood sugar and several other serious health problems. That is why, when you do want to drink something, at least limit yourself. A drink per day is not a problem. More can be.
Prioritize Stress Relief
Chronic stress is linked to a higher possibility of ending up with type 2 diabetes. Also, it will interfere with your natural ability to adequately manage the condition.
You need to find ways to stay calm and simply carry on. Some options to consider are:
- Playing with your dog
- Taking a hot bath
Remove The Sugars You Do Not Need
This is definitely the obvious tip. You have to remove both sugars and artificial sweeteners from your diet. Once, it was common to simply recommend sugar-free sweeteners as they substituted refined sugar. According to new data, this is not the official recommendation anymore.
You will surely have a sweet tooth you need to satisfy. Instead of using artificial sweeteners, simply monitor added sugars. Read nutrition labels on basically all packaged foods. Also, never fall victim to glam labels, like “natural” or “organic”. These can still include added sugar.
First, look at the ingredients that are listed first on the labels. This is because all ingredients are ordered based on quantity. If you see sugar or a combination of sugar listed in the top 3, the item you look at should be on the shelf.
Be Careful With Your Skin
When you suffer from diabetes, there are several complications possible. This includes numbness, tingling, pain, and weakness in your hands and feet. Eventually, this leads to increased pain tolerance, which is not really as great as it sounds.
When your pain sensitivity is lower, it is very easy to develop infections and get injured. You might start with an unnoticed, small irritation. Eventually, this turns into a huge problem.
Fortunately, skincare is not as complicated as you might initially think. Just start small.
Get Used To Getting Help
There will be moments when you will feel overwhelmed. This is when you need to ask for help. For instance, look for a close-by registered dietitian, someone that knows a lot about diabetes. This can give you help with your meal plans and can help you deal with several possible tricky situations. The dietitian can even help you with special events, like Thanksgiving.
Support is also available on the internet. There are different communities you can be a part one, like the ADA one. The simple thing that you can talk to a person who was affected is incredibly helpful. This will help you to learn how to navigate a life that is drastically affected by diabetes.