No one wants to receive the diagnosis of diabetes. Unfortunately, today more and more people are hearing those dreadful words. As a mother, I heard those words given to my son when he was 9 years old. Whether the diagnosis is type 1 or type 2, you immediately know your life is about to change.
You have just realized you have been given the tasks that come with the never-ending demands of diabetes. The reality is that life is now different. Nobody wants their quality of life to be impacted, unless of course it is for the better. Diabetes is a relentless disease that tries to steal your quality of life. Let’s not let this disease win, lets fight back! Whereas, I do not live with diabetes personally, from experience I have seen how it can affect the daily life of an individual and how certain management habits can have a positive effect.
We all know eating healthy is the right choice whether you live with diabetes or not. It is especially vital to those with diabetes. Making the right choices when it comes to food keeps the blood glucose levels in your target range. Not to mention keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol in check. Choosing the right foods prevents or delays diabetes problems and allows you to feel good and have more energy. A quick suggestion would be to cut back on “unhealthy” fats (saturated fats) you find in meats like bacon and choose “healthy” fats (monounsaturated fats) in foods like avocados or peanut butter.
Regular exercise helps to improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin and helps to manage blood glucose levels. Better glucose control means reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, and other diabetic related complications. It also helps to reach and maintain a healthy weight. It is not always easy to start an exercise program as we all know. One tip would be to start with small achievable goals and ensure to reward yourself. Make sure to always track blood glucose levels, and always talk with your physician and health care team before starting any exercise program.
MONITORING AND CHECKING BLOOD GLUCOSE LEVELS (SELF-TESTING)
This check tells you your blood glucose level at any one time. It is important for blood glucose levels to stay in a healthy range. Monitoring your levels prevents hyperglycemia (glucose levels too high) and hypoglycemia (glucose levels too low). Make it a commitment to self-test for yourself! Find the right meter that works for you, educate yourself on the various devices and companion products (example, diabetic dabs!) that will ensure a safe and simple testing process. Fully grasping how important it is to monitor blood glucose levels and the positive effects it has on the long term, you might just find yourself testing more and more!
Planning is essential to increasing the success rate of overall health with diabetes. Planning will lessen the burden of what to eat and how and when to exercise. Giving you an overall sense of accomplishment rather than anxiety. For example, have a plan before you go to the grocery store. Planning your meals for the week or several days ahead of time will allow you to know the food you need to put on your grocery list. Find simple healthy recipes that fit your lifestyle. Plan for when you eat out. Replace fried foods on the menu with steamed, help portion control by ordering appetizer size rather than entrée size. For successful results, planning is just as important for exercising. First, always speak with your doctor to design an exercise program catered to your individual needs. Plan exercise around a schedule that works for you. Days of the week, times of the day. Planning will allow yourself to get into an exercise routine. PLAN to get and stay healthy!
Is your glass half full or half empty? Living with diabetes can make seeing the glass full difficult, however, a positive mindset is critical when living with this disease. Researchers from Penn State College of Medicine discovered quality of life can be improved if a diabetic has a positive mental attitude. Make sure to build a strong support system. Along with family and friends there are a myriad of support resources available to the diabetes community. Focus on the positive rather than the negative. Honing on the health improvements you have accomplished with your new eating and exercising habits will set your mind at peace and alleviate stress or anxiety. Be mindful of all the things you have done right since your diagnosis and I am confident you will continue to progress in the right direction.