Lifesyle management

Lifestyle Management

Healthy Eating

Healthy eating is essential to managing diabetes. Your first step is to understand food.

There are four basic food groups in a diet for managing diabetes: Carbohydrates, non-starchy vegetables, protein, and fat.

  • Carbohydrates are turned into blood sugar (glucose) and used as energy or stored as fat in the body. To manage diabetes, pay attention to the total amount of carbohydrates.
  • Non-starchy vegetables have a lesser effect on blood sugar than starchy ones; they provide valuable vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Protein helps your body maintain and grow muscle as well as provides some energy.
  • Fats are an important part of a healthy diet and should not be eliminated. Vital for maintaining healthy skin and transporting fat-soluble vitamins, they have little effect on blood sugar.

In addition to maintaining a diet of healthy foods, drinking plenty of water is extremely important to healthy living. You will want to drink about half your body weight in ounces of water per day.

Recommended reading:

Diet and Nutrition: Fuel your body right

Exercise and Weight Control

Exercising is a vital part of living well with diabetes. Exercising regularly is associated with:

  • Controlling weight,
  • Maintaining normal blood sugar levels,
  • Decreasing blood pressure,
  • Reducing stress,
  • Increasing strength and endurance,
  • Improving cholesterol levels,
  • Reducing risk of heart disease or stroke, over time.

Weight control is another important part of a healthy life with diabetes. Making a plan for healthy, gradual weight loss (about one or two pounds per week) can help you live better. Ask your doctor to help you set some goals and get started.

Recommended reading:

Making it Work - Diet and Exercise

Diabetes and Weight Loss: True or False

Coping and Stress Management

Stress can elevate blood sugar levels, so controlling stress can help you manage diabetes.

Living with diabetes can be its own source of stress, on top of other everyday stress. When a person with diabetes accepts and understands the diagnosis, then that person is ready to move forward. This opens up the path to feeling better by making diet and lifestyle changes, getting regular tests, and sticking with medicines.

Recommended reading:

Mental Health: There's no stigma to needing support

Taking Care of Diabetes

Daily

  • Each day, follow your routine: count carbohydrates, exercise, monitor blood sugar, and check your feet for good circulation.

Every 3-6 months

  • Make regular visits to a diabetes care provider every three to six months for A1c blood tests and blood pressure checks.
  • Schedule twice-a-year dental visits for teeth cleaning.
  • See a podiatrist every three to six months for nail/foot care, as needed.

Annually

  • Keeping regular appointments with a diabetes care provider every twelve months for blood lipid tests, urine testing for kidney function (microalbumin), flu shot, and other vaccinations as needed.
  • Schedule annual visits to an eye care specialist to include a dilated eye exam and screenings for retinopathy and glaucoma. Be sure to send your eye examination report to your diabetes care provider.

Recommended reading:

Take Time Now to Take Care of Yourself