Receiving a diagnosis of diabetes can be a shock. When you first learn you have a long-term medical condition, it can be challenging to come to terms with the information, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed and feel vulnerable. That’s okay. It takes time to learn to live with the condition.
However, as challenging as learning to cope with type 2 diabetes can be, there are things you can do to help you live healthy life. Let’s look at ways you can control and manage your condition.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Controlling your diet is one of the most important things you can do for your health. That’s true for everyone, but it’s doubly true if you have diabetes. Managing your blood sugar levels by regulating your eating is crucial to staying healthy. The first thing to do is to ensure you’re eating the right things. That means reducing your intake of salt, sugars, and other unhealthy, processed foods.
Unfortunately, as delicious as chocolate and treats are, anything with high sugar content will cause your blood sugar levels to spike. That’s bad news if you have diabetes and your body doesn’t produce enough insulin to process it..
Highly processed foods should be avoided, too. As a rule of thumb, the less that’s happened to a food before it hits your plate, the better! That means nuts and seeds, not chocolate and sweets; chicken breast, not chicken nuggets; fresh fruit, not smoothies.
Opting for healthier alternatives, such as whole grains, fruit, and vegetables, gives your body an easier time regulating your blood sugar levels, keeping you on an even keel.
Finally, stick to regular mealtimes to avoid spikes in blood sugar levels. Eating little and often can help, too. That includes having a healthy breakfast, as it’s crucial to regulating your blood sugar levels throughout the day.
Keeping active is another great way to lower your blood sugar. Aim for at least 2.5 hours a week (20 minutes a day), but feel free to go for more if you can! It doesn’t matter what the activity is, so long as it leaves you out of breath. Go for a brisk walk or take up swimming or cycling. Even doing the housework or gardening can count.
Regular physical activity is essential for controlling blood sugar and maintaining a healthy weight. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week. Simple activities like brisk walking, swimming, or cycling can make a significant difference. Try to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
Watch Your Weight.
Weight is important in type 2 diabetes, as your body finds it easier to lower your blood sugar levels when you’re a healthy weight. On top of the suggestions we’ve already gone through, a few other things might help. Try reducing portion sizes by getting smaller plates, getting up and moving about more – particularly if you sit down for work – and swapping unhealthy snakes for fruit or unsalted nuts.
Evidence also suggests that a low-calorie diet (800-1200 calories per day) for around 12 weeks can help lose weight and significantly reduce blood sugar levels. However, a low-calorie diet may not be suitable for everyone with type 2 diabetes.
Monitor Your Health
If you have diabetes, it’s crucial to ensure you stay on top of your health.
You’ll need to make sure you monitor your blood sugar levels carefully. This can take a lot of getting used to when you first get diagnosed, but it’s vital to know your blood sugar levels to take action if necessary.
Similarly, it’s critical to attend regular health checks with your GP or diabetes nurse. They will monitor your average blood sugar levels, check your cholesterol and weight, and check your feet and eyes, which can be susceptible to damage from broken blood vessels.
Getting a type 2 diabetes diagnosis can make it feel like your whole life has changed. However, you can manage your condition with a few positive changes to your habits. Chocolate might not be on the menu quite as often, but with a bit of care, you can live a normal, healthy, active life.
Finally, remember that you don’t have to go it alone. If you are struggling with adjusting to a new lifestyle, you can contact your GP or local health practitioner or book a GP appointment online to get help making the changes you need to live a healthy life.