Living with diabetes is hard-work. Managing it involves an emphasis on self-care. You just can’t drop the ball, ever. It is stressful (and frustrating too!) to keep up with the unending demands of diabetes care – you need to eat carefully, exercise regularly, and monitor your blood glucose levels and that’s just the top end of the list!
Do not let the lifestyle and dietary changes overwhelm you.
1. Acceptance Is Half The Battle Won
Once diagnosed, you will feel a slew of emotions ranging from anger, depression, and/or denial. Just know that what you are feeling is normal. And while you take time to soak in the new information, be patient with yourself.
Wondering how accepting the condition will help? Simple, you will take ownership of your health and be proactive.
Start small, avoid making drastic changes. If you keep irregular meal times then, fix that, eat on time, every time. Instead of going cold turkey cut down on smoking and alcohol consumption.
2. Take Prescribed Medication
This won’t be an issue if you follow the above tip. Accepting allows you to take charge and do your best to stay healthy. You won’t make excuses to avoid taking your meds! Remember, untreated diabetes carries grave risks of heart disease, nerve damage, and other complications. Take your medication and insulin as directed by your physician. If you have any uncomfortable side-effects or questions about your medication plan, talk to your doctor.
3. Tweak Your Diet To Maintain A Healthy Weight
Well, this one’s a toughie, at least initially. Food is our go-to for every emotion in the book. But, it’s nothing a little self resolve won’t fix. Also, instead of watching your weight constantly, watch what you put into your mouth.
Cut down on the starchy stuff. Make small tweaks – get that burger without the extra cheese, cut down on the fries (too much salt!), bite into an apple if you crave that crunch. Opt for high fiber, non-starchy food and cut down on carbs, sugary treats and refined/ processed fats. Indulge with occasionally. Check out these diabetes-friendly healthy recipes and delicious smoothies that will satisfy all your cravings.
Remember, you need to maintain an optimum weight to keep your blood sugar levels in check and avoid heart/cholesterol problems in the future. Set reasonable and realistic weight loss goals (weight loss of 1 pound/week!) to reduce frustration while managing your diabetes.
4. Get Moving!
Okay, maybe a little more effort than this. Ditch your sedentary lifestyle, increase your physical activity. Aren’t a gym person? No problem, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Pick an activity that you enjoy and you are more likely to stick with.
5. Stay Hydrated
Your kidneys try to get rid of excess blood sugar through urine, dehydrating you. Drink water (ditch the sodas and other beverages!), set a timer if need be.
6. Quit Smoking And Drink Alcohol In Moderation
Smoking and consumption of alcohol can worsen the complications associated with diabetes. They can raise your blood glucose levels, cause inflammation and increase your risk of kidney disease.
Diabetes can cause nerve damage in the extremities – usually starting in the feet. So, good foot care is critical (more reason why you should quit smoking/drinking). The keywords are “clean” and “dry” to keep your feet safe. Also, be mindful of any sores, bruises or breaks in the skin.
To quit smoking, join a smoking cessation group and be mindful of your food intake as you kick the butt.
7. Clock-In 8 Hours Of Sleep
Lack of sleep may harm your body and worsen diabetes. Try sticking to a regular sleep-wake schedule. Limit the distractions before heading to bed. Turn off your computers and phones to relax and catch a good night’s sleep.
8. Join A Support Group
You do not have to face diabetes alone! Join a support group to connect with people who truly understand, motivate and encourage you to adopt healthful habits. Also, visit your health-care provider regularly at least once every 3 months. Even if your diabetes is in total control, you can still have complications that may go unnoticed.