Living with diabetes certainly isn’t easy. There are many variables to consider on a daily basis – diet, exercise, stress levels, medications – the list can go on. It can be overwhelming and at times feel impossible. The good news is that living with diabetes doesn’t have to be troublesome! We want to help make it easier on you. Here are 6 pro tips for managing your diabetes with ease.
1. Eat Foods That You Love, and That Love You Back
Eating the right foods is an important part of living with diabetes, but it’s also important to keep those taste buds of yours happy! A study by Sylvia et al. highlighted the importance of food quality when it comes to a diet for diabetes. This study particularly stressed the importance of choosing high-quality fats and carbohydrates.
A healthy diet for diabetes should be rich in:
- Whole grains – brown rice, quinoa, whole grain bread/pasta
- Fruits and vegetables
- Legumes – beans, peas, lentils, tofu
- Healthy fats – nuts, seeds, olive oil, avocado
- Good-quality protein – lean meat, fish/seafood, eggs, dairy
Foods to limit include:
- Refined grains
- Processed meats
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
Don’t worry, healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, your diet should be far from boring, otherwise it won’t stick. Try this delicious Thai Basil Chicken Recipe. In the mood for dessert? Try this Sugar Free Carrot Cake.
2. Pay Attention to Portion Sizes
How much you eat is just as important as what you eat. One study on people with pre-diabetes showed that those who engaged in portion control were able to significantly lower their blood sugar and insulin levels.
Here are some simple tips to help you practise portion control easily:
- Chew your food slowly
- Use smaller plates
- Start small and go back for seconds only if you’re still hungry
- Always check the serving size on food labels
- Start your meal off with a salad or a light soup
3. Daily Stress Reduction
Stress is something that we all need to keep in control, but it’s particularly important for those living with diabetes. Stress can raise blood sugar levels and bring on all sorts of health problems. Too much and too frequent stress can also cause one to neglect their diabetes care, as it takes a high mental and physical toll. Thus, it’s important to engage in daily stress reduction. Try things like exercise, reading, aromatherapy, walking in nature, or just spending even a few minutes a day doing something that makes you happy.
4. Keep a Journal
Living with diabetes means you have a lot to keep track of. From medication, to your diet, to your blood sugar levels, there is a lot to manage. Try keeping a journal. Jot down important information like your blood sugar levels, what you ate, what exercise you did, your stress levels, and the medicine you took. The GlycoLeap app helps you consolidate this with a record keeping tool for your foods, weight, blood sugar levels and step count. This is a great way to stay organised, keep track of what’s working and what’s not, and can help remind you of topics you may want to bring up with your doctor.
5. Get Active by Doing What You Enjoy
Most people cringe when they hear the word “exercise.” The reason for this is that they have a big misconception as to what exercise really is. A lot of people think exercise means spending 60 dreadful minutes working up a sweat on the boring treadmill. Trust me, if that were exercise, I wouldn’t do it either.
Exercise can be anything that gets you moving, gets your heart rate up, and most importantly, anything that you enjoy! It can be a bike ride, a hike in the mountains, a walk through your favorite spot in nature, a group fitness class, or even running around outside with your kids.
Why is exercise so important when living with diabetes? Exercise actually increases insulin sensitivity. This means that when you exercise, less insulin is required to keep your blood sugar levels in check. It’s one of the best and most inexpensive forms of diabetes management.
Keep in mind that exercise needs to be frequent and consistent in order for you to reap its amazing benefits. Therefore, it’s extremely important to choose physical activity that you enjoy, that way you’re more likely to keep up with it on a daily basis.
6. Manage Your Medicine
Medication is an integral part of living with diabetes for many people. It’s important that you take note of your diabetes medications chart to keep organised and to ensure you are taking it correctly.
Here are some quick tips for managing your medicine cabinet:
- Keep 3 days’ worth of medicine handy in case of an emergency.
- Tell your doctor before you begin any new medication, even if it doesn’t require a prescription.
- Take your medication as directed by your doctor.
- Store your medication/insulin properly.
- Be sure to talk with your doctor about any uncomfortable side effects or questions you may have.
Living with Diabetes: In Conclusion
Living with diabetes certainly takes some work, planning and commitment. The good news is that is doesn’t have to be overwhelming. With the right knowledge, a little organisation, and some simple lifestyle changes you can manage your diabetes with ease.