When I was 35 years old, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. At first, I was stunned. I was only 20 pounds overweight, I was relatively young, and my diet wasn’t extremely unhealthy. However, my doctor explained that even moderately unhealthy lifestyle choices can affect the body in a variety of ways. For example, I found that my consumption of sugar and carbohydrates, combined with my sedentary lifestyle, had done a lot of internal damage.
Once the initial shock wore off, I knew I had to make some major changes to my lifestyle habits. I did my research, and I followed doctor’s orders, and I’m happy to say that I’m able to control my diabetes without the use of medications. Hopefully, the following tips will work for you, as well.
Step 1: Diet
The right foods can be extremely beneficial in stabilizing blood sugar, losing weight and addressing the symptoms of diabetes. And, thankfully, creating a tasty, yet balanced and healthful, meal plan isn’t that difficult! Once you know the basics, you too can learn how to eat well, control your symptoms and enhance overall health and wellness. And while each person’s dietary needs are different, a typical type 2 diabetes meal plan involves the following components:
- Healthy carbohydrates. Avoid simple carbs like white bread, pasta, potatoes and sugars in favor of complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs burn more slowly, thus providing your body with lasting energy, without leading to high levels of blood glucose. Plus, foods like bran, oats, brown rice and other whole grains are rich in fiber, which is also important for patients with diabetes.
- Lean protein. When it comes to controlling blood sugar levels, protein options that are low in saturated fats are best. For example, the best protein choices include beans, legumes, fish, soy and poultry. These foods provide the necessary protein, while also protecting and enhancing heart function.
- Fruits and vegetables. Filling your plate with fresh, colorful produce will ensure the proper intake of essential vitamins and minerals. For optimal results, choose “superfoods” like citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, sweet potatoes and tomatoes.
- Healthy fats. Fats are essential to any diet; however, avoiding trans fats and saturated fats is important. Instead of artificial fats and the fats found in dairy products, stick to the natural, healthy fats found in foods like nuts, fish, avocados, etc.
Step 2: Exercise
Along with diet, exercise is a crucial step in losing weight and reducing the risks associated with type 2 diabetes. What’s more, in addition to the physical benefits, exercise can provide boosts to mental and emotional health as well. Just 30 minutes or day, three or more times per week, can offer advantages like weight loss, reduced risk of depression and anxiety, stress relief, better sleep, enhanced mood and so much more. So, choose an activity you enjoy and get started today.
Step 3: Coping
Coping with diabetes can be challenging, to say the least. Thankfully, though, learning to live with this disease is not impossible. With the following tips, you can learn to cope with your diagnosis, as well as enhance health and quality of life:
- Monitor your blood sugar. Keeping a close watch on your blood sugar levels is one of the best ways to prevent the complications associated with this disease. Plus, new technology makes monitoring simple, effective and fool-proof. For example, Dexcom devices offer continual monitoring, and provide updates every five minutes!
- Support. When faced with the life-changing effects of diabetes, support is essential. Talk to your loved ones about your disease; odds are, they’ll appreciate your openness, and will be happy to accommodate and support you in any way necessary.
- Education. Learning about your disease is important. To educate yourself on your particular diagnosis, speak with your doctor. Ask questions, and inquire about any available resources that might help you learn to cope with this disease.
Diabetes can be a frightening, overwhelming illness. However, with knowledge and determination, you can cope with diabetes, as well as enhance health and quality of life.