Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be very overwhelming. However, with some careful lifestyle changes many diabetics can learn how to control their diabetes, and possibly even reduce their need for medication.
In order to control diabetes, you need commitment and consistency in terms of diet, exercise and weight control. Here are 5 key steps that you can take right now to achieve this goal:
- Reach and maintain a healthy weight.
More than 80% of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are obese. While the idea of losing 15 or 20 kilograms is daunting, just losing 5 kg is doable and will have a huge impact on blood glucose levels. In order to do this, you need to make good choices about what you eat, while also limiting your portion sizes.
Because the carbohydrates in foods quickly raise blood sugar levels, you have to be especially careful about what you eat, how much you eat, and even when you eat. Complex carbohydrates provide a slower, steadier release of sugar, while refined carbohydrates, sweets, and processed foods tend to provide a quick release of sugar, or a blood sugar “spike” — something that diabetics want to avoid.
Also spend some time weighing and measuring your food to learn how much you’re eating. Read the labels and get used to what 100 grams looks like – you’ll probably be surprised how much less it is than you thought.
- Increase your activity.
Instead of focusing on exercise, which can be difficult to sustain, add more activity to your daily life. Walking is extremely beneficial, so look into buying a pedometer to measure your daily steps and aim to work up to 10,000 steps a day. Once your fitness level has improved, you can add some other enjoyable exercise forms.
- If you smoke, quit.
Smokers have a higher risk of suffering from diabetes complications as tobacco accelerates the onset of these problems.
Your body’s blood glucose levels can react badly to stress. Add to that the fact that people under stress often don’t eat right, and it becomes clear that stress relievers such as meditation, deep breathing and relaxation exercises should be a part of your healthy lifestyle.
- Monitor your blood glucose levels.
Check your blood sugar at different times of the day to see how your body responds and whether the changes you are making are successful.