Lifestyle plays a role in increasing or lowering the risks of developing a serious condition such as type 2 diabetes. Lack of physical activity due to a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and obesity are among the best-known risk factors of the debilitating disease. If you are at high risk or may already be suffering from type 2 diabetes, lifestyle changes in diabetes can help in managing the illness more effectively. Living a healthy lifestyle for diabetics can likewise help in mitigating the risks of complications that may exacerbate the disease.
Healthy Diabetic Diet
Eating healthy should apply to everyone. Yet it is often one of the commonly neglected aspects in many people’s lifestyles. Diabetic lifestyle modifications should include a good diabetic diet plan that can better control blood sugar levels.
- Balanced diet – Creating a daily or weekly meal plan can help in proper preparations to ensure well-balanced nutrition. Every meal or snack should have an adequate combination of whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables. Consulting with a dietitian can help in determining the most suitable food choices to maintain a healthy diabetic diet.
- Controlled carbohydrate intake – Diet is essential in managing diabetes. Controlling intake of carbohydrates is a prerequisite of maintaining blood sugar levels within normal range. Whole grains should comprise the recommended amount of carbohydrate intake. Diabetics should avoid refined sugar, breads, and pastas.
- Portion sizing – Proper portioning of specific types of foods is also important in diabetes management. Your health care providers can explain recommended portion sizes. You can invest in tools such as food scales or measuring cups to make it easier for you to regulate portion sizes during each meal or snack.
- Scheduled meals – Scheduling meals at the same time each day can help in minimizing changes in blood sugar levels.
Regular Physical Activity
Regular physical activity is also one of the foundations of a healthy lifestyle. Embracing a healthy lifestyle for diabetics means incorporating regular exercise or physical activity in your daily routines. Getting adequate exercise helps in keeping blood glucose and blood pressure in check. It can also enhance circulation, lower risks of heart ailments, enhance circulation, and manage weight. Here are some tips in creating an exercise plan or in choosing a physical activity you can pursue:
- Always consult with your doctor before starting a fitness routine
- Commit to an exercise routine or a regular physical activity (i.e. bicycling, dancing, gardening, hiking, rowing, running, walking, stair climbing, swimming, yoga, etc)
- Devote at least 30 minutes for a moderate or intense exercise routine or activity
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration
- Monitor blood sugar levels prior to, during, or after finishing a fitness routine
- Schedule exercises or physical activities at least 5 days per week
- Stop an exercise or activity if you notice any signs of a possible hypoglycemia or low blood sugar (i.e. confusion, dizziness, weakness, etc.)
Relaxation for Stress Relief
Stress management is another important component of a healthy diabetes lifestyle. Research suggests that uncontrolled and excessive stress can affect blood glucose levels. An inability to manage stress can also lead to behavior patterns that will undermine the management and treatment of the disease. Learning stress relief strategies such as various relaxation techniques can help in minimizing the stress in your life.
- Breathing for relaxation
- Change of scenery or pace
- Creative visualization
- Listening to relaxing music
- Progressive muscle relaxation technique
Maintaining certain medications can be one of the many changes that you need to incorporate in your diabetic lifestyle. Medications such as insulin aim to control or lower blood glucose levels. Some diabetic patients need insulin to manage diabetes. This usually happens when the combination of diet and regular exercise are still not enough to control the disease. Here are some important points to remember in incorporating medications into a diabetic’s lifestyle.
- Consult with your doctor before taking over the counter medications or other prescription drugs
- Expiration dates should be monitored
- Insulin and other diabetes medications should be properly stored
- Take medications regularly or as scheduled