Managing Diabetes with Lifestyle Changes (1)
Diabetes statistics are staggering. The numbers have drastically risen from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014(2). A recent study states that India is home to almost 64.5 million people suffering from diabetes, making it one of the top three countries for the global diabetic population(2). Diabetes is thus, a serious public health issue, but one that can be managed and in some cases, prevented.(2)
Most people who develop diabetes are overweight or obese. With changes in lifestyle and nutrition, people with diabetes can live well and decrease the more serious risks of the condition.
Manage Diabetes with Small Changes(1)
When people are first diagnosed with diabetes, they often feel like their days of eating normally are over. But research scientists at Abbott disagree. They believe that people with diabetes can live just as normal and active lives as everybody else.
People can manage their diabetes through exercise and diet changes. These small changes can have big payoffs. For instance, weight loss can have a huge impact. Losing 5 percent or more of body weight can lead to
- Improved blood sugar
- Improved use of insulin
- Reduced need for diabetes medications
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduced risk factors for heart disease
Strive for healthy food choices, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, non-fat dairy, beans and lean meats and you’ll set yourself back on the path to good health.(1)
Be Choosy About Carbs(1)
In addition to monitoring the amount of carbohydrates you eat, focus on eating and drinking the right type - high fibre foods that minimize blood sugar response are your best bet.
Also, make sure you never skip meals. Skipping meals can make it more difficult to manage blood sugar. Regular meals, close to the same time every day, can help manage blood sugar levels and prevent overeating. Be mindful though that overeating can have equally adverse effects. Finally, to lose weight while managing diabetes, consider these three tips:(1,3)
1. Set realistic goals
Gradual change is more likely to lead to permanent change. Break larger weight loss and fitness goals into smaller ones. Think beyond the number on a scale when and rely on a measuring tape to track changes to your waist, hips, thigh and upper arm.(1)
2. Keep a food journal
Plan your meals ahead of time and get accustomed to portion control by measuring and documenting all your food and drinks for at least two weeks. By writing down how you feel before and after eating, you can determine triggers that might cause you to eat, such as stress, boredom and anger.(4)
3. Exercise regularly
According to studies, exercising consistently can lower blood glucose and improve A1C levels. The association recommends 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise at least five days a week, or a total of 150 minutes per week. Talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine.(1,5)