Dealing with a long to-do list can be so overwhelming you may not know where to start. Creating a healthy lifestyle for diabetes management is easier if it’s broken into small steps. Make your goals short and easy to measure, and you can succeed in making big long-term changes.
Eating Right with Diabetes
Your doctor will likely help you put together a specific meal plan for your diabetes, but there are some things you can do at home, right now:
- Buy lean cuts of meat and low-fat versions of dairy products.
- Clear out your cupboards and replace processed high-sugar foods with fresh vegetables and fruits.
- Plan your meals several days in advance, build a shopping list from your meal plan and only buy items on that list.
- Start your meals with a salad or vegetable soup. This will help you feel full and eat less.
Exercise for Diabetes Management
Getting more exercise doesn’t necessarily mean you need to join gym. Look for ways to build exercise into each day:
- Dance to music on the radio.
- Get up to change the channel, rather than using a remote.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
- Walk for 10 minutes, three times per day.
- Wash your car by hand.
For successful diabetes control, exercise should be paired with medical supervision. Talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.
Smoking and Diabetes
If you smoke, quit. Smoking puts stress on your heart and lungs and increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. Smoking and diabetes simply do not mix. Ask your doctor about using nicotine patches or gum. Join a smoking-cessation support group.
Living with Diabetes
By following these steps you can begin to build a healthy lifestyle for diabetes management. Choose two or three of these tips and decide how you will incorporate them into your everyday life. Write your goals down, and keep notes on your progress. Once you have these steps incorporated into your routine, choose a few more.
American Diabetes Association. (2010). Be active, but how? Retrieved January 5, 2011, from http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/fitness-management/be-active-but-how.html
American Diabetes Association. (2010). Healthy Eating.Retrieved January 5, 2011, from http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/checkup-america/healthy-eating.html
American Diabetes Association. (2010). Small steps to your health.Retrieved January 5, 2011, from http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/fitness/getting-motivated/small-steps-to-your-health.html
American Diabetes Association. (2010). Smoking.Retrieved January 5, 2011, from http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/prevention/checkup-america/smoking.html
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (n.d.). Small step.Retrieved January 5, 2011, from http://www.smallstep.gov/sm_steps/sm_steps_index.html