Essential Tips for Managing Diabetes
1. Eat what you like
You can still enjoy the foods that you like, but you need to know how your favorite foods will affect your blood sugar. Counting carbohydrates, monitoring portion sizes, and checking labels will allow you to enjoy your favorite meals will managing your symptoms.
2. Divide your plate
Use the rule of three. Divide your plate in half. Fill one side with non-starchy vegetables like carrots or broccoli. Then divide the other half into quarters. Use one quarter for starchy foods like potatoes, rice or pasta and the other for meat or another source of protein. You can also have 1/2 a cup of fruit and a cup of low-fat milk.
3. Keep a journal
Record your blood sugar levels, as well as your food intake, exercise level and medications. These all affect your blood sugar levels and A1c test results. Include your goals and feelings to help stay focused, and use it as a source of accurate information to provide to your doctor.
4. Plan for being sick
Common illnesses and stress can raise your blood sugar level. Having diabetes makes it harder to fight off an infection. Keep snacks available that are easy on the stomach but can provide the carbohydrates and fluid your body needs, and check your blood sugar more frequently.
5. Keep extra supplies
Make sure to keep at least three days’ supply of medications in case of an emergency. Maintain a list of everything including non-prescription medications, and share this list with your doctor.
6. Stay Active
Did you know that stress can actually raise your blood sugar levels? Stress may also contribute to poor food choices. Get moving and feel better. Exercise releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel good. Grab your sneakers and head out for a walk in the park or better yet, grab a partner and try out some new dance moves.
Exercise does not have to be long and tiring. Three ten-minute walks are as good as walking for 30 minutes. If time is a restraint, don’t hold out for long blocks of time. Moderate physical activity will help you to lower your blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and maintain blood sugar, and as an added bonus, exercise reduces stress levels.
8. Strength Training
Resistance training helps in the prevention of muscle loss. Studies suggest that strength training also improves how your body uses sugar and insulin. If you are one of the many who is intimidated at the thought of going to a gym, you can do numerous strength training exercises in the comfort of your home with a simple set of dumb bells. You can even make your own by filling two water bottles with sand. Strength training can also help you lose weight!
9. Baby your feet
Wear properly fitting shoes is imperative! Also check daily for swelling, cuts, or a change in color to your feet. Moisturize your feet daily and keep your toenails trimmed. Call your doctor immediately if you see unhealed cuts or broken skin.
10. Stop Smoking
Diabetics who smoke are more likely than nonsmokers to have trouble with insulin dosing and with controlling their disease. If you are a smoker with diabetes, quitting smoking will benefit your health right away. People with diabetes who quit have better control of their blood sugar levels.