7 Lifestyle Changes to Help Control Your Diabetes
Sep 14, 2021
Type 2 diabetes involves both insulin production and insulin resistance; when you have this disease, your body does not utilise insulin properly. This means that you have high levels of sugar in your blood, and also that the sugar in your blood cannot be used by the cells in your body to produce energy.
High levels of blood glucose can lead to complications of the immune system, circulatory system, and nervous system. Nobody wants this to happen, which is why it is so important to control your diabetes. Doctors will prescribe insulin, which is a life-saving and life-changing drug, but there are also lifestyle changes that can impact your diabetes.
- Eat a Low-Carb, Low-Glycaemic Diet
There’s a lot of solid, recent research from the best diabetes treatment centres showing that eating a low-carb diet can not only control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, but it can also reverse the progress of the disease and bring blood sugar levels back down to the normal range permanently (or as long as you continue to eat low-carb).
Foods that convert into glucose in the blood do not always taste sweet, so taste is not necessarily the best determinant of which foods are going to be good for your body. Instead, focus on the glycaemic index, which tells you which foods take longer to break down into sugar in the bloodstream.
You should work with your healthcare providers to devise a healthy eating plan tailored to your needs. However, the general guidelines for controlling/reversing diabetes are that women should take in no more than 30 to 45 grams of carbohydrates per meal and men should take in 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal.
People who follow Atkins, keto, or other very low-carb diets often eat far fewer carbs than suggested above. It’s quite possible to thrive on a very low-carb eating plan, and your pancreas (and the rest of your body) will benefit from that.
- Eat Protein, but Not Too Much
Protein is an essential part of every diet, and if you are eating low-carb, you need plenty of protein to feel satiated. Protein helps you feel full, and it also stabilises your blood sugar levels because it slows down the process of digesting carbohydrates. Everyone needs protein, and those with diabetes are no exception.
But it’s also important to remember that people with diabetes are at higher risk for kidney problems, and excess protein can lead to waste in the bloodstream. This can cause health issues, including kidney disease, so it’s definitely a case of too much of a good thing. Try to keep your protein intake at approximately 20% to 30% of your daily calories.
- Enjoy Alcohol in Moderation
To start with, many alcoholic drinks are high in sugar. This means that two glasses of wine could throw off your carbs for the entire day. In addition, drinking alcohol can lead to an immediate drop in blood sugar (even more so for people who use insulin). Over the long term, excessive alcohol intake can lead to high blood sugar levels.
While it is possible to indulge on occasion and in moderation as part of a healthy diabetic lifestyle and eating plan, it’s also clear that alcohol is risky for people with diabetes and should be a relatively rare treat if you want to keep your diabetes under control or even reverse it.
- Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise – which doesn’t always have to be in the gym – is very important when it comes to managing, treating, and even reversing diabetes. Exercise has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity and keep blood sugar stable; it also offers other benefits such as weight loss, better mood, cardio health, and more.
Your goal should be at least 150 minutes per week of moderate cardio and strength training. Yoga also has a place in managing and controlling diabetes, so try to make it to a class or set up a mat at home. The 150 minutes of exercise can be spread throughout the week, but try not to let more than two days go by without a workout of some sort.
- Reduce Stress
Chronic stress not only puts people at higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but it also makes it much harder to successfully manage and treat the disease. You (and possibly your healthcare providers) know what works best for you to regulate your stress levels, and when you’re trying to control or reverse Type 2 diabetes, this kind of self-care is not a luxury. It’s an important part of treating your condition.
- Care for Your Hands and Feet
Diabetic neuropathy can lead to numbness, pain, tingling, and weakness in your hands and feet. This, in turn, can lead to reduced sensitivity and a higher pain tolerance – and that’s not actually a good thing. When you don’t notice minor injuries or irritations, they can quickly become infected or develop other complications.
Make caring for your hands and feet part of your daily routine so that you can address any potential issues before they get worse. If you are too large or not flexible enough to take good care of your feet, you should make a weekly or bi-weekly pedicure part of your self-care regimen (remember that as we said above, good self-care is health care, not a luxury).
- Get Help and Support When You Need it
Chronic illness is a challenge, and changing your entire diet and lifestyle to accommodate a chronic illness is another. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the best diabetes treatment centres for help and support, either in person or through online communities. You can work with certified diabetes educators to better understand your disease, and you can share tips, tricks, and recipes with other people on the same journey.
Start Controlling Your Diabetes
You should always work with your healthcare providers, and you should never decide to discontinue treatment on your own even if you “feel great,” but the truth is that there is a lot that you can do on your own.
A healthy low-carb diet, regular exercise, and good physical and emotional self-care can go a long way toward controlling Type 2 diabetes or even reversing the progress of the disease.