by Caitlin H,
Jun 20, 2022
If you’re living with Type 2 diabetes, you know how challenging it can be to simultaneously manage your blood sugar while striving to meet your everyday demands. It’s easy to feel frustrated, overwhelmed, defeated, tired and stressed as you try to remember to do things like take medication, make your regular check-ups and deal with the everyday ups and downs.
More than 29 million Americans are living with Type 2 diabetes — and many people (up to 25%) don’t even know they have it. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention say another 86 million have pre-diabetes. All these Americans are at risk for related complications, like deafness, nerve damage, heart attacks, blindness, cancer and dementia.
Dr. Gabe Mirkin — a fitness guru, radio host and sports medicine doctor with more than 50 years of practice — outlined some of the signs of diabetes in a recent blog post. They include:
- A family history of diabetes
- Being overweight
- Storing fat primarily in the belly, rather than the hips
- Having small, narrow hips
- Having high blood pressure
- Taking more than one alcoholic drink a day or binge drinking
- Having small muscles
- Not exercising
- A thick neck or baldness (males)
- Excess hair on the face or body; having diabetes during pregnancy (women)
“If you have any of the signs of diabetes listed above, start diet and lifestyle changes immediately,” Mirkin said. “People who already have diabetes can become non-diabetic if they follow certain lifestyle changes rigorously and permanently.”
In an effort to help you get started, we compiled a list of foolproof lifestyle tips you can follow to manage your diabetes.
1) Overhaul your diet.
Eating healthy is absolutely critical. It’s likely that eating sugar-laden foods with high calories and carbs, low nutrition and high amounts of trans-saturated fat played a major role in your Type 2 diabetes diagnosis. Go through your kitchen and throw out all the junk food. Replace it with things like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, nonfat dairy and lean meats. Build out a weekly meal plan that ensures you know exactly what you’ll be eating for each meal. If you’re not sure how to eat healthy, consider a pre-made meal delivery service that offers diabetic-friendly meals.
2) Create a fitness plan.
Working out can feel like a scary prospect, especially if it’s something you’ve never done before. But creating a fitness plan that works for you is essential to managing your lifestyle. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be anything crazy like a hardcore gym workout or running. Even committing to daily, 30-minute walks or doing something you enjoy like swimming or playing a sport can make all the difference. You could even try something fun like purchasing a fitness-focused video game or trying a class. Don’t limit yourself. Try different things. And when you find something you like, make it a part of your weekly routine.
3) Schedule regular check-ups.
First, find a doctor you trust. You should meet with at least two about the needs surrounding your Type 2 diabetes diagnosis to see who better fits with your personality and goals. From there, you should schedule regular check-ups where your doctor can analyze your progress and health. You should also plan on regularly getting eye exams, dental cleanings and foot exams — all areas that Type 2 diabetes can affect.
4) Manage that stress.
Stress is a natural part of life, but living with a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis can amplify things to a whole new level. That’s why it’s so important to manage stress properly. If you’re not sure how to do that, talk to your doctor about your options. Some examples include practicing daily meditation and deep breathing techniques, spending time with loved ones, journaling and potentially seeking counseling. You can find lots more information on stress management and mental wellness in our Psychology & Weight Loss section.
5) Quit smoking and cut back on the drinking.
Nicotine and alcohol are poisons for your body. And when it’s already fighting extra hard to keep your Type 2 diabetes symptoms under control, the last thing it needs is to have to work even harder to flush out poison. Stop smoking and lay back on the drinking immediately. Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking is an excellent resource to stop smoking. And be sure to follow the CDC’s guidelines for drinking (2 drinks max per day for males; 1 drink max per day for females).
Ultimately, some studies — including a recent one from Harvard researchers — show that implementing lifestyle changes can minimize the health risks related to Type 2 diabetes. And, in some cases, they can even reverse them completely.
If you need help with a better diet, our Balance-Diabetes plan is designed to help you naturally control your blood sugar through heart-healthy, calorie-controlled meals that taste amazing and take the thinking out of it. Either way, don’t delay in taking the necessary steps to change your life.
Author: Caitlin H
Diet-to-Go Community Manager
Caitlin is the Diet-to-Go community manager and an avid runner. She is passionate about engaging with others online and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. She believes moderation is key, and people will have the most weight loss success if they engage in common-sense healthy eating and fitness.