Once you have been diagnosed with diabetes, managing it is the next important step.
Apart from the lifestyle changes of managing one’s diabetes – either through diet and exercise alone or with insulin (usually in pill form) – diabetics, both Type I and II, must “prick themselves” and test their blood glucose usually three to five times daily.
If you are diabetic due to a sedentary lifestyle, you are not going to like what you are about to read. You must get off the couch and exercise! Diet alone will not fix the problem. And although the combination of diet and exercise can often avoid the use of insulin, many diabetics favor the use of insulin when faced with the annoyance of having to exercise. Easier though it may be, you are doing your body no favors. Whether you live on your own, in a retirement community or an assisted living program, find friends to walk with or go swimming together. Ask for support. You needn’t do this alone. Open up to people; for all you know, others you know suffer from this too and as the saying goes, “strength in numbers,” means together you take the bull by the horns and beat it!
All of the same foods that you may have avoided are the very ones that you should now incorporate into your diet. Some foods you can eliminate or minimize that will show a marked improvement in your blood glucose levels almost immediately are:
- Sodium (salt)
- Excess sugar
- High fructose corn syrup
- Excess carbohydrates (yes, the pasta, potatoes and rice you love!)
- Too much beef (it is very fatty, which turns into sugar)
Foods to add to your diet that will have a dramatic positive effect on your diabetes:
- Fruits (not too much, as they can turn to sugar)
- Whole grains (in favor of bleached flour and white rice)
- Lean meats – poultry, fish and beans
There is no such thing as bad exercise. Try a few different types and do what makes you happy and this is equally valid for men and women both. Whether it is hiking, walking, swimming, playing basketball, running or playing golf, do what you will enjoy pursuing long term. Exercise should be fun and not drudgery, so it is important to choose something you like.
Diabetes is no fun and it is no joke. But the good news is that with alterations to your diet, adding exercise to your life and asking for support, you can not only manage your diabetes, but also put it in remission. Although rare, it does happen.