Diabetes and Lifestyle Considerations
A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes
can be a shock, and obviously has an impact on one's lifestyle. Proper control of the disease becomes an
important part of your everyday life. Diabetes and lifestyle
changes are unavoidable, but once you've learned to work it into your daily
routine, diabetes management becomes much easier.
Meals, Eating Schedules, and Dietary Changes
As a diabetic, regular meal times are important to help keep blood sugar
levels under control. Portion control
as well as the foods you eat
in each meal or snack are also important.
- Eating out: many restaurants are willing to accommodate requests
to prepare dishes differently. Call ahead and see if they can oblige you.
You may want to have a small, healthy snack prior to going so that you're
not tempted by all the goodies on the menu. A high-protein snack such as
a small piece of cheese or a piece of lean meat can help you feel fuller
so that it's less tempting to over-indulge.
- Parties: again, you might wish to have a snack before you go,
since many parties put out lots of fatty or sugary treats. You can also
discretely carry snacks of your own to munch.
- Family meals: healthy, balanced meals
are good for everyone, not just diabetics. Learning to prepare nutritious meals can be fun for
everyone in the family. Including other family members in the preparation
can make it easier for everyone to adapt.
helps to control blood sugar levels. In addition, it has a host of other benefits including improving cholesterol,
blood pressure, and even mood! It also helps you to maintain your
weight or lose some pounds.
Exercise is an important part of any
plan. Make sure you consult with your doctor prior to starting an exercise
- Travelling: It's always much harder to stick with an
exercise routine when you're on the road. Look for hotels that
have on-site gyms, or are located near gyms. If that's not possible,
you can always put on your
and go for a brisk walk.
Some people carry their own portable exercise equipment.
Obviously this isn't always practical or convenient. However, if you're looking for
something that's lightweight and easy-to-carry, many people like
- Going to the gym: Most people find excuses not to exercise
at some point in their lives. Maybe you're feeling a little tired, or
perhaps the road conditions are terrible, or you might just be having
a really busy day and could use some extra time to get caught up.
Enlisting a friend to go to the gym with you may help you to keep
on track. When you know that someone's waiting for you, you'll probably
be less likely to skip a workout! Finding a gym nearby may also help to
keep you going since you won't have to fight traffic or poor road
conditions to get there. And, of course, find a place where you're
comfortable with the facilities and the staff.
- Exercising at home: Buying home exercise equipment can offer
more time flexibility, convenience, and sometimes even save you money
over going to a gym. The downside is that you probably won't be able to
equip your home the same way as a gym, so the same exercises over and
over again may become boring or stale. Try to switch it up a little to
avoid boredom. Instead of spending a half-hour on the treadmill, for
example, try something different:
- Go for a brisk walk in a park or around the neighborhood;
- Invite a friend to go for a more challenging hike;
- Buy a variety of exercise videos.
Choose a range of them, from traditional aerobic workouts to
or whatever catches your fancy.
- Timing: Exercising can be more difficult after a long day
at work. If you are one of those people who find themselves sorely
tempted to skip exercising after work, then try doing it first thing
in the morning. In the beginning it may be difficult to get up earlier,
but you may find you enjoy getting the workout over with early. Some
people also like to use their lunch hour to exercise since it gives
them a 'break' during the workday. Choose a time of day that you can
Monitoring Blood Glucose
Many people find it easier to manage blood glucose levels, diabetes
medication and/or insulin when they follow a regular routine. Whenever
any changes are made to your schedule,
blood glucose levels should be
carefully monitored to avoid extreme high blood sugar
or low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).
Both conditions can be serious if not treated.
Changes in schedule or routine can include:
- Eating at different times;
- A change in what you eat or how much you will be eating (for instance,
you may know that it's likely that you'll eat much more at a family
- Intensity of a workout;
- Skipping a workout;
- Missing a meal;
- ... and so on.
Always check your blood sugar levels whenever you deviate from your regular
routine, and consult your doctor for advice if you notice any abnormalities
in your blood glucose levels. Your doctor may recommend an adjustment to
medication or insulin.
Consider carrying a card in your wallet to alert people that you are
diabetic. List the signs of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia and note what
they can do to help you if you are unable to help yourself. Showing a
close friend or family member what to do is also advisable, in case of
emergency and for peace of mind.
Diabetes and lifestyle changes go hand-in-hand. The initial adjustment
period can be particularly challenging, but it's a necessary adjustment
to maintain optimal health.
The information on this website is based on our own research and personal experience,
and is not a substitute for medical advice. Questions about your health and individual
situation should be directed to your doctor.