Hectic schedules and limited free time make it difficult to eat properly by making good food choices. It's just as difficult to squeeze in enough exercise. People often deal with demanding jobs, child care, caring for aging parents or pets, and many other things. But living with diabetes means that meal planning and adequate exercise are critical to feeling well.
If you can't manage to put aside an hour each day for exercise, break it into manageable chunks. For example, fit in a brisk 10-minute walk when picking up the kids from school, another 10 minutes when going to get the mail, and so on. For meals, set aside time on one day of the week to prepare tasty snacks and meals and immediately separate them into convenient, portion-controlled packages that you can just take out of the freezer or grab out of the cupboard when you need something healthy to eat.
Limited knowledge of an appropriate 'diabetic diet' is another challenge. Consulting with a nutritionist can help a lot, or ask your local medical clinic whether there are diabetes information clinics available. Ask your insurance company if they will cover the cost of consultations with a dietician, or perhaps the cost of attending a class on nutrition and meal planning for diabetics. Make it more fun by learning to cook with fresh ingredients. Many diabetes cookbooks are available - even for dessert recipes!
Keeping a diabetes diet sheet handy with information on how you should eat can be helpful in the beginning, until you get the hang of it. The diabetes food pyramid and the glycemic index are also handy tools. You may also want to download free diabetic log sheets to help you track your blood glucose.
A 'diabetes-friendly diet' is actually a diet that's healthy for everyone, diabetic or not. However, if your family isn't used to eating this way it can take time, commitment, and a healthy dose of patience to slowly teach everyone a new way of thinking about food. Try making mealtimes an adventure; let each family member pick a meal from a cookbook and prepare the meals together. It might not be easy - and probably won't be - but in the end, it's worth the effort to teach yourself and your family how to eat a healthy and nutritious diet.
There are many parts to successfully managing diabetes, and exercise is a very important part because it helps to keep blood sugar levels under control. But for people who suffer from neuropathy pain or diabetes foot pain in particular, it can be hard to walk or do any sort of exercise that requires you to be on your feet. Try alternative exercises like swimming or exercises that can be done while sitting. Hiring a personal trainer to show you some exercises can make things easier.
If you haven't exercised regularly for some time, it's also important to ease into it. Your doctor can help devise an appropriate fitness routine for you or refer you to someone who can. Again, some cities run diabetes clinics that can include exercise clinics specifically tailored to those with type 2 diabetes. Some clinics are even supervised by medical professionals.
Dining out is a big part of many people's social lives; friends and family gather at a restaurant or hold a party to enjoy food & drink and each other's company. Don't skip your meals or snacks on the day of a social gathering... eat normally and on schedule, and you will be less tempted to indulge. Measure and track your blood glucose regularly so that you know the effects of food and exercise on your blood sugar. You'll be better prepared for the tasty temptations that may face you.
It's unavoidable that diabetes and lifestyle changes go hand-in-hand. There is no doubt that you will face difficult diabetic challenges, but remember that people successfully manage their diabetes every day. You can, too!