May 12, 2017

Managing Your Type 2 Diabetes - P2

Continued from yesterday's blog.

#4. Be Active:
To lose weight, you should try to exercise three times a week for 30-60 minutes a day. But moving your body is good for a lot more than that.

Regular workouts can:
  • Lower your blood sugar.
  • Boost your heart health.
  • Lower your blood pressure.
  • Help insulin work better in your body.

If you find an activity you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to stick to it.

“Exercise shouldn’t feel like a punishment,” Fonseca says. If you want to go swimming, go swimming. If you want to go dancing, go dancing. That’s exercise, too.”

You can also call on a partner to help you stay the course. Whitney Bischoff, a registered nurse in Seguin, TX, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at age 48. Now 61, Bischoff says her disease has changed how she and her husband spend time together.

“It wasn't too long after my diagnosis that we had the opportunity to take an active vacation, and that began our more-active lifestyle,” she says. “It’s a favor, really. We treat our bodies better because of diabetes. We can live long and healthy lives through these recommended changes in our lifestyle, without missing out on life.”

#5. Focus on Food: If changing your diet seems daunting, remember: Your goal is to strike a healthy balance, not achieve "perfection."

“Generally, you need to avoid concentrated sugars,” Siminerio says. “I'm not saying don't eat the cake at your grandson's birthday -- just don't eat all the roses on the cake.”

Focus on getting plenty of fiber through plant-based foods like fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Keep track of your carbohydrates so you don’t go overboard, and stay away from sugary drinks.

Avoid trans fats, too. Instead, stock up on protein -- up to 25% of your plate at each meal should be protein from sources like fish, chicken, dairy, or vegetables.

“Vegetables really help me feel better,” Crim says. “And nuts are great. Have fruit on hand, and if you choose to eat sweets, moderate carefully, but don't deprive yourself so that you overindulge.”

The more people in your house that get on board with your meal plan, the better, Fonseca says.

“Very often, people try to diet in isolation, which is very hard to do,” he says. “You can't have a different diet from your spouse and your kids. Everybody's got to do it together.”

“Meds work differently in each person, and that affects when and what you should be eating,” she says. “A dietitian has your medical plan. It's not an off-the-shelf cookbook from someone.”

#6. Lower Your Stress: It makes your muscles get ready to fight or run away from danger. When your insulin isn’t working right, this process floods your blood with glucose (sugar).

“Stress pushes up blood glucose, raises your blood pressure, and increases your chance of heart disease,” Fonseca says.

If smoking is your stress-relief go-to, it’s time to quit. “Along with affecting your lungs, smoking narrows your blood vessels,” Siminerio says. “So if you smoke, have high blood pressure, and high lipid levels, that's like a time bomb in your body if you have diabetes.”

Here are some healthy ways to combat stress:
  • Do breathing exercises.
  • Tense your muscles and then release them.
  • Go on a walk or jog.
  • Stretch.
  • Start a new hobby.
  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

“My advice? Have fun,” Fonseca says. “It’s a whole lifestyle change, so be sure to make it a life you enjoy.”

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