Diabetes is a self-managed condition, meaning that you can take charge of your blood sugars by making a few lifestyle and behavior changes. Below are 5 tips to managing blood sugars for pre-diabetes and diabetes:
1- Assess your diet
- What you eat directly affects your blood sugars. Following an eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources can help you achieve target blood sugars. Aim to reduce any sources of added sugar, especially sweetened beverages such as sodas, sweet tea, and juices.
2- Increase your physical activity by 5 minutes each day
- Physical activity has been shown to reduce insulin resistance and blood sugars. Physical activity can be any form of movement and can include walking, playing tennis, gardening or housework. The goal is to be active for 30 minutes a day five times a week. Take a moment and assess where you can schedule some physical activity into your day. Start by working your way up by 5 minute intervals. It will make a huge difference!
3- Aim to reduce 5% of your body weight
- Research has shown that reducing your weight by 5% will significantly help with blood sugar control (example, if you are 200 pounds, that means losing 5 pounds from your current weight). If you have pre-diabetes, the Diabetes Prevention Program Study revealed that losing this amount of weight (in addition to exercise) can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58%! Weight loss can significantly reduce insulin resistance, meaning that your insulin will work more effectively. You will have better blood sugars and may be weaned off your diabetes medications. Focus on making healthy behavior changes that lead to weight loss. NOTE: don’t follow any diets or quick fixes because they don’t work long-term. Work with a Registered Dietitian to create a plan that works for you.
4- Be aware of your blood sugars and A1C
- If your doctor has asked you to check your blood sugars at home using a blood glucose monitor, it is a good habit to check them. Blood sugar numbers can provide you with information about your overall diabetes control and the effect of food, physical activity and stress on your blood sugars. If you currently don’t check blood sugars, consult with your doctor to determine if it is recommended for you.
- This tip refers to assessing your stress level. Stress does not cause diabetes; however, stress can increase your blood sugars. It can cause inflammation in the body and can make controlling blood sugars more challenging. If you currently have a lot of stress in your life, take a deep breath and seek strategies to help you reduce your stress levels. Consult with a mental health counselor if needed. It’s for your health!
Hope you found this post informative and practical. I want to hear from you! Do you have diabetes? What’s your biggest challenge? If you are looking for support on managing your blood sugars, understanding your numbers, using a blood glucose monitor or knowing what to eat, please reach out to me so we can work together!