Type 2 diabetes is becoming one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases in the United States today.
Each year, a whopping 1.4 million people hear the bad news that they have Type 2 diabetes. As they do, they join an estimated 29.1 million people already struggling to manage their disease. As they do, they join an estimated 29.1 million people already struggling to manage their disease. But what many of these individuals do not know is that some simple lifestyle tweaks along with the aid of modern technology can vastly reduce the time spent managing their disease. If you have just been diagnosed or have been told you are pre-diabetic, read on to learn five tips that will help make managing diabetes so much easier!
Tip 1: Make some dietary adjustments.
The best place to start simplifying your daily management tasks is with what you eat and drink. Most Americans take in vastly more sugar than is healthy, so the benefit here is that, as you adjust what you eat and drink, you will be improving your overall health as well as any symptoms of your disease.
Experts recommend these as key components of a healthy diet:
- Fresh fruits.
- Fresh non-starch vegetables.
- Non-processed whole grains.
- Beans and legumes.
- Lean meats and proteins.
- Low-fat or nonfat dairy foods.
Here, avoiding sugary sodas and fast foods is especially important, as these tend to be loaded with just the kinds of ingredients your disease responds least well to.
Tip 2: Tackle the scale.
Going on a “diet” is no fun! In fact, new research clearly shows that dieting as a temporary weight loss solution typically does not work and can actually cause more weight gain over the long-term.
Instead, begin with Tip 1 here and begin to transform your daily nutrient intake as a means to stabilize and then lower your weight over the long-term as needed. One of the big side perks of taking this approach is that your metabolism will also stabilize and you will lose the bloat commonly associated with “diet” foods that tend to be nutrient poor.
The even better news is that, if you need to lose weight to improve symptoms of your disease, you probably don’t need to lose a lot. Think 10 or 15 pounds – this is what is required for most people to experience easier disease management.
Tip 3: Add in regular fitness.
If you read this tip and are already getting unpleasant visions of sweating for hours at the gym, you are about to be really relieved! The latest research shows that it is intensity, not time, that matters most when you work out. In fact, the New York Times recently announced that just 60 seconds (yes, seconds) of exercise done at full intensity can be as beneficial as 45 minutes (yes, minutes) of a less intense workout.
As well, you can get the required level of intensity while going about your daily routine. You don’t need to go anywhere near a gym to do that. You can do a minute of intense sit-ups at home or a minute of intense walking up the stairs when you get to the office. You can walk intensely from the car to the grocery store (parking farther away works better here) and run intensely after your three-year-old on the playground during a game of hide n’ seek. Here, in this new model of intensity over quantity, every minute really does count.
Tip 4: Using the new breed of technology helps.
There are so many wonderful health apps, online resources and at-home tools today that can make every aspect of managing your disease so much easier. From sleek and lovely scales that measure so much more than just your weight to discrete and fully portable on-the-go glucose monitoring accessories, there is no need to interrupt your work day or your social and family time to take care of required disease management tasks. Right now iHealth has a 15% off discount for their iHealth smart gluco-monitoring system that includes everything you need to start taking readings.
All you need to do is select your favorite tools and apps and enjoy the comfort of having everything you need with you wherever you are.
Tip 5: Get high-quality sleep to ease stress.
Anxiety and stress are huge triggers for your disease (as they are for so many health issues Americans struggle with today). For diabetics in particular, stress is positively correlated with blood sugar levels, which means that when your stress shoots up, so does your blood glucose level. And since getting insufficient sleep or restless sleep at night increases your body’s stress level during the day, getting good and sufficient sleep is going to be a huge priority for easier disease management.
Happily, most people who have been diagnosed as diabetic find this to be one of their favorite prescriptions. After all, who doesn’t love the excuse to tell one’s boss, friends or loved ones that their doctor insists they must go home and get more sleep? However, you may also need to make some additional dietary adjustments (see Tip 1 here) to facilitate the most restful, deep sleep.
Some of the most helpful tips include these:
- Avoid caffeine after about 3pm.
- Avoid eating very spicy foods or drinking heavily at night.
- Prepare for sleep by dimming lights and turning off music or television.
- Try to stick to a regular sleep/waking routine.
If these don’t work to help you sleep better, you may want to get tested for sleep apnea just in case this is the reason your sleep feels restless or insufficient.
In addition to any specific instructions your doctor has given you, these five tips will definitely make a positive impact on the time and effort you invest into daily disease management. As you can see here, it doesn’t have to take a lot of time, a lot of money or a lot of lifestyle adjustment to make a positive impact on your disease symptoms. A little bit of daily effort is more than enough to help make managing your diabetes easier.