Diabetes can be managed with healthy lifestyle changes and possible diabetes medications. You don’t have to feel deprived or hungry to live right. Learn positive ways to improve diabetes control and boost your overall well-being.

  • One way to take control of diabetes is to shed extra pounds by making healthier food choices. One risk factor for developing diabetes is being overweight. People with extra weight around the abdomen have the highest risk of developing diabetes. If you have an apple shape just shedding 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight can help you lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. People at risk include women with a waist circumference of 35 inches or more and men with a waist circumference of 40 inches or more. Use a tape measure around your bare stomach above the hip bone to find out your circumference. Cut back on sugary processed foods to slim down your waistline. Stay away from packaged cakes, cookies, muffins, granola bars, sodas and doughnuts. Maintain a diet that contains healthy fats, is moderate in calories, has small portions and is high in nutritional value. A balanced diet includes low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins such as chicken, fish and meats without excess fat. Check the glycemic index to find out how quickly foods turn into sugar in your body. High GI foods make your blood sugar spike while low GI foods have less effect. Eat three meals daily with two snacks and always have breakfast. Drink alcohol in moderation, which means no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 for men. Stay away from unhealthy fats such as Trans fats and saturated fat. Opt for unsaturated fats from sources such as fish, olive oil and avocados.
  • The second way to control diabetes is to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. You can break that amount into smaller sessions as long as 30 minutes is accomplished throughout the day. Even missing just a few days of exercise can worsen your insulin resistance. After 24 hours the benefits are gone. Choose an exercise you enjoy to help you stick with your routine. Some people find it inspiring to join a gym or workout with a friend. Others walk their dogs daily to fit exercise into their day. Consider trying various exercises to mix it up and keep it more interesting. Take walks and wear a pedometer to gauge your progress. Enroll in a class such as yoga, Pilates or Zumba. Play an exercise DVD and workout in your own living room. Invest in exercise equipment such as a treadmill or stationary bike to encourage you to exercise in any type of weather. Purchase resistance bands and use them in your home when it is convenient. Create a plan that makes it easy to include exercising in your regular schedule.
  • The third way to control diabetes is to establish an effective diabetes self-management plan with your health care team. If insulin and medication are part of your routine find out when to take them based on your current lifestyle. When you travel or make other major lifestyle changes contact your doctor to find out if you should change your medication and insulin schedule. Check your blood sugar regularly and keep a record of the results to track highs and lows. If your blood sugar gets extremely high or low, contact your health care provider. Invest in the diabetes supplies you need to monitor your blood sugar such as a Blood Glucose Meter, insulin pump, lancing devices and other diabetes testing supplies. You may also want to get a Blood Pressure Monitor to track your blood pressure after exercising and throughout the day.

These three smart lifestyle changes can help you improve diabetes control and achieve optimum well-being. Eating right, exercising and following the advice of your health care team can make a big difference over time. In a few months, your diabetes can be under control to improve your quality of life.