According to the American Diabetes Association, 1.5 million people will get diagnosed with type 2 diabetes yearly. The first few days of life after diagnosis can be quite confusing. You are overwhelmed with a lot of information and unable to decide what to do.
Your first step should be lifestyle modifications to achieve good glycemic control. Lifestyle has been proven to be the most important modifiable risk factor associated with type 2 diabetes and its progression. We have highlighted the most important changes that you should consider along with the timeline.
Modify Your Diet
Healthy feeding is the key to healthy living. This statement is even more important for you as a type 2 diabetes patient. Dietary modifications are one of the immediate lifestyle changes for type 2 diabetes. The quantity and quality of the meal are important to achieving a healthy feeding habit. You should do the following :
● Change your food choices:
Eating bad carbs have the most impact on your blood sugar. This is because some carbs cause a spike in blood sugar that your body will not be able to handle. Instead, you should eat food rich in fiber like whole grains, veggies, and fruits. According to a journal by the American Diabetes Association(AMA), regular intake of sufficient dietary fiber is associated with lower mortality and complications in people with diabetes. Also, avoid saturated fat-containing dairy products, processed meat, and sweetened beverages(soda) as they also contain high amounts of sugar.
● Eat a well-balanced meal:
Ensure each meal is well-balanced with starch, protein, fat, fruits, and vegetables, all in the right proportion. Having a meal plan will help you make more balanced choices.
● Be mindful of the quantity of each meal:
The quantity of each meal is as important as the quality. Consuming appropriate portion sizes will help you reduce the overall calorie intake per meal. Instead, you can increase the frequency of your eating. This strategy will help spread calorie intake and effectively control your blood sugar.
Exercise More Often
A sedentary lifestyle has been associated with the progression of type 2 diabetes and an increased risk of complications. Your muscles take up more glucose during exercise. This move will help to reduce the amount of sugar in your blood.
According to recent research:
- 30mins/day of moderate-intensity aerobic activities for 5 days a week is recommended. These activities include; brisk walking, hiking, and water aerobics.
- Alternatively, you can also use 15mins/day of vigorous-intensity aerobic activities for 5 days a week or an equivalent combination of both. These activities include; jogging, skipping, football and gymnastics.
However, certain exercise precautions are recommended for type 2 diabetes patients to avoid complications from unwise exercise choices. The Klinio app has exercises curated carefully by experts to guide your transition.
Avoid Stressful Situations
Constant stress is another subtle factor that prevents good glycemic control. These could either be physical stress or mental stress such as anxiety. When stressed, your body releases certain stress hormones to cope with the situation. These hormones result in an elevation of blood glucose and blood pressure. This is one of the immediate changes you have to make to improve your diabetes management. Whenever you feel stressed, you can:
- Exercise for a few minutes
- Do some Yoga
- Go on a small holiday
- Take a break
- Listen to some music
- Identify your common stressors and consciously avoid them
Smoking itself is a risk factor for diabetes. It has also been found to worsen its rate of progression. Other health conditions such as heart diseases, liver diseases, and increased blood pressure have also been associated with it. It increases your risk of complications to the above-named organs.
Therefore, smoking cessation is one of the important lifestyle changes for type 2 diabetes patients. Sudden smoking cessation might not be easy to achieve, but it can be phased out over time. It would help if you also considered talking to your physician for professional guidance.
Try To Lose Some Weight
Overweight and obesity have been associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes complications. Therefore, weight loss should be considered if you are overweight or obese. Losing weight will help you control your blood glucose better and eliminate avoidable risks.
However, it would be best to slowly lose weight to allow your body to adjust to this new change. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a gradual and steady loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week. According to them, losing 5 to 10 percent of your total body weight will benefit you.
Keep A Glucose Control Chart
In your quest to manage type 2 diabetes, it is important to keep a glucose control chart. This will help you keep track of your blood glucose values and, therefore, your management success. It will also serve as an alert when your blood glucose level rises.
Keeping a glucose control chart is one of those changes you have to make immediately after your diagnosis. Your doctor’s management decisions depend on it. The Klinio app has a user-friendly interface that seamlessly allows you to do this.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Limiting your liquor, beer, and wine intake may make your blood sugar control easier. The American Diabetes Association(ADA) recommends one drink a day for women and no more than two drinks a day for men. This is the equivalence of 12-ounce beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.
Alcohol intake is a change you might also need to phase out slowly. You may join a program or talk to a professional for guidance.
When newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your lifestyle changes should be your first call of action. With or without medications, they will enable you to achieve good glycemic control. Lifestyle modifications such as dietary changes, regular exercise, weight control, and stress avoidance are highly recommended. Diabetes management apps like the Klinio app are instilled with features that make these changes easy.