Creating a Balanced Lifestyle

Lesson 5

How to Enjoy Your Life with Type 2 Diabetes

What Constitutes a Balanced Lifestyle

 With the fear and anxiety associated with Type 2 diabetes and the numerous rules concerning how to manage it, you may find yourself wondering whether you can cope with the condition. While Type 2 diabetes may be a difficult and dangerous condition, as it can damage almost any organ in the body, if you take care of the following, you will not only improve the quality of your life but will also enjoy your journey with Type 2 diabetes.

Healthy diet

One of the primary factors in controlling your blood sugar and preventing the complications of diabetes is your diet. You need to eat healthily, and that implies taking as little processed food as possible. You should also avoid or minimize canned food because of its high oil and salt content. You’re better off with fresh organic foods.

A healthy diet, for you, should consist of foods with a low glycemic index (load), such as complex non-starchy carbohydrates (whole wheat, steel-cut oats, quinoa, etc.), vegetables (kale, cabbage, carrots, spinach, broccoli, etc.), proteins (eggs, lean chicken, beans, peas, and others), and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids (tuna, mackerel, and sardines) and other good fats from nuts and seeds.

Regular physical activity

To have better control of your blood sugar and improve the quality of your life, you need to ensure regular physical activity. The American Diabetes Association recommends 30 minutes of moderately intensive physical activity, such as brisk walking/jogging, swimming, cycling, weight training, and others, per day, five times a week.

Creating time for regular exercise may seem like a chore, and you may be too busy, but those shouldn’t deter you. It’s possible to make exercise a part of other activities you normally do daily. For instance, instead of driving to work, you can walk to your workplace or use a bicycle.

Healthy social habits

Nicotine, the substance in cigarettes, is one of the most versatile toxins known. Not only can it cause cancer (lung cancer, for example), but it also causes widespread blood vessel damage, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. Since those are also some of the complications of diabetes, smoking increases the chances of developing diabetes complications. Hence, if you’re a smoker, you need to quit.

Another social habit that does not go well with diabetes management is alcohol drinking. Excessive and chronic consumption of alcohol can interfere with insulin function and raise your blood sugar levels. For better control of your blood sugar levels, you should reduce alcohol intake.

Monitoring your body

Even though diabetes is not curable, you can manage it and enjoy a quality life even into old age. All it requires is proper monitoring and good care. Depending on your discussion with your doctor, you need to frequently check your blood sugar levels. In addition, it’s important to take care of your skin, especially that of your feet, and check for injuries and infections, as foot numbness is very common with diabetes.

A very essential part of monitoring is your regular appointments with your doctor. During those visits, your doctor checks your blood pressure and examine your feet, eyes, and teeth. The doctor may also request for some tests to check your cholesterol levels (lipid profile), the state of your kidneys (urine protein and kidney function test), and how well your blood glucose control has been over the last 3 months (HbA1C test).

Taking care of your mental health

Your mental health matters! Diabetes management can take a toll on your emotional health, so making a conscious effort to take care of your mental health is necessary to enjoy a quality life while living with Type 2 diabetes. Mindfulness exercises, like deep breathing and meditation, can help you relieve stress and anxiety.

Discuss any concerns and management targets with your family and friends who are ready to offer support. You should also seek diabetes support groups both online and offline (not in this Covid-19 season).

Learning about your condition

It goes without saying that to better manage your condition, you need to learn all you can about the conditions, which is why diabetes education is very important for you. Try and read everything you can about Type 2 diabetes, and be sure to visit a diabetes educator to learn several aspects of diabetes self care, such as how to check your blood sugar levels and blood pressure, how to take good care of your foot, and others.

Planning our finances

Managing Type 2 diabetes is very expensive, especially if you live in the US, and your health Medicare plan doesn’t adequately cover your diabetes treatment. In such a situation, planning your finances becomes very essential. Remember, health first! So, you may have to cut down on unnecessary expenses to save money.

You should also discuss with your doctor about the most cost-effective options available to you. On our part, you also double your effort in strictly keeping to diabetes-friendly diet and regular exercise. These two key elements of diabetes management do not cost much and can prevent or delay any need for insulin, which is very expensive.

Being in control

While so many professionals, such as your endocrinologist, podiatrist, dentist, ophthalmologist, nurses, pharmacists, and diabetes educator, may be involved in your management, you are the leader of your diabetes management team because you alone know how it feels and where it hurts.

So, be in control and assume responsibility for your health. You should learn about your condition and ask the necessary questions that would help you manage your health better. Being in control also means being disciplined enough to stick to your diet and keep to your exercise routine.