7 Steps To Help You Control Your Diabetes

You’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or diabetes, now what? What do you do? Well, it is time to take control of your life. It is time to take control of your diabetes. It essentially is time to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

The seven steps that I will be discussing are as follows: Get support, Get informed, Get trim, Get active, Get food, Get ready, and last but not least Get stress free.  I want to go over seven steps to help you control your diabetes.

First Get Support!

Build a support system, that consists of your primary care physician as well as a dietician. Hiring a diabetic educator can help you learn as much as you can about the disease process that you’ve been diagnosed, this new diagnosis that you’re dealing with. Also, a pharmacist, podiatrist, ophthalmologist, endocrinologist which is a diabetic specialist, a doctor who specializes in the treatment of diabetes. You also want to make sure that you’re in touch with a dentist and also perhaps a therapist, a psychologist or a therapist because some people find that when getting this diagnosis they either are depressed or overwhelmed with the diagnosis, the disease, and you might find that you just need somebody to talk to. Again, it’s all a part of your support system.

Yes, building that support system is very important. It would help you, in the long run, to deal with this disease on a daily basis.

Number two is Get informed!

Hire a diabetic educator so that you can learn about this disease. You also want to do your own personal research and educate yourself on diabetes and the complications and things that you can do to help combat this disease that you’ve been diagnosed with. You want to ask your physician questions. At the end of your visit with your doctor, asking questions is key! If there are some things you don’t understand, please, please, please, I employ you to ask questions. You want to learn about your medications. Learn what they do, what their purpose is, perhaps even some of the side effects. Again, inform yourself so that you are in the know. You are the advocate for your own health.

Know your A1C level and understand what that means. If it’s high, understand what you need to do to work towards getting it down, and then two, knowing and keeping up with your A1C level will help you celebrate those achievements as well.

Number three Get trim!

You want to lose weight. Losing weight is key.  Obesity is the number one cause leading to the development of Type 2 diabetes. If we lose weight in the waistline, that has been shown to decrease the negative effects of diabetes and may even help you get off of your medication.  Truncal obesity, which is the gaining of weight around the waistline is a risk factor and does lead to the development of diabetes in a lot of cases.

Weight loss is key and is beneficial. Weight loss is important, so you develop a healthy lifestyle of eating, making the right food choices, realizing that there is no quick fix, there is no magic pill or magic bullet or magic wrap or anything of that nature, you just have to devote yourself on that path to losing weight. Realizing, if you lose it too fast, that’s not very beneficial because you’ll just eventually gain it right back. About a pound a week is really what is suggested. If you lose about a pound a week, that’s a very realistic goal. If you get on a good eating plan and exercise plan, losing a pound a week is very doable.

Number four, Get active!

Exercise is very important to your overall well being. Exercising about three times a week for 30 to 60 minutes is the best way to keep yourself healthy. You want to make sure that you choose something that you enjoy doing because if you enjoy it then you’re more apt to stick with it and do it more religiously. You can do things like swimming, dancing, running, cycling, and cycling actually is what I do and what I enjoy.

I ride my bike and I usually do about 10 to 15 miles a day, about four times a week. Living in Houston is amazing and so is the weather. I get outdoors and really get the heart pumping with my exercise regimen. But again, you want to pick something that you enjoy so if it’s sports, basketball or tennis, whatever you desire, just get in three times a week, 30 to 60 minutes a day.

Also, you just want to keep moving so if you can get extra steps in, you might do the 10,000 step challenge or if you can park a little further from the door of your destination and walk that way, take the stairs at work, various things like that again, help just keep you moving, keep you active. The key is to take in fewer calories and expend more or burn more.

Also, if you find that you’re having trouble sticking to that regimen, you might get your workout buddy or workout partner who can further motivate you and keep you accountable in helping you achieve your exercise goals.

Number five Get Food!

You want to focus on the food. Focusing on the food, you want to make sure that you’re getting your fiber from a plant-based diet and that would include fruits and veggies and whole grains. You want to avoid concentrated sugars from foods like cakes, pies and ice creams.

Also, you want to avoid sugary drinks. They’re very high in sugar content.  A lot of people drink soda pop, fruit juice, vitamin water, sports drinks, energy drinks. These drinks contain lot of sugar.

You want to make sure also that you’re getting adequate protein in your diet. Protein is the key and very important in helping you build muscle. You want to be mindful of the carbohydrate content of the foods that you are ingesting. Because carbs are not a diabetic’s friend. You basically want to get into the habit of reading food labels, especially for processed foods. You want to read those labels because there’s a lot of information on a food label and it further educates you on what you’re putting into your body.

It is advised when grocery shopping to shop the perimeter of the grocery store.  The perimeter of the grocery store will have your fresh foods, fresh produce, things that are more natural and healthier whereas inside the inner aisles, you have those foods that are processed, most of the times filled with preservatives and fillers to prolong taste and shelf life, and they may not be as healthy for you.

You want to restock your pantry and also restock your refrigerator with foods that are better choices for a diabetic. Then lastly, get in touch with a dietician. You might find that you need some help in making healthy choices or meal ideas, meal preps, recipes, things of that nature. Getting with a dietician will be able to help you do that.

Number six Get Stress Free!

You want to minimize stress. Stress keeps our body in a constant state of fight or flight. Stress raises your glucose level getting you ready for the fight, and that puts more glucose into your bloodstream and it’s not necessarily needed. It also raises your blood pressure, so we want to minimize the stress in our lives if we can. What does that mean?  If you can remove the stressor, first and foremost remove the stressor, that would be great, but a lot of times we can’t, so we have to figure out different things that we can do to destress.

Meditation is a great way to destress and relax your mind.  You also can consider doing yoga. You can consider going on walks, listening to relaxing music. If you’re caught up in the heat of the moment and you need to relax right away, counting to ten, some deep breathing, can help you cut the stress in your life.

Number seven Get Ready!

You want to develop a healthy diabetic mindset. Well, what does that mean? You want to love who you are. Yes, you’ve been diagnosed with this disease but it’s not the end of the world.  It doesn’t mean that you are done. You can live a long, healthy and productive life by making some lifestyle changes and live well with this disease, so love who you are. Believe in yourself. Believe that this disease, diabetes does not define you and that you can rise above it and you will be successful.

You want to focus on the positive things in life, not the negatives. Focus on the positives. Be intentional. Be intentional in that you’re going to beat this. You’re going to combat it and you’re going to win. Learn from your mistakes.

Don’t be too hard on yourself where you end up sabotaging your mindset because the mindset is key. You have to have a positive mindset going forward in order to be successful. Never stop learning.  Equip yourself with the ammunition that you need. Knowledge is power, and you want to be powerful in that diabetic mindset.

Lastly, celebrate your success. You lose two pounds, you lose five, you lose ten, celebrate that. Your A1C decreases 1%, 2%, celebrate that.  Living with diabetes is a daily struggle, know that you’re not alone. There will be ups and downs.  Enlist the help of your family, your friends, your loved ones. Also, involving everybody as a part of your support team is a wise decision.

 

I’m Dr. Sharita, your Board certified Emergency Medicine Physician, Healthy Life style Enthusiast, Health Advocate and a doctor living with diabetes. If you need help or want to learn more, feel free to book a wellness consultation or appointment at Serendipity Lifestyle & Wellness Spa!

Don't forget to follow me on all social media sites @DrSharitaMD & @SerendipityLifestyleSpa

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