A diagnosis of diabetes often leads to confusion - there’s a lot of conflicting information floating around about what you can do to manage it. It can be hard to know where to start! Here is a simple list of things you can begin to do today to improve your health and enjoy your life.
1. Prioritise your health
Take time to look after and nurture yourself. We are often so busy taking care of others - our kids, our spouse, our boss - that we neglect our own health. Make time for your health appointments and to take care of your body. You are worth it. Remember, you won’t be able to be there for your loved ones if you are in poor health.
Stress has a huge impact on your well-being (and your blood glucose). Take time to do things you enjoy. It may be as simple as reading a book or meeting for a coffee with a friend. It’s important to take “micro-vacations” from the daily grind or you wind up burnt out and exhausted.
3. Exercise (but keep it fun)
Try to do at least 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days a week. Even if you haven’t exercised for a while, there may be something you used to enjoy – for example walking on the beach or swimming. If you are doing something you enjoy, the time will pass quickly and you may even want to keep going!
4. Enjoy your favourite foods (the healthy way)
Do you love spaghetti bolognese? Perfect - have it. Just add some extra veggies to the mix and keep the pasta portion smaller. There is always a way to make your favourite dish healthy when you make it at home - get creative! Remember to keep the portion and GI of your carbohydrates low to keep your blood sugar stable.
5. Be Informed
You are the only one who can make decisions about your own health. Make sure you make use of resources like the internet and magazines to understand your diabetes. Your diabetes educator, dietitian and exercise physiologist can be fantastic sources of information on how to manage this complex disease.