Got DIABETES Plan your DIET and WORKOUT wisely
If you have diabetes, you may need to make some changes to your way of life. However, by sticking to your management plan, monitoring your condition and following a healthy lifestyle, you should be able to continue your normal, day-to-day life and take part in the activities you have always enjoyed.
The long-term benefits of healthy eating and regular physical activity outweigh the excuses we can all make not to follow a healthy lifestyle. A positive attitude, careful planning, and support from your family, friends, and doctor all help.
What you eat directly affects your blood glucose levels. It can also affect the amount of fat, such as cholesterol in your blood. By choosing healthy foods, you can manage your blood glucose levels and your weight.
The diet for people with diabetes is not a special diet. It is the normal healthy diet recommended for everybody – low in fat, sugar and salt, with plenty of fruits and vegetables. Healthy eating is for everyone, so there is no need to prepare separate meals for you or someone with diabetes in your family. You do not need to buy special foods either, so relax, and learn how to enjoy a varied balanced diet.
When you are first diagnosed with diabetes, you can even ask your doctor to help you with dietary advice. In the meantime here is some information to get you started.
Tips for healthy eating
- Don’t skip meals, especially if you’ve already taken your insulin, because your blood glucose levels may drop too low
- Try to cut down on the fat you eat as this will help you to lose weight, which will help you to control your diabetes. Eat less saturated (animal) fats in particular as this type of fat is linked to heart disease
- Eat more fruit and vegetables – aim for at least five portions a day
- Use low-fat cooking methods such as grilling, microwaving, steaming, dry roasting, or barbecuing
- Use less salt (a maximum of 1 teaspoon a day). Avoid putting salt on the table. Try flavoring foods with herbs and spices instead of salt
- Drink sensibly. Alcohol is high in calories, so try to keep to a maximum of 14 units a week
- If you are overweight, aim to lose slowly over time (0.5 – 1 kg per week) rather than crash dieting. It will help you keep your blood glucose levels controlled
As well as healthy eating and medication, physical activity is an important part of diabetes management. Even small changes in activity can help you lead a healthier lifestyle. Remember to discuss any activity plans with your doctor before you start.
Physical activity helps to regulate blood glucose levels, make insulin work more effectively, reduce weight, improve blood cholesterol and blood pressure, and prevent coronary heart disease.
The more active you are, you will also find the more energy you have and the less stressed you feel.
Tips for physical activity
- Start slow and gradually - 5-10min. a day to give it a start and then stretch it to 30min. a day
- Do something that you enjoy. Also, think of movement as an activity opportunity, so take the stairs instead of the lift, get off the bus one stop earlier and walk the rest, or do housework to music, gardening on the weekends, or a walk in the garden. Walking is the easiest, safest, and most convenient form of physical activity
- To prevent injury and muscle soreness, which can make you lose motivation, it is important to warm up, cool down, and stretch
- Monitor your blood sugar levels before and after exercise, if you’re new to the activity. Don’t exercise if your sugar levels are lower than 100mg/dL or higher than 250-300 mg/dL. Eat a snack if you feel something ‘unusual’
- Stop exercising if you feel dizziness, shortness of breath, disorientation, or pain.
Keep in touch with your doctor on a regular basis and discuss ways on how to manage your blood sugar levels without medicine. You can also consult a homeopath for safe, natural, and long-lasting treatment for diabetes.