Living with diabetes blog

Diabetes: Tips for developing healthy habits

By Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. and Peggy Moreland, R.N. January 8, 2013

It's that time of year again — time for New Year's resolutions. The holiday parties are over, and the increased shopping and travel and dining out are behind us. I like January because it's a time for recovery.

If you're like me, you may feel a little guilty about your past month's eating habits. In addition, the weather is colder here, and the thought of going outside to enjoy a nice long walk went by the wayside for me.

A healthy outlook for a person with diabetes largely depends on how well you manage your blood glucose. You've probably been told to eat healthier, exercise more, test your blood sugar and see your health care provider on a regular basis.

I'd like to share some tips from a Mayo Clinic brochure, My Road to Better Health with Diabetes:

Move daily to increase energy and feel better
Increasing physical activity helps improve your blood sugar control and reduces the risk of heart disease and nerve problems. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least five days per week. If it's cold outside, consider walking indoors, around your house or at a department store or mall.

Eat a healthy diet
Choose healthy carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, lean meats and good fats. Watch portion size! Have healthy snacks available in case you get the munchies. If I really, really want a treat, I have to get in my car and go to the store to buy it, because I don't keep treats at home. It makes me think twice, and I usually go for a healthier fruit snack option at home, instead.

Relax daily
Yes! It's January, and we can hopefully take a breather from holiday stress. Stress can raise blood sugar. Take time for yourself each day, and do something that you enjoy such as reading a book or working on a hobby.

Maintain good health by taking time for prevention
Healthy lifestyle choices may decrease your chances of developing complications from diabetes.

  • Limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
  • Don't smoke or use other kinds of tobacco.
  • Take your medications and insulin as directed.
  • Wear a medical alert identification (ID).
  • Know your numbers — A1C, blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.

Sleep enough to wake up renewed and refreshed
This can make it easier for you to control your blood sugar.

Discover meaning and purpose in your life
You can live a happy, healthy and full life with diabetes. Look for education opportunities to help you manage your diabetes. Make time to do things that bring you joy, and explore new ways to have fun.

Don't stress yourself out with resolutions! Decide on one goal. And make your goal SMART:

  • Specific: What are you going to do?
  • Measurable: How will you track your progress?
  • Achievable: What steps will you take to make this happen?
  • Realistic: Can you see yourself doing this?
  • Time-framed: When will you do this?

Have a happy and safe new year!

Peggy

Jan. 08, 2013