I used to struggle with diabetes…
Until I discovered a few tweaks which made life so much healthier and easier.
It turns out that it can be simple and enjoyable… Better than before really!
Now my energy has skyrocketed, I’ve lost weight, and I’m confident in the plan for moving forward.
If you’re trying to shape your life to be diabetic friendly, ticking all the boxes can be a mammoth challenge.
So below we’ve compiled our best lifehacks for diabetics. It's a roadmap to help you get those healthy habits in place, while avoiding some of the common pitfalls.
As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, it is health that is real wealth, and not pieces of gold.
Whether it’s type 1 diabetes, type 2, prediabetes or gestational, we hope these tips can help you.
1. Planning is eveything
Reduce the need to make constant decisions by planning out the steps that will help you stay on track.
When it’s planned and scheduled, it’s much easier to stay on top of things.
Sit down once a week and put everything on the calendar...
Exercise sessions, when to go shopping, and any other commitments you have.
A diabetes friendly food plan is a great way to stay on track.
By following recipes and plans, less time is needed calculating your food groups.
Not sure where to start? Check out Diabetes Smarts.
Sleep quality impacts diabetes. So give yourself a headstart by planning for a restful sleep.
Set a regular bedtime and create your own winddown routine. Meditation or gentle stretching are great options for an evening routine.
2. Bulk prepare food
There's a world of delicious meals that fit within the diabetes guidelines.
But often TIME is the problem.
So, when cooking your favorites, triple the ingredients and pop a few portions in the freezer.
3. Pair carbohydrates with protein or healthy fats
Eating carbs on their own can spike blood sugar.
But pairing with protein rich or healthy fat foods, will slow down the release of glucose into the blood stream.
Eating a piece of fruit? Have some cheese or nuts as well.
4. Move after eating
Research shows that gentle exercise after eating can help regulate blood sugar levels.
A short walk after each meal is a fantastic habit to adopt.
Exercise is vital for managing diabetes, so you want to stay on top of it.
As well as cardio, try to include some strength training if you can. Strength training is particularly important, because healthy muscles help to improve insulin sensitivity.
Good exercise options include walking, swimming, biking, tai chi, and yoga.
For type 1 diabetics, it’s also important to learn how your body reacts to different exercise. Test glucose levels before, during, and after exercise... and discuss your exercise regime with your doctor.
The key is to set achievable exercise goals, schedule it, and follow through.
6. Reflect on your progress
Take time to reflect or write down your progress.
Notice what’s working well, how you’re feeling, and any mini-goals that might help.
It can be easy to ignore the small wins, increases in energy, and positive behaviors.
But by reflecting, you’ll soon identify things that work well for you.
Write them down and make them part of your routine. This quickly makes healthy habits easier and easier, in a way that works for you.
Identifying food triggers can also be extremely beneficial.
Many people struggle with emotional eating and cravings. By identifying those times when temptation kicks in, you can address the situation.
If it’s boredom-snacking, could you go for a walk instead... read a book... or take up a hobby?
Could you enjoy a cup of herbal tea instead of that nightly snack?
Sometimes, the very act of self-awareness is enough to overcome temptation.
7. Ease into it
It’s all about developing healthy LONG-TERM habits. Developing new habits one at a time can vastly increase the odds of success. So ease into it rather than trying to drastically overhaul your entire life in one hit.
Unless your doctor has told you otherwise, focus on small positive adjustments.
If you eat a lot of refined carbohydrates or added sugar, this is a great place to start.
Cut refined carbohydrates and added sugar, or reduce portion sizes.
And don't worry, there are plenty of diabetes-friendly recipes using alternatives.
Foods to cut or reduce include...
Refined carbohydrates (white flour, pastries, white bread, white pasta, white rice)
Starchy vegetables like potatoes
Juice and soda
Added sugar and sugary treats
A good rule of thumb is to cut processed foods. Whole foods in their natural form should make up the bulk of your diet.
And be aware of how much fruit you eat… Although fruit is high in fiber, it also has high levels of sugar.
For full food lists, and ways to make it delicious, check out Diabetes Smarts.
If you don’t currently exercise, build up slowly.
Exercise is vital, but you want to be aware of how it impacts your blood sugar levels.
Small lifestyle adjustments can also have an impact, so look for ways to add more movement into your day. Take the stairs, have walking meetings, or add mini-exercise breaks.
8. Enjoy the process
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
A diabetic-friendly lifestyle can be an adventure of discovery and reinvention.
So go into it with an open mind and an attitude that you can enjoy it.
Enjoy exploring new recipes and ingredients, feeling good, and reinventing yourself.
Successful diabetes eating is all about replacement foods and refining your recipes. See it as an opportunity to deepen your relationship with food and try new things.
Try making your own carrot or zucchini noodles to replace pasta. They taste delicious, reduce blood sugar spikes, and reduce brain fog.
Create your own sauces by reproducing store-bought favorites, without the toxic chemicals.
Become the celebrity chef among your friends and family, delivering fresh taste sensations! More on that below.
Even if you’re forced into these changes by the doctor’s order, own it!
Embrace the change as an opportunity to feel and look great, and discover new things. By focusing on the positives, it can be a journey of self-growth, rather than a chore.
9. Herbs and spices are your best friend
Herbs and spices are a powerhouse for health in general, and especially for diabetics.
The natural compounds in spices combat diabetes, arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease... and many other health problems.
Most significantly for diabetics, many herbs and spices help to stabilize blood glucose.
Excellent herbs and spices for the shopping list include
On top of the health benefits, herbs and spices are a one stop shop for making meals delicious.
10. Learn from others
You are not alone in this journey. The world is full of others who have flourished with diabetes. Tap into their experience.
And if you’d like the ULTIMATE resource for diabetes, check out Diabetes Smarts.
Over 20 doctors, nutritionists, and diabetes experts contributed to Diabetes Smarts.
It's a one stop shop to provide you with all the tools, recipes, and knowledge needed to stay healthy for good.
Empower yourself with knowledge and start making positive changes today!
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