6 Lifestyle Changes to Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can feel like an uphill battle. You are suddenly expected to comprehend and make lifestyle changes to manage the disease. And because type 2 diabetes is the kind of disease that develops slowly over time due to poor lifestyle choices, being told to immediately change the way you live can be devastating.
The first thing you need to know is that it is possible to manage and even reverse type 2 diabetes. Yes, you will have to make lifestyle changes, but these are changes that will improve your overall health, and can also lower your chances of a heart attack or stroke.
1. Manage your weight
Many people with type 2 diabetes are overweight. Losing excess weight (and keeping it off) will help you control your blood sugar levels by helping your pancreas to adequately produce the two most important hormones that regulate blood glucose, insulin and glucagon.
Start small by focusing on lifestyle changes rather than on the number on the weighing scale.
2. Start moving
Moderate exercises like walking, biking, and swimming will help you lose weight and build up your cardiovascular endurance (stamina). Start by just allocating 15-30 minutes a day to the activity of your choice. Rope in a friend or family member to join you if you have to.
Once you feel comfortable with your activity level (i.e. you can walk a distance without feeling tired or getting out of breath), you can start incorporating other exercises. Weight training is a great way to build muscle mass and yoga can help stimulate your organs to produce hormones properly.
3. Eat better
It is crucial to watch what you eat when you have diabetes. Everything you put into your body will affect your blood sugar. However, no foods are strictly off-limits. What you want to do is reduce your intake of carbohydrates, fat, and sugar, and practice portion control.
4. Manage stress
Stress and anxiety can cause blood sugar levels to rise. When you feel stressed or anxious, your adrenal glands trigger the release of glucose stored in your organs, leading to elevated levels of glucose in the bloodstream. It can also trigger you to reach for familiar, unhealthy foods for comfort. You may also forget to exercise, eat right, or take your medication.
Finding ways to relieve stress is crucial for diabetes management. Try to pick up new hobbies that not only help you relax but also help you get your body moving as well, like cycling or gardening.
5. Quit smoking (and other vices)
If the disease on its own wasn’t enough, a diagnosis also increases your chances of heart disease, cardiovascular disease, eye disease, stroke, kidney disease, nerve damage, and more. Smoking amplifies your risk factors for these diseases and it also makes it harder to exercise.
Consuming alcohol can also cause your blood glucose to spike or drop, and interfere with your medication. If you’ve ever needed a reason to part with cigarettes, this is it.
6. Get support
It’s not easy to build and stick to new habits. A not so secret tip to help you along your health journey is to find a great support system. It’s important to surround yourself with people who can motivate you, encourage you, and help guide you when you’re unsure.
The Naluri app is a one-stop solution that can track your medication intake and food consumption, help you build new healthy habits, and connect you to a team of incredible digital health coaches including a clinical psychologist, medical advisor, fitness coach, dietitian, and more.
These 6 lifestyle changes will help you manage your type 2 diabetes and may potentially reverse the diagnosis. Whether you’ve only just been diagnosed or have been living with the disease for a while, you can make new healthy choices every day.
The Naluri app was built to support lifestyle changes and help manage chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can start your journey to your healthiest and best self yet.
- Written by:
- Chloe Pharamond