How to live with diabetes

Factors that you need to watch out for. Picture credit:

We recently did an article explaining what Diabetes is but one of the biggest hurdles is how to live a normal life with it and what to do to prevent it if from your family cycle if you are more prone to it. Here are a few practical steps to take.

Food Wise

diabetes 3
Eating well is important when you have diabetes. Picture credit:

The good
• Wholegrain flours, whole grains such as brown rice, and whole grain breads and cereals.
• Baked sweet or white potato
• Maize, popcorn, or products made from corn
• Fresh vegetables, eaten raw or steamed, roasted, or grilled
• Fresh fruit
• Sugar free, or low sugar jam or preserves, 100% fruit juice
• Baked, broiled, stewed, or grilled lean meats (fish, chicken, turkey, egg, Etc.)
• Low fat Dairy Products etc. Skimmed milk
• Baked not fried snacks!
• Non-hydrogenated oils, margarine in moderation is fine.
• Water is a necessity! Unsweetened tea and coffee in moderation. Alcohol in small quantities is fine.

The bad
• White flour and processed grains
• French fries
• Vegetables with lots of sodium or cooked with lots of added butter cheese or sauce
• Regular jam, sweetened fruit preserves, and artificial fruit juice
• Fried or deep fried meats
• Red meats (can be eaten in small portions and cut out the fat beforehand.)
• Whole milk and regular dairy products
• Snacks fried or deep fried, and hydrogenated oils, butter.
• Regular sodas
• Regular alcohol consumption
• Coffee or tea with sugar and cream, regular sports drinks intake

Working Out
Exercise is safe and highly recommended for most people with type 2 diabetes, including those with complications. Along with diet and medication, exercise will help you lower blood sugar and lose weight.

Exercise is good for you. Picture credit:
Exercise is good for you. Picture credit:

However, the prospect of diving into a workout routine may be intimidating. These simple tips will help you get started.

• Try quick workouts. “As long as you’re totalling 30 minutes of exercise each day, several brief workouts are fine,” says George Griffing, MD, professor of endocrinology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

“We need people with diabetes up and moving,” Dr. Griffing says. “If you can do your exercise in one 30 minute stretch, fine. But if not, break it up into increments you can manage that add up to at least 30 minutes each day.”

• Focus on overall activity. Generally try to move more as you go about your day, like taking the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator. Taking a walk with your children or spouse in the evening. Not complaining about the household tasks you have to perform because even washing dishes can burn calories.

• Change your attitude. A lot of people have this attitude about exercise being a hard, boring task, but that is simply not true. Exercise can be as fun as you make it. Just work on doing enjoyable activities that get you to move. For example if you love dancing, take dancing class with your partner, or buy Zumba and work it out in your own home. If you love walking or nature, take walks each evening around your estate or environment, and then once a month go on a hike with your family. If there’s a sport you always wanted to learn, go for it! Tennis, or squash, or basketball, now is the time to pick up a new skill and scorch calories at the same time.

Set realistic goals. When you have diabetes or are prone to getting it in the future you can’t do a crash diet or just exercise for a while and then quit, it has to be a radical lifestyle change! If you want to shed a few kilos in the process that’s fine but let that not be your focus. Take every day as a new challenge to conquer to discover fitness and optimal healthy living that will keep this disease and the fear it brings from affecting your life negatively.

Get a fitness buddy! It’s proven that having an accountability partner in anything in life increases your chances of success. Whether it’s your spouse, mentor, or best friend, get someone who you know will not quit easily, and claim back your life and fitness together. Exercise loves company.

Factors that you need to watch out for.  Picture credit:
Factors that you need to watch out for. Picture credit:

• Keep a Life journal. Record your progress every day to help you keep a track record and not fall off the wagon too much. Also being able to see the progress you’ve made in your lifestyle changes motivates you to keep pushing on, and not give up.

These are steps which are recommended not only for those with diabetes but also those who just want to get fit and healthy. A healthy lifestyle extends your life in general, and reduces the risks of long term diseases such as cancer, obesity, and diabetes. Consult your doctor though before you start any fitness program or diet to be safe.


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Shingai is an upcoming writer with a passion for words and expression through writing. She lived in Zimbabwe as a child and has traveled to over ten countries. She craves adventure and hopes to be an inspirational writer. She is currently pursuing a degree in English Literature with a minor in Psychology at Daystar University.