Health: Living with diabetes

By Arnold

A diabetes diagnoses is quite shocking for most, but it is really a matter of control. Diabetes can be controlled with proper diet and exercise, and medicine prescribed by your physician.

The control you possess comes via the foods you eat and the exercise you do. Combined, these can aid in controlling your weight, reducing stress, and lowering your blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides (blood fats). Taking your medication as indicated, testing your glucose levels, and communicating with your physician is vital as well. Taking control is not hard, but it does require education and some discipline.

Exercise should be a part of everyone’s routine, regardless of whether or not you are diabetic. Before you begin any exercise routine, consult with your doctor. You should also learn signs and symptoms of low blood sugar, which can come on due to medications you may be taking. Physical activity should be increased slowly, one step at a time. Your body needs to adjust to any new activity that is introduced. Set goals for yourself and get to moving those muscles. Thirty minutes a day, five to seven days a week is all it takes. It can be as simple as taking a walk, joining a swim class, or actively playing with children. Make it a daily regimen and continue to alter activity level goals for yourself.

Your diet may seem to be the hardest part to control. Who wants to be told what they can and cannot eat? The good news is you are probably already eating many of the foods you should be eating, and you probably already know of those foods that you should not be consuming. Eating often is recommended. Have three or four smaller meals versus two larger meals. Have healthy snacks between meals. The idea is to spread out calories and carbohydrates throughout the day. This helps control your blood sugar levels.

Choosing the right foods is not hard with so many choices on the market. If you have a sweet tooth, do not indulge in it; eat in moderation and eat sugar-free alternatives. They are often as tasty as their counterparts, but be weary of carbohydrates. Load up on fruits and vegetables, fresh or frozen. Choose smart snacks, such as crispy pita bread or pretzels over chips. In other words, choose baked instead of fried. Buy individual-serving packed snacks to help control your food intake. You’ll find that healthy alternatives are often extremely tasty.

Whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit are rich in fiber and good carbohydrates. Protein, such as lean meat, fish, poultry, nuts and cheese, should also be implemented. Limit saturated fat (animal fat) and trans fat (partially hydrogenated vegetables oils such as hard margarine); oils from vegetables and fish is healthy. Use broth instead of fat, broil instead of frying, remove any excess fat in meats, take the skin off of poultry, and eat more vegetables and less fatty meats.

Reduce the size of carbohydrates you eat. Again, more fruits and vegetables and less flour-based products such as white bread, pasta, and rice are recommended. Use alternatives – whole wheat bread high in fiber, brown rice and wheat pasta. Add beans, peas, oats and barley. A healthy variety of foods is the best way to maintain optimal health and provide you with the essential nutrients your body needs.

They key is to take control of your diabetes, don’t let it control you. Eating healthy and exercising can help lower your blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides. Educating yourself is important.

Use information as your guide, but customize it to your liking. You are going to find tons of conflicting information on what to do and what not to do, but use your instinct to guide you. Feel your body, and be in tune with its needs. Exercise and a proper diet will not only help you control your diabetes, it will also make you feel good and strong. Taking control will take you on the path to making all the positive changes needed for a good, long, healthy life.

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