Managing diabetes requires a great deal of effort and may seem overwhelming at first. You’re asked to make many lifestyle changes that seem virtually impossible. Doctor visits every three months, finger sticks three times a day, diabetes pills or insulin injections, no sugar, no fat, no salt, get more exercise, lose weight, stop smoking, check your feet everyday, be aware of signs and symptoms of low or high blood glucose levels – whew! Who wouldn’t be overwhelmed? But it is important to understand that together these lifestyle changes will help you live well with diabetes.
According to the National Wellness Institute, wellness is an active process through which people become aware of, and make choices toward, a more successful existence. It’s more than being free from illness. Optimal wellness is met through a combination of good eating habits, sufficient exercise and relaxation.
Known as the fitness triad, nutrition, exercise and relaxation are important parts of a healthy lifestyle when you have diabetes. Along with other benefits, following a healthy meal plan, being active and getting rest can help you keep your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, in your target range.
So let’s look at the fitness triad.
Nutrition is the process of nourishing the body. Eating healthy foods according to your diabetes meal plan is an important aspect of diabetes self management. Healthy eating will help you stay at a healthy weight, maintain good glucose control, lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels. You should devote 2- 3 hours daily towards preparing and eating your meals.
Practice eating mindfully – paying attention to the flavors of your food instead of being distracted by TV, reading or working. When you do other things while you eat, you are eating mindlessly, which can lead to overeating and making poor food choices.