Top Lifestyle Tips For Managing Your Diabetes

Feb 22, 2023
Top Lifestyle Tips For Managing Your Diabetes
When it comes to effective diabetes management, a healthy lifestyle is just as important as medical intervention. Learn four key lifestyle strategies that can help you control diabetes and keep it from progressing.

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes, you may already have a basic treatment plan in place. This plan probably includes daily medication and blood sugar monitoring along with the formation of a diabetes care team to help minimize your risk of health complications.

In addition to your provider at Direct Primary Care New Braunfels, you may also be advised to connect with a dietician and diabetes educator, and have regular visits with your dentist, eye care provider (optometrist), and foot care physician (podiatrist). But at the end of the day, you are the most important member of your diabetes care team.

As chronic disease management experts who specialize in diabetes care, our skilled team of board-certified providers at Direct Primary Care New Braunfels in New Braunfels, Texas, wants you to know that when it comes to diabetes control, a healthy lifestyle is just as important as medical intervention. 

Here, Dr. Thomas KayDr. Georgina Bustamante, and nurse practitioner Becky Spencer offer four key lifestyle strategies that can help you manage diabetes and keep it from progressing. 

Diabetes treatment is just half of the equation

One of the most widespread misconceptions about diabetes is that all it takes to manage the disease is medication, daily blood sugar testing, and regular physical exams with a primary care doctor. While these basic elements of diabetes care are certainly important, they’re just one half of the equation when it comes to protecting your health. 

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive illness, meaning the underlying insulin resistance that drives it tends to worsen over time. As the years go by, your medication may become less effective than it once was, requiring you to take a higher dose to maintain tight blood glucose control. Luckily, this scenario doesn’t have to be a foregone conclusion. 

Healthy steps toward optimal diabetes control

The other half of an effective diabetes management equation is a healthy lifestyle. By making a few key modifications, you have the power to restrain or even improve insulin resistance — and slow or completely halt diabetes advancement. 

To support optimal health with diabetes, you should:

1. Manage your body weight

Being overweight or obese makes diabetes management more difficult. It also increases your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) and unhealthy cholesterol levels, two of the top risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which happens to be the leading cause of death for people with diabetes. 

Two essential aspects of healthy living with diabetes — eating a wholesome diet and getting regular exercise — also support better weight management. Just losing 5-10% of your body weight can make a real difference. And if you need help, our team offers comprehensive medical weight loss services.

2. Choose wholesome foods

Work with our team or a dietician who specializes in diabetes to create a healthy eating plan that makes it easier for you to choose the right foods and avoid old habits and dietary pitfalls.

A healthy diabetes eating plan consists of four main components:

  • Fiber-rich foods (vegetables, fruits, and whole grains)
  • Lean proteins (legumes, tofu, eggs, poultry, white fish)
  • Healthy fats (olive oil, nuts and seeds, avocado, salmon)
  • Calcium sources, like low-fat dairy products (plain yogurt)

Knowing which foods to limit or avoid is just as important: A healthy diabetes diet is one that’s low in saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. At mealtime, fill half your plate with veggies and fruit, and fill the other half with a lean protein, a whole grain, and a bit of healthy fat.

3. Be more physically active

Daily exercise is one of the best tools for managing diabetes: It’s completely free, and it’s also something virtually everyone can engage in — including beginner exercisers who are making the leap from sedentary to newly active. 

Regular physical activity increases circulation, reduces inflammation, and improves insulin resistance. When you exercise, your muscles absorb sugar from your bloodstream without having to rely on insulin. Once our team gives you the go-ahead to start working out, set a goal to be active most days, aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderately intense exercise each week.

4. Manage your stressors

You know that stress can leave you feeling pushed to the max, but did you know it can also make your blood sugar levels rise? When you have diabetes, it’s more important than ever to find ways to mitigate outside pressures, ease your anxieties, and reduce your stress levels. 

Learning deep breathing and mindfulness techniques can go a long way in helping you remain present and centered when you’re starting to feel stressed. When you’re overwhelmed, try listening to music, reading a book, going for a walk, or working on your favorite hobby.

Need help with diabetes? Give us a call today

Are you ready to improve your diabetes care and management plan? Our team at Direct Primary Care New Braunfels can help. Call or click online to schedule an appointment at our office in New Braunfels, Texas, today.