Every diabetic is tasked with having proper diet and exercise to control diabetes. Medications or insulin shots can only do so much. Diet and exercise allow you to lessen the effects of diabetes on your body and life and help you thrive even with this diagnosis. In the case of type 2 diabetes, diet and exercise may even allow you to reverse this type of diabetes.
Not controlling your diabetes will lead to kidney disease, heart disease, blindness, high blood pressure, stroke, infections and wounds that are slow to heal or never heal, limb amputation and even falling into a diabetic coma when severe. So suck it up and do the recommended diet and exercise.
Controlling Diabetes with Diet
People tend to recoil when they hear the word “diet” because of the negative connotations attached to it. Most people think it means that you won’t be able to eat anything you like, or anything delicious, or will be starving and so forth. But when a diet for diabetes is talked about, it simply means a well thought out plan for eating. In some cases, you may even be able to still eat some “bad” foods on occasion as long as you are aware of how they will impact your diabetic eating plan and what adjustments you may need to make when you eat these “bad” foods so that your blood sugar levels do not go crazy and cause you problems.
Creating a proper diabetes eating plan will help you get a better understanding of how various foods impact blood sugar levels which will help you make the decision on which foods to eliminate and which to include. For example, soft drinks, refined grains, etc, have been shown to increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also increasing inflammation in the body. With this information, you can make the wise choice to eliminate soft drinks (regular and diet) and drink more water and to select complex carbs in placed of processed foods made from refined grains.
It is important to remember that a healing diabetes diet will vary from one diabetic to another. You have to find the diet that will work for you. Some diabetics may be able to eat certain foods whereas another many have to eliminate that food. There isn’t one diet that will work in all cases. One may need to follow a low fat, high carbohydrate diet while another may need to follow a low carbohydrate, high vegetable diet, etc. Find what works for you.
While you may be confused about what to eat and what to avoid, you should be prepared to experiment with various recommended foods to see which ones raise your blood sugar levels and which ones help to normalize it.
To find which foods are best for controlling blood sugar, you need to monitor your blood sugar levels for a period of time such as two to three weeks. Measure your blood glucose levels first thing in the morning, after breakfast, after meals as well as snacks and also before you go to bed. Also measure the sugar levels before and after physical activity.
Once you have an understanding of how your blood sugar levels are affected, you will then be in a better position to create a diet plan that works for you and helps heal your body naturally.
Controlling Diabetes with Exercise
It is amazing how effective exercise can be, especially against type 2 diabetes. The best thing you can do against diabetes is exercise. It is also the least expensive when you consider how much you have to spend on the medications alone. Effective exercise can be as simple as a walk or run, swimming, dancing, cycling, etc.
Regular moderate exercise that leads to modest weight loss has been shown to prevent insulin resistance that can lead to pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Diabetics also benefit from this as exercise can not only help control blood glucose levels but can also help prevent serious complications from diabetes.
Exercise is one of the best ways to improve insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance is one of the main issues with the development of type 2 diabetes and results from the body not recognizing the insulin that is produced by the body which keeps glucose in the blood and not removed from the blood and transferred to the cells where it is needed for energy which ends up starving the cells in the body. By improving insulin sensitivity, glucose will be removed from the blood by insulin and transferred to the cells and used more efficiently by the cells which will help to manage blood glucose levels.
Exercise (and diet) is also the best way to control weight. Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic levels and the main culprit is obesity as it has been found that at least 80 percent of type 2 diabetes patients and those with pre-diabetes have been found to be obese. It is believed that obesity can lead to insulin resistance which increases the risk of developing pre-diabetes and type II diabetes.
It is very important to monitor blood sugar levels before and after exercise. If you have type I diabetes, you will need to make sure that you do not overly exert yourself to the point of becoming hypoglycaemic, which is a state of low blood sugar. Symptoms of hypoglycaemia include fatigue, dizziness, sweating, headaches, trembling and if severe, consciousness can be lost as well as falling into a coma.
If you are on medication, you need to work with your doctor to make the necessary adjustments to your exercise regimen. In addition, diabetics who deal with neuropathy need to ensure that the nerve endings in the feet are protected. High impact running or jogging may not be advised in cases of neuropathy.
Diabetics should watch out for dehydration when exercising since frequent urination is one of the symptoms of diabetes. High impact exercise can also affect the capillaries in the eyes that have been weakened by diabetes. If you have eye problems due to diabetes, make sure that the exercise selected will not make vision problems worse or cause rupture which can occur especially if you use weights.
Discuss with your doctor your exercise program and set realistic goals in order to avoid too high or too low blood sugar levels as well as the other issues that exercise may cause in people with diabetes. Start small and gradually build up.
Exercise is an important component of diabetes management and many of its other benefits include helping to lower blood pressure, raising good cholesterol (HDL) levels, strengthening bones, toning the heart and other muscles, eliminating stress, weight loss, strengthening the respiratory system, etc.
So discipline yourself and you can conquer diabetes.