First, diabetes is manageable and it is not a life sentence. We can, through our behaviors, minimize the effects and even be free of diabetes (Type II). Second, there are helpful steps you can take in managing your diabetes.
1. Don’t practice the Ostrich Syndrome!
What do I mean by that? Well, if I’m going bald (and I am) there isn’t any way for me to ignore this problem. Every time I see my reflection in the mirror, I am reminded of it, but diabetes is quite different. By the time we begin to see the physical signs of diabetes, it usually means that our bodies have already experienced great trauma.
We cannot bury our head in the sand and pretend it is not a problem. Diabetes is something that, if ignored, can have devastating consequences.
2. Work with a team!
Diabetes is best managed with the support of a team. Besides your doctor, you should include on your team a Diabetes Educator, your Fit.Church family and your family and friends. It is increasingly difficult to stay on a meal plan to deal with diabetes when our friends and family are putting food in our way that is fuel to higher blood sugar levels.
3. Take charge of your care.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Learn about your medications, their purpose, side effects and how they should be administered. Educate yourself on the best foods to fight diabetes and the worse foods a diabetic can consume.
4. Establish a healthy meal plan.
Examine the Fit.Church meal plan, and the articles on carbohydrates because our program is designed to deal with diabetes. We realize that not everyone who is diabetic is overweight, although this is typical for Type II Diabetics. As we embrace the Fit.Church meal plan, you will find that your healthy eating will result in weight loss. Weight loss also helps to lower our blood sugar levels.
Taking charge of your diabetes is about balance, balance and more balance. For the diabetic, protein is essential, lower carbohydrate consumption is recommended, and healthy fats are encouraged. Let me quote from our article Carbohydrates: Our Energy Source:
Let me leave you with one thought about carbohydrates. The closer you get to nature the better the carbohydrate is for you. Or to say it another way, the more humans handle food and work with it the less healthy it is for you. All the simple carbohydrates mentioned above are made by people while the things produced in nature are better for human consumption.
Diabetics must be very careful in regards to processed foods. Processed foods are some of the worst foods a diabetic can eat because they contain so much salt, processed fats and refined carbohydrates which spike our blood sugars and blood pressure.
In the article Carbohydrates Part II: Carbohydrates Consumption we write:
While on the show Biggest Loser, one of the directions they asked of us was whenever we ate, whether snacks or meals that we would always, always, always eat some protein with everything. For a snack, we would have a piece of fruit but also have string cheese or egg whites, possibly even 10 almonds. There is something about the sugars in fruits and starches that when mixed with protein, do not get digested at the speed they are processed when eaten without protein.
Please read both of these articles completely to understand our process. As a result of this nutritional information we advocate three things in our eating plan; 1) Limit simple sugar consumption, 2) When eating fruit, grains or other starches, consume them with protein, 3) Make carbohydrates no more than 40% to 45% of your food consumption with the majority of those coming from vegetables and whole grains.
5. Be active.
Healthy activity is beneficial to weight loss but it helps in a whole slew of other ways. Healthy activity lowers our sugar levels, blood pressure and establishes healthy operation of insulin in your body. We should strive to find an activity that we enjoy because when we don’t enjoy what we are doing, we will fail to continue. Healthy activity helps to balance blood sugar levels.
6. Get enough sleep.
There are studies which show that sleep deprivation interrupts fat metabolism and decreases the regulation of sugar levels in the blood. This is more commonly referred to as insulin resistance. It is a lack of sleep combined with an unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle and stress that often results in diabetes.
7. Relieve your stress.
Stress can play a prominent role in creating diabetes. Glucose levels and blood pressure rise with stress which increases the likelihood of diabetes. How can we lower our stress levels? The best ways to reduce stress include regular walking, breathing exercises, stretching, hobbies, and even changing our thought habits.