After I had my second daughter in August of 2014 I fell off the healthy lifestyle road to success. I stopped working out, stopped checking my blood sugars, and started eating more sweets and fried foods than I had in decades. I attributed most of the changes to the new baby but in realty it was just a lack of discipline.
This year I am renewing my vow to be healthy. I want to live to see my daughters finish high school, graduate from college, marry and one day have a family of their own. In order to do so I pledge to start back working out two days a week and recommit to limiting fried foods to once a month and limiting sweets to once a week.
In addition to Type 2 Diabetes, I also have ulcerate colitis and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis which are both linked to inflammation. I recently read The Inflammation Cure by D.r William Meggs. In the book Dr. Meggs mentioned that one of the underlying causes of Type 2 Diabetes is inflammation. He also suggested that eating less meat and eating more fruits and vegetables will help keep inflammation down.
On January 2, 2015 I took the pledge to incorporate meatless Mondays in hopes to reduce the inflammation associated with my chronic conditions and recommit to living a healthy lifestyle in 2015. This will be very challenging but I am willing to try it. What changes are you planning to make in 2015 to renew your vow to be healthy?
Diabetes is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of blindness for adults. Although there is no cure for diabetes you can prevent the complications associated with diabetes by keeping your blood sugar levels under control. Diet and exercise are key to keeping your blood sugars at a normal rate and may also be used to decrease the amount and or frequency of medication needed to manage your diabetes. Here are my suggestions for Diet and Exercise.
Exercise Try to exercise 30 minutes at least twice a week. You can break the 30 minutes up into 10 minute increments by taking the dog for a walk, dancing to a few songs or playing chase with your kids or grand kids. Be creative and have fun!
Diet Incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. I like to add spinach to eggs, top hotdogs with mixed greens and throw in blueberries with oatmeal, yogurt or cereal. When dining out order a salad for your appetizer. That way you know you had a serving of vegetables before your entree even comes out.
Don’t buy junk food when you go grocery shopping. If you don’t have junk food in your house then you will be less likely to eat junk food. In addition, I found that eliminating cow’s milk, soda, white bread and white rice have helped me to keep my blood sugar levels under control. I have replaced cow’s milk with almond milk but I encourage you to try alternatives like soy, coconut milk and rice milk.
Finally, eat more foods that help regulate blood sugar levels. Foods such as sweet potatoes, spinach, avocados and salmon are known for lowering or helping to maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Aside from diet and exercise I encourage you to read anything you can get your hands on that mentions diabetes, nutrition or health. You are responsible for taking control of your diabetes not your doctor and in order to take control you have to become educated. In addition to learning about how diet and exercise effect your blood sugar levels, I also recommend seeing a nutritionist or dietician. They can help you learn how to read food labels and create a meal plan based on your age, weight and nutritional goals.
Doctors will often prescribe medication without discussing the importance of diet and exercise in controlling blood sugar levels. Many will simply suggest you loose weight. For skinny diabetics like me we don’ t necessarily need to loose weight we just need to adopt healthier eating, and exercise habits.
When making healthy lifestyle changes, I suggest that you start with a few changes and stick to them and most importantly relax since stress can also raise your blood sugar.
Have you tried any of these tips? Do you have other suggestions for helping others take control of their diabetes? Let me know what works or doesn’t work for you and feel free to share any additional advice that you may have.
Although there are over 29 million diabetics in the United States and over 371 million world wide, I’d be willing to bet that many people do not know what diabetes is. In fact, I have met several people at various health fairs and events here in North Texas who have been diagnosed with diabetes but cannot explain what diabetes actually is.
Here is my attempt to define what diabetes or diabetes mellitus, as it is called in the medical field, really means.
WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when your body either does not produce any insulin, does not produce enough insulin or is not able to use the insulin produced well enough to keep your blood sugar levels at a normal rate.
If your body does not produce enough insulin or does not produce any insulin then you develop an insulin deficiency. If your body does not properly use insulin then you develop insulin resistance. Both insulin deficiency and insulin resistance cause diabetics to have higher blood sugar levels than non diabetics.
WHAT IS INSULIN?
Insulin is a hormone that is produced in your body’s pancreas to help regulate your blood sugar levels. The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach. The beta cells in the pancreas produce insulin. For diabetics the beta cells in the pancreas either do not work at all or do not work very well.
Contrary to popular belief, insulin treatment is not the worst case scenario for treating diabetes. Insulin injections are actually the most natural why to treat diabetes. However, most people, including myself, don’t like the idea of needles so we prefer to take medication instead of insulin.
The body does not produce enough insulin or does not use the insulin well enough to regulate blood sugar levels
Most often diagnosed in adults
Accounts for an estimated 80% of all diabetics
Occurs during pregnancy
Women who are diagnosed with gestational diabetes have a higher risk of developing Type 2 after pregnancy
Prediabetes occurs prior to full onset type 2 diabetes. It is the period when a person’s blood sugars are high but not high enough to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. You can be prediabetic without knowing it.
I failed to recognize or heed the warnings when I was prediabetic. My mother would suggest I have my blood sugar checked and talked to me about the symptoms of diabetes because of our family history.
I now recall being told on two separate occasions that my after meal blood sugars were higher than normal. Each time I would try to rationalize why my sugars were high by making excuses such as having pancakes or muffins that morning.
The truth is I probably could have either prevented developing type 2 or prolonged the development of type 2 if I had not ignored the warning signs of high blood sugar. But since I was young (twenty something) and thin I just assumed that diabetes would not impact me.