Type 2 Diabetes: 5 Simple Strategies for Healthier Habits

Type 2 Diabetes: 5 Simple Strategies for Healthier Habits

Try these tips to help develop a healthy routine and stay on track with managing type 2 diabetes.

In addition to working with your healthcare provider and adhering to your treatment plan, making changes to your habits and routines can also have a positive impact on managing type 2 diabetes. However, making changes to habits and routines can be challenging. If you have struggled in the past with developing healthier habits, the strategies below may help.

Define your targets
When setting goals for diabetes control, it’s important to be specific about what you want to achieve and what you will do to get there. For example, “I’m going to eat healthier foods and exercise more,” is too vague a goal. A better way to frame this would be, “I am going to add a serving of leafy greens to dinner each night and walk for an extra 15 minutes each day.”

Identify weak spots
In order to make improvements in any aspect of life, you will need to recognize the areas that you need to improve. One good way to highlight your strong and weak areas is to keep a diary, where you make note of what you eat, how much activity/exercise you get, and when you check you blood sugar. This can also help you discover habits you want to change, like snacking on unhealthy foods between meals. Remember to think positively about weaknesses—do not to view them as shortcomings or failures, but areas in which you can improve. It is also important to write down your goals, to give yourself a visual reminder of what you want to do and how you will do it. Monitoring your progress also increases the likelihood of achieving your goals.

Take small steps
Changing a routine or habit is difficult for most people, and making a big change in your life can be overwhelming. When making a change, it is best to start small and keep it simple. For example, if you need to improve your diet, choose a method that’s easy to follow, such as using the plate method to make sure you’re eating the right portions of different types of foods at meals (50 percent non-starchy vegetables, 25 percent protein, 25 percent grains and starchy foods). Or, if you are focusing on exercise, start with an afternoon walk, and once you’ve established your routine, add a little more.

Seek support from others
Another thing you can do for yourself is to set up a support system. This can include family, friends and other people who are also managing diabetes or who have goals similar to your own. For instance, you may want to make lunch plans with a friend who is also trying to eat healthier, or find someone you can exercise with on a regular basis. You may also want to join a support group for people who have diabetes, one that either meets online or in person. It can help having people to talk to who are also tackling the challenges of managing type 2 diabetes.

Improve your knowledge
Expanding your understanding of type 2 diabetes and how it is managed can help you find new ways to improve—and luckily, there are many resources available for people who are looking to learn more. In addition to articles and online resources, consider picking up a book or a magazine about a topic relevant to type 2 diabetes. You can also look for classes and workshops through your local hospital, medical group or community center.

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