Living with diabetes can be done well and with little stress when you take care of yourself.
All too often it is hard to know where to start and what steps you should take first when you have diabetes. Becoming more active and making changes in what you eat and drink can seem challenging at first. You may find it easier to start with small changes and get help from your family, friends, and health care team.
Here are the 3 tips to get you started in managing your diabetes:
Know Your ABC’s
Diabetes affects more than just your blood sugar so knowing all your numbers will help you to know how to best manage your health. You need a plan on how to manage your A1C, Blood pressure, and Cholesterol. This can help lower your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other diabetes problems.
A is for A1c (A one C)
A1C is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar level over the past three months. It is different from the blood sugar checks you do each day. The A1C goal for many people with diabetes is below 7. It may be different for you. Ask what your goal should be.
B is for Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the wall of your blood vessels. The blood pressure goal for most people with diabetes is below 140/90. It may be different for you, so please check with your provider.
C is for Cholesterol
There are two kinds of cholesterol in your blood: LDL and HDL. LDL, or “lousy” cholesterol, can build up and clog your blood vessels, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. HDL, or “healthy” cholesterol, helps remove the “bad” cholesterol from your blood vessels. Check with your medical provider to know what your cholesterol levels should be.
Balance your Plate
Eating with diabetes should not feel like you are depriving yourself. It is all about balance. You still need to make sure you are getting in carbohydrates, and we want to make sure you are getting in other parts of you diet to meet the other parts of your needs.
Each time you put together a meal you want to pick one item from each category:
Carbohydrates: bread, tortillas, rice, crackers, etc.
Proteins: chicken, fish, beans, nut butter, etc.
Fats: avocado, olive oil, seeds, butter, etc.
Fruits/Vegetables: tomatoes, apples, broccoli, bananas, etc.
Have a Plan
If you don’t have a plan, then you plan to fail. Having a plan in place on how you will make all the lifestyle changes stick and work for you is important. Spending time with your healthcare team to come up with your plan is what we do during our time with clients. Another piece to being successful with your plan is staying accountable to your plan. How will you and your healthcare team make sure you are staying on track between appointments?
If you are ready to make your plan, please set up an appointment with one of our dietitians today.
Adrien Paczosa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.
She is the owner and founder of I Live Well Nutrition her Dietitian practice which started in 2007 and serves clients in the Austin, Texas area in two locations. Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers training to dietitians and wellness professionals.