A diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming and upsetting, but it’s also important to remember that it’s manageable. With a few lifestyle changes, a positive attitude and a commitment to putting your health first, you can continue to live a full, happy and healthy life.
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, follow these seven tips for taking care of your body and managing your health.
1. Arm Yourself with Knowledge
In the case of chronic illness, knowledge really is power. The more you know about how your diagnosis affects your body and daily life, the better prepared you’ll be to make changes and take the necessary steps to care for yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions when you have them. Ask your doctor for additional resources and consider meeting with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to get healthy meal ideas.
2. Surround Yourself with Support
Your Type 2 diabetes diagnosis may change your life, but it certainly doesn’t have to ruin it. In addition to your team of healthcare specialists, make sure you find supportive friends or family members who you can confide in when you feel overwhelmed or discouraged.
3. Change Your Diet
Living with diabetes doesn’t mean you can never have a slice of cake or a bowl of ice cream again—it just means you need to reduce your general consumption of concentrated sugars and trans fats. Instead, fill your diet with plant-based foods, whole grains and lean proteins. A dietitian can help you figure out how your diet can work with your medication and vice versa to make sure you’re eating the best foods for your body.
4. Lose Some Weight
Being overweight is a main cause of Type 2 diabetes, so any weight you can lose will help your overall health and can even reverse some of the changes your body has undergone. Just make sure not to go overboard with your weight loss plan and find a balance that’s sustainable. You should aim to lose between half a pound and 1 pound per week.
5. Start an Exercise Routine
If you don’t currently have an exercise routine, now is a great time to begin. Find an activity you enjoy and try to do it for at least 30 minutes a day, three times per week. Regular exercise helps insulin work better in your body and can also lower both your blood sugar and blood pressure. Since getting started with a new exercise regimen can be intimidating, don’t be afraid to start small and build up. Even just a 30-minute walk around the block is a great start.
6. Don’t Stress
Getting stressed out can be particularly harmful for diabetics, as stress can push more glucose into your bloodstream. Do your best to find a healthy way to manage your stress—exercise, yoga, meditation or spending time with a friend. Most importantly, make sure you aren’t turning to vices like cigarettes or alcohol to manage your stress.
7. Stay Positive
A positive attitude can go a long way in making your Type 2 diabetes diagnosis more manageable. In time, you’ll find that the lifestyle habits become second nature and dealing with your illness won’t be nearly as overwhelming as you anticipated.