Good Samaritan Hospital dietitians Gerard Mure, MS, RDN, CDN, CDCES, and Jessica Toner, MS, RDN, CDN, CDCES, share 10 tips for managing diabetes so you can start taking the first step toward controlling your diabetes.
Tip 1: Eat a well-balanced diet
Did you know that not all carbohydrates are created equal? Carbohydrates in food are your body’s primary source of energy. Pick carbohydrates high in fiber like fruits, vegetables and whole grains and avoid simple carbohydrates such as bread, pretzels and sugary cereals.
Tip 2: Keep an eye on portion size
Portion size changes from food to food. For reference, common portions that equal 15g of carbohydrates include:
- Rice: 1/3 cup
- Bagel: 1/4 large bagel (1 ounce)
- Oatmeal: 1/2 cup
- Juice: 1/2 cup
Interested in learning more about portion sizes? The CDC offers helpful guidelines to help you get started.
Tip 3: Manage your stress level
We all know stress can significantly impact our health. It’s no different for people with diabetes. Increased stress can lead to elevated blood sugar levels. Work to keep your stress manageable by journaling, talking to a counselor, exercising or talking to a friend.
Tip 4: Move to feel better
Moving your body has been shown to help lower your blood sugar levels, boost your sensitivity to insulin and even lose weight. Great news: you don’t need to be an ultra marathon runner for movement to count. Start with just ten minutes a day of brisk walking or pick a form of exercise you love, such as yoga or biking. Gradually reach the goal of achieving 30 minutes of exercise per day, at least five days a week.
Tip 5: Stay connected with your diabetes team
Follow up with your medical team to ensure your diabetes is well-managed. At Catholic Health, your health care team is always here for you—whether it’s a quick question or a significant health concern. We’re proud to be your partner in diabetes management.
Tip 6: Stay consistent
Try keeping your carbohydrate intake consistent at each meal. Always have a source of protein or fat with carbohydrates.
Tip 7: Stay hydrated
Try to boost your water intake. Ideally, you should drink half your weight in ounces of water. It’s also important to choose lower sugar drinks like seltzer water or unsweetened beverages.
Tip 8: Testing 1, 2, 3
Aim to test your blood sugar levels two to three times daily. The goal is testing upon waking up, before a meal and two hours after a meal.
Tip 9: Try focused breathing
Sit down, close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, filling up your lungs. Hold for a few seconds. Exhale slowly through your mouth. Let all the air out of your lungs like you’re letting air out of a balloon. Repeat as many times as needed.
Tip 10: Weight check
Maintaining a healthy body weight decreases insulin resistance and blood sugar levels. Daily weight tracking apps can help you monitor your weight loss. Or, find an accountability buddy with a partner or friend to inspire each other to get your weight into a healthy range.