You’ve either just been diagnosed with diabetes or you’ve had for a while now and sometimes the days feel gloomy. The constant blood sugar checks, glycemic index reviews, and insulin injections seem to drag you down. Here are some habit changes you can make that can help improve your life a little bit.
- Make sure you chew your food well. Instead of gobbling down your food, take your time to enjoy your food. You’ll taste your food more and you’ll likely eat less and feel fuller.
- Stock up on healthy food. Instead of snacking on processed foods full of sugars and unhealthy fats, stock up on dried fruits, seeds, and nuts. You’ll feel a lot fuller eating those than eating empty calories.
- Aim for 10k steps a day. This is the minimum recommended amount by fitness experts. Get up and move, walk in the park, and always take the stairs. Even if you’re stuck at home, get up during commercial breaks, walk up and down your stairs, or just do some laps around your kitchen. Get up and get active.
- Be active outside the gym. Going to the gym is a total plus for being active, just don’t let the gym be your own activity in the day. Did you know that some people will go to the gym for an hour then go to work where they sit at a desk the rest of the day? There are plenty of opportunities to be active throughout the day, like taking the stairs instead of the elevator or spending half your lunch break eating and the other half going for a walk.
- Don’t eat until you are full. A healthy person’s stomach is about the size of a fist, whereas an unhealthy person’s is the size of a football. With a bigger stomach you may need to eat more and more to feel full and satisfied. I’m not saying skip a meal or two, instead don’t go back for seconds, eat smaller portions, or once you feel 80% full, stop eating and throw away or save the rest. Don’t force yourself.
- Halve your sugar intake. Sugar is in almost every processed food we eat. It’s so addictive that hardly anyone can completely cut out sugar from their diet cold turkey. So instead, wean yourself off the sugar by choosing less sugary options. If you have to choose between a sugary drink and water, choose water. Reduce the sugar you put in your tea and coffee. Don’t add sugar to your cereal and choose to snack on healthier options.
- Choose an enjoyable exercise. Choose a fun exercise like dancing or yoga. If it’s fun you’ll be more motivated to do it regularly. Plus, if you enjoy the exercise, you’ll also produce endorphins and feel really good. Bonus!
- Spend time in nature. Exposure to sunlight can increase your serotonin levels. Time in nature also helps to boost your mood. And while you’re outside, why not take some beautiful landscape photos to share with friends and family?
- Meditate. Meditation helps to reduce stress, anxiety, and health issues. It can come in the form of sitting quietly, yoga, prayer, or purposeful breathing. It can also help to regulate your heart rate.
- Learn something new. It can give you purpose and focus increasing your ability to cope with stress. Learn a new skill or language to make you valuable in the workplace or a new hobby to occupy your time, like knitting or scrapbooking.
Hopefully, these new habits can help you manage your life with diabetes. I am currently doing some of these right now. All the unhealthy snacks are gone, replaced by baby carrots and nuts. I’m walking the dogs down at the park every day for an hour as well as choosing to get off my butt when I’m at home. I’m also learning graphic design and Spanish. All while doing this blog. Busy but purposeful.
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