Finding out you have diabetes can be a shocking life-changer. The new-found limits imposed on your lifestyle can hit you from all angles, and sometimes it can lead to depression. That’s the last thing you need! You’re alive, and diabetes is manageable! In fact, in some cases, the right approach can even reverse Type 2 diabetes. It just takes a little change in your mental perspective and daily habits to make it all work for you.
Let’s start with food. Diabetes is a disease where the pancreas stops making insulin (Type 1), or it either gradually produces less and less insulin or the body can’t figure out what to do with it (Type 2). So since insulin is the hormone that facilitates the transfer of glucose (sugar) into cells for energy, if it’s not present and end up with too much sugar in your bloodstream, that’s where the health trouble comes in. For this reason, there are some obvious changes that must be made… like not eating that huge portion of your favorite pie or substituting a candy bar for a nutritious lunch. For a sugar lover, what used to be considered part of normal life will be gone, and it may even seem like a death in the family.
You also have to give up too many carbohydrates when you transition into your new lifestyle, as they quickly turn into glucose (sugar) that the body can’t deal with anymore. The good news is that once you have made a habit out of eliminating food that your body doesn’t process well, it will ultimately make you feel that much better. Additionally, there are new food products being produced all the time by companies who are marketing specifically to diabetics to fill the void of the foods you must give up. They’re right there in the grocery aisles and they’re pretty good — you probably just hadn’t noticed them. Aside from that, most diabetics can have an occasional treat in moderation. There are a lot of myths surrounding diabetes, for many diabetics, it’s often not as bad as it’s made out to be.
Exercise must also become a permanent part of your daily routine. Diabetics have to get moving, because exercise lowers blood sugar levels and increases how effective insulin is in your body. Exercise also lowers blood pressure and increases circulation, which can be a huge problem for diabetics.
The most difficult change in lifestyle that diabetics face, however, is monitoring blood sugar and injecting insulin. Taking regular blood sugar samples and getting a meter to determine safe levels is really important for staying healthy, especially for Type 1 diabetics, specifically, who must inject insulin into their body in order to function properly. While having to test blood sugar regularly may be cumbersome, there have been great strides made in blood sugar meters and testing, making it simple to perform any time, and anywhere.
Living with diabetes may be a huge change. But not all change is bad. So, keep a positive attitude if you end up with many lifestyle changes: consider it a new challenge to conquer instead. Life is a gift!