I want to address something that I get a lot of questions about from both recently diagnosed diabetics and those who have been managing their diabetes for years.And that is... "What are the steps I should take to control my blood sugar?"
Living with diabetes can often have a series of obstacles, one of them being the daily management and control of your blood sugar. You may feel that your blood sugar is stabilized, but one hour later it's out of control.
Having good blood sugar is essential to living a healthy life and there are several steps you can take to assure that you do:
- Remember: One Size Does Not Fit All: First and foremost, it's important to know that there are many diabetes management plans out there and it's possible that not every one of them is going to suit you. It is important to listen to your body and understand what makes you feel better and what makes you feel worse. Slowly eliminating the bad foods and incorporating the good foods will help you reach your health and weight loss goals.
- Consume Minimal Amounts of Sugar>: A common misconception with diabetes is that you must completely eliminate sugar from your diet in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. But, in fact, it's fine to have natural sugars as long as you are conscious of what you are eating and keep the amounts to a minimum. Stevia, raw honey, and fruit are all healthy sources of natural sugar. Just make sure to limit the amount you eat each day.
- Eat Regularly with Portion Control: Keeping to a proper, portion-controlled eating schedule is one of the most important ways to guarantee normal blood sugar levels. Making sure you eat three portion-controlled meals, and snacks in between, can reduce the risk of your blood sugar dropping and the bloated, uncomfortable feeling from too large of a meal. It's important to listen to your body and avoid skipping meals. If you know you feel hungriest between lunch and dinner, make sure to keep a healthy snack like raw almonds or cashew packed as a go-to snack.
- Try to De-Stress: It may be easier said than done, but reducing your stress can have many benefits, one being that it can lower your blood sugar levels and prevent spikes. It is believed that because of a lack of insulin or insulin not doing its job, diabetics have a harder time managing the stress hormones that are usually controlled by insulin. Therefore it's even more crucial for diabetics to focus on de-stressing. Some great ways to relax are going for a stroll and breathing some fresh air, meditating, or focusing on your breathing.
- Exercise and Get Moving: In addition to finding ways to relax, it is important to find times to move your body. Since many people live a sedentary lifestyle and work at a desk, it's important for us to find ways to exercise. The American Diabetes Association recommends around 30 minutes of aerobic exercise 5 days a week in order to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The aerobic exercise not only helps reduce stress, but also makes your heart and bones strong, while improving your blood circulation and balancing your blood sugar levels. Try walking, dancing, hiking, gardening, water aerobics, or even just climbing the stairs on your way to work every day.
- Avoid Certain Drinks: Avoid any "sugar free" or artificially flavored drinks. These drinks are unhealthy and the artificial sweeteners trick your body into thinking you're drinking something sweet. That only makes your body crave more sweet things and can lead to sever blood sugar spikes. Instead, choose water or seltzer and flavor them with lemon or lime slices. In addition, avoid alcohol as much as possible. Alcohol can cause hypoglycemia and send your blood sugar for a rollercoaster ride. If you do choose to drink alcohol, monitor your blood sugar levels to avoid irregularities.
- Track Your Blood Sugar Levels: A huge part of controlling your blood sugar is tracking and journaling your blood sugar levels. Noticing patterns after you eat a certain food or drink, or after you do a certain activity can be beneficial in finding what works best for your body. It's important to know how your body reacts to your daily regimen in order to make the appropriate changes and adjustments that can help regulate your blood sugar levels.