It’s never too late to start taking care of your diabetes. Every day is a new opportunity to reach your goals, even in small steps. Try these practical tips to lose weight, boost energy, and feel better about your diabetes management.
You don’t have to take drastic measures to get your health on track. We’ve got 15 different ways you can tweak your typical day to lose weight, feel better, make healthy choices, and reach your goals.
Walk It Off
Thirty minutes of walking burns about 150 calories — and you don’t have to do it all at once. Briskly stroll to a nearby park to eat your lunch. Instead of watching your grandchildren’s sporting events from the bleachers, keep an eye on the action while walking around the ball diamond or soccer field. Be sure to check your feet before and after walking, and always wear sneakers to protect against injury.
Review Your Medications
Go over your blood glucose-lowering medications with your health care provider. Some newer medicines, such as Victoza and Byetta, might aid in weight loss. Keeping track of your blood sugar levels can help you and your provider flag any issues that could be related to your medication.
Get Your Zzz’s
Skimping on sleep can cause weight gain, add stress, and compromise your immune system. When University of Chicago researchers restricted 10 dieters’ sleep to less than six hours a night, the dieters lost only half the amount of fat (and more muscle) than when they got more than eight hours. Sufficient shut-eye also is key for blood glucose control.
Enlist the Pros
Make an appointment with a dietitian or nutritionist to create a meal plan that can help you lose weight. And if you haven’t exercised before or in a long time, have your health care provider time your meal and medication schedules to your workouts.
Fill Up on Fruits and Veggies
Reduce calories (and carbs) by sprinkling blueberries instead of croutons onto green salads and mixing in lots of crunchy sweet peppers, celery, and cucumbers. Nonstarchy vegetables such as broccoli, greens, and tomatoes contain less carbohydrate than other veggies but pack a nutritional punch.
Turn Off the Television
A recent review of more than 50 studies confirms that too much screen time is linked to consuming fattening fast foods, energy-dense snacks, and high-calorie drinks.
Lift Light Weights
Strength training several days a week tones muscles (which use lots of glucose) and can help you better control your diabetes. Start with light weights — 5 pounds or less — and get instruction from exercise videos, a smartphone app, or a class at your gym. Remember to test your blood sugar before you start and after you are done. Also be sure to drink water during the workout to avoid dehydration.
Stand, Don’t Sit
A 2012 study found that adults who sit for 11 hours or more on a daily basis have a 40 percent greater risk of dying in the next three years than people who spend less than four hours a day in their chairs.
Play with Your Kids or Grandkids
Adopt an active attitude when it comes to spending time with younger people in your life. Take a bike ride, walk to the yogurt shop, or get on the floor to play. You’ll feel better and smile more.
Washing windows, scrubbing floors, and raking the lawn all burn calories. The reaching, twisting, and stretching also help. “You can burn calories by washing, drying, and ironing clothes instead of taking them to dry cleaners,” says Barry A. Franklin, Ph.D., director of cardiac rehabilitation and exercise laboratories at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Sneak In Exercise
Always keep a pair of walking shoes and socks in the trunk of your car or stashed under your desk at work. When you find yourself with at least 20 minutes of free time, lace up and head out for a quick walk.
Climb Stairs More Often
Coaches have long had players run up stairs to get them in shape, and you can do the same. If your house has more than one level, use the bathroom on the floor above or below to get more stair-climbing into your day. Doing laundry? Take piles of folded clothes up to bedrooms in several trips.
Exercise with a Buddy
Several studies have found that people who exercise with another person stick with it longer than people who exercise alone. Working out with someone is more fun, and a little friendly competition could even boost your intensity!
Trick Your Taste Buds
If you usually have a bowl of ice cream, swap it for a sweet fruit (or at least eat half as much ice cream and top it with sliced banana). Or have light microwave popcorn instead of chips. Exchange high-calorie trail mix for a homemade version: Toss baked wheat or oat cereal with a handful of nuts and raisins.
Don’t Waste Commercial Time
When watching TV, get up and do a minute of jumping jacks or knee raises when commercials come on. Researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, found that stepping in place during commercials burns an average of 148 calories in about 25 minutes.