8 Tips & Tools for Type 2 Diabetes
Updated: Jul 29, 2020
1. Measure Success by A1c
Know your A1c and check it regularly (every 6 months if your A1c is less than 7.0, every 3 months if it's not) . This is a good way to know if what you are doing for your diabetes is working. A connection between A1c and the incidence of diabetes complications was shown by the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial. The American Diabetes Association recommends a target A1c of 7.0 unless your doctor has recommended a different goal for you.
2. Focus on One Thing at a Time:
Small steps can lead to large sustainable changes over time. Often people with diabetes are told about all the changes they should make that would benefit them. This might include losing weight, exercising, changing what they eat, taking medication, seeing an eye doctor & more . Unfortunately, very few people can do everything at once especially without support. I advise the people with whom I work to make easy the changes that have the greatest impact first. Making a plan for when you will start to do all these different things can make it feel less overwhelming.
3. Focus on the Short Term Effect of What You Eat First
Since, it’s hard to do everything at once, when someone is just starting to focus on their eating to manage their diabetes, I recommend focusing on food and behaviors that affect blood glucose first. Later, work on improving the kinds of foods you are eating, for example, learning more about heart healthy diets, increasing fiber, reducing sodium and increasing potassium.
The amount of carbohydrate you eat or drink affect the demand for insulin. Choosing smaller servings of carbohydrate-rich foods translates into lower blood glucose values and lower A1c. Low carb diets have gained popularity because they lower the need for insulin and can lower blood glucose. The problem with totally avoiding foods that contain carbohydrates is that many delicious healthy foods would be left out and it may not be necessary to be this strict for many people. Often people with diabetes can handle some carbohydrates, just not a lot at one time.
4. Realize Everyone’s Diabetes is Different.
Some people may be able to make just a few changes and achieve an A1c that is in their target range. For other people, it might take many more changes. The important thing is to keep working toward your goal. Keep monitoring your progress and get help if you need it.
5. Eat 3 Meals Each Day
People who skip meals often eat more later in the day which means their blood glucose may be quite high after a big dinner meal or nighttime snack. Eating breakfast is associated with lower A1c. Spreading your carbohydrate out throughout the day allows your body to handle less carbohydrate at one time.
6. Move More
Use movement as a tool to lower blood glucose. Moderate physical activity and strength training lower insulin resistance which helps your cells use insulin more effectively and lowers blood glucose. Physical activity is great for health any time, but can be especially helpful right after a meal when blood glucose is likely to rise. Aim for 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity.
7. Take Your Medications
There is no shame in taking medications to control your blood glucose. Sometimes it is not possible to control blood glucose with diet & exercise alone and long term complications are associated with blood glucose values. Take medications if you need them to get your A1c in the target range.
8. Learn the Signs and Symptoms
Learn the symptoms of high & low blood glucose. Know when to call the doctor if your blood glucose becomes dangerously high (or low).
I hope you found these tips helpful. If you would like to join the waiting list for my “How to Eat for Type 2 Diabetes” course which is coming soon email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or join my private Facebook Group How to Eat for Type 2 Diabetes to get all the latest updates and a community of people with type 2 diabetes.