Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Guest Post: Four Tips To Help Kick Off A Year Of Wellness - Diabetes

A new year is upon us, which means it’s about that time of the season when we begin to make resolutions for change. People most often vow to lose more weight, but this year, don’t aim to just be thinner; vow to be healthier. If you’re living with a chronic illness like diabetes, or at risk of developing diabetes, there is no better time than now to start getting your health back on track.
When you’re in control of your health, you can help stop the development of serious complications. Diabetes can affect your vision, your heart, your skin and even contribute to mental illnesses and disorders like depression. While managing your diabetes may seem like a daunting, even impossible, task, with perspective, determination and a little help you can begin your trek toward overall wellness. No one expects you to be in peak physical health tomorrow, but even taking a few small steps and setting realistic health goals can help you manage your diabetes.
If you’re ready to better manage your diabetes, here are four tips to help you kick off your year of wellness.
  1. Eat more greens, less fat and few sugars: It’s important to always eat balanced, nutritious meals. Try not to get hung up on fad diets, but instead look to make simple dietary changes such as cutting out fried foods and food items that contain a lot of sugar. Eat more fruits and veggies and lean meat and fish; say no to processed foods. Eat plenty of grains and fewer empty calories. If you would like specific help refining a diet that’s right for you, consult your doctor or dietician.
  2. When stressed, meditate: Research has linked stress to diabetes because increased anxiety can affect blood glucose levels as well as cause the body to gain weight. While avoiding stress can be quite a challenge, if you feel yourself growing overwhelmed, take a moment to breathe. If you can, take some time to get away, even if it’s just to take a stroll and think.
  3. Get moving and break a sweat: Exercise can help alleviate mental and physical ailments, so when you get yourself out and about, you are also decreasing stress levels and improving your mental state. Many people may be intimidated by going to the gym or find they are discouraged when they cannot accomplish as much as they set out to do – but don’t give up! Physical fitness doesn’t come overnight; you’ll need to work at it for some time. Even if you just take a brisk walk, all that matters is that you find some time every day to put your body to work.
  4. Understand your body on the inside: When you have diabetes, it’s important that you monitor your blood glucose levels and understand how food, exercise and rest affect you. Whether you’re using a traditional strip reader or a continuous glucose monitor, you can use a glucose application to help track and chart blood sugar levels.
Taking control of your health will ultimately help you manage your diabetes.

Emma works with diabetes patients to help improve their health, and is happy to share some of her strategies with a wider audience. She thinks that with the right tools, from simple information to technology like continuous glucose monitors, people living with diabetes can take control of their health and avoid serious complications.

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