Importance Of Lifestyle Modifications For People With Diabetes

Myopic view of Diabetes

It’s a common scene in many clinics! We almost have a myopic view of how diabetes is treated. Patient walks in with symptoms, doctor orders diagnostic tests and diagnosis is confirmed. Patient is then given a prescription and a cold shoulder!

Meanwhile, the patient wrestles with many unresolved issues. The disbelief of being diagnosed, lack of awareness of the disease condition, and the lack of knowledge on how to control sugar levels are just some of the issues.

*See below for Eat, Pray, and Love way of managing your Diabetes.

More often than not, the patient is just given a diet chart for diabetic patients, and given some literature on the basic dos and don’ts. However, it is a fact that diabetes is a demanding condition and it needs to be addressed with a multidimensional approach.

This is because relying on medications alone cannot bring about the targets of the treatment- reaching target HbA1c levels, fasting and postprandial glucose levels, and controlling cholesterol levels.

Reaching the target levels in these major parameters is vital to avoid dangerous complications of diabetes like eye disease, end-stage kidney disease, and cardiovascular diseases.

Lifestyle and Behavioral Management

Latest studies prove that people can control their diabetes better and avoid hospitalizations and mortalities with lifestyle and behavioral management.

Advice from diabetes educators and nutritionists on how to control high blood sugars, providing diet charts for diabetics, and how to control diabetes with exercise and diet is also an integral part of the treatment.

And, having a team helping one with diabetes certainly motivates to adhere to medications, diet, and exercise thereby leading to better control over diabetes.

#Find it difficult to start exercising? See below for some motivation to start walking.

Key Aspects of Lifestyle Management

• Encouraging smoking cessation.
• Maintaining appropriate diet.
• Getting adequate physical activity.
• Reducing weight.
• Controlling cholesterol levels.
• Managing hypertension.
• Encouraging adherence to medication.
• Self-monitoring of blood glucose levels.
• Periodical checkups to evaluate risk of complications.

These can be achieved either with the support system of a group or with a setup that focuses on patient care beyond the clinic. Interacting on fora, interacting constantly with diabetes educators, nutritionists, and endocrinologists, and using technological appliances for self-monitoring, and self-management brings about great outcomes.

Apart from these, here are some changes you can start making in your routine with the help of your doctor and diabetes educator, to keep your diabetes in control.

Eat, Pray, and Love Way of Managing your Diabetes
Eat Right, Stay Healthy

It is very important for a diabetes patient to eat healthy, but the problem comes in identifying such a diet. Diet for a diabetic patient should be balanced and one should set up a steady, regular eating schedule. Include high proportions of unsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants, fibre and vitamins. Be sure you avoid foods rich in saturated fats and cholesterol as they increase the risk of coronary diseases. At the same time, incorporate more fibre-rich foods, fruits, veggies and whole-grain foods into your diet and make it more wholesome.

For most people, managing diet can be troublesome. So, it is advisable to consult a dietician or a nutritionist to get a diabetes diet chart as per your age, medications, and physical activity.

With the advice of a nutritionist, one can maintain proper diet by regulating the carbohydrate intake. This is important as what works for one person might not work for another. For example, our idea of the best foods for diabetics do not contain sugars. But, in certain circumstances, foods containing sugars might be advised especially during times when sugar levels are low.

Foods to avoid in diabetes

You must avoid foods that contain high amounts of fat, sodium, carbs and calories that may increase your risk of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, uncontrolled blood sugar, and weight gain. With the help of your doctor, you can still indulge in your favourite foods and still eat healthy with some satisfying and delicious alternatives.

Here what you should avoid –

• Sugar-sweetened beverages.
• Trans fat.
• White bread, pasta, potatoes, and white rice.
• Fruit-flavoured yogurt.
• Breakfast cereals.
• Flavoured coffee drinks.
• Honey, maple syrup, agave nectar.
• Dried fruits.
• Packaged snack meals.
• Fruit juices.

Knowing which foods to avoid when you are a diabetic can sometimes seem tough. However, following a few guidelines with the help of your doctor can make it easier. Your main goal should include staying away from unhealthy fats, processed grains, liquid sugars and other foods that contain refined carbs.

You must avoid foods that increase your blood sugar levels and drive insulin resistance, doing this can keep you healthy now and reduce the risk of future diabetes complications.

Pray to keep you mind focussed on your health

Manage stress

Your blood sugar levels go up, when you are stressed. And, you may not manage your diabetes well if you are constantly feeling anxious. You may also forget to exercise, eat right, or take your medicines on time. So, relax and find ways to relieve stress through deep breathing, meditation, yoga, or hobbies that de-stress you.


Not many people notice or realise this, but stress and anxiety can alone increase your vulnerability of developing diabetes. Stress causes the release of the pituitary hormone ACTH, which in turn increases the release of stress hormone cortisol from the adrenal glands. Use relaxation therapies, meditation, and deep breathing techniques to kill stress.

Love Yourself, Love your Health

If you are not active now, it’s the right time to start. Being overweight is also the number one risk factor for diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes. You don’t have to join a gym and do cross-training, just walk briskly, or ride a bicycle to maintain your heart rate. Try and put in a good 30 minutes of activity that makes you sweat and breathe little harder most days of the week. An active lifestyle helps control your diabetes by bringing down your blood sugar and also lowers your chances of getting heart disease. Plus, exercise can always help you lose extra pounds and ease stress.

#Fun Facts about Walking

1. Walking for 30 minutes a day makes your brain sharper and improves your memory.
2. It would take seven hours for you to burn all the calories contained in a large bottle of soda and a burger.
3. Doctors feel that walking might actually be better than running with more benefits including reduced risks of heart diseases, blood pressure, and cholesterol.
4. Walking treats depression and makes you more creative.
5. Walking sideways burns more calories than walking forward!
6. Walking uphill can improve cardiovascular fitness.
7. Your walking speed predicts your lifespan!
8. Want to increase your walking speed? Focus on an object in front of you. It will increase your speed by 23%
9. Walking on a rough track helps you burn more calories.
10. Keep a carbohydrate snack (energy bar) by your side to avoid hypoglycaemia.
11. Hydrate yourself.
12. Monitor your sugar levels.

Quit smoking

Diabetes makes you more likely to have health problems like heart diseases, stroke, eye diseases, kidney diseases, vascular complications, foot problems, and nerve damages. If you are a diabetic and you smoke, your chance of getting these problems is even higher. Smoking also can make it harder to exercise as you may feel breathless very soon. Take help from your doctor and find ways to quit smoking.

Get regular checkups

It is recommended that all patients should be screened for DPN starting at diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, and five years after the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, and at least annually after that using simple clinical tests to test nerve sensation in the feet. Make sure you see your doctor at least twice a year. Diabetes raises the odds of heart diseases, stroke and other diseases. Also, get a full eye exam every year and visit your doctor to check for problems like foot ulcers and nerve damage.

Reduce alcohol intake

If you don’t take too much beer, wine, and liquor, it may be easier to control your blood sugar. So if you choose to drink*, don’t overdo it since alcohol can make your blood sugar go too high or too low. Always make a habit to check your blood sugar before you drink, and take steps to avoid low blood sugars. If you use insulin or take drugs for your diabetes, make sure you eat when you are drinking. Some drinks like wine coolers may be higher in carbs, so take this into account when you count your carbs intake.

*Note: Apollo Sugar Clinics does not recommend the consumption of any alcoholic beverage.

Here’s a to-do list for yourself

• Always consult your doctor before embarking on a fitness program.
• Maintain a regular workout schedule.
• Get good sleep.
• Know your blood sugar level and also, monitor it regularly.
• Keep yourself hydrated.
• Brisk walk at least 30 minutes if you miss out on proper exercise.
• Limit your alcohol.
• Meditate.
• Eat clean.
• Stress less.

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder, and more than medication, it demands you take up a regimented lifestyle. However, that does not mean your life would turn insipid. Want to know more! Speak to our diabetes specialists today! Call: 1800 103 1010 Or Enquire Now!