A new year means new beginnings. Traditionally, it’s a time to resolve to make changes for the better in our lives. This year, I decided to write a resolution list dedicated specifically to diabetes. I hope that some of you will want to try these ideas with me.
1. Find a new snack that’s low in carbohydrates and calories. I’m still in college, so my life can be hectic and my hours late. You’re likely to get hungry if you stay up late, but it’s important not to let your blood glucose get out of hand. Pick a healthy snack that’s low in carbohydrates, like apples and peanut butter or low fat yogurt.
2. Do more cardiovascular exercise. Cardio is not only strengthening, but also an excellent way to lower blood glucose levels. A good low impact exercise is swimming: It’s easy on your joints and a great workout for your entire body. Whatever exercise you choose, try hard to stay with it all year.
3. Make a schedule. Life can get busy and stressful at times, so having set times to eat and exercise really simplifies the diabetes lifestyle. In that respect, I’ve found that a large calendar is helpful. It allows me to make notes about the important things I need to do and to budget my time for eating and working out. It’s also a constant visual reminder to keep working on my health. Of course, although writing down what needs to be done is a good start, actually doing it is what’s going to keep you healthy.
4. Learn to cook at least one diabetes-friendly meal. This should be your “go to” meal, for which you know exactly how much insulin to take. My favorite meal includes baked chicken, green beans, and brown rice. If I am hungry and in a hurry, I reach for a prepackaged snack that has an exact carb count listed on the package. Taking the guess work out of bolusing for snacks and meals will lead to better blood sugar levels.
5. Search out one new tip or fact about diabetes every week. We all need to continue learning how to better control and manage our disease, so look for a weekly tip that you can apply to your everyday life. The Internet is full of them.
6. Keep your A1C between 6% and 8%. To get an overall picture of your average blood glucose level, you need to check your A1C every 90 days. There is no fooling around when it comes to this. As far as I’m concerned, keeping your A1C between 6% and 8% is the diabetes Golden Rule, and the closer to 6%, the better.
Feel free to use my list, or make up your own and share it with others. Either way, I hope you have a safe and happy new year.