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Living well with diabetes: Diet plan, exercise tips and lifestyle strategies | Health

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi

Living with diabetes requires ongoing management but it also presents an opportunity to adopt a healthier lifestyle that can benefit you in various ways. Diabetes is a lifelong disease and it is important to formulate lifestyle strategies to be able to live well with diabetes.

Living well with diabetes: Diet plan, exercise tips and lifestyle strategies for a healthy and balanced life (File Photo)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Anshu Alok, Senior Consultant – Endocrinology at Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital in Delhi’s Saket, asserted, “Most important thing in all aspects is to understand that moderation is the key. Often people start with drastic measures when many are not able to maintain for long duration. Very often we see patrons start very well but get tired easily and keep on falling back to bad lifestyle choices.”

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According to him, the following changes can be key in controlling sugar –

  • Healthy Diet – Diet is the most important aspect of good diabetes control while lot of food diets and restrictive diets can be very helpful, many people find it non-sustainable in long term. It is important to include generous amount of salads, vegetables and fresh fruits in diet. Carbohydrates which includes Bread/Rice/Roti should be consumed not more than 1/4th of our meal. Instead of what we eat, we should aim at changing the proportions of the food items in our diet. Beverages and other very high sugar content foods should be avoided.
  • Exercise – Any form of exercise helps. It is recommended to get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensely exercise/week. Many professionals can’t find dedicated time for exercise in that case whatever activity we can fit into our daily schedule can be helpful. Even a little physical activity is better than no activity. Use activity tracker for motivation if needed or workout with family/friends.
  • Manage Stress – Stress is known to cause increase sugar. Also when stressed people are not able to take care of health issues well. It is important to find hobbies/meditation/Yoga or any other activity that helps in managing stress.
  • Regular Health Check-ups – It is important to get routine blood tests and follow with your doctor. In case of any complications they can be diagnosed early and treatment can be provided.

Bringing her expertise to the same, Dr Shruti Sharma, Consultant-Internal Medicine at Yatharth Hospital in Noida Extension, highlighted key lifestyle strategies that can help you manage your diabetes effectively and live a fulfilling life –

  1. Diet and Nutrition
  • Focus on whole foods: Build your meals around whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. These foods provide essential nutrients and help regulate blood sugar levels.
  • Limit processed foods and sugary drinks: Processed foods are often high in unhealthy fats, added sugars, and refined carbohydrates, all of which can negatively impact your blood sugar control.
  • Choose moderate portions: Pay attention to portion sizes and avoid overeating. Practicing mindful eating can help you make healthier choices.
  • Read food labels carefully: Be aware of the carbohydrate content in foods you consume and plan your meals accordingly.

2. Physical Activity

  • Engage in regular physical activity: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week. Include strength training exercises at least twice a week to build muscle mass and improve bone density.
  • Find activities you enjoy: Choose activities you find enjoyable and make them part of your daily routine. This could include walking, swimming, biking, dancing, or playing sports.
  • Start slowly and gradually increase intensity: If you are new to exercise, start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your workouts to prevent injuries.

3. Weight Management

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Losing even a small amount of weight can significantly improve your blood sugar control and overall health.
  • Set realistic goals: Set achievable goals for weight loss and focus on making gradual, sustainable changes to your diet and exercise habits.
  • Seek support from a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator: These professionals can provide personalized guidance and support to help you manage your weight and diabetes effectively.

4. Stress Management

  • Stress can negatively impact blood sugar control. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, or spending time in nature.
  • Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Adequate sleep is essential for managing stress and overall health.
  • Build a strong support network: Surround yourself with positive and supportive people who can help you cope with stress and stay motivated on your journey to healthy living.

5. Self-Monitoring and Medication

  • Regularly monitor your blood sugar levels: Monitoring your blood sugar levels allows you to track your progress and adjust your treatment plan as needed.
  • Take your medications as prescribed: It is crucial to take your medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor to manage your blood sugar levels effectively.
  • Attend all scheduled appointments with your doctor and diabetes educator: Regular check-ups are essential for monitoring your health, addressing any concerns, and adjusting your treatment plan as needed.

By incorporating these lifestyle strategies into your daily routine, you can effectively manage your diabetes and live a healthy and fulfilling life. Remember, you are not alone in this journey. Seek support from your healthcare team, family, and friends, and stay motivated to live your best life with diabetes.

For all the above mentioned lifestyle changes, it is important to understand that small changes will help. Start small and gradually increase to bigger health goals. Consistency is the key. Try to work around diet and activities that you enjoy so that it can be followed for a long duration.


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