Are you ready to renew your energy and improve your health and fitness levels? You can improve your diabetes management by eating healthy and exercising regularly. Try these simple strategies to help reset old behaviors and improve daily lifestyle habits.
1. Prepare snacks ahead of time.
Keep a week’s worth of snacks and place them in clear containers or plastic baggies in carb and calorie counted portions. Use clear containers or bags to take the guesswork out of your snacks.
2. Set a SMART exercise goal and reap the rewards.
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Relevant, and Timely. Research shows that people who set SMART goals, like “I will walk Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 7:00 to 7:30 a.m.,” are more likely to stick to them.
3. Use an empty laundry detergent bottle as an inexpensive sharps container.
This type of plastic container is safe and takes the hassle out of disposing needles and syringes. Make sure you check with your local waste management company about how to properly dispose of the container once it’s full.
4. Write a shopping list of everything you need.
A written list “takes the remembering out of remembering.” When you write down what you need to purchase to take care of your diabetes, you can use your brain for thinking and the list for remembering. It will help take some of the pressure off once you walk into the store, and will likely cut down on extra purchases too!
5. Store healthy food in prime kitchen real estate.
Your prime kitchen real estate is the shelf space located between your shoulders and your knees. When you unpack your groceries, place the healthy snacks and ingredients within reach. Keep your less healthy snacks — maybe those for your spouse or kids — on a higher shelf so they’re not as accessible or noticeable.
6. Buy more morning time.
Having trouble managing your time in the morning to fit in all your diabetes self-care tasks? Try replacing your digital clock with an analog one. Seeing the physical sweep of time is a powerful motivator, especially in the morning. Place it in the areas of your home that you frequent in the morning, like the bathroom, kitchen, and bedroom.
7. Keep your portion sizes under control by using smaller dishes.
The last time you went to a restaurant, was your entrée served on a plate the size of a hubcap? Standard plate sizes have increased from around 9 inches in the 1960s to over 12 inches today. It’s easier to control portions at home, but your eyes may deceive you when you dine out. One trick is to keep the smaller bread or appetizer plate and transfer a reasonable serving from your entrée plate to this smaller plate. You’ll be happier that you stuck to a smaller portion, and also happier when you have leftovers for the next day!
8. Get some shut-eye.
Sleep is important when you’re trying to stay healthy with diabetes. Make sure that the shades are drawn and the lights are off when you’re ready to snooze. If any remaining light bothers you, wear an eye mask. Keep a flashlight on your nightstand, or next to your bed, so you can check your blood glucose or your continuous glucose monitor during the night. Also, try using earplugs to drown out outside noise.
9. Fly right with diabetes.
Always keep your blood glucose supplies and medications within your reach, or in your carry-on bag, in case of lost luggage. When you go through security, let TSA personnel know what’s in your bag. If you take insulin pens or syringes, bring the original prescription packaging for your insulin. Put all your diabetes supplies in a clear zip-top bag so TSA can easily see everything. Also, just in case, include a copy of the doctor-signed medical necessity letter in your carry-on.
10. Use a shoe bag for snacks.
Short on kitchen shelf space? Put a hook on the back of your pantry door or cupboard and hang a clear plastic shoe bag on it. Stash calorie and carbohydrate counted healthy snacks, such as unsalted nuts, in each slot. You can also store blood glucose testing supplies in the clear slots.