It’s that time of year. We’ve taken down our Christmas decorations, thrown out the remaining leftovers, and watched the ball drop. What’s next? We contemplate our New Year’s resolutions, of course! For someone with diabetes, now is a perfect time to get on track with your diabetes self-management. You can reduce your risk of complications and improve your overall health in 2023. Here are three simple lifestyle changes that you can make this coming year to help better manage your diabetes:
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions for people, no matter their health status, is to exercise more. Physical activity is a crucial part of diabetes self- management as it helps with weight loss and management and decreases blood sugar levels. However, don’t feel like you need to run two miles each day. Instead, start slowly and seek guidance from your doctor before starting anything new. To start, try to reduce your sedentary time by getting up and moving every 30 minutes. Most adults should aim to engage in around 150 minutes of aerobic activity spread throughout the week for maximum health benefits. You can also consider adding strength and flexibility exercises to your routine two to three times per week.
Reevaluate Your Eating Habits
Diet significantly impacts your diabetes management, so strive to make that impact positive by eating healthy meals and snacks. Aim to incorporate whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean protein options into your meal plan, while limiting foods high in added sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats. Swapping sugary drinks for water can also improve your diet by drastically reducing your sugar intake, so make that switch when possible. Also, keep an eye on portion sizes and read the nutrition facts labels on packaged products you consume. To learn even more about how your diet affects your diabetes, consult with a registered dietitian.
Find Healthy Ways to Cope
Beginning a new year often brings on new feelings of hope and determination, but it can also bring on feelings of stress when thinking about your diabetes diagnosis. If stress is not well managed, your blood sugar levels can become elevated, making your diabetes more difficult to control. Along with eating well and exercising, you may find that deep breathing, getting enough sleep, and doing activities that you enjoy can also aid in coping with feelings of stress. Also, be sure to surround yourself with support during your diabetes self-management journey. Diabetes self-management support programs are a great way to increase your knowledge and help you feel more in control of your diabetes management. Clemson Extension’s program, Health Extension for Diabetes, is a free education program that provides education and support to those living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Health Extension for Diabetes classes are offered virtually or in-person to all South Carolina residents with a diabetes diagnosis. Please visit https://clemson.ca1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_07gV9gl3ZHOAohU to register. For more information, contact the Rural Health and Nutrition team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Make your health a priority this New Year and set a goal to get in control of your diabetes management. Start with one of the three healthy lifestyle changes mentioned and have a conversation about it with your doctor. Incorporating these small changes now can lead to big changes down the road that you’ll thank yourself for each New Year to come.
Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to people of all ages, regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or family status and is an equal opportunity employer.
“Diabetes management: How lifestyle, daily routine affect blood sugar.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2022.