Managing diabetes can be complex and demanding — even frightening. But it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of knowledge and a supportive team, a person who has diabetes can live a long, active, and fulfilling life. According to Carbon Health’s Aimée José, RN, CDCES — a diabetes expert who herself is living with type 1 diabetes, it’s important to focus on simplifying care and setting realistic expectations.
If you are a person with diabetes, wearing a continuous glucose monitor can help you more successfully manage diabetes and achieve your health goals. Book a free 15-minute consultation.
Here are some tips:
Nutrition is a key component in managing diabetes, but the right diet for each person depends on many factors, so you should discuss your personalized nutrition recommendations with your doctor.
Choosing a variety of foods, including fiber-rich carbohydrates, lean proteins, and heart-healthy fats, can help slow the absorption of sugar, lower blood pressure, and improve heart health — all factors in preventing and managing diabetes.
When planning meals, consider these recommendations:
• Eat the rainbow! Include various colorful, non-starchy vegetables — for instance, tomatoes, bell peppers, carrots, dark leafy greens, eggplant, and broccoli.
• Choose whole fruits — apples, pears, or berries — in place of fruit juices.
• Choose plant-based goodness for fats and proteins: nuts, seeds, and legumes such as beans, chickpeas, and lentils are excellent sources.
• Include fatty fish such as salmon, cod, anchovies, and sardines more often for animal proteins. Poultry and eggs can also be part of a balanced meal plan.
• Replace processed grains and flours with whole grains, such as whole-wheat pasta, sprouted breads, whole-grain rice, whole oats, and quinoa.
• Reduce the amount of processed foods and foods that are high in added sugar.
• Eat fats in moderation; however, keep in mind that some heart-healthy fats — such as those in olive, safflower, sunflower, peanut, and canola oils — can actually promote heart and vascular health.
Increased physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, as well as lower your blood sugar levels. The American Diabetes Association recommends a combination of aerobic exercise (such as brisk walking, running, or biking) on most days for 30 minutes a day and resistance exercise (such as yoga and weightlifting) two to three times a week. These activities can also increase your strength and balance, and help you lead a more active life. (Talk to a doctor about your health goals before making drastic changes to your physical activity level.)
Managing your glucose levels is a foundational part of managing prediabetes and diabetes. Talk to your doctor about necessary tests, and consider wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) that gives you a complete picture of your glucose levels. CGMs help people understand how their glucose levels respond to different foods, varying physical activity, stress levels, sleep habits, and other elements of everyday life. A CGM is a small sensor that sits under your skin, does not hurt (although some people experience discomfort when the device is first placed), and continuously measures glucose levels.
Wearing a continuous glucose monitor can give you detailed information about how what you eat and other lifestyle factors affect blood sugar levels. Learn more.
Start by making small changes to your lifestyle. Eat to win by making healthy choices. If you are overweight, try to lose one to two pounds a month. Incorporate physical activity into everyday life — use the stairs, walk with a friend, swim, or ride your bike.
And knowledge is power. Wear a CGM. Use real-time glucose data to inform your decisions about the lifestyle changes that are right for you. With these small steps, you can live better with diabetes.
Carbon Health provides expert diabetes care. If you’re a California resident, learn more about how a CGM device can help you better manage diabetes from the comfort of home. Schedule a free 15-minute eligibility check.
Carbon Health’s medical content is reviewed and approved by healthcare professionals before it is published, but it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Talk to your healthcare provider about questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition, and before making changes to your healthcare routine.