Embarking on a complete overhaul of your lifestyle, whether you are doing it to manage a health condition such as diabetes or for another reason, is pretty overwhelming. Changes and new habits can take a while to adjust to, meaning they may unravel when you are under pressure or when things go awry. Here are a few practical tips on making your new healthy habits for diabetes or health management stick.
Make gradual changes. This is a lot easier than going cold turkey. Creating lifestyle changes one step at a time is more sustainable in the longer term. For example, start exercising for just 10 minutes a day or switch from soda or juice to water.
Plan ahead. Getting caught out without the right foods at hand can lead to making poor eating choices. When we plan ahead what we will eat for the week or when we are away from home, our choices will usually turn out to be healthier and also, as a bonus, cheaper!
Share the load. This could be as simple as taking turns cooking, preparing meals ahead of time or having an accountability buddy. Having others you can share the load with means an abundance of moral, emotional and physical support, meaning you are less likely to give up.
Make exercise fun! This will increase the likelihood of you keeping it up. Take a look around your neighbourhood for community classes or group activities that may help you make more permanent exercise changes. For example, organised sports groups, walking groups, or dance classes.
Seek out support. For those new to diabetes or just new to managing dietary intake and exercise, making these important lifestyle changes can be a little daunting. Looking out for diabetes management or weight loss programmes run by medical professionals in your area is a great start, or you could ask whānau, friends and your workplace to support you on your journey.
Take time out.Don’t be afraid to take some time for yourself. Having diabetes means lifelong adjustments, and it will take some time for all of it to become the ‘new normal’.
Talk to others. Sharing your thoughts, feelings, and what you are going through with other people who have diabetes can provide valuable insight and help with feelings of isolation. This could mean joining a diabetes support group in your area or getting in touch with distant family or friends of friends.
Don’t be too hard on yourself. Learning all the skills required to manage your diabetes will take time. It is completely normal to make mistakes and to experience highs and lows. Just stake it one step at a time. Keep in mind counselling could be a good idea if you are really struggling.
Here’s a link to our 3 pervious blogs on understanding Type 2 diabetes