Thriving with Diabetes

Ask our CDE

Thriving with Diabetes

Question: I'm familiar with the stories from magazines and online, where someone loses 100+ pounds or is an "extreme" athlete. But what does it look like for a regular woman like me to "thrive" with diabetes?

 

Answer: “Thriving” with Diabetes does not have to mean that your story must be magazine-worthy. In fact, it can be harmful to compare yourself to individuals in the media. Comparison can truly be the thief of joy...especially since we never know the full picture of someone else’s story. I encourage you to view these individuals as an inspiration to make your own positive health changes, but not have the mindset that you must accomplish exactly what they did. “Thriving” will look different in each person’s own life.

 

What thriving with diabetes may look like:

  1. Understanding which foods affect your blood sugars. Knowledge is power...and comfort. :) When you grasp how certain foods and food pairings create spikes, drops, or stable blood sugars, you can learn to choose foods wisely and confidently. If you are looking for a diabetes nutrition jump start, you can download my free 7 day diabetes meal plan here.

  2. Taking your medications as prescribed. While diabetes has a lot to do with food, medications also play a big role in managing this disease. Collaborate with your doctor to help better understand what medications may be needed and why. Also remember to follow up with your doctor regularly for lab tests and possible medication adjustments. If your medication regimen isn’t working for you, let your doctor know and create a plan together. Your healthcare provider will be a diabetes expert, but you are an expert in your life. Creating a plan together is always the best approach.

  3. Viewing the disease in a positive light. I understand that your feelings about diabetes will change daily, and sometimes even hourly. This is completely normal. However, our thoughts have more power over us than we tend to believe. The more accepting we are of our illness, the more successful we can be in managing it.

  4. Improving your life surrounding the disease. Things like managing stress, enjoying social activities, developing new hobbies, and building a support network play huge roles in managing diabetes. You can and should enjoy your life while living with diabetes.

  5. Working to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight. This does not have to mean an extreme amount of weight loss. If you have been diagnosed as being overweight or obese, start by trying to lose just 5% of your body weight, since this will create an immediate improvement in both your blood sugar and blood pressure levels.

  6. Incorporating exercise. Exercise is about so much more than weight loss. The benefits of regularly moving your body include everything from building muscle, benefiting mood, increasing metabolism, and improving blood sugars (for up to 24 hours after the exercise is completed!).

 

Over the years, I have had clients tell me that their diabetes diagnosis has been something they are thankful for, because it helped them focus on their health, self-care, and reminded them to place more value on the relationships in their life. Now that is thriving!