You are newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and you are getting so much information on how you need to change your lifestyle to a diabetes-friendly lifestyle that you are feeling overwhelmed. I figured I would touch on the topic of newly diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes for those asking – “what do I do now?”
Type 2 Diabetes is one of the most insidious diseases because the patient may not be feeling that sick. Because of this, Type 2 Diabetes has one of the highest denial rates of any disease. It is really important that you take your newly diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes very seriously because this disease affects your long term health.
Fear is normal
It is very normal to be scared, sad or angry when you are newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. The key is to make yourself deal with this situation. Putting off the inevitable is only going to hurt your long term health. The faster you convince yourself of the need to change your lifestyle to a diabetes friendly lifestyle the better off you will be. Also you don’t want your sex life to change.
First Step – Educate Yourself
If you are anything like me, the more you know about something the easier it is to deal with. Read, read and read some more. There are countless books on the subject of Type 2 Diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends a book called Diabetes A to Z which, by the name you can tell, provides everything you would need to know about Diabetes.
If you are not the book reading type (hey not everyone likes to read) you can certainly find a plethora of information on the web. There is the trusty American Diabetes Association website which goes into detail the cause and effect of Type 2 Diabetes. WebMD also has a complete overview of Diabetes that is definitely helpful if you have questions about the disease.
Once you brush up on your Type 2 Diabetes knowledge you will see just how crucial it is to make sure you are eating a diabetes friendly diet. Believe me, this is going to be the hardest part. Who wants to have to think about every piece of food they put in their mouth? Unfortunately, that’s just the way it is.
If possible, your new Diabetes diet should be the household norm. This will just make it easier on you and everyone in the house will benefit from a healthier diet. So how do you find out what kind of diet is acceptable for you?
The best advice I can give is to see a nutritionist. I know, you never pictured yourself as the type of person that would see a nutritionist…just do it. A person’s recommended calorie intake varies and it is very important that you find out the correct one for you to avoid unwanted complications from losing weight too fast. Once you find out what the recommended calorie intake would be, you can go from there.
The new theme of your daily diet will be “count the carbs”. There is no way around it. In order to make sure that you are getting the proper nutrition to meet your Diabetic needs you will need to focus on your carbohydrate intake. *HINT* each gram of carbs is about 4 calories. You need to make sure that you are not eating up your daily calorie allowance on things with a bunch of carbs but no nutritional value.
Exercise – Try It, You’ll Like It
Let me just start out by saying, you do not need to spend hours in the gym each day to feel the positive effects of increasing your activity level. 30 Minutes per day is really all you need. You could even split that up by taking a 10 minute walk after lunch and a 20 minute walk after dinner.
Maybe if you know all the benefits that 30 minutes of daily exercise will give you, you would feel a little better about it:
- It lowers your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol
- It uses up extra sugar in your blood and helps your own insulin work better
- It helps you deal with stress
- It keeps your body and joints flexible
- It helps blood flow and tones muscles
- It makes your heart and bones strong
Testing Your Blood Sugar Level – Check It, Check It, And Check It Again
Here is one of the real bummers of having Type 2 Diabetes…you really, really need to check your blood sugar level periodically throughout the day. Not only should you check the levels, you should make a record of your levels not just as your own guide but also as a tool that you and your doctor can work with.
Your Diabetes goal is going to be to keep your blood sugar level as close to your target level as possible. This will cut down on the complications you see resulting from your diabetes. Thats why it is sooooo important to test your levels frequently throughout the day. You will be able to see how food, exercise, medicine and stress effect your blood sugar levels.
Take Care Of Yourself – Mentally Speaking
Sometimes it is going to be very hard to deal with the fact that you have Diabetes. It makes life tougher than it already can be sometimes. You can never take a vacation from Diabetes and just say “oh well, I start back with that on Monday”. All of this can get you down sometimes. Believe me!
You are going to need some sort of support. I know, you may not be the type of person that usually talks about their feelings or even admits that they have any. But guess what – you are going to have some feelings and sometimes they are not going to be pretty. You need to know ahead of time who you are going to turn to or what you are going to do to lift your spirits.
Diabetes raises your risk for serious clinical depression. That’s why to me,taking care of yourself mentally is going to be just as important as making sure you are eating the right things. I’m not saying you have to run out and get a therapist or anything like that. All I’m saying is that it’s a good idea to have someone to talk to that you can identify with you and who can empathize with you…it will keep you sane.
Ok so that’s it, not too much to do right? Just keep in mind that it takes about 27 days for people to truly accept new habits as the norm. After that, it will all be like second nature for you. Take care.