With the new year underway, people with or without diabetes across the world will be committing themselves to New Year’s resolutions.
While success will often occur, many people will have likely broken these vows by March and forgotten even making them by May.
New Year’s resolutions for people with diabetes, however, do not have to be greatly taxing or challenging. We’ve compiled a list of seven that can be stuck to with a little willpower and commitment.
7. Eat less chocolate for hypos
We’ve all done it. People with diabetes prone to hypoglycemia (low blood sugars) can be very tempted to try and raise blood sugar levels by binging on chocolate or sweets.
One of our Diabetes Forum users, Skeg, attests to this, writing: “Hi there, for as long as I have had diabetes I have used chocolate to get over hypos. I have got to the point now where I’m eating chocolate when I shouldn’t.”
To treat hypos, consume 10-20g of sugar, either in the form of glucose tablets or carbohydrates, and prevent the risk of consuming excess calories through chocolate binges.
6. Find fun exercise
Everyone vows to shed that excess Christmas weight in the New Year, and most will give it a try for a few weeks. Sticking to a long-term exercise plan, however, can be harder.
People with diabetes are urged to exercise to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and keep better blood sugar control.
The World Health Organisation recommends adults get at least 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise, five days a week, or a vigorous 75-minute spell of activity during the week.
Do an activity that you haven’t tried before, or an exercise you enjoy to ease you into a long-term program. Great examples of aerobic exercise, which can help with speedy weight loss, are swimming and cycling.
5. Go easy on processed food
Certain diets may not be for everyone, but one thing everyone can do is cut down on processed food. A general rule of thumb is that the more processed a food is, the worse it is for your health.
Very processed foods, such as fast food, processed meats and high-sugar breakfast cereals tend to include highly refined carbohydrate, added glucose, sugar and salt. These can all have adverse affects on your blood sugar levels and result in needless calories being consumed.
Processed foods generally have no nutritional benefit so when you see “ingredients” such as potassium chloride or calcium propionate, be sure to stay away.
4. Improve HbA1c reading
The higher the HbA1c reading is in people with diabetes, the greater the risks are of developing diabetes-related complications such as retinopathy, neuropathy and diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease).
The aforementioned elements of diet improvement and exercise will help with this, while you should also examine nutrition labels on food packages scrupulously to keep your calorie intake low.
Focus on keeping good control of your blood sugars and diet so your next HbA1c reading comes back with a positive result.
3. Change lancets and needles every day
“They are for single use only, but it’s up to you if you want to re-use them, I don’t always change them after every bg test, but do change the lancet each and every morning,” writes Noblehead on the Diabetes Forum.
Many of us will sometimes go days before replacing injection needles and lancets for blood testing, but they are designed for single use only, and at the least, should be changed once a day.
Repeatedly using a lancet will make it blunt, and more painful to use, so change your needles and lancets once daily at the minimum to avoid bruising and unnecessary pain.
2. Stop feeling like you’re alone
Diabetes can feel quite overwhelming at times, especially if your blood sugars won’t come under control and physically you don’t quite feel yourself.
“I decided to post this as I have been giving some thought if any members may feel isolated or alone in coping/dealing with their Diabetes Do you ever feel ‘alone’ whilst living with Diabetes?” wrote anna29 on the Diabetes Forum.
It is a tremendous shame that some do, but nobody should have to feel alone because of their diabetes. If you do, there are options to help you feel better.
Aside from the valuable Diabetes Forum – in which people with diabetes can share and exchange their experiences – discussing your emotions with family, your GP or a health care professional will also make you feel better. You can get things off your chest that may have been getting down and you may pick up some education that can help your control as a result.
1. Set realistic targets
People can feel down when they set themselves targets and fail to meet them, this is perfectly natural. However, rather than dwell on missing a target, set more realistic, temporary targets.
Focus on day-to-day achievements such as reducing blood glucose levels or eating a lesser level of calories with your meals.
Adapt your targets at a realistic pace so that each victory boosts your confidence and carries you forward in managing your diabetes.