Hi, I’m Kris Orton, Diabetes and Nutrition Manager, Lakeview Hospital. Welcome to my blog!
November recognized National Diabetes Month and this year’s theme is “Be Smart About Your Heart – Control the ABCs of Diabetes.” A-is measuring your blood sugar level; B is managing your blood pressure; and C is managing your cholesterol. Here are some great healthy lifestyle tips:
Eating well to maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. It can seem hard to make healthy food choices, particularly if you are on a budget and short on time. But there are some simple steps you can take to help you and your family eat healthier. Choose 2 or 3 of these suggestions to start today. Then come back another day and try a few more.
Build a Healthier Plate
- Use a grocery list when shopping for food to help you choose more fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
- Buy leaner meats (such as chicken, turkey and lean cuts of pork or beef such as sirloin or chuck roast) and lower fat dairy products (like low-fat or skim milk and yogurt).
- Buy whole grain breads and cereals.
- Save money by buying less soda, sweets and chips or other snack foods.
Remember that special "dietetic" or "diabetic" foods often cost extra money and may not be much healthier than simply following the suggestions given here.
- Set aside some time to plan your weekly meals. You might want to start with just a few days. It may seem like a hassle at first, but having a plan (and writing your grocery list with it in mind) can save you time, stress and a lot of extra trips to the store.
- Stock your pantry with plenty of healthy basics, including brown rice, whole grain pasta, crackers and cereals.
- Remember that fresh fruits and vegetables are usually healthier than canned or frozen, but it is better to have canned or frozen fruits or vegetables than none at all!
- When you run out, put the items on your grocery list so you'll always have them on hand.
- Shop only from your grocery list.
- Avoid aisles that contain foods high in calories but low in vitamins and minerals such as candy, cookies, chips and sodas. Also avoid buying items promoted at the front of the store, on the "end-cap" displays at the end of each aisle, or at the cash register. These foods are usually low in nutrition.
- Never shop when you are hungry and might be tempted by a less healthy food.
- To cut down on the sodium in canned vegetables, drain and rinse them before heating in fresh water. You can do the same to cut down on added sugar in canned fruits or better yet, buy them packed in juice (not syrup).
- Try starting meals with a salad or a broth or tomato- based soup with lots of vegetables. This helps you eat more good-for-you veggies while filling you up before you get to the higher fat and calorie courses.
- Make healthy snack foods easy to find in your kitchen. For example, when you get home from work or school, put some fresh carrots, grapes or pretzels out on the counter instead of a bag of chips.
- In restaurants, ask if meats can be grilled rather than fried, and request sauces and dressings on the side. Remember to choose fruit, salad or other vegetables as side items, rather than French fries. Order a salad or soup to start and then share an entrée. Save money, and lots of calories, by skipping dessert.
- Helps keep your blood glucose, blood pressure, HDL cholesterol and triglycerides on target
- Lowers your risk for pre-diabetes, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke
- Relieves stress
- Strengthens your heart, muscles and bones
- Improves your blood circulation and tones your muscles
- Keeps your body and your joints flexible
Even if you've never exercised before, you can find ways to add physical activity to your day. You'll get benefits, even if your activities aren't strenuous. Once physical activity is a part of your routine, you'll wonder how you did without it.
A complete physical activity routine includes four kinds of activity:
- Activity—walking, using the stairs, moving around—throughout the day
- Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, swimming, or dancing
- Strength training, like lifting light weights
- Flexibility exercises, such as stretching
Aerobic Exercise - Aerobic exercise makes your heart and bones strong, relieves stress and improves blood circulation. It also lowers your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke by keeping your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels on target. Aim for about 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week. If you haven't been very active recently, start out with 5 or 10 minutes a day. Then work up to more time each week. Or split up your activity for the day—try a brisk 10-minute walk three times each day. If you're trying to lose weight, you may want to aim for more than 30 minutes a day.
Here are some ways to get aerobic exercise:
- Take a brisk walk every day
- Go dancing or take a dance aerobics class
- Swim or do water aerobics
- Take a bicycle ride outdoors or use a stationary bicycle indoors
Strength Training -Strength training helps build strong bones and muscles and makes everyday chores like carrying groceries easier. With more muscle, you burn more calories, even at rest.
Do your strength routine several times a week. Here are some ways to do strength training:
- Lift light weights at home
- Join a class that uses weights, elastic bands, or plastic tubes
- When you travel, make time to use the hotel fitness center. Or bring lightweight, easy to pack resistance bands with you
Flexibility Exercises - Flexibility exercises, also called stretching, help keep your joints limber and lower your chances of getting hurt. Gentle stretching for 5 to 10 minutes helps your body warm up and get ready for activities and cool down afterwards.
How to Get Started
- Choose one or two things you'd like to try to get started. Then set a realistic, achievable plan to make it happen. Learn more about setting realistic, achievable goals.
- Keep a Record of Your Progress
- Keep track of your activity - You might find that writing everything down helps keep you on target. Think about what works best for you. You might try a notebook, calendar, spreadsheet, cell phone or online activity tracker to log and record your progress.
- How a Support System can Help - It may be helpful to meet on a regular basis with others who are also trying to be active. Think about joining a group for exercise or general support. Or find a walking buddy. Then work together to reach your goals.
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