9 Tips for Finding a Healthier Life with Diabetes
(Updated November 2023)
Nov. 20, 2019
Did you know 1 in 7 adults* in South Carolina have diabetes?
Living with diabetes may be difficult, but BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina’s health coaches can help. If you are a BlueCross member with diabetes, you may have spoken with one of these coaches.
If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to work with your doctor and other care providers to manage it.
There are many options to make your life easier, from finding the right foods for you to starting an exercise routine or finding a helpful resource.
For American Diabetes Month, Stephenie Brown, a health coach with BlueCross, offers tips to help people with diabetes tackle top concerns:
1. Know what is important to you
Getting your diabetes under control takes planning, monitoring and a little effort. All of that takes motivation.
Brown recommends knowing why getting healthy is important for you. Maybe it is being active and involved in your children’s or grandchildren’s lives. Maybe it is living a longer or fuller life. Whatever your reasons, know why you want to improve your health. This will give you the motivation you need to make changes.
2. Meal planning will set you up for success
Brown says this is one of the most requested pieces of information. Knowing how to prepare and plan what you want to eat each day is a challenge. The health coaches have the resources to help members plan food for every situation.
Planning ahead, especially when you are busy, traveling or heading into the holidays, can help you stay on track with healthy meal ideas. You can find great ideas for healthy options on the Diabetes Food Hub* from the American Diabetes Association.
3. Know your goals
Once you have your “why,” use that to set your “what.” Brown suggests focusing on one goal at a time and taking small steps.
For example, remember to do one thing per day to make a change. The more you do that, the more those little changes will work into your routine.
4. Manage your numbers
One of Brown’s biggest recommendations is to know your blood sugar and A1C numbers. The more you track these numbers and understand what certain foods do to your numbers, the easier it will be to adjust your food and life choices.
One of the most common questions she gets is which foods are OK. The easiest way to know the answer to that question is to track the numbers and know which foods work for you and which ones do not.
5. Be active when you can
Brown recommends that you start physical activity where you can. For example, if you have limitations, find activities that can work for you, such as chair exercises. Every little bit will help.
6. Take your medicine on time
Busy schedules can get in the way of taking medication on time, Brown says. This may be particularly true in the middle of the day or when you are at work. Taking your medicine on time is key to properly manage your diabetes.
This is where Brown suggests focusing on your motivations. Taking your medications as directed is key to achieving your goals and living a healthy life. Think about that when you hit a wall or try to put off taking your medications.
7. Focus on the positive
It can be discouraging when you make changes but don’t see improvement. Brown suggests focusing on the positive changes. Perhaps your clothes fit a little better. Maybe you’ve dropped 10 pounds. Maybe you understand your numbers better. Maybe you’ve planned your meals every week for a month.
Every little change you make can lead to a reduction in complications and a healthier lifestyle. That is the point. Focus on the good and keep it up.
8. Know that good mental health is important
Making big life changes can have an impact on your mental health. You can always ask for help. BlueCross has resources for mental health. It is important to take care of yourself every day. Practicing mindfulness or managing your stress can be important for mental health.
9. Ask for help
BlueCross health coaches can help with motivation and with finding the right resources. Coaches will call members every three months, but if you like, you can ask that they call more often. Talk to the health coaches about all the ways they can help.
Celebrate your victories, Brown says. When you have a good day or you accomplish a goal, make sure you celebrate the hard work you did to get there. Every victory is worth the effort. Keep that in mind as you set your goals and work on making your life healthier.
Ready to get on track with your health but not sure where to start? If your health plan includes health coaching, you can work with a personal health coach who can help you make positive changes at your own pace.Read More
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Could you have prediabetes? Having prediabetes means that your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but they are not yet high enough to be considered Type 2 diabetes.Read More