3 Easy Habits to Improve Your Diabetes Health Right Now
These simple tips from Ginger Vieira will help you embrace better self-care.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest you cut all carbs and commit to a life without pizza or beer...or chocolate! GASP! Never.
Instead, I’m talking about adding rather than changing. But these are easy adds. These are things I personally do that help me stay “on track” if you will. I don’t mean that I follow some sort of perfect diabetes management plan every day -- because I definitely don’t.
What I mean is that these 3 habits help to ensure that most of my day is filled with good choices.
1. I test my blood sugar within minutes of getting out of bed in the morning.
This is a big one for me -- especially because the moment I walk downstairs, I’m bombarded by children, packing lunches, slicing bananas, and getting everyone dressed. (I do manage to get a cup of coffee though. That’s critical.) I test my blood sugar in the bathroom as soon as I wake up so that I can ensure I’m starting the day off on the right foot. If my blood sugar is high or low, I can address it immediately, and try to get back into my goal range as quickly as possible. It’s my golden rule. Every morning. And if I find myself heading towards the stairs without having tested, I turn around, go back to my bedroom and test.
2. I stop drinking coffee by 8:30 a.m.and switch to water!
Coffee is not a magical harmless gift from mother nature. Sure, a little is good for you, but chugging the stuff all day long is absolutely going to lead to insulin resistance, higher blood sugars (even with black coffee), and a not-so-healthy brain! Caffeine works by blocking certain neurotransmitter’s receptors and increases “excitability” in your brain. In the morning, that translates to feeling awake, but chugging caffeine all day long can easily translate to anxiety and high blood pressure. It also impacts your dopamine production. The more you drink, the more you abuse your body’s natural dopamine production, which means the more caffeine it takes to get that same response. When it comes to blood sugar levels, too much caffeine can lead to a glycogen response from your liver which raises blood sugar levels and requires more insulin! Abusing coffee all day long is a slippery slope that seems harmless, but is gradually wearing on your diabetes and overall health. Set a timer, ditch the coffee, and grab your water.
3. I buy pre-chopped veggies to make veggie consumption easier.
Thank you, Costco, for taking the work out of chopping broccoli and green beans, because this helps me skip over any excuses about “I don’t feel like chopping the veggies.” When you’re thinking about making dinner and you’re tired after work, making the veggie part as easy as possible is worth it. I’ll also do a big chop of other veggies on Sunday or Monday and use them throughout the week from containers in the fridge. This works well for veggies like bell peppers, onions, and Brussel’s sprouts. On a side note, I also love Costco’s bag of “power greens.” I think they’re intended for smoothies, but I just put a big handful in a bowl, add a little dressing, and eat it up. It’s an easy way to get greens into my belly on a daily basis!
If you’re struggling with improving old habits, I think these three tips can make embracing new habits easier. It’s not about cutting out the things you love, it’s about adding.
About Ginger Vieira:
Ginger Vieira has lived with Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease since 1999, and fibromyalgia since 2014. She is the author of Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes & Dealing with Diabetes Burnout & Emotional Eating with Diabetes & Your Diabetes Science Experiment. Ginger creates content regularly for Diabetes Strong, Healthline, YouTube Channel, and more! Her background includes a B.S. in Professional Writing, certifications in cognitive coaching, Ashtanga yoga, and personal training with several records in drug-free powerlifting. She lives in Vermont with her husband, their 2 daughters, and two dogs, Suzy and Petey.