Managing diabetes is hard! You are constantly reminded to reduce your sugar intake, monitor your carbs, and prioritize complex carbohydrates over sugary, processed foods. The instructions and guidelines are never ending!
You can also experiment with a low glycemic diet, which involves using the glycemic index to create a meal plan using foods that take longer to break down into sugar. The glycemic index measures how quickly your blood sugar rises after eating a specific food. Foods are ranked from 0 to 100 based on how they affect your blood sugar. Foods that are low in fiber are digested quickly and spike blood sugar levels, they have the highest glycemic index. In contrast, foods that take a while to digest with high fiber, slowly release sugar into your bloodstream and have a lower glycemic index. A low glycemic index is less than 55, and a high glycemic is 70 or higher.
Tracking your carbs and sugars is another essential way to stay on top of your blood sugar levels. If scribbling grams-per-meal on a napkin throughout the day isn’t your thing, check out helpful nutrition- tracking apps like MyFitnessPal, Fooducate or MySugr, which keep everything organized and can even help you plan your meals.
Overwhelmed yet? Changing your diet and lifestyle all sound great in theory, but let’s be honest. Change is HARD!!! We all start with great intentions and a fresh resolve after a lecture at the doctor’s office. Unfortunately, after a few days or weeks of avoiding ALL the bad foods, the willpower tends to weaken and gradually the chocolate chip cookies ease back into our routines.
Identifying small sustainable changes that can be maintained are far more valuable than dramatic changes. If you love nothing more than chocolate, you can say “I’ll never eat another Oreo again!” but most likely that won’t be sustainable. Instead, buy a high-quality dark chocolate. When that craving for chocolate hits, have a small piece of the darkest chocolate you can enjoy, you may need to start at 40% but with time, you can gradually increase to 70%. Melt it slightly in the microwave and mix with some unsweetened peanut butter or coconut for a real treat! This more realistic goal will satisfy your chocolate cravings with much less spike to your sugar than what you used to eat!
Saying “I’m going to cut out all carbs from my diet!” is a great goal. However, is that realistic in today’s go- go- go world? Instead, consider taking one piece of bread off the sandwich, this cuts the carbs for that sandwich in half! This probably feels a lot more do-able than never being able to eat a sandwich again!
Small bits of exercise matter. Try parking farther away, avoid the closest parking spot, those extra steps, several times a day, add up! Take the stairs instead of the elevator. You can make it around the block once today. Maybe twice tomorrow. Buy that Fitbit and increase your step goals, just slightly, every week. With time, you will start to see and feel the changes in your body.
Remember the complicated glycemic index foods? Here’s a simple trick for lowering the glycemic index of any food: Mix a tsp of plain Metamucil into 8 ounces of water and drink it immediately prior to eating, this increases the fiber and reduces the speed at which the sugars from any food enters your blood!
Make the lifestyle changes that are the easiest first. Once those changes become habit then pick the next easiest habit to tackle. First, give up the habits you will miss the least. Those successes will give you confidence to tackle the tougher habits later. Change your milk chocolate to a quality dark chocolate. Look at the carbs and sugars in your drinks of choice and find a similar but better choice to switch to. Once those changes become a habit, then make one more change toward better health next week or next month. Focus on real whole foods and avoid heavily processed foods. Shop on the outside isles of the grocery store. Read the ingredients, if you don’t know how to pronounce the ingredient, then you should not be eating it.
Avoid artificial sweeteners. Fewer chemicals are always the better option when it comes to what we are putting into our bodies! While “Low fat” or “Diet” marketing sounds appealing, it actually means the product has artificial fats, flavorings and sweeteners that worse for you than the original product. Studies have shown the artificial sweeteners are appetite stimulators and contribute to weight gain!
Always remember, every day is a new day and a new chance to make a better choice. Don’t beat yourself up over the Oreos of yesterday. Try again each morning to be awesome today!
Could have done better? Forgive yourself, take an extra lap around the block, and make a small sustainable adjustment tomorrow!
Latitude Pediatric & Family Clinic: Where individual rights meet professional advice! We provide Primary Care to the entire family, starting with our sweet newborns and throughout the lifespan. Medicine is not one size fits all. Here, you are given the Latitude to be the master of your path and destiny. Our goal is to provide medical recommendations while truly hearing, understanding and respecting your concerns and goals.
Latitude Pediatric & Family Clinic
2831 Ringling Blvd, Suite F220
Sarasota FL, 34237