Most of us will make promises to ourselves that come the new year, we’ll live our best lives, lose weight, get healthy and be more active. However, this doesn’t always stick and we can quickly revert back to less healthier habits. But could these unhealthy habits create something more serious?
Type 2 diabetes is becoming more and more common which is mainly caused by unhealthy lifestyle and diet as well as obesity.
We spoke to GP and diabetes specialist Dr Sarah Brewer who shares her top tips to maintain balanced blood sugar levels for a healthy lifestyle in the new year – whether you already have diabetes or trying to prevent it.
- Build up an exercise regime
“Exercise is great for your mind and body and creating a regime will kick-start your healthier routine, and in most cases, aid weight loss. People with type 2 diabetes are relatively unfit and overweight.
If this is the case, it’s important to start an exercise regime slowly and build it up to prevent soreness and loss of motivation. Ideally, work with a gym buddy or trainer to keep you on track.
“If you have type 2 diabetes and are managed on medication, it’s important to ensure your blood glucose levels don’t go too low as a result of over-exercising.
If you are managed on diet and lifestyle alone, this is not usually an issue. Your doctor can advise on how to follow an exercise programme.
Usual advice is to exercise for at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) a week, at moderate intensity such as brisk walking or cycling, in bouts of at least 10 minutes at a time. Alternatively, if you are fit, then at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running or football, is recommended. You should also perform exercises to improve muscle strength at least twice a week.”
- Diet and alcohol
“Many of us will over-do it at Christmas, and this often includes consuming excess food and alcohol. If you’ve been left with a bit of a sore-head and a tighter waistband, it is a good idea to cut down on your alcohol intake.
A great time to give up alcohol is Dry January when you can team up with friends, family or even join online communities to support each other.
“If you are not ready to make such big changes, try to at least limit your alcohol intake…. Moderation is key, as excess alcohol increases insulin resistance, the risk of hypertension, abnormal heart rhythms, fatty liver changes, low blood glucose levels (hypoglycaemia) and also promotes obesity.
If you are trying to lose weight, limiting your alcohol intake is an easy way to cut back on calories. Only drink alcohol when your blood glucose levels are well controlled, drink alcohol with food, drink slowly and avoid sugary drinks and mixers.”
- Get involved with the community to help you stay on track
“Sticking to a new regime can feel lonely, especially when many social occasions are centred around meeting up for dinner or drinks.
If you’re trying to lose weight and take control of your glucose levels, these activities become less enjoyable. Instead, why not meet friends for walks or runs or join a rambling, swimming or gardening club and make new friends whilst maintaining your healthy resolutions?
“However, due to COVID-19 restrictions it is becoming more difficult to meet up with people outside of your household, depending on where you are in the country. In troubling times, it’s wise to seek support and comfort from online communities.
CuraLife has created ‘Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together’, a safe online space of over 18,000 individuals around the world suffering from high or erratic glucose levels or indeed living with type 2 diabetes. It provides a platform to talk openly about their experiences and help one another with any queries or concerns.
If you’re going through something, it’s likely someone else will have too! Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been coping with the condition for years, it’s the ideal place to find support, knowledge, lifestyle tips and recipes. Search ‘Winning Type 2 Diabetes Together’ on Facebook to join. Based on my experience people who tap into a community feel more inspired to stick to healthier options and feel less alone.”
- Try a natural herbal supplement
“Taking a supplement to support a healthier lifestyle can help balance glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
CuraLin (RRP £59.00, www.curalife.com) is a specially tailored natural formula that promotes healthy and balanced blood sugar levels and insulin production in those suffering from Type 2 Diabetes. The nutritional supplement is made from a mixture often natural ingredients, which work with the body to help balance the blood sugar profile.
The blend of 10 ayurvedic herbs within CuraLin can have positive effects on glucose control and metabolism. As a result, users report that their glucose control quickly improves and, in some cases, normalises within 4 weeks.”
- Keeping on track of numbers
“Your doctor will advise on how often you should check your blood glucose levels – some people may need to test daily, while others may not need to test at all outside of those arranged by their GPs. Using a reminder app or calendar can help you keep on track of when you need to test and when your appointments are. It’s also worth keeping a diary and jotting down daily how you feel in yourself to help you stay in control. “