If you’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, there are lots of ways you can slow its progression and manage the risk of future complications.
Lifestyle changes like getting active and eating a healthy diet can make a significant difference.
Here are some tips to help you manage your condition:
Tip 1: Be active
Exercise is one of the best ways to control your blood glucose levels, keep your heart healthy and improve your overall health and wellbeing. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week (at least 150 minutes/week).
If you are new to exercise, consult your doctor before you start and make sure to take it slowly at first and build up your fitness over time.
Set short term goals
As you achieve each goal, you can make the next one a little harder. Take a few minutes each week to note down what you’re doing in a diary or smart phone app to track your progress.
Lose a little bit of weight if necessary
If you’re overweight, losing 5-10% of your bodyweight can make a real difference to how well you manage your blood glucose levels, and can also improve your blood pressure and cholesterol. Talk to your GP for help.
Could Medibank help you better manage your type 2 diabetes?
Healthier Weight, Healthier Me: Type 2 Diabetes is a pilot program to help eligible Medibank members lose weight to better manage their condition.
Tip 2: Eat well
A balanced diet
Aim to eat a wide variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, as well as reduced fat dairy and proteins such as lean meat, eggs, tofu, nuts, seeds, legumes and beans. The Australian Dietary Guidelines are a great place to start, but your GP can refer you to a dietitian to help you develop a nutrition plan for your specific needs.
Limit processed food and drinks
Processed food and drink tend to have lots of added sugar or salt—you don’t have to cut them out of your diet completely but keep them as an occasional treat. Try stocking your freezer with healthy meals you can prepare quickly. When it comes to drinking, keep your alcohol intake to two or less standard drinks per day.
Time it right
Space your meals at regular intervals through the day. This will help keep your blood glucose levels at a consistent level so that you don’t experience symptoms that occur when it/they dip or spike.
Tip 3: Quit smoking
As you may already be aware, diabetes increases your risk of heart disease—and smoking increases this risk even more. If you smoke contact quit or talk to your doctor for help to quit.
Tip 4: Get support
Your GP is the best place to start for support with type 2 diabetes. There’s also good evidence to show that support from a diabetes educator can help with weight loss and overall quality of life, and reduce the risk of complications. Talk to your GP or get in touch with Diabetes Australia for a referral.
If you’re a Medibank hospital member, you may also be able to access the Healthier Weight, Healthier Me: Type 2 Diabetes program. The pilot program includes up to up to 10 video consultations with an accredited dietitian to help with weight loss and diabetes management. Find out if you’re eligible here.
Tip 5: Monitor your blood glucose levels
One of the most important parts of managing your diabetes well is keeping your blood sugar levels within a certain range.
Regular blood glucose level monitoring can help you see the effects of things like food and exercise on your blood glucose levels – and help you to manage your blood glucose levels. Speak to your doctor about the best way to monitor your levels.