4 Essential Tricks to Control Diabetes
Small goals make a big difference
When it comes to type 2 diabetes, you need diet and exercise goals that encourage you to succeed—not ones that set you up to fail, says Ann Goebel-Fabbri, PhD, a psychologist and investigator at the Joslin Diabetes Center, in Boston.
“I think goals have to be small and well spelled out for people. Everyone has the experience of going to a health practitioner and being told something vague: ‘You know, you really ought to lose weight.’ What does that mean? Goals need to be broken down into small nuts and bolts,” she says.
1. See where you stand now
Margaret Savoca, PhD, an assistant professor in the department of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, suggests that you stop and look at your eating and exercise habits, and figure out what will be the easiest changes to make, rather than making huge changes that are tough to sustain.
“Diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint,” says Elizabeth Hardy, 47, a Dallas resident who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2005. For Hardy it was easiest to make changes in her life one step at a time.
2. Keep a record of your physical activity
Most people overestimate how much exercise they get. If you write it down, you’ll have an honest appraisal of where you’re starting.
3. Change your daily routine
Instead of stopping for a fat-filled latte on the way to work, have a cup of coffee with low-fat milk and a low-fat granola bar.
4. Use a pedometer
These handy devices—available for less than $20 at sporting goods stores—clip on to your waistband and record the number of steps you take. Use one to estimate how many steps you take on an average day. Then set a goal to slowly increase that number. Maybe you want to take 100 extra steps every day this week, and add another hundred each day next week. Although many experts recommend going 10,000 steps a day for good health, feel free to set goals that work for you, Goebel-Fabbri says.