If you have recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the advice you get from your doctor and dietitian at first might feel overwhelming – and you might worry about making a mistake. Take a breath, give yourself a break and learn about five common mistakes that people make when they’re first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes (and then you won’t make them, too).
5 Common Mistakes
Mistake #1: Trying to do it all at once
Set one goal at a time – and keep it small. Maybe it’s going for a walk after dinner or skipping your usual snack before bed. Be consistent and try to do that every day for a week. You might be surprised to see how one small change can make a difference in helping to give you more energy and keeping your blood sugar in range.
After you feel like you’ve mastered that first goal, set a new small goal for the next week. Little changes over time add up to big results.
Mistake #2: Totally giving up carbohydrates
Processed carbs spike blood sugar quickly and don’t have a lot of nutritional value. In other words, there’s a reason why limiting some carbs is helpful if you have type 2 diabetes.
But you don’t have to give up bread or tortillas all at once or completely. Use your Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) to learn how they affect you. (If you are a Level2 member, you get a free CGM – a compact wearable medical device that measures your glucose every five minutes.) Maybe you can have a grilled cheese sandwich and then go for a walk to even out the spike.
You also might consider just swapping processed carbs for whole grains to begin – choose brown rice instead of pasta. Adding fiber-rich carbs such as beans and quinoa are a great way to make a meal satisfying, too.
Mistake #3: Underestimating the power of a glass of water
Water can impact diabetes in two important ways:
First, it helps your kidneys flush excess glucose from your body through urination.
Second, your body sends more glucose into the blood when it’s dehydrated, and that leads to higher blood sugar.
And an added bonus: Staying hydrated makes you feel less hungry all the time.
Mistake #4. Adopting a ‘go big or go home’ fitness routine
If you aren’t typically physically active, going all out might do more harm than good. You may be left with sore muscles, potential injuries and a lack of motivation for your next workout.
Start small, choose something you like and stick with it. Exercise does not have to be demanding to have a positive impact. Walk your dog around your neighborhood. Take stairs at work instead of the elevator. March in place while watching TV. Add movement to existing household chores. The easier the movement is to include in daily routine, the more it is to become a habit. Little by little, small changes with physical activity will add up to big results.
Mistake #5: Believing Type 2 diabetes is forever
Although a diagnosis might send you into a state of anxiety, it’s important to feel empowered and positive in your approach to type diabetes. At Level2, we know from our members that it is possible to reverse course with type 2 diabetes. Every small, healthy change you adopt will make a difference. Over time, you can get your A1C back to a normal, healthy range and avoid serious health complications. You may also reduce or completely go off of your medications. In other words, it’s possible to have a future without diabetes in your life.