Back to Double Diabetes Summary Healthy Lifestyle Helps Double Diabetes

The Importance Of A Healthy Lifestyle To Prevent Or Treat Double Diabetes

Being overweight and getting limited physical activity are often the underlying causes for people with type 1 diabetes who show signs of type 2 diabetes.

A healthy lifestyle that includes good eating habits and lots of physical activity benefits all children and adults regardless of their risk for diabetes. Being a good role model is a good place to start. Parents who are physically active provide an example for their ever-watchful children. And, the same is true for healthy eating children tend to prefer foods their parents eat. A family that is used to eating a wide variety of foods over time increases the likelihood that these foods will be accepted and enjoyed by all.

It's very hard for anyone to change a habit, whether it's being more active or eating better. But changing any behavior is much easier if the environments in which you live, work, learn and play supports the new lifestyle changes you are trying to make. Unfortunately, all too often that isn't the case. School might not offer healthy foods or time to be active. Your neighborhood might not have safe and convenient places to play and to be active. It might be hard to find affordable and nutritious foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Families typically have more than one person who is overweight and not getting enough physical activity, so a plan that helps every member of your family be healthy is most likely to work.

To make most healthy lifestyle changes more successful there are 4 simple rules to follow:

  1. Focus on small changes that are easy for you to make.
  2. Make a commitment to yourself (and maybe to others) to change the behavior in small, gradual steps.
  3. Be honest when you track and assess your progress.
  4. Build on your past successes so you can keep adding new healthy habits.
No matter how hard it is to maintain healthy habits, you must try. Since most people have less control over their environment, their effort needs to focus on improving their lifestyle that means eating nutritious foods and getting plenty of physical activity.

Being Active

It's important to be active every day. Physical activity improves a person's cardiovascular fitness - cardio means heart and vascular mean blood vessels. Physical activity helps to build stronger bones, better prepares a person for mental and physical challenges and helps control weight. The potential to control double diabetes lies in the ability to control one's weight.

Sixty minutes a day of physical activity is the goal for most children and adults. The sixty minutes doesn't need to be done all at one time. It's fine to combine 3 or 4 activities over the day that add up to 60 minutes. It's also recommended that at least 5 times per week, 30 minutes of the 60 minutes of activity per day should come from moderate to vigorous physical activity.

While these are good long-term goals, it's most important to begin to slowly increase physical activity. First become aware of the amount of physical activity you do each day and then gradually increase it over time. One easy way to measure physical activity is to use a stepmeter (also called a pedometer). You can find an inexpensive pedometer in most sporting goods stores or online at a number of sites (including Diabetes Prevention Source).

Once you have a good sense of how active you are, set a modest goal - perhaps an average of 300 steps more per day for one week. It only takes about 4-5 minutes to walk 300 more steps each day. You can meet that goal by walking more while doing your everyday activities. For example, park your car a little further from your destination, walk during the commercials of your favorite TV show, or walk down few flights of stairs. It doesn't matter what you do to become more active - it only matters that you are more active.

Eating Right

There is a simple equation that explains why someone loses or gains weight: Eating more calories than you burn results in weight gain. Burning more calories than what you eat results in weight loss. Simple to understand, but very difficult to change. Everyone burns different amounts of calories for doing the same activity (such as sitting in a chair or walking). This may help explain why it takes more of an effort for some people to maintain their weight than others.

To understand the effects of eating too many calories think about this: eating 100 calories more or less every day for a year can mean gaining or losing about 10 pounds that year. Only 100 calories a day, more or less! That's even less than a full can of soda. Trying to lose weight should start with making an easy change in what you eat. For example, start by decreasing just one sweetened drink (soda, juice, sport drinks, etc,) per day. Or better yet, avoid all sweetened drinks and only drink water. This is one relatively easy lifestyle change that could help you to lose weight and keep it off.

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