Managing type 1 diabetes is a full-time job. Every day tends to be different.
But by putting some simple and effective strategies in place, you can develop a fail safe diabetes routine that will get you from one day to the next.
And that is the key – routine.
By setting up a diabetes routine so it becomes almost subconscious, you can go about your daily business with a minimum of interruption and keep yourself in tip top shape.
Rise and Shine
It’s time to swing into action soon after waking up.
Check blood sugar levels – these can fluctuate in your sleep so manage them accordingly with food or insulin. It’s a good idea to keep records too to assist your daily management.
Eat a healthy breakfast – this is vital to getting your day off on the right foot. A balanced breakfast should include all the food groups including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.
Moderate and monitor your carbohydrate intake, matching it with the appropriate insulin dosage. Keep records to discover if reducing your carbs lowers your blood glucose levels – everyone is different.
Breakfast suggestion – Oatmeal with low-fat milk, poached eggs or fruit and yoghurt (If you prefer your eggs scrambled or fried, steer clear of butter or unhealthy cooking oils).
Don’t forget to check your blood sugar levels before and after breakfast, as with every meal!
Take your meds – Take your insulin and other medications and make sure your diabetes kit is fully stocked. If you struggle to remember to take your meds, consider what kind of reminders you need to prompt you.
- Keep your meds in a pillbox or next to your toothbrush in the bathroom
- Visual notes around the house, stuck to the bathroom mirror or the fridge can work
- We tend to respond better to pictures rather than words so take photos and use them if they work better
- Set your phone with daily alarms
- Consider a medical watch with built-in alarms
Drive carefully – Whether you are off on the school or grocery run or heading in to work, check your levels before you get behind the wheel and never drive if they are too low. Have some snacks handy in the car in case they are needed.
Mid-morning snack – Keep your energy and blood sugars up with a small mid-morning snack. A piece of fruit, some raisins or nuts should do the trick!
Re-check your levels before a healthy and nutritious lunch.
Depending on your circumstances, it may be easier to manage exactly what you eat by packing your own lunch.
Lunch suggestion – a garden salad, choc full of veggies and sprinkled with cottage cheese is perfect. Feel free to spice things up with hummus or a little chilli. And check your levels again when you are done.
Exercise – Exercise is really important for people with type 1 diabetes. A minimum 150 minutes per week is recommended. It doesn’t have to be strenuous, just something that gets the heart pumping.
This has the added benefit of improving your mood and stress levels as well.
If you’re new to this, start slowly and gradually build-up your routine. And do whatever you need to to keep the boredom at bay. Mix things up by changing your walking route, listen to some music or bring a buddy.
If you’re working, you may need to shift this activity to the morning or early evening but don’t let it slide and ensure you take a glucose source with you in case your sugars fall.
Be sure to report any low sugar levels as a result of exercise to your doctor.
What you eat for dinner will dictate your sugar levels during the night.
Smart choices in the evening can have a big impact on your night’s sleep and how you feel the next day.
As always, remember to eat a healthy, balanced meal, checking your sugar levels before and after eating.
Dinner suggestion – Atlantic salmon with asian greens with low-sodium soy sauce or a burrito bowl with sliced, skinless chicken breast, black beans, capsicum, mushrooms, tomatoes, shredded lettuce and salsa. Check out some recipes here.
Chill out – Relaxing at the end of the day is an important part of managing your stress levels and in turn staying healthy. So take time out to have some you time.
Sleep well – This is also really important to manage your type 1 diabetes. Aim for around eight hours sleep a night. Less than seven can start to have an impact on your blood sugars. Check your levels before you go to bed, have a snack handy for the middle of the night and report to your doctor if you are having trouble sleeping.
Book an appointment
Managing type 1 diabetes is all about getting into a routine and sticking to it rigidly, eating and sleeping well and getting plenty of exercise.
Your doctor can help you formulate an exercise plan as well as advise you regarding all of your dietary concerns, getting into a diabetes routine and just making life that little bit simpler.
To book an appointment, start here.