- A diabetes diagnosis can be a scary time, but there are some small steps you can take to understand and start managing the condition.
- Following these five steps will not only help you understand your diabetes, but will also help reduce your symptoms, alleviate your fears, and put you firmly back in charge of your health and wellbeing.
1. Understand your diagnosis
It may sound obvious, but the best way to start managing your diabetes is by learning everything you can about what’s happening to your body and why.
Fortunately, there’s loads of information already out there. From the NHS to a number of credible diabetes charities, you can easily find out more about the condition, its symptoms, and available support. A word to the wise, however—be mindful of sources that share guidance without scientific backing. As important as it is to learn about type 2 diabetes, it's even more important that you find reliable information.
Another good place to start learning about your diagnosis is the collection of articles in our Journal. We only provide guidance that’s backed by science and cover every step of your diabetes journey, from type 2 diagnosis right through to diabetes remission.
2. Speak to your doctor
The more you read about type 2 diabetes, the more questions you’ll probably have! While there’s a whole host of great resources out there to help you get started, we recommend you talk to your doctor or a medical professional about any questions you may have.
Make a list of all your questions and share these with your doctor; they can then give you advice that’s specific to you and your lifestyle, to help you make healthy choices that are best suited to your needs.
It’s also a good idea to chat to someone if you’re feeling scared or overwhelmed about your diagnosis; they can alleviate any fears and help decide the best course of action for you to manage your condition. Remember, these feelings are totally normal but it’s important not to keep them to yourself!
3. Create a support network
Dealing with type 2 diabetes isn’t always easy and although your healthcare team will be able to give you guidance and support, it’s also important that you have a strong support network of trusted friends and family.
Managing and reversing type 2 diabetes requires you to make significant changes to your diet and lifestyle, and these changes can be hard to do. As you adjust to a new way of doing things, you’ll probably slip-up along the way and that’s okay—you’re only human after all! Having a reliable group of people you can turn to in times of turmoil will help you stay motivated as you learn to commit to your new habits.
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4. Start a food diary
One of the best ways to manage type 2 diabetes is through your diet. You can start making small changes straight away by swapping your usual favourites for healthy alternatives and loading up on plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean sources of protein.
Making changes to your diet can be tough but you might find that starting a food diary can help, especially in the early days of your diagnosis. Use this to make a note of everything you’re eating, no matter how big or small, including all main meals, snacks, and drinks.
You might be surprised by all the things you consume throughout the day or mindlessly snack on without giving it a second thought. Whether it's that extra hot chocolate in the afternoon or snacking on your children’s leftovers, a food diary will help you understand your eating habits and identify where you can start making changes.
5. Take small steps
When you first receive a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, it might be tempting to jump in feet first and overhaul every aspect of your life; while it’s important to make changes to your lifestyle it’s also important that you start small and build sustainable habits that will pass the test of time.
Making big changes overnight can feel restrictive and limiting, making you more likely to give up prematurely. Instead, try incorporating a few, easy swaps here and there, and see how you get on. For example, you could:
- Walk or cycle short distances instead of driving to increase your exercise levels
- Cut down on the amount of alcohol you drink
- Find healthier alternatives of your favourite foods and drinks
- If you smoke, start cutting down with the view to completely stop
- Take up meditation to reduce stress and help you manage difficult emotions
Find a clear starting point
While everyone deals with their type 2 diabetes diagnosis in different ways, it’s important to remember that these are just starting points and suggestions—you might find different things work for you and that’s great!
Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes is tough and we hope that our suggestions help you find a clear starting point as you begin this new chapter. You’ve got this! 💪