Self-Care & Motivation

Adopting Effective Behaviours for Diabetes

Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Prediabetes is when your blood sugar is high but not high enough to be clinically diagnosed as diabetes. Diabetes is when you have constant high blood sugar. In both cases, if these conditions are diagnosed in time and treated, they can be controlled and even reversed. Have you ever wondered why fasting and postprandial blood glucose tests never help you to control it? That is because you don’t take the tests frequently, and it is difficult to get the tests every time you change your routine or diet.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring, or CGM, focuses on this area. You can check your blood sugar level anytime you want and improve your routine to keep diabetes in control. CGM can be an effective tool to make behavior modifications such that you can keep track of the difference in your blood sugar even with the smallest of a change that you make to your lifestyle.

What is a CGM?

An individual can’t take the finger prick tests too frequently. Since the tests are not frequent, we fail to watch our lifestyle and diet most times. In this case, a real-time continuous glucose monitor can be of help. A continuous glucose monitor is a wearable device for diabetic patients. As the name suggests, it helps you to monitor your blood sugar levels all the time - day and night.

The sensor of the CGM device is inserted inside your skin, and it is connected to a wireless monitor, which displays the readings of the sensor. The sensor detects your blood glucose values from the interstitial fluid in your cells and transmits these values to the monitor. The CGM device checks your blood glucose levels every few minutes and displays them.

Why CGM?

With a CGM, you can keep a tab on your blood glucose levels all the time. It is not just useful to check your sugar levels, but you can also understand your body better. You can check what effect every meal and even workout has on your blood sugars. This ability to see the constant changes in blood glucose levels has the potential for immediate feedback. This can help you to further make changes in your eating habits and to your lifestyle.

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Behavioural Aspects & Actions impacting Diabetes Management & Reversal

  1. Motivation - Everybody needs some motivation to make long-term changes to their lifestyle and diet habits. Find your motivation and make sure you are reminded of it every now and then.
  2. Accountability - You need someone to push you to get over the inner inertia in order to achieve your goals. Make yourself accountable for your own or your family’s (parents, partner, children) happiness and wellbeing. You make sure you are making efforts for lifestyle changes when you are accountable to someone.
  3. Track your activities and blood sugar levels - Whenever you make any changes to your diet or to your lifestyle, keep track of resulting blood sugar levels. This record can help you to decide what kind of lifestyle and diet pattern works best for you.
  4. Set SMART Goals - The goals you set for yourself must be SMART, i.e. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. Divide your goals into two sections - short term and long term. Make sure that the short-term goals are small and achievable. When you can achieve them, it will motivate you to achieve the long-term ones as well.

Behavioural changes to improve your Blood Glucose Levels

Here are some behavioral actions to adopt that contribute to improving your blood glucose levels and help in reversing Prediabetes or Diabetes as well.

  1. Pedometer - Always start small. One step at a time. To make workouts a part of your routine, make sure you start with something simple and make that a habit first. A pedometer can be a motivation for the number of steps you walk each day.
  2. Food Journal - In order to bring your blood sugar levels down to normal, you need to know how your body reacts to every meal you consume. Maintain a food journal to keep track of the changes you make to your diet.
  3. Record your Blood Sugar Levels - Along with the food journal, make sure you keep track of your blood sugar levels. This will help you understand your body better, and you can make changes to your diet suitably.
  4. Eat Mindfully - Mindful eating is knowing what you eat, in a nutshell. There are quite some restrictions for people suffering from diabetes which makes people scared of eating. Instead, understand what you eat and have a healthy relationship with food.

Bottom Line

Diabetes is one of the most common disorders today. The prevalence of diabetes in India is 8.9% which means almost 77 million Indians suffer from diabetes, according to the Indian Diabetes Federation. Most people take regular medications to regulate their blood sugar levels, but we have turned a blind eye to the fact that Diabetes is a lifestyle disorder. A holistic approach that focuses on a lifestyle and diet change can help you control and reverse the condition in some cases.

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