By Nori Patnode, Concierge Care Certified Senior Advisor.
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise: healthy eating habits and maintaining a healthy weight is the most successful way to prevent diabetes.
I know, that doesn’t sound like much fun. In order to make lifestyle changes stick it is important to make small changes you can live with. Here are some suggestions:
1. Try eating smaller meals, but eat six times a day instead of three.
2. Eat every couple of hours so you don’t become too hungry and then it’s also easier to make healthier choices.
3. Eat whole grains, add more vegetables and fruits, eat healthy proteins such as eggs, chicken, turkey and fish.
4. To put some fun into eating healthy try taking a diabetic or healthy eating cooking class either with a friend or on your own in order to meet new people and increase social stimulus. Hey, there’s another benefit!
5. If you are a good cook, maybe you could teach a cooking group or start a cooking club at a local senior center. Now you’re helping other people eat healthy too!
6. Keep active, turn off the television. It’s fine to watch your favorite shows but challenge yourself to get up and do something physical for fifteen minutes at least every couple of hours. Take a short walk, garden, go shopping. Be creative and do things you are interested in so it is easier to stay active. I have a Fitbit, so I can challenge myself on a daily basis, which has now become a habit (a good one!).
7. Go dancing once a week or take a dance class.
8. Join a bowling league.
9. If you like group activities reach out to your local senior activity center and see if they offer exercise groups or outings that will get you moving. One Senior Center I visited in Puyallup had activities going on such as Ping Pong.
10. I see many people who walk their local Mall to shop (browsing around is also moving!).
It is also important to lower your stress level. Easier said than done right? Do things you enjoy that help you relax and take your mind off of your worries. Curl up with a good book. If you are the creative type then do what you love….paint, draw, knit, crochet, or complete a home project. Maybe you like to work on cars or work with wood. Whatever it is you like to do, do it! It can be difficult to get motivated but if you’re at risk for diabetes, you may gain more than you lose.