ADC Tips

America’s Diabetes Challenge traveled across the country asking people to share their stories about living with type 2 diabetes. We learned about your struggles, as well as the successes you’ve achieved and were impressed by your dedication to managing the disease.

Common challenges were identified like eating healthy, exercising, sticking to your treatment plan and coping with the disease.

Check out our tips below to help you tackle these challenges head on, and share a picture, story or video so we can see your progress!

Remember to work with your doctor before making any changes to your individualized treatment plan,
and download the full brochure here.

  • Living With Type 2 Diabetes Tip: Eating Healthy Living With Type 2 Diabetes Tip: Exercising Living With Type 2 Diabetes Tip: Sticking to a Treatment Plan Living With Type 2 Diabetes Tip: Coping With the Disease Living With Type 2 Diabetes Tip: Your Support Team
    Eating Healthy Exercising Sticking to a Treatment Plan Coping with the Disease Your Support

    Eating healthy is an important part of managing diabetes and reaching your A1C goal – but it can be challenging.

    • Plan ahead: Try planning dishes for the week, and write your grocery list ahead of time. If you find it difficult to cook after work, try dedicating one night for meal prep so you have healthy dishes ready to go.
    • Make healthy choices: If your favorite food or drink isn’t healthy, simple switches can satisfy your cravings and keep you on track. Skip the potato chips, and have kale chips instead. Swap out ice cream for frozen low-fat Greek yogurt or choose sparkling water with fresh lime instead of soda.
    • Spice it up: Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring! For extra flavor, use salt-free spices and herbs like dried basil, cumin, chili powder and cayenne. Finding ways to enjoy your food may make it easier to maintain a healthy diet. And don’t forget to click here for more nutritious recipes.
    • Prepare for lows: Many people with diabetes know the importance of managing high blood glucose, but they may not know that blood glucose can also go too low (known as hypoglycemia). Hypoglycemia can be caused by certain diabetes medicines, skipping meals or exercising excessively. Work with your doctor to learn if you’re at risk for hypoglycemia and what the symptoms are, and remember to set aside a few quick acting sources of sugar to have on hand in case your blood glucose gets low. Think fruit juice (about 4 ounces or ½ cup) or hard candies (see package to determine how many to consume).

    Being active is a key part of your diabetes management plan, but beginning a workout routine can sometimes be intimidating. Remember to work with your doctor before starting or making any changes to an exercise routine.

    • Make small changes: Take one step at a time (literally!) by slowly adding more physical activity into your day. You can start by using the stairs instead of the elevator or go on a short walk around the block after dinner.
    • Team up: Working out with a friend or partner can make fitness fun, and making a plan with someone can help keep you committed to your exercise goals. It’s a great way to stay motivated and encourage each other to stay with it!
    • Make the most of your daily routine: Finding time to exercise can be tough. But, there are simple choices you can make to get yourself moving during the day. Keep a set of light weights by the couch and take five minutes to do a quick set of reps in between tasks. Or while at work, do stretches at your desk and set up walking meetings with your colleagues.
    • Use the time you have: Committing to regular exercise is important, but you don’t need to attend exercise classes or have a gym membership to stay moving – do your best to sneak in more activity during the day! Instead of carrying everything up the stairs at once, make a few trips. You can also choose a parking space at the far end of the lot when you go shopping to fit in more walking.

    Keeping track of the different aspects of your treatment plan – like diet, exercise and taking medicine (if prescribed) – can be overwhelming. But being consistent and forming healthy habits can help make things easier.

    • Everyone is different: Your treatment plan is individualized, so you can work with your doctor to make sure it fits your needs. This can help you form good habits that will make your plan easier to maintain.
    • Start a routine: If your doctor has prescribed medicine, you may struggle to remember to take it. Using a pillbox or scheduling reminders on your phone may be helpful. Or, if you often forget to test your blood glucose, keep a meter in the kitchen so you can easily check before and after meals.
    • Set your A1C goal: Your A1C (average blood glucose over the past 2-3 months) is needed to help you and your doctor understand how well your management plan is working. At your next appointment, ask about your A1C and work with your doctor to set and reach your personal goal.
    • Know your numbers: In addition to having your A1C checked by your doctor, you should also check your blood glucose as your doctor recommends. Checking your blood glucose, using a blood glucose meter, shows what your blood glucose level is at that moment. Just make sure to ask your doctor how often you should check your blood glucose and what your target range should be.

    Here are some tools to help you keep track of your A1C and self-monitored blood glucose numbers. After each doctor’s appointment, use this chart to keep track of your A1C number and goal.

    This chart will help you monitor your daily blood glucose levels. Bring it to your next doctor’s appointment.

    Managing type 2 diabetes has its ups and downs which can make it difficult to stay on track with your management plan.

    • Build your support system: Whether it’s your doctor, a family member or a friend, surround yourself with people who can support you when you struggle – and celebrate with when you reach a goal. Knowing you’re not alone and having a support system can make a big difference.
    • Get involved: Sometimes the best people to talk to are those who’ve experienced the challenges you’re facing first-hand – consider getting involved in your local diabetes community to meet others who can help motivate you.
    • Set manageable goals: There’s a lot to think about when managing type 2 diabetes, so set small, reachable goals to make it less overwhelming to stay on track. For example, if you’re aiming to lose weight, stay on track by being active. You can start off slow by taking a walk after dinner.
    • Reward yourself: Celebrate each success, no matter how small. Whether you cooked a healthy meal, made it to the gym or saw a decrease in your A1C – acknowledge your progress. Reward yourself with something you enjoy like a night out or relax at home with a new book. If you have a setback, remind yourself that you’ll have the opportunity to get back on track. Also remember that diabetes is a progressive disease, so don’t get discouraged if your doctor needs to change your treatment plan over time.

    If you’re supporting a family member, friend or loved one with their type 2 diabetes management, you play an important role!

    • Educate yourself: Learn as much as possible about the disease so you can help your loved one make informed decisions. Ask their doctor about helpful books, support groups, websites and online forums to better understand what your loved one is going through.
    • Be a good listener: Allowing your loved one to confide in you can make all the difference. Be there to celebrate their successes and support them when they struggle. Make sure you also ask them what type of help and support they need.
    • Making lifestyle changes together: People with diabetes can feel alone when they have to prepare a separate healthy meal or exercise on their own. Find some nutritious recipes you can cook and enjoy together, and/or schedule regular walks with your loved one to help them stay motivated.
    • Be a part of their team: Friends, family and physicians are all part of your loved one’s health care team. Ask your loved one how you can support them and offer to attend doctor’s appointments when possible so you can help them follow their treatment plan at home.