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 your successes and were impressed by your dedication to managing the disease.

Many people told us they struggle with eating healthy, exercising, sticking to a 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
    Healthy eating Being active Sticking to your plan Coping with the disease Your Support

    Healthy eating 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 writing a grocery list before you go to the store. If you find it hard to cook after work, try choosing one night a week as your meal preparation night 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. You can enjoy your food! Click here for more nutritious recipes.
    • Prepare for lows: You may know you have to lower your high blood sugar, but you also need to take action when your blood sugar is too low (called hypoglycemia). Hypoglycemia can be caused by certain diabetes medicines, skipping meals, or exercising too much. Ask these questions when talking to your doctor:
    • Am I at risk for hypoglycemia?
    • What are the symptoms?
    • What quick acting sugar sources should I have on hand in case my blood sugar gets low? (Think fruit juice or hard candies).

    Being active is a key part of your plan, but beginning a workout routine can be hard. 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 exercise into your day. You can start by using the stairs instead of the elevator or going on a short walk around the block after dinner.
    • Team up: Working out with a friend or partner can make fitness fun and help keep you committed to your exercise goals.
    • Make the most of your daily routine: Try a few simple things such as:
    • Keep a set of light weights by the couch and take five minutes to do a quick set of reps in between tasks.
    • At work, do stretches at your desk and set up walking meetings with your colleagues.
    • Use the time you have: 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
    • Choose a parking space at the far end of the lot when you go shopping to fit in more walking.

    Keeping track of your treatment plan – like food, exercise and medicine (if prescribed) – can be overwhelming. But consider these ways to make it a habit:

    • Everyone is different: Your treatment plan is just for you, so work with your doctor to make sure it fits your needs.
    • 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 sugar, keep a meter in the kitchen so you can easily check before and after meals.
    • Set your A1C goal: Your A1C (average blood sugar over the past 2-3 months) helps you and your doctor understand how well your treatment plan is working. At your next visit, ask about your A1C and work with your doctor to set and reach your personal goal.
    • Know your numbers: Your doctor may recommend you check your blood sugar at home, using a blood sugar meter. Ask your doctor how often you should check and what your target range should be.

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

    This chart will help you track your daily blood sugar levels. Bring it to your next doctor’s visit.

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

    • Build your support system: Surround yourself with people who can support you when you struggle, and celebrate with you when you reach a goal – whether it’s your doctor, a family member, or a friend. You are not alone!
    • Get involved: Sometimes the best people to talk to are those who have been through what you’re facing first-hand. Getting involved in your local diabetes community can help motivate you.
    • Set manageable goals: Set small goals to make it less overwhelming. For example, if you want to become more active, start small – maybe a walk after dinner.
    • Reward yourself: Celebrate each success, no matter how small. Did you cook a healthy meal? Make it to the gym? See a decrease in your A1C? Reward yourself with something you enjoy like a night out or relax at home with a new book. Have a setback? Remind yourself that you can get back on track. Also remember that diabetes changes over time – don’t get discouraged if your doctor needs to update your treatment plan.

    Supporting someone with type 2 diabetes? You play an important role!

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