Think Positive to Master Your Diabetes Domain

Believe it or not, a positive attitude is one of the keys to successful diabetes management. Of course, it's important to eat right and exercise to keep your blood sugar as close to normal as possible. But diabetes control is also about not letting diabetes control you.

When you think about how to control diabetes, think about the simple, small things that you can do every day to maintain and improve your health and make your life more fun. Diet and exercise are two of these simple things, and nurturing a positive attitude makes the small steps easier.

One tip that can help you stay positive as you manage diabetes is to make a list of achievable goals related to eating healthfully and keeping fit. For example, if you don't have a regular exercise routine, write down a goal of taking a 20-minute walk during your lunch break at work three days a week. Once you've done that, you'll feel more confident, and you can try 30 minutes of walking. And here's the bonus: When you make your list of goals, write down the names of people who can help you, such as a coworker who will join you for your midday walk breaks, an online support group that offers easy ideas for healthful cooking, and your spouse and other family members who will support you and share in your healthful lifestyle.

When it comes to eating well, remember that just because you have to manage diabetes doesn't mean you have to give up all your favorite foods. Far from it! In fact, a healthful diabetes diet for most people is the same as a healthful diet for anyone. If you already eat healthfully, go one step farther by keeping mealtimes as consistent as possible--it will help keep your blood sugar steady. If you need more advice about which types of foods are healthful or if you're trying to lose weight or manage other medical conditions in addition to diabetes, ask your doctor to recommend a nutritionist or registered dietitian. Check out to learn how to make over some of your favorite foods to meet your health needs.

When it comes to exercise, remember that anything goes, as long as it gets you going. Walking the dog, walking around your favorite mall, and even gardening count as exercise. If you're an avid exerciser and you develop diabetes, you don't need to abandon your favorite workouts--you just need to allow for changes in your blood sugar that occur with exercise and adjust your eating accordingly. Many world-class athletes, including U.S. Olympic champion swimmer Gary Hall Jr., haven't let diabetes slow them down.

Eating right and exercising regularly are important strategies for everyone when it comes to staying healthy, so don't shut out your family and friends. Invite them to join you in living a healthier life, and they can help you stay positive and focused on your path to an ideal diabetes management routine.