When working to decrease your HbA1c, some small changes to your lifestyle can actually make quite a big difference!
HbA1c is the measure of glucose attached to haemoglobin in your red blood cells. To see what the ranges of HbA1c are click here.
Don’t underestimate the power of these small changes before you try them! Implement these 5 factors and see how your glucose readings change.
1. Move more!
- The thought of exercise can be so daunting! But the key point of exercise is to do something that you enjoy, and something you can easily implement into your daily routine.
- For some this might be a walk or run every morning, going to the gym, or doing a yoga session.
- It is important to realise that exercise is different for everyone. Do the form of exercise you enjoy and that you can fit into your routine. Exercise is something you should be prioritising because it is beneficial physically and mentally!
- Also remember that there are activities you can do that are not necessarily classed as ‘exercise’, for example taking your kids to the park, taking the dog for a walk or activities such as gardening and cleaning.
2. Swap to brown/wholemeal carbs
- There is a lot of debate about whether eating white carbs is bad for you, such as white pasta, bread, rice and so on. The general answer is no, if you are not overeating.
- BUT for people living with diabetes, swapping to brown and wholemeal carbs can be very beneficial.
- This is because brown carbs have a more complex structure, containing more fibre, vitamins and minerals. This means it will take the body longer to digest the glucose, meaning there will not be such a sudden spike in glucose readings.
- Making this swap along with correct carbohydrate counting should really make a difference to your levels after eating. It’s as simple as picking up a wholewheat bag of pasta in the supermarket rather than white!
- Some examples of brown carbs include: brown pasta, brown rice, brown bread, rolled oats, quinoa, legumes and wholegrain couscous.
3. Decrease your stress load
- If you are constantly feeling stressed, your cortisol levels are going to be increased. High levels of cortisol will also cause your glucose levels to increase.
- Therefore, it vital to decrease your stress load. Find cathartic activities that you enjoy and make sure you take time out of your day to prioritise yourself and your feelings.
- For more tips on decreasing your stress load, read my blog ‘Is stress making your glucose levels impossible to control?’
4. Drink more water
- Drinking adequate water is essential for bodily functions. It is also essential for dealing with high glucose levels. Water helps the kidneys to filter excess glucose out of the blood stream.
- If you are not drinking enough water, your body will draw water from other sources, causing further dehydration.
- Aim to drink around 2 litres of water per day, and sip water throughout exercise.
- If you struggle with drinking enough water, get yourself a measured water bottle, and add lemon/lime or other fruits to make it taste more fresh.
5. Get adequate sleep
- Getting sufficient sleep is so important, the amount of sleep you get will directly impact your day. Sufficient sleep makes you feel more energised, more productive and less stressed.
- Being really tired can also increase your appetite to compensate for lost sleep, which means you are more likely to binge eat and do less activity, which will cause glucose levels to rise.
- Start by going to bed 5 minutes earlier, and do this every night so your body can adjust to your new bedtime.
And just a quick reminder, having a good HbA1c reading is important, but it is not something to define yourself from. Every person living with diabetes has good days and bad days. Always remember to consider your health mentally and physically.
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