Education on Diabetes, Top Tips

How to reach diabetic remission!

Being diagnosed with pre-diabetes can be really scary, but having an early diagnosis means you can act quickly. Pre-diabetes is classed as having a HbA1c of between 42-47mmol/mol. 48mmol/mol and above is then classed as having Type 2 diabetes.

If you have an elevated HbA1c it is very likely you also aren’t feeling the best, so it is important to act quickly. Reaching remission and getting your HbA1c back in range is absolutely possible, it takes some lifestyle changes, patience and a positive mindset.

Take that first step for yourself and your health! Keep reading for my tips on reaching diabetic remission!

Get Moving

walking diabetes remission

In order to decrease sugar levels getting movement in is vital for using up some glucose.

I recommend starting simple, and finding what you enjoy. If you are unsure where to start, begin with walking and/or swimming. Find where your fitness level is at, and then work by gradually increasing the duration and intensity of your chosen activity.

Exercise of course aids weight loss which can be essential in reaching diabetic remission. If you want to help keep yourself accountable, think about consulting a personal trainer, or ask a family member or friend to be your accountability and workout partner.

Re-evaluate your diet

Altering what you are eating and making some dietary swaps is vital for decreasing HbA1c and getting back to optimum health.

Firstly, think about swapping white and refined carbohydrates to brown and wholegrain carbohydrates. White carbs can contribute massively to glucose spikes, so it is definitely worth swapping to sources of carbs that release more slowly. For example incorporating brown pasta, rice and bread, oats, quinoa and oat cakes into your diet. Also opt for dark chocolate (70% plus) over chocolates packed with refined sugar.

legumes - diabetic remission

Furthermore, make sure you are getting sources of essential fatty acids everyday. Eating nuts, seeds and legumes helps to reduce inflammation and can also provide a source of protein.

Eat fresh fruit and vegetables, try and aim for at least 7 a day! Also avoid fruit juices from concentrate, fresh fruit juices are fine on occasion, however cranberry juice is much lower in sugar compared to others, so be sure to give cranberry juice a try!

If you would like some further guidance, seek advice from a professional nutritionist.

Invest in technology

blood tests - diabetic remission

In my opinion, it is definitely worth having a blood glucose testing kit. This way you can test your blood glucose if you feel unwell, or it can help to identify what time/times of the day your levels are spiking.

Being able to collect data yourself gives you more control over your health and can help you to reach diabetic remission faster. But please try not to obsess over numbers and remember that it is there for guidance.

In the UK, sometimes testing kits are given on the NHS, but usually only if you ask, so be sure to ask your GP or consultant! If you are from a country where you have to pay, do some research and see what you can find, it doesn’t have to be the flashiest monitor, a basic finger-prick monitor is great. If you can’t afford any technology, don’t panic! It is possible to achieve remission without technology!

Detox and reduce inflammation

Type 2 diabetes causes widespread inflammation, meaning it is vital to aid detoxification to reduce inflammation.

Here are 4 ways to support the liver to aid detoxification:

1.Decrease the toxins going into your body. Try to completely avoid alcohol, refined sugar, table salt and smoking, also limit caffeine intake and swap to organic foods to reduce pesticide intake.

detox - diabetic remission

2. Increase water intake! Water is vital for all functions of the body, including flushing toxins out! I also recommend getting a filter jug and keeping your water at room temperature. Drinking cold water can cause the digestive system to slow down, which we don’t want during detoxing. So drink room temperature water, or warm water.

3. Sweat it out! Another way we get rid of toxins is through sweating. So make sure you are completing at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, you will reap the benefits!

4. Support your liver with nutrients. Increase antioxidant intake by eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, berries, green tea, lemon and so on! Remember to eat the rainbow everyday! Also include garlic, ginger, turmeric and black pepper in your diet everyday.

Decrease your stress load

The hormone cortisol can contribute to chronic hyperglycaemia, therefore being a big factor in developing pre-diabetes.

Chronic stress has a number of detrimental impacts on the body, including high blood pressure, obesity, Type 2 diabetes (and pretty much any illness!).

So confide in family and friends and share how you are feeling. Educate yourself and the people around you about living with diabetes and tell them how they can support you.

Read my posts Is stress making your glucose levels impossible to control? and Confused about ‘types’ of diabetes? Here is your diabetes 101 for more guidance!

Thank you for reading my tips on how to reach diabetic remission, I hope you found this useful and reassuring! Be sure to subscribe for more content and follow me on Instagram!

black and white laptop
Fitness

Simple guide to fitness with diabetes!

We all know how important exercising is for our overall health, from decreasing the risk of having health problems, such as obesity and heart disease, to reducing stress and anxiety. Exercise also plays a fundamental part in lowering HbA1c and helping to keep glucose readings in range.

Many people living with diabetes know that exercise is important, but might need some guidance about what type of exercise to do, and how to avoid slipping into a hypo during and after exercise.

Keep reading for a simple guide to different types of exercise, and how they might impact your glucose readings!

LISS (Low Intensity Steady State Training)

LISS training is activity that takes place over a longer period of time and is less intense. It is recommended that 30 minutes is completed everyday, that can be walking, jogging, cycling or swimming.

woman girl silhouette jogger

This type of training is great for lowering overall sugar levels, and I find walking to be the best treatment for a hyper, alongside an insulin correction dose. But, a lot of people slip into a hypo very quickly during LISS training.

So, to prepare for LISS training I would recommend making sure your sugar levels are steady at around 7.0-8.0mmol/L before exercising, and potentially decreasing your insulin dose very slightly before your session. Always make sure you have water and a source of glucose with you at all times when exercising.

Keep an eye on your sugar levels for a few hours following exercise to make sure you don’t drop into a hypo.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

cold snow internet winter

HIIT are circuit type workouts, where you have periods of very intense training, followed by rest periods, for example 1 minute of sprinting, followed by 30 seconds of rest.

This type of training is perfect for a busy day when you are pressed for time. HIIT can sometimes cause sugar levels to rise initially due to a surge of adrenaline, but shortly after, sugar levels can drop quite rapidly. So if you notice that your levels are rising during a workout, make sure you don’t over-correct.

HIIT can also continue to burn calories for hours after finishing a session, so bear in mind it could cause a hypo during this time too. I recommend having a balanced snack afterwards containing carbs, a source of protein and fat. This should help to avoid a sudden hypo after your workout.

Weight Lifting / Resistance Training

Weight lifting and resistance training are super important to incorporate into your routine. The benefits of this type of training include building muscle, strengthening bones, and increasing metabolism. Resistance training can be split into two categories, heavy training and light training.

person holding barbell

All resistance training will increase your strength, build muscle and improve endurance, but you can tailor your training to fit your specific goals.

If you want to build more muscle mass, focus on training heavier weights and less reps (I’d say 10 reps or less per set). However, if you want to build general strength and tone, opt for lighter weights and more reps (10-20 reps per set).

In terms of sugar levels, resistance training can actually have the opposite effect to your sugar levels. Generally I find that heavy resistance training can cause sugar levels to increase, and I have heard the same from some other people living with Type 1. So if the same happens to your sugars when lifting weights, I would recommend to not train if your glucose levels are 9.0mmol/L or above.

Furthermore, I would leave your insulin dose before exercise the same, or even increase it a tiny bit. I like to increase my dose by either half a unit, or one unit. If you have a CGM or flash glucose monitor take full advantage of this, keep track of what your sugar levels are doing, make comparisons and then make adjustments to your insulin dose, and what you are eating before and after exercise.

If you are opting for lighter resistance training, this can mimic cardio based exercise meaning your levels might drop. Bear this in mind, and prepare as you would for cardio based training.

Yoga / Pilates

Stretching can sometimes be overlooked, and a lot of people are shocked by the benefits of yoga and pilates when they start training it.

Some advantages of stretching can include increased flexibility, protection from injury and help with muscle tone and strengthening. I would recommend performing a form of stretching everyday, as it aids recovery and is great at helping you to relax.

In general yoga and pilates will not impact sugar levels too much, depending on the intensity. Of course more intense yoga sessions may cause sugar levels to drop, but a gentle stretch will not impact sugar levels.

photo of woman doing yoga

Some final tips

Ideally all forms of exercise should be completed regularly, because each type contributes to the health and overall function of the body.

If you are trying out a new form of exercise, definitely pay close attention to what your sugar levels do, so you can put measures in place to keep sugars as balanced. This will contribute to you getting the best results and the most out of the workout.

Also take full advantage of the psychological benefits of exercise, and enjoy it! I would always recommend choosing exercise that you want to do. If you feel forced to take part in certain types of exercise it can strip the benefits and have a negative impact on your mindset. So if you hate running but love walking, walk instead!

Thank you for reading my simple guide to exercise with diabetes! I really hope you can take some tips away and try something new! Always remember that you can do anything while living with diabetes, you just have to be prepared.

thank you heart text

Top Tips

5 Easy ways to lower your HbA1c!

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.

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.

Drop me a message for any requested posts!