Making health your primary focus can help with managing diabetes symptoms and weight loss. Over the past couple of decades, as the obesity rate rose in the U.S. and around the world, people looked toward dieting to assist with their weight loss goals. However, diets are completely inadequate when it comes to teaching proper nutrition, establishing healthy habits and reaching long-term goals.
While weight loss is certainly an indicator that new healthy habits are working, weight loss shouldn’t be your main focus. Instead, we suggest focusing on the factors that really matter: your energy levels, blood sugar stability and your overall mood.
Doing this involves increasing your knowledge of nutrition, becoming physically active on a daily basis and getting adequate rest on a consistent basis. These form the foundational habits you need to control your diabetes symptoms and steadily improve your health.
Knowledge of Nutrition is Power
As many of you have experienced through the 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge, removing processed foods while introducing vegetables to your diet can make an almost immediate impact on your health. When you go for long periods eating a “standard” diet of processed foods, high carb meals and sugary snacks, your body becomes bogged down. Your body needs to metabolize your food, repair cells, eliminate toxins and provide sufficient energy. Eating a well-balanced diet consisting of proteins, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats is essential in doing this.
One thing we preach daily on the 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge Facebook Group is the importance of reading the ingredients and nutrition facts while ignoring any front label advertising. Doing this allows you to avoid marketing tricks and ensures you’re consuming unprocessed, whole and natural ingredients. Knowledge and awareness are key to long-term health.
(Note: Want to get started on the path towards well-managed diabetes and great health? We’d love to see you inside our 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge! It’s free to join and is an excellent way to build the healthy habits that will allow you to reach your health goals.)
Why You Should Prioritize Physical Activity (even if you don’t like working out)
There are many people who have never worked out, exercised, trained or played a sport, and if you fall into this group, that’s okay! For many of these people, the idea of being physically active can come off as an extremely negative endeavor. The fact of the matter is, staying physically active daily is an essential and necessary part of good health. It helps improve your metabolism and cardiovascular system. When both your metabolism and cardiovascular systems are strong, you can burn more fat and have more energy every day. Even more importantly for diabetics, it helps to burn off excess glucose, so your blood sugar levels can remain more stabilized.
Going long periods of time without being physically active makes physical activity seem overwhelming, painful and tiring. However, that’s only because it’s a part of change. Once you find a type of exercise that you enjoy and find consistency in your physical activity, all the negatives end up melting away, and you begin to build confidence and strength while dramatically reducing stress.
You must make it a point to do some physical activity every day: something like walking for 30 minutes, playing with your kids/grandchildren, swimming, dancing or indoor biking. . Anything helps and when you string days together, you’ll really see the benefits.
Next, Add In Quality Sleep
Something I see a lot of in the 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge Facebook Group is the lack of consistent sleep patterns and quality of sleep. Getting quality sleep is a major part of good health. During sleep your body heals, cleanses and and repairs itself. When you don’t allow yourself to heal and cleanse at night, you wake up feeling tired and groggy. The ultimate goal is to wake up feeling refreshed, energized and with mental clarity. Getting a good night’s sleep also helps relieve stress throughout the day and puts you in a more positive mood as well.
To get the full benefits of sleep, however, you have to get the highest quality of sleep possible. This is something focused on for our Month of August Challenge in the Complete Wellness Membership. It only happens when you go to bed at a reasonable time every single night, in an environment that’s dark and quiet and without any unhealthy food sitting in your stomach. It’s best to set a bedtime and go to bed at that time every night regardless of whether you’re tired or not. Before bed go to the bathroom and drink a glass of water so you’re hydrated when you wake up but not disturbed by having to go in the middle of the night. If you need a snack, it needs to be something healthy like nuts and/or vegetables. Anything with caffeine, sugar or simple carbs will disturb your sleep cycle and cause you to have a lower quality of sleep.
Make Health Your Focus
Weight loss is only one part of becoming healthy. In both our 21 Day Challenge and Membership areas we focus on all the other benefits of becoming healthy like mental clarity, stable blood sugar levels, more last energy throughout the day and a positive mood. Weight loss is a symptom of good health. It will happen, but if you are constantly focusing on bringing your weight down you will become frustrated when you aren’t seeing the results.
We see many people checking their weight on a daily basis. Understand that your weight from morning to night could change by about 3 to 5 pounds depending on food intake, water intake and physical activity. For this reason, you should focus on trends and check only once a week, on the same day and at the same time every week. Track your progress and focus on if you are trending in the right direction or not.
But understand, weight is one of the last things to show results. And I get it… losing weight is definitely a confidence builder and many of us, including me, is relatively self conscious about our appearance. But focusing on weight only draws your focus away from what is really important, and that is how you feel on a daily basis.
Having a positive mood, more energy and mental clarity on a daily basis while being overweight or obese is going to help you focus better on what you are eating and how much physical activity you are getting. The weight loss will come. Believe me if you are doing all the right things health wise the weight loss will come. Just trust in the process and don’t let the number on the scale be an unnecessary mental hurdle.
Tell Us How You Feel About the Health-First Approach
Let us know in the comment section how you feel about focusing on the other benefits of a healthy lifestyle. We would love to hear what you have to say.
Also feel free to check out our Free 21 Day Jumpstart Challenge. If you haven’t already signed up it is an amazing way to jumpstart simple healthy habits in your life.
Hi I’m Kyle Jensen the Wellness Coach at Smart Diabetes Solutions. Through poor eating habits and an inactive lifestyle I put myself in a bad state both physically and mentally. After years of retraining my mind and body I decided to take my newfound understanding of health and help others in their journey. I remember the struggle and how many times I almost gave up. Now I want to help others who are overweight or have Diabetes live a happier more healthy life.