Diabetes Home > How Changing Your Life Can Affect Your Type 2 Diabetes

Losing Weight

This is one of the most important things you can do for your health when it comes to managing your type 2 diabetes. Losing weight may help you reduce your need for medications and prevent some of the complications of type 2 diabetes. Not to mention it's wonderful for your overall health.
Don't have full-blown diabetes yet? A recent study showed that for people at high risk for the condition, a 5 percent to 7 percent weight loss could delay and possibly prevent type 2 diabetes. This means that if you weighed 200 pounds, for example, losing just 10 to 14 pounds could actually make a difference in terms of your health. Talk to your healthcare provider about what you should aim for in terms of a healthy weight and body mass index (BMI).
The take-home message is that drastic weight loss isn't necessary to reap some very real health benefits. Small, achievable efforts do make a difference.

Making Healthier Food Choices

This one is kind of a no-brainer. We all know that eating a diet containing lean sources of protein, lots of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains is better than a diet loaded with unhealthy fats, sugars, and processed foods, yet this can be hard for people to implement. Sometimes, we have to consciously do the right thing in terms of our diet. While it might be tempting to go for the box of cookies over the bowl of fruit, try to keep your long-term goals in mind. No matter how good those cookies might taste right now, they can't match how good being healthy feels.

Quitting Smoking

Smoking is bad for your health, period, whether you have type 2 diabetes or not. However, for people with type 2 diabetes, smoking puts you at an increased risk for cardiovascular problems (like heart attack and stroke), nerve damage, kidney disease, liver disease, and more. This might be the hardest lifestyle change for you to make, so don't be afraid to seek help. Come up with a plan to quit that works for you, talk to your healthcare provider about your various options, let friends and family know your intention to quit, and then set a quit date.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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