Improving health/eating habits with small steps?

By ehignutt Latest Reply 2012-02-19 19:01:47 -0600
Started 2012-02-15 13:18:42 -0600

Just trying to improve eating habits a little at a time. Not diabetic yet but both my parents are Type II so I want to improve the eating habits NOW! My mom has been diabetic for over 25 years with a lot of complications, my dad has been diabetic for about 15 or so with very little additional problems. What are some of the easiest areas to start to improve on with the most impact?

8 replies

Young1s 2012-02-19 19:01:47 -0600 Report

This is very smart thinking, Ehignutt. Good for you! I wish more people would take preventative steps because the numbers of new diabetics is growing at an alarming rate every year. But you're on the right track and you've come to the right place to learn.

I would tell you to make the produce aisle, and pretty much the outer perimeter of the grocery store, your new best friend. The more fresh foods you can prepare the better. Eating a protein with every meal helps to slow the rate that your blood sugar rises and will help build up your energy reserves, for those days when your hitting the bike hard. Read labels and look for foods that are low in carbs, high in fiber and protein. And get in some form of exercise daily even if it's just taking a walk. Although given how much you say you cycle, I don't see this as being a problem for you.

byrun 2012-02-15 14:04:10 -0600 Report

Small steps is the best way to begin a healthier lifestyle. Gradual changes become good living habits. Changing your diet by cutting back or eliminating some of the starchy foods and refined grains should have a good impact. Also, regular exercise will help. Low impact things like walking, swimming, dancing all mixed in with everyday activities…housework, gardening, mowing the lawn, etc…will give you an edge. Educate yourself through this community, the info on this website, your doctor, a diabetes educator will be another excellent place to begin. I wish you well. You are seeking answers earlier than I did and I commend you on that decision.

Nick1962 2012-02-15 15:43:49 -0600 Report

As usual, Byrun's right on track. Only thing I'd add is to get into a feeding routine. If you usually have a certain number of calories/carbs per meal, try to maintain that daily. Don't eat just 2 chicken legs for dinner one night, then a 2 foot long sub on wheat the next. Try to balance your intake.

ehignutt 2012-02-19 14:03:40 -0600 Report

I'm pretty good on not doing that one! lol! I do however log lots of cycling miles so on long ride days I do need to up the intake…
I also make a lot of my own condiments, and baked goods — the items that tend to have a ton of preservatives, over-processed ingredients, and high sugar contents. At least that way I have some control of the contents of what I'm eating. Does anyone have any other ideas on substitutions that would have a pretty good impact?

Nick1962 2012-02-19 18:40:01 -0600 Report

Well, at least you're active, that's a good thing, but if that's something that may taper off with age, your eating habbits will need to change also. Cutting back on the baked goods would help - lots of carbs - but again, if you burn them as fast as you eat them, it shouldn't be a problem. Low carb and low sugar is the key.
Rather than substitute, I took the other path. I looked at what I could eat that was low carb and sugar and built from there. I pick my protein, then build on that. Not try to rework what i had ben already eating. Weekdays I drive a desk, so my feeding routine is the same daily, fruit for breakfast, vegetabes and some form of nut mix for lunch, and a protein and vegetables for dinner. Snacks like nuts in between and some form of protein (chicken salad, egg salad, cold chcken, etc.) before I excercise, and a snack before bed. Weekends I'm a bit more active so i fuel up n the morning with eggs and meat, maybe a serving of bread and I snack through the day until dinner which is usually a "normal" meal minus bread, pasta, or rice. Not to say I don't eat them, but it's rare, and I try to match my intake with my exercise.

jayabee52 2012-02-15 13:59:29 -0600 Report

I commend you for being so proactive Edith! I doubt my approach would be valuable to you unless/until you develop diabetes. I eat a radically reduced number of carbs but I am now diabetes medication free. I had been on metformin for about 10 yrs and on insulin for about 5 after I was taken off the Met. I have been med free for about 1 yr and doing well.

EDIT: Thanks for taking my suggestion Edith and move your wall posting onto the discussion boards. I am counting on all y'all in DC land to do what you do best and chime in with some suggestions for Edith

ehignutt 2012-02-19 14:06:06 -0600 Report

My mom has never gotten to the medfree point; my dad was there for awhile but not anymore (other health issues have gotten him off track). Keep up the good work! I had a doctor once say that the longer you can go without needing the insulin the better as your body builds up an "immunity" and the insulin does less and less over time…no sure if that was just simplified for explanation.

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