How To Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle With Diabetes

Effective diabetes management doesn’t have to be difficult, but it isn’t automatic either. It requires thoughtfulness, planning, and a commitment to living a lifestyle that will increase your health and well-being while helping you avoid many of the serious complications that can arise with the condition.

What you do – and don’t do – each day can make a huge difference in how much or how little diabetes interferes with your life. In addition to regular and accurate blood sugar monitoring, a healthy diet, regular exercise, and other smart choices are all indispensable aspects of maintaining a healthy lifestyle with diabetes.

It Starts With Your Diet

The central aspect of diabetes is the disruption of blood glucose levels, and few things have more of an impact on those levels that the foods we eat. Therefore, a well-balanced and diabetes-friendly diet can be the key to keeping diabetes in check.

Four primary nutrients directly impact blood sugar levels:

  • Carbohydrates (the sugars, starches, and fiber in food)
  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Fiber

Carbs have the biggest effect on blood sugar levels and elevate blood sugar levels faster than proteins or fats, while protein, fat, and fiber may curb the rise of blood sugar levels after a meal.

Given these dueling effects, eating a diet that provides a balanced mixture of all four nutrients is the best way to keep your levels on the level. But not all carbs and fats are created equal. Avoid empty carbohydrates as well as saturated and trans fats and instead include ample amounts of the following in your diet:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Avocados
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Whole grains
  • Fish like salmon and tuna
  • Olives
  • Seeds
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil and canola oil

Other considerations for healthy diabetic eating include:

  • Limiting foods that are high in added sugar
  • Eat three meals a day at regular intervals
  • Eating smaller portions, spread out over the day
  • Staying aware of the amount of carbs you eat and when you eat them
  • Eating less fat
  • Limiting alcohol use
  • Using less salt
  • Monitoring blood sugar levels after each meal

Exercise and An Active Lifestyle

No one with diabetes should embark on a new exercise regimen without first discussing it with their physician and care team. But there is no question that regular physical activity is a critical part of diabetes health.

Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day and losing seven percent of your body weight can lower the risk of developing diabetes by about half. That risk can drop even more as you lose more weight.

For those already diagnosed with diabetes, physical activity and weight management can help control the disease and minimize adverse health consequences. If you are otherwise healthy, try to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise.

Cut Out Smoking and Manage Stress

You know smoking is bad, but it is even worse for people with diabetes. Smokers who have diabetes are more likely to suffer nerve damage and kidney disease, are three times more likely than nonsmokers to die of cardiovascular disease, and are more likely to have elevated blood sugar levels. If you smoke, stop yesterday.

Stress is also the enemy of a healthy lifestyle. Not only can excessive stress itself cause a wide range of physical and psychological issues, but how people respond to stress, such as substance abuse, smoking, and insufficient sleep, can exacerbate such problems. Find an effective way to deal with stress that works best for you.

Monitoring Glucose Levels As Part Of Your Healthy Lifestyle

As noted, regular monitoring of blood sugar levels is an essential complement to a healthy lifestyle in managing diabetes.

Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) is a tested, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device that helps those with diabetes stay in control of their condition and their lives without the need for inconvenient and burdensome finger-pricking multiple times a day.

If you have recently received a diagnosis of diabetes, ask your doctor about CGM and contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading