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6 Diabetes Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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WebMD Feature

It takes work to manage your type 2 diabetes. That includes the little things you do every day, such as what you eat and how active you are.

Start by avoiding these common mistakes.

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1. Not Taking Control of Your Condition

Your medical team is essential. But you're not in the doctor's office every day.

“You are your own doctor 99.9% of the time,” says Andrew Ahmann, MD. He's director of the Harold Schnitzer Diabetes Health Center at Oregon Health & Science University.

You’re the one in charge, so it’s up to you to watch your diet, exercise, and take your medication on schedule.

You can make better decisions about how to track and manage your diabetes by understanding how the disease works. Sign up for a class or a support group on managing diabetes.

“Not enough patients seek them out, and not enough doctors send their patients to them," Ahmann says. "Not only do these resources offer essential information, but they also bring together people who have the same challenges, giving them a place to meet and talk with each other."

2. Expecting Too Much Too Soon

It's a big step to shift your eating and exercise habits. You need to give it time to see results and for it to feel permanent.

“Most people expect something dramatic is going to happen right away,” says UCLA endocrinologist Preethi Srikanthan, MD. “But it has taken them a decade or two to get to this point, and it will take a while for them to even get to that initial 5% to 10% reduction in weight.”

To make a lasting change, take small steps, Ahmann says. If you try to do more than you can handle, you might quit.

Before you start a new exercise program, talk with your doctor, especially if you aren’t active now. They can help you set goals and plan a routine that’s safe and effective.

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