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6 Diabetes Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

3. Working Out Alone

“One error that people make when it comes to exercise is that they try to do it without help from other people,” Ahmann says.

Spouses, partners, friends, and family members make great exercise buddies. They also are terrific cheerleaders.

The same is true for your diet. It's easier to make changes when you have a friend or relative who's also on board.

4. Neglecting Other Problems

Constant stress and depression can really get to you. It's easy to feel too discouraged to deal with your diabetes. That can make matters worse.

“You need to recognize depression and work with it,” Srikanthan says.

Depression and stress can also have a bad effect on blood sugar levels. Constant stress may boost hormones that make it harder for insulin to do its job. Doing “anything to reduce stress will improve your blood sugar," Ahmann says.

Exercise helps relieve stress, and there’s evidence that meditation and massage will benefit blood sugar levels, he says.

5. Misunderstanding and Misusing Medications

Ahmann says many of his patients think medications are more powerful than diet and exercise. But in many cases, type 2 diabetes can be controlled by a combination of a healthy diet and regular exercise without the need for medication.

For many people, medication can be helpful.

Ahmann sees one mistake that stands out.

“It’s surprising how many people miss doses,” he says. That's a risky mistake, so tell your doctor. He might be able to change your dosing schedule to one that better suits you.

6. Poor Food Choices

When it comes to food and blood sugar, the big mistake is not the single candy bar that you couldn’t resist, Srikanthan says. It’s ongoing unhealthy eating habits -- what you eat over and over again -- that have a worse effect on your blood sugar.

“People think it’s a one-time diversion, but no, it’s a consistent problem that affects your test results,” she says.

The two biggest hurdles, she says, are calories and carbohydrates. You have to control both to keep your blood sugar level steady.

Keep a food diary to keep track of what you eat and drink, and always read nutrition labels so you know what’s in the food you choose.

Not eating on a regular schedule is another common food mistake. Make time for breakfast and eat regular meals during the day, so you don’t lose control and overeat in the evening.

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Reviewed on October 22, 2014

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