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5 Small Goals With Big Rewards for Type 2 Diabetes

To manage type 2 diabetes, little things can add up, in a good way. By making small strides, you can improve your health bit by bit, without trying to be perfect or getting overwhelmed.

Here are five manageable goals to shoot for:

1. Start by losing 5% of your body weight.

You might see your ideal weight as 30, 40, or more pounds lighter than you are right now. But you don’t need to lose that much to make a difference for your health.

Research shows that losing 5% of your extra weight will make you less likely to get heart disease by improving blood pressure, blood sugar, and HDL cholesterol (the good kind).

So start by focusing on losing that 5% and keeping it off. Later, you can build from that success. Many studies have shown that lifestyle changes such as exercise and weight loss are the most effective and safest ways to manage type 2 diabetes.

2. Add 7 grams of fiber.

Fiber can help you feel full and control your blood sugar. But most people don't get enough.

On average, Americans get about 16 grams of fiber per day, less than half the recommendation for men (30-36 grams) and about two-thirds of what women should get (25 grams). A recent study found that people who ate an extra 7 grams of fiber a day lowered their risk for heart disease. That's especially important for you, because having diabetes makes heart disease more likely.

You don’t have to get all that fiber at once. A few pieces of fruit, such as a banana together with an apple in its skin, provide 7 grams of fiber. One ounce of almonds gets you halfway there. Try whole grains instead of refined ones to add a few grams of fiber to your morning cereal or lunchtime sandwich.

3. Move 10 minutes more.

You know how important exercise is for weight loss and overall health, but sometimes getting to the gym for even a half-hour just isn’t in the cards.

The good news is you can get the same benefits from doing 10- or 15-minute bite-size workouts as you do from exercising in 30-minute intervals.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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