Video on Small Steps to Manage Your Blood Sugar

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Winona Hoffman
When you're first diagnosed with a serious disease like type 2 diabetes, it can be overwhelming. It can be terrifying even. The good news is this is something that is manageable.

The first thing you should do is find out where you are. So you need to find out your starting point. So you need to make a list of what you eat and drink every day. When you're making a list of foods that you eat, you also need to write down how much you're eating.

Two, you need to take that list to your health care team and say, "What do you see here? What are the patterns that I'm falling into? What can I change?" People can change their eating habits and their food choices. A diabetic diet is really just a good diet for anybody. There's lots of fruits and vegetables, and lean meats, and eggs, and nuts. These are regular foods. And you look at your plate and fill half of that plate with those vegetables that you like to eat -- non-starchy vegetables. The top part you fill in with a little bit of protein. Whatever you want, 3 ounces, which is the size of a deck of cards. A small starch like a piece of bread or a tortilla. And then you can have a small piece of fruit on the side, and then a non-sweetened beverage. And there's your meal. It's nothing complicated.

Moving your body is important. And it doesn't have to be hours in the gym. And it doesn't have to be a marathon. It really just means getting your heart rate up for at least 30 minutes a day most days of the week. For exercise, there's lots of different things to do. Walking is usually the cheapest. But gardening, dancing, playing catch with your kids, playing catch with your dog, these are all things that you can do and they all count as exercise.

You have to pick something they enjoy doing. If you don't pick something you enjoy doing, you're not going to do it. All you need is some patience with yourself and a little bit of a sense of humor and then the ability to realize that you're doing the best that you can. And to make those small changes, and over time those small changes build up into big changes.