New Year’s is that time of the year where most of us want to hit the reset button and let go of the old bad habits holding us back and set some new goals to adopt healthy habits into our lifestyle. This is not an easy task, especially if you have diabetes.

Adopting healthy habits around lifestyle and nutrition requires more than having the willingness to change. It requires a plan and specific goals.

If you are contemplating or planning to improve your health habits this year to have better control of your diabetes, but not sure how or where to start, here are some recommendations on how to create a meaningful plan that helps you to reach your health goals in 2020.

Don’t try to change your “bad habits” around food, exercise, and lifestyle all at once.

  • Start slow and break it down.
  • Choose one area or one thing you want to change first, stick to it, and once you have reached your goal, go to the next one.
  • This will make the change less overwhelming and more manageable.

Create healthy goals that are specific and measurable.

  • The more specific you get with your goals, the most likely you will achieve them. Also, set milestones they will help you to measure if your goals are being realistic or you need to adjust them to make them more achievable. Example: lose 4 lbs by the end of February instead of saying “lose weight”.
  • Nutrition and physical activity are essential for a healthy lifestyle to manage your diabetes. Sticking to a healthy meal plan and a regular exercise routine can help you to stay on target with your blood glucose levels and manage your diabetes.

Here are a few ideas for some of the best lifestyle and nutrition practices you can adopt this year following the above recommendations to help manage your diabetes.

Avoid sedentary behavior and include at least 30-60 minutes of physical activity, five times per week.

  • Find the right exercise for you; it has to be something that makes you feels good in order for it to become part of your daily routine.
  • Vary the type of physical activity or exercise and make sure you include it in your routine, aerobic, resistance, flexibility and balance exercises. These exercises help you work different groups of muscles, which have various benefits for your physical, mental, and general health.
  • Some examples are dance classes, walking, cycling, elastic resistance bands, jogging, swimming, yoga, or even following some YouTube exercise videos at home.

Develop a healthy eating plan.

  • Make an appointment with a registered dietitian for nutrition counseling. Counseling is crucial to make your healthy eating habits to last long term, be held accountable and stay on track.
  • Eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods in appropriate portion sizes. This will help you optimize the nutrients your body needs and control your weight.
  • Eat foods with fiber in the form of vegetables, beans, legumes, fruits, and whole grains. This will help you have better glycemic control.

If you are still not sure which practices to adopt, remember to talk to your healthcare practitioner, registered dietitian, or diabetes educator. They can help you determine what will work best for you to control your diabetes and be a better new you!