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5 Ways to Thrive With Diabetes

diabetes-prediabetes-americans-eating plan
diabetes-prediabetes-americans-eating plan
Photo courtesy of American Diabetes Association

The numbers are staggering. Over 38 million Americans have diabetes and nearly 98 million live with prediabetes. But diabetes isn’t just a disease — it’s an epidemic with devastating consequences if left untreated.

Although receiving a diabetes diagnosis can be scary, there’s hope. Small lifestyle changes to your everyday habits can add up to a big impact on your health. With a few modifications, diabetes doesn’t have to prevent you or your loved one from living a healthy life.

Whether you’re newly diagnosed, have had diabetes for a while, or are a caregiver, you can thrive with diabetes — and we have the steps you can take to get there.


1. Get moving

Regular physical activity is an important part of diabetes management. Light walking is a great place to start and a great habit to incorporate into your life. Walk with a loved one, your dog, or by yourself while listening to an audio book or your favorite tunes.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of starting a more active life, take heart. Every change, no matter how small, makes a difference in your ability to manage diabetes.

2. Have an eating plan

Eating well with diabetes doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods — it’s about finding the balance between keeping the flavors you love and incorporating the nutrients you need to live well with diabetes.

Try using the Diabetes Plate Method — fill half of your 9-inch plate with non-starchy vegetables, one-quarter with lean protein foods, and one-quarter with quality carbohydrates.

3. Simplify your routine

Find ways to make life easier by simplifying your daily routine. If you use specific diabetes supplies on a recurring basis, sign up for auto-delivery so you don’t forget to replenish when quantities get low.

You can also try setting up virtual routine medical appointments, which is a convenient option that eliminates travel cost and time.

4. Consult your healthcare team

Take charge of your health with guidance from trusted experts to support your diabetes management goals and reduce your risk of diabetes-related complications. The more information you can give when you get help, the easier it is for someone to assist you.

Be sure to write down questions and concerns to bring with you to your appointments. And remember, the most important member of your healthcare team is YOU!

5. Prioritize your mental health

Tracking blood glucose (blood sugar) levels, medications, planning meals, staying active — it’s a lot to think about. It can leave you feeling run down, emotionally drained, and completely overwhelmed.


It’s called diabetes burnout. And that’s why it’s important to stay in touch with your emotions as you manage your diabetes. What are you feeling? Stressed out? Angry? Sad? Scared? Take time to take stock your emotions, and reach out to those around you to talk honestly and openly about how you feel. Better yet, find a mental healthcare provider to guide you through the emotional terrain around your disease.

The American Diabetes Association® is here for you throughout your diabetes journey — whatever your connection to diabetes. Visit to learn more, get connected with resources, and find out how you can get involved in our fight to end diabetes.

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