Get Active However you can

Did you know that exercise is one of the most powerful behaviours you can take part in to lower your risk of disease and improve your quality of life? Being active regularly can reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, certain types of cancers and many other health conditions.

Health Canada recommends that all adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. It is important to engage in activities that increase heart rate such as jogging, swimming, brisk walking as well as strength training exercises such as weight lifting. Being active after weight loss can play a major role in preventing weight regain as well.

Exercise helps burn calories that would otherwise be stored as fat. It can also help your body build more muscle. The more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn throughout the day, even when you are at rest!

If you are having trouble getting active, try to identify the barriers that are in your way. Many people report lack of time is a major challenge for being physically active, but even small bouts of activity add up. Simple choices like parking your car further away from the grocery store, taking the stairs or going for a small walk on your lunch break can increase your activity level with little effort and planning. If being too tired is what make it challenging for you to get active, remember that exercise can counter the effects of fatigue. Exercising can lead to having more energy and improved sleep quality.

Find ways to make physical activity enjoyable for you. You can get active with family and friends to make it more fun! Make sure you are doing a type of activity that you enjoy and that keeps you motivated. You can do a variety of activities to keep things more interesting.

Don’t Skip Breakfast

You’ve heard this a hundred times – “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. In reality, every meal is equally important and skipping any meal can take a toll on your energy level, focus and preformance in daily activities.

If you often miss breakfast, you are not alone as it is the most frequently skipped meal, but committing to breakfast will benefit you in many ways -here’s why.
Your body uses up energy stores throughout the night and a balanced breakfast will give you the energy to kick-start your day. Research has found that people who eat breakfast have a more balanced overall diet, are less likely to be overweight and have reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

For a well balanced breakfast, aim to get some carbohydrates like whole grain bread, cereal or oats for energy and fibre. Also try to include protein and fat to keep you full longer. Some examples are nuts and seeds, milk and alternatives and avocado. Fruits and vegetables are a great addition to any breakfast as well, providing vitamins, minerals and fibre. If you don’t feel like having solid food in the morning, try making smoothies and adding nuts, seeds, milk or tofu!

Type 2 diabetes and weight management

Maintaining a healthy weight is one way you can stay healthy while living with type 2 diabetes. There are many factors associated with weight management such as: nutrition, physical activity, stress levels, mental health, low income levels, medical conditions, and medication. Weight management can help prevent or manage diabetes, improve your blood glucose levels/blood pressure/blood lipids, reduce the risk of complications such as heart disease and help improve your overall well-being and energy levels.

What is a healthy weight?

The following may be used to determine if you are a healthy weight:

Body Mass Index (BMI): determines if you are a healthy weight for your height. On average, adults aged 18-64 may be considered overweight with a BMI equal to or greater than 25 kg/m2.

Waist circumference (WC): uses the measurement of your waist to determine if there may be excessive fat which may be linked to health risks. A waist circumference goal will vary based on gender and ethnic background. However, generally, a healthy WC for men is less than 40 inches and for women it is less than 35 inches.

** A reduction of 5-10% of current body weight in an overweight individual (~2-4 lbs/month) is a healthy weight loss goal. This does not include pregnant or lactating women, very muscular adults or adults with a very lean build.

Goals for a healthy weight

1. Eat mindfully, when you are hungry or during your planned meal time. Avoid excessive and mindless eating. If you have difficulty understanding hunger cues or proper meal timing for your body and lifestyle, speak to a registered dietitian who can help prepare the right plan for you.

2. Eat regular and balanced meals. Avoid skipping meals. Regular and balanced meals can help reduce overeating, help you curb your cravings and maintain a healthy weight.

3. Portion control your meals. Too much or too little food will not allow you to manage your weight in a healthy way. You can speak to a registered dietitian to help you determine the right amount of food for you.

4. Eat high fibre foods. Foods that are high in fibre may help you feel full for a longer period of time, thus preventing overeating. Examples of high fibre foods include: whole grains, vegetables, fruit and legumes.

5. Choose healthy beverages. High calorie beverages make managing/losing weight more difficult. Try to avoid drinking your calories and eat them instead! Quench your thirst with water.

6. Choose healthy snacks. You may or may not require additional snacks throughout the day. If you do, choose small and healthy snacks that can help control your hunger while providing you with important nutrients. Examples of healthy snacks may include vegetables with hummus or fruit with nuts. Avoid fried, salty and sugar snacks. Choose more whole foods!

7. Incorporate physical activity in your daily routine. If you have any limitations, check with your doctor and/or exercise specialist to determine the right exercises for you.

** The above recommendations are general and not customized specifically for you. To help you better understand the nutrition/exercise interventions that will help you manage/lose weight while staying within your healthy blood glucose range, it is important to speak to the professionals part of your health-care team that are trained to help you create the program that is right for you.