This article was originally published on dLife.com—a website dedicated to helping people with diabetes live happier and healthier lives—as "12 Foolproof Resolutions," and is reposted with permission from the author.
It's a New Year! And that means time to make resolutions. But if thinking big usually gets you nowhere, then try starting small. We've got 12 easy resolutions that can mean big changes in your diabetes management.
You don't even have to do them all at once. Try a few a week, and by the end of January, you'll be well on your way to a healthier, happier you.
1. Schedule your appointments.
When was the last time you visited your diabetes doctor? Have you had your A1C, or average blood sugar, and cholesterol tested lately? What about a check of your feet, kidneys, or eyes? If you are behind on any of these tests, pick up the phone today and make an appointment — it won't take long and you'll be one step closer to diabetes control.
Also on Z Living: Forget Resolutions, Just Maintain Your Healthiest Habits
2. Make friends with fiber.
This nutrient might be the most important for people with diabetes. Fiber has been shown to have a number of health benefits, including a decreased risk of coronary heart disease and improvement in insulin resistance. Sadly, most Americans don't get nearly enough. Eating more fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains will help increase your fiber intake.
3. Start walking.
Walking is arguably the easiest way to be physically active. It's inexpensive and can be done almost anywhere, any time. Make an effort to take extra steps everyday — something as simple as choosing to take the stairs is a great way to start.
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4. Get organized.
Over 80 percent of people living with diabetes take pills or insulin. But the more prescriptions you have, the harder it can be to keep track of them.
5. Find support.
Does your diabetes upset you? Do you feel as if you're doing all the right things and nothing works? Talking to someone else about your feelings may be just the thing to put you on the right track. How about joining a support group? Ask your local hospital if they have a diabetes group you can join. If you don't have access to a support group in your area, you can join one online or even start your own! Find people to join your group by advertising or putting up flyers in a community center or doctor's office. Those places may also offer you a place to meet.
6. Find your reason to lose weight.
One of the most popular resolutions is to lose weight, but it can also be one that is hardest to stick to. Weight loss is easier when you make it personal. Writing a list of reasons why you want to lose weight can help keep you motivated. Better diabetes control? Being able to enjoy being active with loved ones? What's on your list?
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7. Remember your feet.
Do you check your feet regularly? If so, good for you! If not, start the habit today. As soon as you swing your feet out of bed, take a few minutes to inspect them thoroughly for blisters, abrasions, and any skin changes. Have problems seeing the bottom of your feet? Use a hand mirror or ask a family member for help. If you notice any problems, report them to your doctor right away. Use these foot care tips to keep you on your toes.
8. Exercise your options.
Between holiday treats and cold weather that cuts into your exercise routine, winter can mean an extra 5 to 10 pounds for many. Stay active by planning other exercise options now. If structured fitness classes aren't an option for you, even regular laps inside the local mall are good for staying active and keeping your blood sugar under control. Wearing a pedometer can also help you get enough activity even if you stick close to home.
Check out Z Living's popular fitness shows like Namaste Yoga and Fitness First, on every weekday. Find out where to watch.
9. Kick the smoking habit, finally.
We know this is NOT an easy one. But kicking the tobacco habit can add years to your life and slash your risk of diabetes complications, so it's worth a mention on any resolution list. And while we know quitting is tough, there are some simple steps you can take now to start on the path to a smoke-free life. Think of all the good reasons you have for quitting and identify the triggers that make you reach for the cigarettes. Set a date to quit and tell your family and friends. You will experience ups and downs as you quit, so it's important to plan for the challenges you'll face. Check out these tips to help you quit.
10. Expand your food horizons.
Try incorporating one new fruit or veggie into your meal plan each week. Or better yet, mix it up by making yourself a salad loaded with a variety of fresh produce for dinner. Try some of these diabetes superfoods. Find out what they are, why they've garnered hero status, and how to incorporate them into your daily diet.
11. Keep yourself educated.
Diabetes education is one of the most important tools in the diabetes tool kit. If a person with diabetes doesn't have information, they cannot know how to properly manage their condition. Diabetes care changes so fast, so It is crucial for individuals with diabetes to be re-educated often. To make sure you stay current with the latest news in the diabetes world, do research and talk to your diabetes care team.
12. Ignore the critics.
Those who comment when you grab a cookie or slice of cake don't understand how much diabetes care has changed. Fast-acting insulin, new oral medications, and insulin pumps have opened up a world of choices to people with diabetes. If your critics wish to learn more, invite them to join you at a diabetes class, offer them a few books, and invite them to join you on the couch as you watch dLifeTV. Don't let their uninformed comments bother you. You know what you are doing and they don't.
Altar'd premieres on January 17th at 8pm, only on Z Living. Find out where you can watch Altar'd.