I've Just Been Diagnosed. What Do I Do Now?

I've Just Been Diagnosed. What Do I Do Now?

You've just been diagnosed with diabetes and you're lost. Panicked. Shocked. You don't know what to do and it can all be very scary.

Relax, says the Diabetes Educator! You didn’t get this way overnight and you're not going to resolve it overnight, either.

What now?

These simple and immediate steps can help regulate and maintain your health, your target numbers and your energy and mood - and they're easy to start right now!

  1. Stop drinking regular sodas and sweetened drinks; decrease cow’s milk to 2 cups/day if you haven't already. Try milk alternatives like almond or coconut milk.
  2. Drink nearly a gallon of water a day, unless your physician says you are on a fluid restriction.
  3. Eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and at least one snack a day.
  4. Take your medications as your physician has prescribed them.

What should I be eating?

Think of your meals and snacks as a balance of carbohydrate, protein, a little fat, and a lot of fiber.

A good, balanced meal plan might look something like this:

  • Breakfast - Egg-white and vegetable omelet; small banana.
  • Snack - Small apple; 1 ounce of almonds or pecans
  • Lunch - 3 ounces pan-seared salmon; ½ cup baked potato with skin, cheese, chives; 1 cup steamed broccoli; 1 glass unsweetened iced tea
  • Snack - 4 crackers and a string cheese
  • Dinner - 1 ½ cups of pinto bean soup with chives on top; shredded red cabbage and carrot salad in vinaigrette dressing
  • Snack - NutriBlast or homemade vegetable and fruit smoothie

You don’t have to have all the snacks, but be consistent with your meals. Skipping meals actually results in the loss of muscle. The overall goal of good diabetes management for someone who is overweight is to build muscle and lose fat. If you're normal or underweight, the goal is to build muscle and prevent muscle loss. Eating balanced, high fiber meals helps with these goals and keeps you on track.

The last thing to add to your daily regimen right now is 10 minutes of exercise every single day.

Exercise that gets your heart rate up and rejuvenates you is ideal. Depending on how deconditioned you are, this might simply involve walking to the mailbox and back or doing tip-toe reaches up to a cabinet above your head in the kitchen or garage. Ten minutes once a day is a good start. You may even have to start at two sessions of 5 minutes. Be true to yourself and get the exercise in!

After you meet with your personal Certified Diabetes Educator, you will likely have a more personalized plan.

Count on one thing: you will learn tremendous amounts of information. Educators learn new information every single day and they are always eager to share this knowledge with those they are helping. We're available to engage you in change that fits your lifestyle. Where you are today is not where you were yesterday and it is not where you will be tomorrow, next month, or next year.

So just remember, a diagnosis of diabetes begins a new day of learning and living your healthiest days ever.

Ask your physician for a referral to a Certified Diabetes Educator and keep the appointment!

Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

Comment by pamdob
August 30, 2015
This article is so true. I was diagnosed a year ago and my life has changed quite a lot. I'm exercising more and eating much more healthily. I was not really overweight but I have lost half a stone. My nutribullet has meant I am having at least two more portions of veg ech day I feel really well. My Hba1c has come down from 7 to 6.2 (or from 53 to 44) and I hope to bring I down a little more n the next 6 months. Your utilising site is very interesting and informative, thank you.
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