Diabetes Lessons From a Stool

Stools are very useful – as a footrest, a temporary seat, a plant stand, dinner table, or even a makeshift stepladder. Stools come in all shapes, sizes and materials, but if a stool has legs it needs to have at least three to be stable – you might be able to balance yourself on a stool with only one or two legs for a while, but the risk of toppling over is always there. The concept that a three-legged stool represents stability is an image that’s been applied to retirement income, marketing campaigns, psychology concepts, religious philosophies and probably more. And, it happens to apply perfectly to diabetes self-management too. So, pull up a chair – better yet, a stool – and consider the three legs that give stability to diabetes self-management and to your health.

Medication was probably your first thought, and medication is certainly important. Insulin (we’ll consider insulin a medication) is essential for managing type 1 diabetes, and often type 2 diabetes as well. Other diabetes medications can play an important role in managing blood glucose levels, and people with diabetes are often prescribed medications for cholesterol, blood pressure, or other conditions that commonly occur with diabetes. Aside from the cost, taking your medication as prescribed is the easiest of the three “legs”, and the most likely one you’ll try to balance your diabetes management on. But, a stool with one strong, study leg and two twigs is an illusion of stability. The other two legs are just as important.

Food may be the most challenging “leg.” Healthy eating for diabetes requires planning, and often represents a significant change from what had been normal and comfortable. Worse, we are under a constant bombardment from food advertisements which can influence our decisions even when we think we’re immune. The most important first step to healthier eating is to find healthy foods and recipes that are also delicious, and fit your eating preferences. It’s a common misperception that having healthier food demands giving up the pleasure of eating. It takes a little effort, but a strong, study food “leg” is worth the time.

Physical activity completes the stable diabetes management stool. The important message here is that any activity is better than none. Simple walking is a great place to start, and you can easily add walking to your daily schedule by simply being aware of the walking you routinely make an effort to avoid. Start by purposely parking father away from the grocery or shopping center entrance – you’ll get hundreds of extra steps and fewer dings on your car. And, you’ll get better blood glucose control, a stronger heart, lower blood pressure, better balance, and a world of other benefits.

The three-legged stool concept represents the balance that’s necessary for success – with diabetes, success means better health. But, a three-legged stool also represents peace of mind – I can sit here without constantly worrying about falling over. When you devote some effort to keeping all three legs of the diabetes management stool strong, you’ll have peace of mind too.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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