Expert-reviewed by Ashwini S.Kanade, Registered Dietician and Certified Diabetes Educator with 17 years of experience
Self-monitoring in diabetes is an important part of the care process. A well-managed lifestyle is the cornerstone of an effective diabetes treatment plan. Any medicines or insulin you take need the support of a healthy diet and regular physical activity to work as intended. The best way to ensure that you are living a healthy lifestyle appropriate to your diabetes needs is by tracking all that you do. Sounds overwhelming? Well, it needn’t be.
With the ubiquitous nature of smartphones today, you can initiate a self-care plan right on your own phone. Healthcare apps that help manage diabetes are aplenty and promise to make your daily lifestyle tracking easier. Make sure you download a reliable app that has real-life clinical data backing its claims. But how exactly does tracking your lifestyle help, you ask? Here’s how:
1. Benefits of tracking diet:
Research has proven that keeping a food diary helps in eating better and aids weight loss. Participants that kept a food diary lost twice as much weight as those who did not. (1) Writing down what you eat makes you more conscious and aware of what you are putting in your body. And that, in turn, makes you a better and healthier eater.
2. Benefits of tracking activity:
It is important for people with diabetes to complete a minimum of 150 mins of activity per week. (2) That’s about 22 mins of daily activity 7 days a week or 30 mins of activity 5 days a week. Moreover, people with diabetes should not go without activity for more than 2 days. The recommended exercises are those of light-to-moderate intensity such as aerobics, cycling, swimming and walking. Thus, using an app to track what activity and how much of it you have completed every day and week becomes that much more important.
Make sure you follow these safety tips while exercising.
3. Benefits of tracking blood sugar:
What is diabetes but monitoring of blood sugar levels to make sure they stay as close to the normal range as possible. A glucometer with a small memory to record past few readings can only do so much. Using a sound diabetes care app to log and track your blood sugar levels will give you more than a cursory insight into the trends of your diabetes. You will be able to see how your blood sugar levels change before and after a meal, or before and after your meds, and even before and after exercise. Here’s how often experts say you should check your blood sugar levels.
Moreover, when you use apps that allow you to do all 3 in one place, you will be able to see correlations between your diet, exercise and blood sugar. For example, days on which you eat heavy meals and do not exercise will show higher blood sugar readings. This level of detail and insight will automatically motivate you to eat better, exercise more, and thus aim for better blood sugar readings.
We can’t emphasise enough on the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle for living tension-free despite having diabetes. And now there are several tools available that take away all excuses that would otherwise prevent you from stepping up and taking charge of your own diabetes care.
- Kaiser Permanente Study Finds Keeping a Food Diary Doubles Diet Weight Loss. (2008, July 8). Retrieved from https://share.kaiserpermanente.org/article/kaiser-permanente-study-finds-keeping-a-food-diary-doubles-diet-weight-loss/
- Colberg, S. R., Sigal, R. J., Yardley, J. E., Riddell, M. C., Dunstan, D. W., Dempsey, P. C., … & Tate, D. F. (2016). Physical activity/exercise and diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care, 39(11), 2065-2079.