It takes a village is such an overused phrase, probably because it is absolutely true.

If we’ve learned everything through 2020 and 2021 it’s that we are stronger when we work together to overcome adversity. We need to think of the greater good, we need to realize we’re on a team, and our village needs all of us acting collectively to win.

This isn’t news to people living with type 2 diabetes.

More than 11 million Canadians, or one in three, are living with diabetes or prediabetes. Every hour at least 20 people are diagnosed with the disease and every 24 hours, more than 20 Canadians die of diabetes-related complications.

One of the key ways Diabetes Canada says we can fight type 2 diabetes is to get support. Living with diabetes Is mentally exhausting, physically taxing, and emotionally crushing.  It takes a team to get through this, thinking like a pancreas is hard!

It doesn’t matter if you’re living with diabetes or have a friend or loved one living with diabetes, everyone in the social circle has a responsibility to look after each other when it comes to making healthy changes, sticking to diet plans, and living a better life – teamwork makes the dream work!

How To Reduce Your Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes starts  by changing one thing at a time. It can be overwhelming to try and change too many things at once, and you are less likely to stick with them.

Set goals which are realistic and doable.

Eating healthy, moving more, and losing weight if you are overweight are the most effective things you can do to reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Over time any change you make will become part of your everyday routine.

Even if you’ve already been told that you have prediabetes or that you have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, you still have the chance to make changes that can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes.

I have a risk for type 2 diabetes AND heart disease in my family, so taking time to exercise everyday and being aware of my weight and heart health are key priorities for me.

Tips For Eating Healthy With Type 2 Diabetes

When you’re managing diabetes, it’s natural to have questions about what foods to eat – mix in a return to holiday gathering and things can get more complicated.

The best and simplest tip for eating healthy is to think about the things that are on the outside of the grocery store aisles. This is where you find fresh fruit, whole grains, meats, and dairy products – if you can stick to simple, fresh foods, you can get ahead of managing your diet.

Cart 2 Table is a great resource for diabetes-friendly recipes, grocery guides, healthy swaps, and meal planning ideas. Start by filling half your plate with vegetables while adding proteins and healthy carbs on the other half. Get that balance right and any buffet, menu, or get together will be easy to navigate.

Meal planning is a great way to keep your diet on track so that you’re not last minute scrambling to find something to eat. Many of the new meal kit delivery services offer options for specific dietary needs. My family has tried all the services and we love the ease and convenience of having a grab a bag of ingredients with everything I need to cook a tasty meal right there.

Meal planning works for dining out too! Many restaurant menus are posted online so you can browse to “pre-pick” the best meal option, without the pressures of people or time.

Your Heart Matters When You’re Living With Diabetes

Sticking to a healthy diet and finding a way to get at least 150 minutes of exercise every week will help you manage your type 2 diabetes, but it will also work to keep your heart healthy!

Managing heart health is an important thing for diabetics. Canadians with type 2 diabetes have a serious risk of dying early from heart disease. In fact, eighty per cent of Canadians with diabetes will die from heart disease and stroke, and type 2 diabetes can reduce life expectancy by as much as 15 years earlier than those without! But, research shows that along with proper diet and exercise habits, there are medications that may reduce the threat of early death from heart disease.

Yes, it takes a team of tactics to live longer and healthier with diabetes, just like it takes a team of friends, loved ones, and medical professionals to keep things on track. If you have type 2 diabetes, or you have someone in your life living with type 2 diabetes, take an active role in protecting their heart. Speak with a doctor about type 2 diabetes treatments and visit myheartmatters.ca to learn more.

MyHeartMatters is a free resource for people with diabetes and their caregivers, providing information on diabetes related conditions. Canadians can find information on diabetes and cardiovascular disease risks, a self-assessment wheel, personalized doctor’s discussion guide, diet and lifestyle support, and caregiver resources.

It can be hard to stay motivated, but reducing your risk of developing diabetes will help you live a longer, healthier life .. just look at my grandfather: he has type 2 and is 97 yrs old!

This post is sponsored by an alliance of two of Canada’s leading research-based pharmaceutical companies.

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