Living with diabetes

Overview

Your doctor may have recommended that you make some healthy lifestyle changes.

The key word here is "lifestyle" or a way of living that helps keep your nutrition, activity level, and stress in balance. With practice in working toward that balance, you’ll find yourself making healthier choices every day.

Making healthy lifestyle changes may also help you with your overall diabetes management:

Along with these changes, when you partner with your doctor, you can work toward managing your blood sugar levels with a treatment program that may include Toujeo®.

Once-daily Toujeo® provides:

  • Slow release of insulin providing continuous blood-sugar lowering activity that lasts beyond 24 hours. Toujeo® should be taken once a day at the same time every day
  • No pronounced peak or wear-off
  • Proven 24-hour blood sugar control
  • Significantly lowers A1C levels

Talk to your doctor about what to do if you have low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Toujeo® should not be taken if you have low blood sugar or if you are allergic to any of the ingredients in Toujeo®.

Eating and diabetes

You probably know that healthy eating is important for everyone, but it is even more important for people with diabetes. Your doctor or diabetes care team may tell you the best way to be well nourished is to eat a balanced diet.

What is a balanced diet? A balanced diet provides a variety of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats, fish, and beans for protein.

Here’s a few other general guidelines that could help you make appropriate food choices (be sure to speak with your doctor before you make dietary changes):

  • Balance the number of calories you eat with your activity level
  • Choose foods rich in whole grains, vegetables, and fruits 
  • Limit your intake of saturated fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugar
  • Make sure you’re eating the right kind of carbohydrates, such as beans or whole grain foods 
  • Eat lean protein

The goal is to choose foods and drinks that can fuel your body in a healthy way.

Taking Toujeo®, along with eating healthy, can help you manage your blood sugar.

To help you get started, here are links to some delicious AND diabetes-friendly recipes, as well as informative articles to help you improve your diet.

Remember: the recipes and information presented here may not be appropriate for all people with diabetes. Work with your healthcare professional, diabetes educator, or dietitian to design a meal plan that's right for you, and includes the foods you love.

Stir-Fry Chicken & Vegetables

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts (trimmed of fat)

1 egg white

3 tsp corn starch

6 oz bean sprouts, rinsed

1 celery stalk, thinly sliced

1 medium tomato, cut into wedges

⅔ of a red or green pepper, quartered and cut into ½-inch pieces

6 Tbsp water chestnuts, sliced

4 green onions, sliced into ½-inch pieces

3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp cooking sherry

2 Tbsp Smart Balance Omega oil

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Directions

Slice chicken breasts diagonally into ¼-inch slices. In a small bowl, combine egg white and 2 tsp cornstarch, add chicken slices and set aside. Drain bean sprouts, place in a bowl and add celery, tomato wedges, and bell pepper; combine and set aside. Place water chestnuts and green onions in small bowl; add Worcestershire sauce, remaining 1 tsp cornstarch, and sherry. Heat 1 Tbsp oil on high heat in a nonstick or heavy skillet. Add chicken and stir-fry until it loses its pink color, stirring constantly. Remove and set aside. Add 1 Tbsp oil to skillet; add bowl with bean sprouts, celery, tomatoes, and bell pepper; stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add water chestnuts and onions. Stir-fry for 1 minute; add chicken and stir-fry until heated through. Add pepper to taste.

Nutritional Information (amounts per 1 serving)

Calories: 255

Calories from Fat: 90

Total Fat: 10 g

Saturated Fat: 1.3 g

Trans Fat: 0 g

Cholesterol: 65 mg

Sodium: 240 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 13 g

Dietary Fiber: 3 g

Sugars: 7 g

Protein: 28 g

Chocolate Cake Reinvented

Serves 12

Ingredients

Butter, for greasing the pans

1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans

2 cups sugar

¾ cups good cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon Morton's kosher salt

1 cup 2% low fat buttermilk, shaken

½ cup vegetable oil

2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the 2% low fat buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Nutritional Information (amounts per 1 serving)

Calories: 313

Total Fat: 11 g

Total Carbohydrate: 52 g

Sodium: 439 mg

Diabetes-Friendly Recipe: Broccoli Mac and Cheese

Serves 4

Ingredients

1½ cups whole-wheat macaroni or other short pasta

2 cups (1-inch) broccoli florets

¾ cup low-fat (1%) milk

1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat extra-sharp Cheddar cheese

⅛ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

3 tablespoons plain whole-wheat panko bread crumbs

1 teaspoon olive oil

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Nonstick cooking spray

Directions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, adding broccoli during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain, transfer to a bowl, and cover to keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat broiler. Coat a shallow 1½-quart flameproof baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Combine milk and flour in a medium saucepan and whisk until smooth. Set over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add cheese, salt and pepper, and whisk until smooth. Add the sauce to macaroni and broccoli mixture and stir until well combined. Transfer to prepared baking dish.
  4. Combine bread crumbs and olive oil in a small bowl. Rub crumbs gently with your fingers to coat evenly with oil. Stir in Parmesan. Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over macaroni mixture. Place under broiler, about 5 inches from heat, and broil until crumbs are crisp, about 2 minutes.
Each serving (about 1¼ cups):

294 calories

38 g carbohydrate

9 g total fat

5 g saturated fat

25 mg cholesterol

5 g fiber

17 g protein

398 mg sodium

Diabetes-Friendly Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie

Serves 6

Ingredients

4 teaspoons olive oil, divided

1¼ pounds skinless boneless breast, cut into 1-inch pieces

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

2 stalks celery, thinly sliced

1 medium onion, chopped

8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced

2 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

1 small red bell pepper, diced

⅓ cup whole-wheat flour

1½ cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

1¼ cups 1% low-fat milk

¾ teaspoon dried thyme leaves

1 cup frozen baby peas

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

4 sheets frozen phyllo, thawed

Nonstick olive oil cooking spray

Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and ¼ teaspoon of the pepper. Cook, stirring often, until chicken is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Transfer chicken to prepared baking dish.
  3. Add the remaining 2 teaspoons oil to the same skillet. Add celery and onion, and cook, stirring often until softened, about 4 minutes. Add mushrooms, carrots and bell pepper, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are almost tender, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Gradually stir in broth and milk and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil.
  4. Stir in thyme, and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in peas and parsley. Spoon vegetable mixture over chicken in the baking dish and stir to mix well.
  5. Unroll phyllo and, working with one sheet at a time, lightly spray each sheet of phyllo with olive oil cooking spray and place on top of chicken mixture, bunching phyllo as needed to fit in baking dish. (Don't worry if the sheets tear; the pot pie will still look great once baked.)
  6. Place the pot pie on a large baking sheet and bake until filling is bubbly and phyllo is lightly browned, about 30 minutes.
Each serving (generous 1 cup):

274 calories

24 g carbohydrate

7 g total fat

2 g saturated fat

59 mg cholesterol

4 g fiber

28 g protein

496 mg sodium

Diabetes-Friendly Comfort Foods

Living with diabetes doesn’t have to mean giving up comfort foods. Whether your go-to favorite is pasta, potpie or warm baked goods straight from the oven, you and your family can still enjoy comfort foods. Simply make a few ingredient substitutions, trim down portion sizes and enjoy – in moderation.

  • Make carbs count

    Choose carb-rich foods with health-boosting nutrition like whole grains, fruits and milk more often than sugary treats or highly processed grains. Your favorite casseroles and other dishes will deliver great taste when made with whole-grain pasta, brown rice and other healthful swaps. Try some of these:

  • Fill in with non-starchy veggies

    Amp up the nutrition and enjoy larger portions with fewer calories, carbs, and saturated fats by bulking up your favorite recipes with non-starchy vegetables. Mexican food, spaghetti sauce, and casseroles get a healthy makeover, for example, when you use half ground meat and half finely chopped mushrooms. Trim carbs in pasta and potato salads by filling the bowl with cherry tomatoes, carrots, snow peas, broccoli, and any vegetable you have on hand.

    Try this recipe for a healthy take on chicken potpie.

    Make mac and cheese lighter by adding broccoli, leafy greens or tomatoes. Serve pasta sauces over green beans or zucchini noodles, or try half veggies and half spaghetti. Use a food processor to create cauliflower rice. Mix tiny cauliflower pieces into your usual rice or significantly cut the carbs by preparing fried rice with just cauliflower.

    Get the recipe for diabetes-friendly mac and cheese.

  • Trim unhealthy fats

    To cut back on saturated fats, choose lean meats and low-fat and non-fat dairy products, and remove visible fats and poultry skin. Try these simple swaps too.

  • Savor small servings

    Focus on quality, not quantity. Whatever you love most, enjoy it in small servings. Try baking individual casseroles or baked goods in tiny ramekins. Or serve ice cream in similarly sized small dishware.

    Most importantly—and this is for all of your food—sit down, slow down, and savor every bite.

Restaurant survival guide

Just because you have diabetes, it doesn't mean you have to miss out on eating at some of your favorite restaurants. If you do some planning, you can enjoy yourself and have a healthy meal at the same time.

Work with your healthcare team to identify your own goals, and to get further guidance on ways to eat healthier at restaurants.

  • Finding a restaurant

    Before you head out, do a little research about the restaurant you've chosen. Many restaurants have information online, or you can call ahead to learn more about their meals. Here are some suggestions that are helpful to know:

    • Do they make nutritional information readily available?
    • Does the restaurant have a variety of choices?
    • Does the restaurant allow substitutions without extra charges?
    • Can two people split an entrée without an extra charge?
    • Can I order dressing and sauces on the side?
    • Can the food be prepared without extra butter or salt?
  • Reading the menu

    When you're considering what to order, keep an eye out for certain words. Some of these will mean a meal is probably a healthier choice, while others mean you should stay away. Take extra care as you read a fast food menu. It's easy to eat an entire day's worth of fat, salt, and calories in one meal if you're not careful, but it’s also possible to make wise choices and eat a fairly healthy meal.

    • Look for key healthy words on the menu such as "grilled," "broiled," and "roasted"
    • Try to eat a variety of foods in moderate amounts
    • Limit "the bad fats": saturated fat and trans-fats
    • Try to avoid meals described as "jumbo," "giant," "deluxe," "biggie-sized," or "super-sized." Larger portions mean more calories. They can also mean more saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt
    • If you are looking at a combo meal, ask to substitute a side salad, carrots, or apple slices for the fries
  • QUICK TIP: Plan Your Plate! Use the Plate Method to zero in on a healthy meal. Aim to supercharge your diet by making half of your meal non-starchy vegetables, one quarter grains, and the other quarter lean proteins.

  • Eating your meal

    Your food has arrived—bon appétit! While you're enjoying your meal, there are more things you can do to make it seem much more filling.

    • Eat your food slowly. It can let you enjoy the meal longer, and will help you feel full and avoid overeating
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Eat fresh fruit for dessert
  • Check with your healthcare team

    Not everyone with diabetes has the same meal plan or the same nutrition goals. For some, cutting calories is most important, while others may need to limit saturated and trans-fat and salt, and eat more foods high in fiber.

Work with your healthcare team to identify your own goals, and to get further guidance on ways to eat healthier at restaurants.


Also, sign up for the Toujeo® COACH Support program to get access to tools and resources to help with your overall diabetes management. And be sure to talk to your doctor and the rest of your healthcare team about other ways you can modify your diet for diabetes.

Diabetes Meal Planning 101

When you’re diagnosed with diabetes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all of the changes in your diet. It can feel like you don’t get to have food that you can actually enjoy. Luckily, that doesn’t have to be true. With a little planning, you can find a diet that satisfies your taste buds while still managing your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure.

Find some new favorites

Rather than avoiding your favorite foods completely, look for substitutes that are just as tasty but naturally rich in nutrients and lower in fat and calories.

  • If you’re in the mood for something sweet, reach for fresh fruit instead of a candy bar.
  • if you’re in the mood for something salty, choose potato chips that are baked instead of fried.

You can do the same thing when planning your meals.

  • At breakfast, start your day with whole grain cereal and fresh fruit instead of a cereal that is loaded with sugar.
  • At dinner, roasted chicken with brown rice and black beans is a more nutritious alternative to fried chicken and white rice.
Creating a simple meal plan

Deciding what you’re going to eat doesn’t have to be complicated; your doctor can recommend a meal plan that’s easy to incorporate in your daily routines. A simple one is known as the Plate Method.

To follow this plan, try to fill your plate as follows:

To learn more, download a PDF with information on the Plate Method.

Finding a diabetes meal plan that’s right for you

Everyone with diabetes is different, and there’s no one diet or meal plan that works for everyone. Your doctor may recommend other techniques for planning meals, such as counting your carbohydrates or the Glycemic Index (GI) in foods.

To learn more about these methods, download the brochure 10 Helpful Things to Know About Meal Planning.

Supercharging Your Diabetes Meal Plan

As a person with diabetes, you’ve probably heard that it’s important for you to eat a diet balanced with healthy foods. Along with your overall diabetes treatment plan, this can help you control your weight and manage your blood sugar levels.

The more you learn about food, the easier it will be to make healthy choices. Here are some basic tips for you to keep in mind as you plan your meals each day.

  • Eat colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Choose whole-grain foods like brown rice and whole wheat spaghetti
  • Try to eat fish 2-3 times a week
  • Choose lean meats and remove the skin from chicken and turkey
  • Drink water instead of soda or other sugar-sweetened drinks
  • Cut back on snack foods and desserts like chips, cookies, cakes, and ice cream
  • Watch how much you eat. Eating too much of anything can be unhealthy!
There’s food…and then there are super foods!

Certain types of foods have been shown to be packed with nutritional value--that’s why they are called “super foods.” They are healthy for anyone, not just those with diabetes.


Here is a short list of these super foods and why you should consider adding them to your menu:

  • Beans: high in fiber and also good sources of magnesium and potassium
  • Dark green leafy vegetables: vegetables that include spinach, collards, and kale, these are low in calories and carbohydrates
  • Citrus fruit: a good source of soluble fiber and vitamin C
  • Sweet potatoes: full of vitamin A and fiber, these can be an alternative to regular potatoes
  • Berries: a great source of antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber
  • Tomatoes: full of vitamins C and E as well as iron
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids: salmon is a perfect example; eating this type of fish may help protect you from coronary heart disease and even help reduce insulin resistance
  • Whole grains: a good source of magnesium, chromium, omega 3 fatty acids, and folate
  • Nuts and seeds: provide healthy fats as well as magnesium and fiber
  • Fat-free milk and yogurt: provide calcium and vitamin D

Staying Fit With Diabetes

While taking Toujeo® as prescribed is important, regular activity is also a key part to help manage your diabetes. Regular physical activity can have an impact on many things that can affect your diabetes. For example, exercise can help:

  • Increase your energy for daily activities 
  • Burn calories to help you lose or maintain your weight
  • Help you sleep
  • Manage stress

Before you start or modify any exercise program, it’s important to check with your healthcare team. Your doctor may have safety tips or offer to help you set realistic goals. Be sure to ask about when to monitor your blood sugar levels.

Exercise to Help Manage Your Diabetes

Exercise can have an important effect on your blood sugar levels and your insulin.

1 Exercise can help lower your blood sugar levels

Sugar is stored in muscles. When you exercise, your muscles work harder, and as they work, they use the stored sugar. As the sugar stored in muscles runs low, sugar is "pulled" from the blood to be used as energy.

2 Exercise can help your body use insulin more efficiently

Your muscles and other tissues use insulin more easily when you exercise. With physical activity, less insulin is needed to move sugar out of the blood and into muscle cells.

Of course, talk to your doctor before you start an exercise plan.

Taking Steps to Get Active

If you've been meaning to add more physical activity to your routine, there's good news: All of those steps taken throughout the day count as fitness. Walking can be an effective and economical way to burn calories, strengthen the body's muscles, help lower blood sugar levels, and even build stronger bones. In order to get the most benefits, you'll need to walk more than just around the house or workplace. To help you get started, here's a beginner's guide to walking for exercise.

On Your Mark

Before you start or modify any exercise program, it's important to check with your healthcare team. Your doctor may have safety tips or offer to help you set realistic goals. Be sure to ask about when to monitor your blood sugar levels.


Once you've gotten the okay, it's time to gather the right gear. Proper supportive walking shoes are very important. Be sure you try a few pairs on so that you know you're getting the right ones for your feet. You should be able to wiggle your toes, but your feet shouldn't slide in the shoe as you step. Cotton socks absorb moisture, which may make feet more prone to blisters — polyester or nylon might be a better bet.


Get Set

While it may be tempting to start walking just as soon as you have the gear, take a few minutes to come up with a plan. To chart out a safe, pedestrian-friendly route for outdoor walking, see if your city or town has any walking maps. Or research local parks, nature preserves, or school tracks. Some locales may post the length of their respective trails or laps and have well-groomed walkways.


If possible, recruit a friend. If you both have similar goals, you can help one another stay motivated. Of course, don't overlook man's best friend. If you have a dog, you've already got a built-in walking buddy!


During cold or inclement weather, consider a walk inside an indoor shopping mall. Or try out a treadmill at your local gym or recreation center; if you've never used a treadmill before, be sure to ask a member of the staff to go over the controls and settings with you before you begin.


GO!

The first few times you go out you may want to walk a slightly shorter distance than you think you can cover. The American Diabetes Association recommends starting slow, especially if you're not accustomed to physical activity — beginning with 10 minutes per day, adding 3 to 5 minutes per daily walk to an eventual goal of 30 minutes per day, five times a week.


The same goes for speed. Start slow, walking at a leisurely pace to warm up. Experiment with quickening your steps after the first 3 minutes of walking. You can always return to a more comfortable pace if you get tired.


Make sure to drink plenty of water. Feeling thirsty is often a sign that you're already a little dehydrated. Before you head out on your next walk, drink extra water. (Remember to drink water after your walk, too, to replenish any fluid you may have lost through sweat).


To get a sense of how many steps you're taking each day, you may want to invest in a fitness tracker. These range from a bare-bones pedometer, which tracks just steps and can cost as little as $10, to a high-tech accelerometer. These digital devices often cost around $100; most measure steps, stairs climbed, hours slept and more, syncing all of that data back to your phone or computer.


Consider Mixing it Up

Over time, as you build endurance, you should be able to walk farther and longer. When walking at a steady pace no longer feels quite as challenging, you may want to try adding intervals. To do so, stagger short bursts of speed with slower steps. For example, you might walk as fast as you can for 1 minute, then slow down and recover for 1 or 2 minutes. This type of training may be more beneficial than walking at a steady pace. You'll burn more calories, give your heart rate an extra boost, and get stronger with each step!


Always talk to your doctor before making any changes to your exercise.

Staying Active, All Day Long

When you think about the best ways to burn calories, activities like biking and running probably come to mind. But simply moving more throughout the day may also help people lose weight and stay fit. So which activities are effective? You might be surprised! Washing dishes, walking to a colleague's office, making trips up and down the stairs, and even standing rather than sitting all contribute to being more active. Be sure to check with your healthcare team before beginning or modifying a physical activity routine.

Although none of these activities might seem like they would count for much, compared to sitting—which is how many Americans spend the majority of their day—they're a lot better for our bodies. If a person who weighs 150 pounds sits at a desk for an hour, he or she will burn an estimated 102 calories, according to the American Council on Exercise. If they stand for that hour, the calorie burn increases to 156. If they were to spend that hour walking at a moderate pace, they'd burn 224 calories. That's over 100 calories more than they'd work off by sitting!


And one doesn’t have to walk for an hour straight to get these benefits. Walking for 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there can contribute to a daily tally of active time. (The American Diabetes Association suggests an overall goal of 30 minutes a day of brisk walking, five times a week).


A watch isn't the only way to keep track of how much you move. Wearable fitness trackers like pedometers and their high-tech counterparts track simple everyday movements like walking and stair-climbing, giving you a grand total at the end of each day. The American College of Sports Medicine suggests taking 10,000 steps a day for good health and weight loss or maintenance. But you don't have to set that as your goal right away. If you have a fitness tracker, walk normally for a week to establish a baseline. Then try adding a small number of steps each day, slowly increasing your steps.


Remembering to take standing or sitting breaks throughout the day may help you build up the amount of activity you do. Changing up some of your routines may also help you log more steps. For instance, try walking to your bank branch rather than banking online or using the closest or most convenient ATM. Or if you once in a while order dinner delivery from a nearby restaurant, consider picking up the food yourself. Walking to your car and then to your restaurant will add up to more steps than simply walking to your front door. If the restaurant is close enough, you may even be able to walk there.


To help you find more ways to stay active all day long, here are 15 suggestions for small but significant things you can do to spend more time moving.


1 Watch TV standing! Fold or iron clothes or dust and clean around the room while watching a favorite show.

2 Switch from playing indoor games with your kids to playing outside games like tag or tossing a ball.

3 Clean up after each kitchen use. Wash dishes by hand and wipe down the counters.

4 Get a hands-free device for your phone so you can stand or walk while you chat with friends or colleagues.

5 Walk more at work, visiting a colleague in-person instead of sending an email.

6 Don't search for the closest parking spot when running errands. Parking farther away adds steps and may also reduce the stress of staking out the closest spot to your destination.

7 If you take the bus or train, stay standing. You'll test your balance and also spend less time sitting.

8 Plan a home improvement project. Organize holiday decorations, sort your pantry, build a new fence, paint your bathroom, or tackle some other job you've been meaning to do.

9 Mow your yard and, if there's space, add a garden. Then be sure to water it so it continues to grow!

10 Instead of a sit-down work or family meeting, schedule a “walk and talk” session. A change of scenery can be good for creativity!

11 Skip the elevator and take the stairs when traveling short distances. It may actually be quicker.

12 Cook more often. Chopping vegetables, measuring ingredients, and stirring your creations all count toward more calories burned.

13 Resurrect an old active hobby. Remember how much you used to love refinishing furniture or going to garage sales? Get back in the habit.

14 Take Fido on a walk! He'll be so happy that you won't even realize it's exercise.

15 Explore your local area. Research new parks, museums, and other attractions, then plan a walking tour to check them out!

Stress and diabetes

Life is full of stress, and it can be difficult for anyone to manage stress levels. Scientists are discovering that stress can be a serious health hazard, especially for people with diabetes. Sometimes, just thinking about managing your blood sugar can lead to stress.

Stress can alter your blood sugar in 2 ways:

1 People under stress may not take good care of themselves.

They may forget or not have time to check their sugar levels or plan healthy meals.

2 Stress hormones may also change blood sugar levels directly.

Relax, there also are strategies to help manage it:

  • Exercise has been proven to help lower people’s stress levels 
  • Relaxation techniques also help

It's important to talk to your doctor about how you feel, including when you feel stressed. The doctor can suggest several ways you can help manage stress.

Address your stress

Everyone experiences stress from time to time. And in today’s hectic world, it seems like people are under more pressure than ever before. People with diabetes face the added stress of having to manage their condition day in and day out.

But don’t worry! There are ways to manage it.

How stress affects people with diabetes

When a person experiences stress, the body goes into what is known as “fight or flight” mode.


For people with diabetes, this means that stress can increase their blood sugar levels, and make managing their condition even more difficult. Plus, focusing on the source of your stress can make it harder to stick with your diabetes management plan. You may forget to take your medication on time, or feel tempted to eat the wrong kinds of food.


Whether you have diabetes or not, long-term stress can also take a toll on your body. Stress has been shown to affect a number of body systems, such as the immune system, digestion, as well as the renal (or kidney) system.


Relax—there are ways to help reduce your stress

While there’s no way to make life stress-free, there are many ways you can lessen the impact of stress on your daily life and your overall health. By keeping these tips in mind, you can manage stress and help reduce its impact on your diabetes treatment.

  • Give yourself a break: Don’t add to the tension and pressure you’re already feeling

    • If you skip a meal, or slip and eat something unhealthy, don’t be too hard on yourself. Focus on what you can control and swap the sandwich for a salad at your next meal.
    • Missing a day at the gym is not the end of the world. Walking to the grocery store and scheduling regular times for healthy activities can get you back on track.
    • When you notice yourself thinking negatively, think of something positive (like an accomplishment you’re proud of, or a fun activity you enjoy) to turn your mood around.
  • Discover ways to “blow off some steam”: Look for ways to free yourself from some of the stress you’re feeling

    • If you find yourself stressed at home, designate a calm space where you can relax without interruption
    • If you find yourself stressed at work, walk around the office, or step outside for some fresh air
    • In your free time, take up a hobby like knitting or solving crosswords
    • Start an exercise program or join a sports team (if your doctor says it’s OK)
  • Take care of you: Be your own best supporter by taking on these healthy habits

    • Make sure you’re getting enough sleep (7-8 hours is ideal)
    • If you work, nurture a better work/life balance so work issues don’t overly impact your home life
    • Practice meditation or deep breathing exercises
    • Look for ways to make managing your diabetes easier, like using a blood sugar log or an app to help you keep track of your blood sugar levels
  • QUICK TIP: Smile! A study showed that merely smiling helped people deal with stressful situations.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

One of the best ways to help manage stress is to reach out to others. Let your friends and family know when you’re struggling to balance all of life’s daily pressures. And reach out to others with diabetes, either through support groups or web communities.


Also, sign up for the Toujeo® COACH Support program to get access to tools and resources to help with your diabetes management. And be sure to talk to your doctor and the rest of your healthcare team about other ways you might be able to reduce your stress.

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