Summer, glorious summer. I love summer. Associations I have with it make me happy, the beach, hanging out with friends, long days. It all just makes me happy. But, as a type 2 diabetic, I also experience another side to the summer. Summer heat and type 2 diabetes do not go well together. Since I am currently “enjoying” the lovely 35 degrees (cca 95 F) I want to share my experiences with the heat and give you some tips on what you might expect during summer heats.
Summer Heat and Type 2 Diabetes Most Important Tips
1. Stay Hydrated
Everybody sweats, hey it’s summer. But as a type 2 diabetic, you need to be extremely cautious and take plenty of liquids. As you might know, having higher sugar levels makes you urinate more often, and during the summer this can be dangerous and subsequently lead to dehydration. If at any time you start feeling your lips getting drier drink more water. However, you might be like me and forget to drink. As I keep track of my daily food intake, I also make sure I keep my water intake checked. There are several tricks I use to make sure I drink as much as I need:
- I drink 1 large cup of water before each meal and snack. This equals at least 5 cups of water per day.
- I carry a bottle of water with me at all times. Especially at work and if I’m out and about. I don’t drive and sometimes I get stuck in public transport (high heat, lots of people). It is necessary to have water with me. I am getting myself one of those ULLA HONEY BEE hydration reminders. They seem so awesome (P.S. if anyone tried it please let me know how it’s working for you).
- I always drink during and after my workout.
With the loss of fluids, you may also experience cramps in your feet and legs. Make sure you take enough vitamins and minerals, especially magnesium to prevent cramps.
2. Always have snacks with you
And I mean always! I was shocked how my sugar levels would suddenly change during summer. One minute I eat and feel fine and think how I’m ok for the next 2 to 3 hours, only to start shaking after an hour and a half and my sugar levels suddenly drop. Now mind you, my sugar levels never went below 3,00 mmol/L but I would definitely feel it. In my bag, I always have either an apple, crackers, raw bite bars and glucose tablets (maybe even some ants who knows, my bag is huge). Being prepared is everything when it comes to type 2 diabetes.
The reason I try to be prepared like this is to avoid binge eating when I start feeling the effects of low sugar. From personal experience, I definitely need to avoid the situations where I might get all scared and start to panic. Happened to me several times and I ended binge eating. Which of course led to high blood sugar, guilt, feeling miserable and everything else in between. Which, again would get me all emotional and I would eat again to comfort myself. Emotional eater here! So, better to be safe than sorry!
From personal experience, I definitely need to avoid the situations where I might get all scared and start to panic. Happened to me several times and I ended binge eating. Which of course led to high blood sugar, guilt, feeling miserable and everything else in between. Which, again would get me all emotional and I would eat again to comfort myself. Emotional eater here! So, better to be safe than sorry!
P.S. If you’re like me and have issues with emotional eating, check out my post Emotional eating – How to Cope With It.
3. Exercise in the summer heat and type 2 diabetes
Summer heat can be an awesome excuse to stop exercising: It’s too hot, I’m too tired, I’m already sweating. However, even though summer heat and type 2 diabetes don’t really go hand in hand it is important to keep yourself moving.
It is harder to maintain the healthy habit during the heat but there are ways to do it. Here are some examples:
- swimming – if you are near the beach make use of it and swim. It will work all of your muscles and you’ll be happy you’re doing something for yourself
- take walks in the evening – 30 minutes a day while watching the sunset, what can be more relaxing;
- doing yoga in the early morning or evening – yes it’s hot but I do it on my balcony. And guess what, I don’t care who’s watching! Plus, who knows, I might inspire someone to start exercising. Hello, neighbors!
Summer Heat and Type 2 Diabetes Diet
When it comes to food and eating my diabetes diet, summer has to be my favorite time of the year. So many options. So many colorful fruits and veggies around. I don’t know about you, but during these summer heats, I prefer to have salads and don’t crave too much of comfort food. However, I tend to have a problem with having a bit too much fruit and I crave ice cream, especially since my little one loves it so much. Fortunately, I found ways to deal with that too:
- Frozen fruit – especially sour cherries and berries. I just love this. I nibble on it slowly and it keeps the unhealthy cravings away. But I make sure to plan it ahead.
- Healthy Ice Cream – I love making this one. The only downside is that once you put it out of the freezer if you put it back it gets too sturdy. So I make it in little batches. The recipe is super simple: 1 banana, handful of berries (or mango or whichever fruit you prefer), and a little bit of greek yogurt. Cut the fruit into chunks and freeze it. Put it in the food processor, add the yogurt and mix until smooth. Put it in the freezer to set and enjoy. If you eat the plant-based diet you can use any type of substitute yogurt (I tried it once with almond yogurt and it was awesome). If you want to make a chocolate version, just put raw cacao instead of berries, and in this instance, I prefer it with plant based yogurt.
- Fruit popsicles – these take a bit of time to make, but are so worth it. Make various types of infused water (lemonade, berries, mint etc). Put them in the popsicle molds and freeze. I make various versions but prefer three-taste ones. You have to freeze each third separately, which is a bit time-consuming. But I love it. Plus my kid loves it. Best combo ever!
Would love to know how the summer makes you feel? Do you have issues with the heat as I do? Do you have sudden highs or lows in your blood sugar levels? How do you cool down?
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