Hi sixsigma and Welcome!
There are no hard and fast rules, nor guarantees when it comes to Diabetes complications... seems to vary person to person. It is a serious condition but I think the best we can do is aim for near normal Blood Glucose (BG) levels for as much of the day as we can safely and reasonably manage.
At the same time there is not much to gain by becoming a "slave" to Diabetes - you need to live your life as well
To be frank... you could be a model diabetic and still get run down by a bus!
There are more than a few folks who have taken the "wake up call" of this diagnosis as the motivation to go on to live a much healthier life than if they had not been diagnosed. It may be a life sentence but it is not a death sentence. You may be surprised how much better and more alive you feel once you get your BGs under control. To put that in perspective with what I now know... if there was a "cure" tomorrow I doubt I would change much about the way I eat or live my life these days
For myself I was 12 years without seeing a Doctor prior to diagnosis.. so who knows how many years I had been developing Diabetes and running around with high BGs... nothing I can do about that now except try to aim
for normal BGs -- I don't always hit the bullseye but I do spend most of each day in the normal BG range. Glad to report that I appear to be free of any long-term complications so far.
I started early with insulin treatment; as my Doctor and I both felt it was the best way for me
to get good BG control. I don't see that as an over-reaction... just choosing to use the most appropriate tool
As Shanny mentioned above, there is some evidence that: early use of insulin can help to preserve your own natural secretion of insulin... no matter how good the technology gets, it has a long ways to go to be as good as that which our bodies manage.
I've since learnt that I can achieve good BG control mainly with my diet* and have come down from 130u of insulin a day to just 10u each night.
Do you have an home BG meter yet? Knowing your BG is key to managing Diabetes
*Here is my usual spiel on diet (in this case it simply means "what I eat", as opposed to a drastic short-term weight-loss change)...
Real whole food, is the order of the day... preferably local and in-season, grown/reared on nutrient rich land... grass-fed beef and pastured chickens for example. This means eat whole (unprocessed, unpackaged, unadulterated) food, which includes a natural balance of fat, protein and carbohydrates (as well as vitamins, minerals etc...) ...there really is no need to be afraid of natural fat... it's gotten a bad rap.
Those of us with Diabetes need to pay particular attention to the foods which have the most effect on our Blood Glucose (BG) levels. There are obvious things to watch out for like candy, cola, cakes and sweets (these are high in refined/concentrated carbohydrates)... next in line are the "white" foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, rice, breakfast cereal... but even something assumed to be healthy like orange juice has about as much sugar as a cola... fat-reduced milk can have an higher proportion of lactose (sugar), especially in low-fat products such as yogurts which may have High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) added to replace the fat... and so it goes on. That does not mean you need to feel deprived or hungry to eat this way, not by any means. You may even find you can work in an occasional family cake... for example. The keyword there being "occasional" as it used to be when our Grandparents baked cakes only for Birthdays etc... not everyday (muffins, donuts, pastries) for breakfast.
You may have heard the phrase "eat to your meter" and this deceptively simple message is very wise... test around your food and figure out what works best for YOU.
Learn to read nutritional labels AND ingredient lists. Be aware of hidden "sugars" -- mostly ending with "ose" -- and starches (such as Maltodextrin) which also quickly break down into sugars.
Some ideas for snacks: nuts, cheese, dark chocolate (70% cocoa or higher), pork rinds/scratchings, cold (home-cooked) meats, boiled eggs, peanut butter.
While we are encouraged to eat "so many servings of fruit and veg daily", many of these can spike our BGs so test, test test... for many of us, green leafy vegetables seem to work best... but you may also help reduce/slow the BG spike by mixing foods... for example: instead of eating an apple by itself, try just half the apple in slices with some peanut butter or cheese... or have a few berries with some cream.
I'd suggest that BG control be your primary aim... while minimising the need for insulin which is the major fat storage hormone -- reducing excess fat mass, improving cholesterol/lipids, hypertension etc... all these tend to improve with more normal BGs.
I am not big on setting unrealistic "exercise" goals... flogging yourself at the gym... unless you feel especially motivated to do so. I think you are better off with something sustainable in the long term. There are many health benefits of activity but I'm not convinced that losing weight is a major one. I do believe in building activity into your daily routine (rather than finding excuses for missing the gym)... take the stairs, park further away, get off the bus a stop earlier... go for a walk at lunchtime... take "smoke breaks" at work where you walk around the block instead. Physical activity can help with your BG numbers as it tends to lower Insulin Resistance (IR) , as well as using up glucose but as with food, it is advisable to test and see how it affects you.
A book I'd recommend is "The First Year Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed" by Gretchen Becker
Stick around, read, ask lots of questions!