Do you ever find that what you thought you knew was wrong, or at the very least, not entirely right? Well it happened to me in 2012 about Diabetes. And, a few things that I knew were re-enforced as being correct. My Little List:
It’s my Diabetes and I am alone. Well, that gets a 50/50 mark. It is my Diabetes – it doesn’t belong to anyone else and it is my responsibility to control it. Why? Well, because while you may have Diabetes, how your body reacts to food, meds and the insulin it produces is different than my body reacts. That’s why there are guidelines for treating Diabetes, and not completely hard and fast rules. And, while it is my Diabetes, I am not alone in working to manage and control it. There are just about 18,000,000 other Americans with diagnosed with the disease. Clearly, I am not alone – we are just not connected well…but that is going to change.
Prescription meds can effect glucose readings. This one surprised me – a lot. I had no idea that the drugs prescribed to me by a doctor, or a shot given to me, could raise my glucose levels. Make sure you speak to your doctor or pharmacist whenever you get a prescription to find out if it effects glucose levels. Take the meds; just know how they might effect your readings. A note – there is a regular reader who takes a birth control pill and she has found that it effects her glucose readings. Lesson: evaluate every med you take.
Weight does matter. True. True. True. I have found that as I get closer to my ‘normal’ BMI range my body just works better. I feel healthier. In fact, I have enjoyed far better overall health during the last 18 months – after losing a lot of weight and controlling my glucose. Not only do I have better health, I have found that I can take a bit lower dosage of meds to maintain glucose control. Even a few pounds matter – as few as five pounds! So, if you are working on control – losing weight has to be at the top of your list. I still have a little way to go…but the goal is in sight.
I can have fruit pie. WRONG. I cannot have fruit pie. I don’t think I have ever met a fruit pie I didn’t like. Apple. Berry. Cherry. Peach. Apricot. You name it…I loved them. But between the buttery crust (note the term buttery) and the sugar laden filling, I cannot eat even a bite without it showing up in my glucose reading. So, I stay away from them 363 days a year. On those other two days I have two bites each day…just two ‘nice’ bites. And, I can still see them in my glucose readings!
I want that bread, pie, pasta, etc…so I will just take another pill…or inject a bit more insulin. Wrong. Well, it does kind of work, but you become even more dependent on drugs to control your diabetes. I know what you are thinking…”So, I take more drugs. I get to eat whatever I want.” But, you may not be controlling your Diabetes in a healthy fashion; you might not lose the weight you might need to lose. And…this is the biggie…you might still get some of the complications of Diabetes. I have found that I just need to stay away from foods that I know add to my glucose reading. Yes, it takes discipline, especially during this time of the year. And, it is not easy – I won’t try and tell you it is. But, the rewards are huge; I can’t even begin to describe the physical and mental rewards that come from controlling Diabetes.
Enough is enough. Big, big learning for me was that the stomach talks to the brain very s-l-o-w-l-y. Do you know that ‘full’ feeling you get and then stop eating? And, then you wait about 10 minutes and you feel even more full? That’s because the stomach is just getting around to telling your brain that you are full. Heck, you were full ten minutes before you stopped eating. I have found that the time to stop eating is when I am no longer hungry; that I have had enough food at that point and if I just wait 10 minutes, I will feel full. Well, it works most of the time, anyway. It’s also a huge help in losing weight.
Consistent exercise is important. Just 30 minutes a day, five days a week. That’s all you need to do. And, it does not have to be ‘hard’ exercise. Just get out and walk, or do some housework, or clean out the garage. Yeah, they count toward your 30 minutes. But, you have to be consistent. When I exercise consistently I can drop my readings by about 15 to 20 points – and that is a big deal when you are working to control Diabetes – and YOU can control it…really.
Take your meds. This is one of the Big Three. If you have read this blog before you know them: Diet, Exercise and Meds. In the beginning I found it difficult to remember to take my meds on time, or every time. I’d forget if I took them, or not. And, I did not want to take extra meds…so I wouldn’t take them if I was in doubt. Then I bought two pill boxed with little compartments for each day of the week. I use one for the morning and one for the evening. Since I have started using them, I have not missed a dose. It took all of the guess work out of it and they act as a reminder. Some pharmacies actually give them away, but I spent $1.00 on each one. Cheap insurance.
These were some of my lessons and reinforced learnings from the past year. There were more. This is probably enough for now. I just hope you can be smarter than I was and learn from some of the mistakes I have made…and I have made them.
I want to wish each of you a Happy New Year. May this be the year you control Diabetes and reap the benefits.
As always, thank you for reading.