Lately I’ve been pulling up my socks a bit again with respect to my diabetes control. Things had gotten a little too lax for my liking, so it became time to rein it in once again.
My diabetes control kind of goes in cycles like this – tight, lax, tight, lax, etc. I think that’s pretty common. So it’s still surprising to me when I learn lessons and come to realizations during some of these tightening periods. A good thing, I guess.
Here are some of the newest things I’m learning (and/or revisiting) about myself and my control of this thing.
1. I really hate logging. Really. Hate it. So tedious and time-consuming. Especially when the goal is to get my logs into some format that I can find trends and patterns and areas that need adjustment. That means more than just jotting numbers down – it means tracking, counting, jotting, comparing and problem solving. Yuck. But oh so important.
2. Logging works. As soon as I start doing the above-mentioned tracking, counting, jotting, comparing and problem solving, the areas that need tweaking just seem to jump out at me. Plus, it really forces me to focus on what I’m doing D-wise, instead of just random eating and bolusing. It pulls it all together into something that makes sense (usually).
3. My new favourite “helper” when it comes to logging is the D-Life app for iPhone. It makes logging-on-the-go so SO much easier. But I do have one complaint: no mmol/l. The app is geared at a U.S. market, so it’s in mg/dl with no option to switch the units. While I’m sadly getting used to being overlooked in the Canadian D-market, this was still disappointing to me. I give the D-Life app 1 thumb up and 1 “tsk”. 😉
4. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I like control. So in that respect, logging and tracking and problem solving does make me feel good. It makes me feel like I’m the one running the show, instead of my diabetes.
5. I feel better when I eat naturally. In the last couple of years I’ve eaten varying degrees of low-carb, low-GI and gluten-free diets, but I keep coming back to “natural” as the way for me to feel the best. For me it hasn’t even been a matter of going “organic”…but just reducing the amount of packaged food I’m eating and sticking to more do-it-yourself meals. This is evidenced by my grocery shopping trips which are now approximately 90% around the edges of the store and 10% down the aisles. And I’m trying to treat lows with things like fruit instead of using them as an excuse to have a cookie or something else less healthy.
6. In terms of treating and cheating, it seems that I do best on a day-to-day basis if I simply abstain from the foods that are tempting to me. I’m learning that I’m not very good at the concept of “just a bit”. I can do it, but it’s harder than having none at all. But, on the flipside, I do need to give myself a day here or there to loosen up a bit – not to binge, but to treat myself a bit, knowing that I’ll be okay to go back to eating smart the next day.
7. There are low-carb, (relatively) natural treat-foods. They don’t all require loads of Splenda or a carefully adjusted recipe. I love fruit, but I’ll be the first one to tell you that even my favourite fruit does not replace cheesecake. I love yogurt, but even greek yogurt with vanilla does not replace ice cream. Anything I can (and do) eat on a regular basis is not a treat. But baked apples with cinnamon (although not apple pie) is a treat. Steak (even without a baked-potato-with-everything) is a treat. And for me, buying a fancy, expensive, creamy and delicious cheese (although not cheesecake) is a treat. So I’m trying to find ways to treat myself that don’t mess up my D-control.
8. Sometimes I can lower my bloodsugar, in a predictable and safe way, with exercise instead of insulin. I totally love that.
9. While exercise doesn’t seem to give me any significant bloodsugar drop in the few-hours-after time period, it does appear to have a cumulative effect over a few days. And it doesn’t even have to be hard-core aerobic stuff – even being on my feet all day for days in a row can do it.
10. Everything I’m learning helps. Quickly. My meter average was up in the high 8’s (that’s around 160 for you U.S. folks) two weeks ago, and today it’s 7.2 (about 130, converted). And those results make it really feel worthwhile.
(PS – Most recent A1C = 6.9. Just keeping myself accountable here….)