Blood Sugar Control Best Practice: My Top 5 Do’s and Don’ts

It's the end of the year and many people are about to start their annual new year resolutions list. I thought it would be a great time to compile some of my top tips to help keep our blood sugar management in check. 

1. Do be prepared. Always being prepared isn’t just for Boy Scouts. Having your supplies readily available to you makes staying on top of your numbers less daunting. I’ve got an awesome collection of fanny packs loaded with strips, tips, and honey packs ready for when I’m out and about. I even keep an extra meter in my shaving kit just in case I fry my main meter in the sun on a beach in Cuba …yup it happened!

Don’t wing it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been out for dinner only to realize that I only have 2u’s left in my insulin pen. This is how we get into trouble. Forgetting insulin, dead dexcoms, pod changes, etc. You get it. Every day counts living with T1D and we need to make sure that we put our numbers first and stay prepared.

2. Do keep all of your medical appointments. Endo, dentist, and eye exams are all super important to ensure that everything is working in tip-top shape. If you’re not happy or comfortable with one of your care practitioners don’t be afraid to change them. When I finally found an Endo that I enjoyed going to, I stopped missing my appointments. ;-)

Don’t assume that just because you don’t notice any complications that there are not things going on. Catching them early is the best way to ensure a long and healthy life living with T1D.

3. Do be mindful. I always say that “living with T1D is like playing the game of life on EXPERT MODE”. It takes work. But, like anything, the more that you practice the more that it becomes second nature. I know that It can be overwhelming some days and that’s why I teach my clients to use “micro-goals”. I like to break my day down into 2-hour blocks. It’s easier to achieve larger goals by just focusing on two hours at a time.

Don’t get “cocky”. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had back-to-back days of excellent control followed by a day of a nightmare roller coaster of extreme highs or lows. I got cocky. Management of T1D is always going to require your full attention and there will always be dreaded “surprises”- even if you’ve done all of the right things. “Stay vigilant”, as they say!

4. Do respect your insulin. What most non-T1Ds don’t know is that we are packing multiple lethal doses on us at all times. Take the time to count your carbs, learn how to bolus for fats, and ensure that your basal rate is working for you not against you. Insulin is a fantastic tool to be in control of. Understanding how to use it properly not only controls blood sugar, but it can get you in the best shape of your life!

Don’t fear your insulin. “If we need it, we need it” is something that I say multiple times a month when working with clients. Just because a certain dose of basal or bolus has worked in the past, doesn’t mean that will always be the case. There are so many factors that contribute to the amount of insulin we need. What we eat, our weight, our total number of calories per day, stress, and hormones - just to name a few. Don’t be apprehensive to adjust your insulin if you’re not seeing your target blood sugar numbers and be sure to consult with your primary diabetes care practitioner before doing so if you are unsure or are uncomfortable with making changes.

Ps. Insulin doesn’t make you fat. Insulin is responsible for converting calories into energy. If you consume more calories (energy) than your body requires then that energy will be stored on your body for future use – this is fat.

 5. Do work on controlling your nutrition. If you can control what you eat you can control every aspect of your T1D care. Sugar addiction, emotional eating, secret eating habits, and infrequent/binge eating are all very real conditions that have a massive impact on our blood sugar control. The good news is that change is very possible. Let me know if you need any help or would like to chat more about your nutrition. I’m always here if you need me!

Don’t follow the “anything in moderation” philosophy. This is a dangerous and dated way of thinking that keeps people in what I call “The Cycle of Suffering”, uncontrolled nutrition, unstable blood sugar, excess weight gain, diabetes burnout, and depression. And while I do feel wholeheartedly that pizza plays a critical role in our lives, I also truly believe in being in control of my nutrition and earning those special meals. For more info on “earned meals” check out my 21-Day Transformation Program.

Questions about anything I’ve raised here? Reach out anytime! 

Here's to your success,

Shawn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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