My main question is: how do you get better? I have been playing the poor me victim card for so long that I truly forgot how to go about getting better. Did anyone have this issue, and then turned it all around? I need to change my lifestyle so that I am more concerned about controlling my bg, and getting my diabetes under control. Can anyone give me some helpful pointers to how they turned their diabetes around?
The trick that has worked for me when I go astray is small chuncks… Making small changes, one at a time Eventually they add up to signicant changes. The little things are a lot easier to do and manage.
Some examples for were writing down meals (what I ate) and post meal bg. Although small, it added up to a big learning experience that has great impact on my management.
Education is most helpful for anything.
Force yourself to read some books on diabetes so you have a better understanding of what can happen.
Another thing is a regular schedule with your Dr to review your numbers and overall health, no more than 3 months without an office visit .This helps me to keep me on track of my health goals. For instance I will never leave the Dr office without scheduling my next appointment 3 months out.
Having said that find out what tests have not been done on you and what should be done; such as thyroid and others.
If your physician seems disinterested find a new one.
I agree completely with S Woodward, take small steps is key for any life style changes, not just diabetes BG control.
You can do it, Keep in touch, we are here to help… take care
I think for me, one of the biggest motivator was actually seeing my numbers, and the power that I had to affect them. So one of the small, baby steps, you can take for now is checking your blood sugars more regularly. You can select, for example, two meals a day that you can test blood sugar before, and two hours afterwards. These can be breakfast and dinner. It will help you see the power that you have in what you eat, and how much your sugars can go up and down… and this will help you make healthier choices.
Yes, often keeping a log is very helpful… as it can help shed light on just how many carbs you can handle in one meal. Many nutritionists or diabetes educators will say that a snack should have 15-30 g of carbs, and a meal 40-60 g of carbs. But that is not very realistic for myself, nor for many other diabetics on this site. I try to consume around 15 g of carbs or less, in a snack (if any at all), and 30 - 35 (or less) g of carbs in a meal (and yes, sometimes, if any at all). Many people will only consume 35 g of carb a day, or less. They have committed to full on, low carb dieting.
Try taking out all major carb foods out of your diet for a few days, and see what that does to your blood sugar. Like for example, instead of having cereal for breakfast, have some scrambled eggs. For dinner, instead of a pasta dish, or a rice dish, perhaps have some (unbreaded) chicken, with salad. Enjoy leafy greens type veggies, and proteins, and dairies (cheeses) and milk. Check your sugars during these days, and see what they do. Slowly, when they become stabilized, you can start adding some extra carbs (a little at a time), and see how much you react, and can handle. Don’t beat yourself up over things that may not work. Simply keep your data in your log, learn from what happens, and make changes. Make a little scientific experiment of sorts. Pay attention closely to the serving size of foods that contain a lot of carbohydrates.
For physical activity, sometimes, it can be a bit more challenging… but often, we will keep doing what is fun, or enjoy the most… so maybe you can go for long walks with friends, or loved ones, or you can do some fun physical activities with the kids. Some activities adults and kids can do is hula hooping or skipping rope. lol Though sometimes, just plain having to chase after a kid is exercise in itself. Or if you have the money, time, and inclination, there’s always Wii Fitness. I haven’t bought it yet, myself, but I ordered a simple walking in place video from Dennise Austin for just $5.98 on eBay. (I can’t wait to get it in the mail!) It’s supposed to be very good for beginners.
But above all else, and this is very, very important: Learn to love and forgive yourself. Do things that care for you emotionally, as well as physically. Read some favorite books, go to a day spa, enjoy some sweet alternatives like cocoa powder, cream (or milk), ice, and truvía, in a blender… Do not forget that you are valuable, and worth fighting for. Your family will be able to love, and enjoy you for years, and years, and years to come.
I should also add, though I have already said a lot… that taking care of my ailing father, and watching him seriously deteriorate and die from complications of Diabetes… is a huge motivator for me. Some people may call it negative motivation, but it made the disease REAL to me. When someone you love cannot walk anymore, has gone blind, has to be dialysed every evening, cannot take care of his own personal hygiene anymore, and has to have a foot amputated… it can wreck havoc in one’s family. My emotional rollercoaster after this experience was extreme. Some days, I was extremely outright angry at my father… for abandoning me. For somehow, not taking better care of himself. But a lot of it was not his fault… he was doing what his doctors were telling him, which was follow an American Diabetes Association diet (a diet high in carbs and fiber, and low in fat), and avoiding getting on meds for as long as he could. Know that the emotional havoc and impact this can cause on your family… will live on… long after you are gone… if you do not care for yourself. The consequences are not evident now, but they are like a snow avalanche… slow in the making, but unstoppable like a train, once they get going with great speed. I miss my father, incredibly… And yes, I do make a personal vow… that I will win this one, for my dad.
I am with everyone here, small steps. I have made the mistake of going 180 and changing drastically to burning out in about a month with the drastic changes. For me it started with testing after every meal and every piece of food that I take in. I bit drastic at first to test that much but then I could tell what will impact my bgs and what will not.
I then formulated a meal plan around testing. I did not completely stop going out to eat. I made better choices when I went out to eat. We are lucky that at this time restaurants have actually taking up the health trend. If I go to a nice restaurant i always go for the grill chicken and veggies. If i go to fast food, I go with the grill chicken skip the fries and get a salad. I will have the occational “bad” food but since I tested so much I know how to correct for it. The bad food is a once a month thing only. I will have a couple of doughnuts in one month but that is it.
I then figure out if its a safe food to eat or not eat. Its ok for a while to play the victim but you asking that question makes me think that you are ready to stop playing that role. So congrats you have completed the first step to a better you. I see your kid on your picture and that could be your motivator to get better you. For me my son is what makes me want to do better. Most type 2s test 3 to 4 times a day. I test about 10. I know drastic but it helps me figure out what food and excercise is doing to my body. Eventually i will cut back a bit but I am on the experiment phase.
Also I am working on dropping calories from what I eat. I used to pour a whole glass of milk and drink it. Now I measure what is going in so I know the amount of carbs and calories I am taking in. Helps to slice off calories. Just an example. We have been conditioned as a society on a portion that we tend to double it every time.
Dont get frustrated it is a lifestyle change and that does not happen over night. Feel free to ask any questions directly if you need guidance. I did not have a site like this when I was first diagnosed and it felt pretty lonely back then not being able to ask anyone question. I had to wait 3 months and I would just have 15 minutes for my questions. At least you have all this people here to ask questions.
WHEN YOU ARE IN A RACE ( AND WITH DIABETES WE ALL ARE) YOU FOCUS ON THE FINISH LINE…NOT FROM WHERE YOU CAME, BUT WHERE YOU ARE HEADED. WHERE DO YOU WANT TO BE… AND BECAUSE YOU POSTED THIS YOU ARE ABOUT TO MAKE THE CHANGES YOU NEED TO MAKE. YOU ARE AT THE STARTING GATE!
wE ALL KNOW IT IS THE FOOD WE EAT, BUT I ONLY LEARNED A FEW YEARS AGO WHAT A BIG PART EXERCISE PLAYS. I FOUND A GYM AND A TRAINER THAT I FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH AND I AM DOING THINGS I NEVER KNEW I COULD…IT IS SLOW BUT STEADY AND I FEEL MORE IN CONTROL THEN I EVER DID BEFORE. FIND SOME EXERCISE OR DANCE CLASS , OR LEARN TO SWIM AT A LOCAL INDOOR POOL. THERE IS SOMETHING THAT YOU MAY LIKE, BUT TRY IT ALL IF YOU ARE NOT SURE. KEEP THE FOCUS. YOU CAN DO IT…BELIEVE IT.
I went four years before I got serious. I did the small-steps which produced small changes; I felt like I was on a swing, half the time up high and the other down low. I then got tired of it all, mind you I gave up a couple times during those four years, but instead of throwing in the towel I decided to get serious and make some big changes to see if I got big results. I inhaled Dr. Bernstein’s books, modified his advice (I eat fruits and veg) by cutting out starches, got to know my bike again (summertime), and tested-tested-tested. I lost 10 lbs in a few weeks and dropped my A1c to 5.8 (lowest ever; typically it was between 6.5 and 7.5). I have tried to maintain that routine but winter seems ti add 5 lbs and 0.5 points on my A1c. The last couple weeks I have done more in the gym and hope to keep it up until biking weather comes again.
As far as getting “better” - I guess the opposite of that is getting “worse”. It takes a lot of work and consistency. Find your groove, get mad at the diesease and don’t beat yourself up. You can do it!
My mother died.
I was depressed about that, then I was depressed about diabetes, as well. I heard someone say that being depressed is addicting. I realized I was addicted to getting sympathy and I was addicted to being lazy. That actually helped me get motivated to take car of myself: To start exercizing and to start working on controlling my blood sugars.
My motivation came when I decided to try to see myself through someone elses eyes. My mother would want the best for me, and would be willing to make any sacrifice to make it easier for me. Why wasn’t I willing to make sacrafices to improve my life by living healthier?
A friend gave me a piece of advice just before mom died that I found quite helpful. She said she found in a book that helped her after her father died. It was a chart, and then it basically said that a few months after a death you will think “I feel so horrible and I feel much worse than I felt a week ago.” But if you look back further, you will say “my worse day now is better than my best day a month ago or three months ago”. I think this can be equated with your diabetes control and your health. You might start getting better control, so you might say “Man, I can’t seem to get my morning BS below 110, and I should be below 90”. But if you look back, you might be able to say “110 isn’t as good as I should be, but my morning sugars are an average of 50 points below what they should be.” And when you fine tune your carb counting, you can also look at positive ways to looked at the honing of that skill.
Diabetes is monotonous, but it is a constant challenge. I think Helen Keller said “Live is a daring adventure, or nothing.”
In my health region, they offered a workshop called “Row Your Own Boat” for anyone with a chronic health condition. My session had people from all walks with all different types of health problems from MS to kidney disease. I found the class very helpful in teaching me how to take care of myself, break the “symptom cycle” and live a healthy life. I admit that at times the program was a bit bit banal. I mean do I really need to be told not to cut my pills in half? But definately worth it.
It certainly changed my attitude towards my disease. The best thing I learned was that I can take action to fix things; I don’t have to just accept them. For example, my D was found in pregnancy so I struggled for almost a year to get a proper diagnosis. I felt that that was something I couldn’t change. But I realized that by keeping a diary of my activities, diet and bgs, getting printed copies of my test results and bringing a written list of questions to my appointment, I could aid in finding a diagnosis faster.
Anyway, it’s based on a program developed at Standford University. These workshops are offered in many parts of the States.
There is also a book, I borrowed mine from the library:
Living a Healthy Life With Chronic Conditions; 3rd Edition: Self-Management of Heart Disease, Arthritis, Stroke, Diabetes, Asthma, Bronchitis, Emphysema & Others. by Kate Lorig RN DrPH, Halsted Holman MD, David Sobel MD, Diana Laurent MPH, Virginia González MPH, and Marian Minor RPT PhD. Bull Publishing, 2006.
Start with one thing at a time. What is the biggest way that you act like a victim? Make a list of your victim stances…and then take them one at a time. For a week, work on one of those things. For example, when I am having an " I don’t want to be a diabetic anymore" phase, I will eat anything and everything that I’m not supposed to be eating, I won’t take my BS’s because it’s too much work…I won’t exercise, because I have too many things to do. So I take the food reason, and make up some meals that I do like that are lo carb and put them in the freezer for a week. No reason not to eat them, I’ve spent the money on them, they are good, I like them. I don’t want to exercise, well, I schedule it into my day, I take my dh or a friend with me, or I might even have a friend meet me at the clinic and just sit and talk. I am very honest about my exercise and tell them that I need their help to get me there this week. With taking my BS’s, I have made a good friend in the clinic who is a CDE, I tell her it’s getting tough to convince myself to do this action, and if she doesn’t mind I will call her every morning and report to her what my AM FBS was…usually it’s a voice mail, but if I don’t call her, she will call me. YIKES. At some point we all play the victim about this, but it’s breaking down the elephant of excuses and reasonings into bite size to be able to make the changes. And if all else fails you, come here, and tell us about it, someone will answer you…for sure, even kick you in the pants if you want.
Hi Diana, When I was first diagnosed in 2007, I had just gone into remission from Graves disease (after 18 months) and now I had to deal with yet another health problem…ugh. I was upset but not surpised because I grew up with parents who both had type 2 since their 30’s. How could I expect any different for myself? I think what helps me most are my 3 month appointments with my nutritionist, which includes a weigh-in and glucometer check. Seeing the numbers where they’re supposed to be (and getting praised for it) really helps me stay focused. I’ve also learned to cook healthier, not just for me but for the whole family. I don’t feel that I’m any different than them when it comes to meals, which gives everything a sense of normalcy for me. Seeing small changes and seeing the “real you” emerge in the process is a real motivator. Think of all the people you can help, (diabetic and non diabetics) when they see what you have accomplished? Maybe you can start a blog of your journey into a healthier you? Just take it a step at a time (my first step was to stop buying sugary cereals and white bread) and think of it as a better life style…not just for you, but for the whole entire family
Right after diagnosis, I was going through a battle of double pneumonia, a lung biopsy and a long course of steroids - over 3 months. That is when my D reared it’s ugly head (when I got diagnosed). I definitely had a pitty party - every day for a couple of weeks, and then realized I was very lucky and greateful. Greatful for the fact that I had an issue (D), that could be treated. I always think every day that it could be so much worse - cancer, etc. That is how I look at my D now, and how I get through every day. Am I mad or angry - of course, but I am also grateful. Taking multiple shots a day frankly sucks, but then I think I could be getting chemo or something - and I realize how lucky I am.
Alisha, I can’t agree more. I have my nutritionist on speed dial so to speak. If nothing else, we go over the great days i have had in the last three months, and the tough days. She’s not just my recipe queen, but my teacher as far as healthy ways to deal with my diabetes and weigh program. And now she is my biggest cheerleader as far as exercise is concerned. i think we have to surround ourselves with people who are supportive and offering a way to be normal. People who don’t need explanation to why we do what we do…for me those people are worth more than gold.
My son is 9 and I wanna dance at his wedding, that’s motivation but to do it, small steps am sure you have all the information, start with a small step and reward yourself along the way before you know it you will be back on that horse.
Thank you all to your helpful posts!! The nice this is that I can pick and choose what to do. I have realized how unhealthy I am and I am taking action now. I am heavier than ever and I feel down right horrible. My doctor said I need to lose about 50 pounds to be health enough to properly manage my diabetes. The thing is…I don’t want to be healthy enough to manage my diabetes. I want to be healthy enough to run around with my kid and not be out of breath. I want to be healthy enough to to have another baby. I want to be healthy enough that I can run around with my grandkids. I want to be healthy enough to sit on my front porch when I am 80 years old and see the sunset clearly and I want to be healthy enough to do everything I have ever wanted to do. And I started that tonight! So thank you for all your support! Remember to check in on me once in a while. My last A1C was 9.3. My next doctors appt is in 4 or 5 weeks. Let’s hope my A1C is down at least 2 pts.
That’s the spirit, Diana! Doctors don’t often set the bar terribly high & have a “good enough” attitude towards us. Nothing more rewarding than proving docs wrong.
You can do all this & more.
Keep us posted on your progress. There are good days & bad days for us all, but keep long term goals in sight is the key.
i totally agree. i did the same. one goal, one task at a time. it was very overwhelming for me at the beginning. now i can multitask but i still get overwhelmed sometimes, especially when i do “things” right and yet my levels go up. but that is how diabetes is.
My personal “pointer” is pretty simple… I go back to the premise of “What motivates me to do so”…which are 3 things:
- My love for life and the wonderful things it can offer.
- My love for my family and the precious feeling of knowing they love and care back
- Determination…that I can be better in every way possible as long as I strive.