Share your "hacks"

I thought it might be useful if people wanted to share some “hacks” that have improved their diabetes control recently.
First, a quick list of mine, then more detail underneath for people who are interested. (My apologies for the excessive length of this post.)
I hope others will contribute what works for them.

  1. Using steel infusion sets and pushing them into flesh that has been pinched hard.
  2. No morning bowl of cereal.
  3. Looking at Dexcom’s Clarity on my phone most nights.
  4. Starting my Dexcom G6 sessions from my pump.
  5. Using my arm for my Dexcom sensor and keeping it on the same side of my body as my pump.
  6. Watching the drop rather then correcting too soon.

I few provisos. These aren’t original ideas. People have posted and talked about them on different places on this site but I thought I’d bring my list together and hopefully others might share theirs. Also, these things have worked for me. No idea how well they’ll work for others. Finally, I’m hardly an exemplar of awesome blood sugar control, but things are better than they used to be partly, I think, because of these hacks.

The explanations:

  1. Using steel infusion sets and pushing them into flesh that has been pinched hard.
    Getting consistent absorption from pump infusion sites has always been hard for me. Switching to steel, and, more recently, really pushing them into flesh that I’ve pinched up has made them more consistent. I used to sort of “tap” the steel sets in and that didn’t always work consistently.

  2. No morning bowl of cereal.
    Maybe this would be a bigger deal to other people, but, to me, it wasn’t. I didn’t particularly like cereal, but it seemed like an easy breakfast and I went with low-sugar or no sugar cereals. Then my doctor told me that the grains in cereals like Cheerios are so ground up that they are absorbed pretty much like sugar. I still eat lots of carbs from time to time but starting the day with a burst of sugar absorption really didn’t work for me.

  3. Looking at Dexcom’s Clarity most nights.
    I’m not big on analyzing trends and adjusting basal and so forth (though I think it would be better for me if I were). And I don’t think it’s good to look at data that just makes one feel hopeless. But, Clarity’s “Goals” feature with Time in Range, is a fairly reachable mark for me and I find it motivating to hit it as often as I can. Plus, it does sometimes alert me to trends (i.e. high blood sugars in the later evening) that can point me towards taking action. I look at Clarity on my phone and it only takes me a minute or two so that’s more doable for me than generating a bunch of reports on my computer. Obviously, kudos to all who really put in the time and crunch the numbers.

  4. Starting my Dexcom G6 sessions from my (Tandem) pump.
    Not sure if this really counts as a hack…but, I’m kind of amazed that when I started my sessions from my iPhone by taking a photo, it switched to a “manual” (calibration-required) session more than half the time. Starting from the pump seems to get rid of that. (I just made the change so I don’t have enough sessions to be certain.) I don’t actually know whether it’s the photo part or the starting from the phone part that messes things up. I think Dexcom should alter their phone app or put out some kind of notice about this problem.

  5. Using my arm for my Dexcom sensor and keeping it on the same side of my body as my pump.
    It was hard having the abdomen “real estate” for both a pump and a sensor and for a while my Tandem pump was losing the signal all the time. When they’re on the same side of my body the communication is WAY better.
    Putting the sensor on my arm, does sometimes create compression lows if I sleep on the same side of my body as the sensor. If anyone has a “hack” for compression lows, I’d love to hear it.

  6. Watching the drop rather then correcting too soon.
    This one is a work-in-progress since I’m pretty anxious about low blood sugars. But, I’ve been trying to let my blood sugar go down, sometimes rapidly, and waiting to see if it will level off on its own. Previously, I adhered to the (incorrect for BGs) “an object in motion tends to stay in motion” theory of blood sugar drops and would take action to blunt a rapid change. So, even if I was at 150 and I had double down arrows, my mindset was that I had better DO something before I was at 60. I still would take some action at that level if I’m doing vigorous aerobic exercise, but if I’m just say, walking briskly, I try to wait and see if those double down arrows start to level off on their own. Having Control-IQ helps me psychologically and possibly actually with this wait and see approach. This is my last one because it’s more aspirational than acheived and maybe it’s a bigger change than just a “hack”…

On that note, I don’t have a strict definition of what constitutes a “hack”, but I guess I’m thinking relatively minor changes rather than major lifestyle changes. For example, I’m pretty sure my blood sugar control would be a whole lot better if I ate a low-carb diet and maybe one day I will say goodbye to sushi, pizza and pasta, but, for me, that would be a major change and way more than a “hack.” (If anyone has the hack for bolusing for pizza, I want to know!)


A collection of relatively minor changes can combine and become something major and powerful. Don’t give up this campaign, it’s never complete.

I salute your persistent efforts to make things better for you at the margins. I admire this tactic since, by it’s very nature, it does not require you give up anything that might upset.

On the other hand, some of life’s most satisfying changes can require a little more flexibility of your mindset.

I’ve made many changes to lifestyle routines that some might consider major. In fact, for some of them, I considered them major at the time. With a little bit of persistence and faith, I’ve made almost all of them stick.

Interestingly, at the time I made these major changes, they loomed large in my perspective. “How could I ever live without X?” Once made, and when I started to enjoy the metabolic benefits, these changes shrunk in my view and often made me wonder, why was I so hesitant to make this change?

Some of these “major changes,” I considered for years before pulling the trigger and I did suffer the cumulative effect of higher than normal and volatile blood glucose.

I’m sorry to admit that the biggest thing that pushed me over the line to making a commitment to lifestyle changes was the cold, hard reality of a diabetes complication diagnosis. Somehow, our attachment to our favorite food pales in comparison when we’re faced with an imminent and failing digestive system, a threat to our eyesight, or the possibility of losing a foot.

A favorite food is an award that you choose to give to that food. It is arbitrary, not absolute. Just as you have elevated some food or dish to “favorite,” it’s well within your power to dethrone that food and maybe even replace it with something better and much healthier.

Perhaps, instead of a hack to find the magic insulin dosing formula for pizza, you might put your mind to finding a pizza recipe that doesn’t require an insulin dosing “high-wire” act to satisfy this self-made craving. Pizza is not my thing but I’ve seen pizza recipes that substitute cauliflower or cheese for the crust.

I apologize that I didn’t proceed in your intended direction for this thread. I’ve often found that unexpected conversational pivots can uncover interesting and invaluable ideas.


I don’t know if it’s a hack, but on your #6: one thing I noticed about exercise-induced lows is that they tend to bounce back, so unless I’m having a really severe one I try to hold off trying to treat them until that happens. (Typing this, I realize that the reason I didn’t realize this back in the day when I was on MDI is because: no CGM!)


I definitely take your point about how, before we make a change, we focus on the negatives, but, afterwards, we see more of the upside. Many years ago I was reluctant to switch from MDI to a pump. I couldn’t imagine having something leashed to my body ALL THE TIME. That aspect of having a pump is still a pain, but, now that I’ve experienced all the upsides, I think more about the positives when I think about having a pump.


None of us like change, but when we choose the status quo, the world defies us and just changes around us!

When we make a good but difficult choice the negatives do seem to shrink while the positives grow as time goes by.

I wish my younger self fully understood this.


Here’s a simple hack that most of us already know but not all of us use.

Test and identify an appropriate pre-bolus time and use it for every meal!


Here’s a related hack.
I bolts 20 min before a meal generally but if I’m walking to lunch about a half mile, that changes to 10 min.

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Useful advice. I had problem with Dexcom making me enter calibrations once. Called and the tech said not to take pic. Manually enter the code. So far has worked. But prior only happened that one time.

Not really a hack but something useful that I discovered that helped with bleeding before sensor insertion. I take an ice pack and let my skin get cold. Then I insert the sensor. I used to get bleeders about every time. Now only once in a while.