Everywhere you look, there seems to be a great tasting high carb meal, dessert, or snack staring back at you. While away at college last fall, I found a t-shirt picturing a cupcake above a skull and crossbones. For me, that image really sums up how we need to deal with being diabetic while being constantly tempted by sugary treats.
The shirt is a pretty cool reminder to stay strong and fight back against all those tempting but unhealthy foods, but I can’t wear it every day. So I wrote down ten objectives on a sheet of paper that I keep on my desk to remind me to stay strong, diligent, and disciplined. I didn’t choose this disease, but I can choose to control it.
1. Keep Your A1C at Non-diabetic Levels
You can never emphasize this objective enough. That’s why it is first on my list. Try to lower your A1C to non-diabetic levels. It is critical to your health, and personally, I think it should always be your number one goal.
2. Check Your Blood Sugar Levels Often
It is important to be disciplined in monitoring your blood sugar levels. If you are relying on how you feel instead of what a blood sugar meter tells you, you are making a big mistake. To stay healthy, you need to test your blood often.
3. Know Your Carb Count
Remember that being diabetic doesn’t mean you can’t ever eat anything sweet. It just means you need to eat in moderation and know what you’re putting in your body at all times. The basic principles we learn when we’re first diagnosed are just as critical years down the road.
4. Use Insulin Before You Eat
Some people will think this objective is so simple that it doesn’t need be mentioned, but I disagree. Always give yourself insulin before you eat, not after, and not during the meal: ALWAYS before. I find myself getting lazy sometimes or telling myself that I’ll eat and then decide to bolus or give myself a shot after I eat–that is not good.
5. Look For New Healthy Foods
Make it a point to find new foods to add to your base of healthy low carb choices. Finding a food that you can eat in large portions that will curb your appetite and not spike your blood sugar levels is a major plus. Mine happens to be peanut butter.
6. Follow a Routine
I always emphasize the importance of a routine. Once you have found what works for you when it comes to food and the times to eat, make sure to stick with it. Being random is never a good idea.
7. Plan Ahead
To me, planning ahead determines how well your day will go. Planning ahead will give you an idea of how your blood glucose should be running and how much insulin you need to adjust.
8. Exercise Often
I know we’ve all heard this before, but it still definitely deserves to be on the list. A good way to lower blood sugar is exercise. Make it a point every day to at least do some form of exercise. It is a proven fact: If you don’t use it, you will lose it.
9. Take Control Now
Take charge of your diabetes now. Every day that you wait is a day that you hurt your body. The way you treat yourself now will have huge payoffs or consequences later on in life. There is no reversing the damage once it has been done.
10. Attitude is Everything
I can’t make my disease go away, but the great news is that I can control it. I just need to relax, have some fun, stay positive, and follow the other nine steps. Attitude is a choice, and so is control.