Learning a new routine to manage diabetes

When I saw my health provider early in January, I didn’t know how my life would change. It was nothing that she said; in fact, my A1C test came back stable, meaning it was the same as the last check. Great news, right. For non-diabetics, that test indicates the average blood glucose level in your blood for the past three months.

However, for the past couple of years, I felt I have had to eat more than I want, just to keep my blood sugar in a safe range. So, I innocently asked to be referred to a diabetic educator. I wanted to be more than stable, I wanted it to be better.

My visit with the educator was Jan. 23, and that was an eye opener, and a game changer for me. I have had to learn a new routine, even though I am somewhat still missing the old routine, I am forging ahead as best I can, and the amount of insulin I take has been reduced twice.

Last week was a bit of a roller coaster, as I made some bad decisions, which sent my blood sugar levels into highs and lows. Another part of my program is getting aerobic exercise daily, she wants 30 minutes, but to date I am happy with 20, as I work to strengthen my endurance. Plus, I am happy to do this for three to four days a week.

Of course, my favorite place to exercise is Total Fitness in Shawano, which is a 30-minute drive from my house. One morning last week, I was done with errands at 10:30, and even though I had been warned to only exercise within 15 minutes of a meal, I exercised anyway.

As soon as I was finished, I knew my blood sugar had dropped too much. I knew because I was shaky, confused and weak. Good thing I had sugar pills with me, which I chewed quickly, but that was only one carbohydrate, and more was needed. So I went to a restaurant and ate. I still did not feel well the rest of the day. Lessoned learned, no aerobic exercise unless I have just eaten. I should have exercised and then run my errands, simple solution.

There were a few other ups and downs during that week, but so far this week has been going much more smoothly. My life is not smooth however, I have always had a flexible life and schedule.

However, now my schedule must be more rigid, meals and medication at about the same time each day. I am not complaining, just learning new habits, which are not easily changed, but they can be done, when the goal of less insulin, and the possibility of losing some weight is in sight. I am not trying to be a model, just trying to be as healthy as I can and remain independent for as long as I can.

Speaking of habits, many years ago I wrote an ode to habits, it goes something like this: Habits are kind of hard to define. I guess they are quirks found in everyone’s mind. We are creatures of habits and do what we do because we always do them that way, sad but true. “But some habits are good” and this I declare. Like brushing your teeth and combing your hair. Can you imagine just how we’d appear? Without all the right habits to guide us, oh dear! Why, habits are stubborn critters at best, they push you around and won’t let you rest. They do it so sneaky you don’t know they’re at it, by the time you find out it’s too late, you’ve had it. You may think you are number one, but your habits know just who it is that is running the show. Before you know it your life’s in a rut, and it’s an uphill battle to get it unstuck.

So, now I am in that battle to change my routine, to plan out my time schedule, as well as what I will eat, well before I need to eat. I must end the grab and go mentality, and go for healthy for me and my life. Will I miss certain foods? Yes. Can I compensate with others that are better choices, and yet still satisfy my taste buds? Yes to that, also.