Starting Small.

I love to drink coffee. But it was never palatable without a good 2 teaspoons of sugar mixed inside. So, I reduced it to one and a half. Then, when I got used to the taste, I reduced it to one. Then half a teaspoon. If you were to put sugar in my coffee today, I’d tell you that I can only taste sugar.

I was feeling exhausted. Far too often. Eventually, I stumbled across an article and realised that I wasn’t eating nearly enough in order to fuel my daily activities. So, I started setting my alarm to wake me half an hour earlier each morning to give me time to scramble two eggs and toast two pieces of bread. I started using my Sunday afternoons to better prepare ahead for weekday lunches. Today, I don’t feel half as exhausted (or deprived) as I once did.

I never used to count carbohydrates. I would just swag my insulin dose, and end up with either crazy highs or intense lows. When I began using an insulin pump, I set an intention with my family that I would weigh my food at dinner time to better count my carbs. That added effort before dinner time has definitely made my insulin dosing more effective.

Managing diabetes does my head in. Like, every single little thing I can think of affects my blood sugar. What I ate, how active I was today, how well I slept last night, where my BG has been sitting overnight, and even what month of the year it is! So, I began making notes. Both on paper, and mentally. Paying closer attention to what was happening with my blood sugars, and learning what I would need to do for next time. Today, I feel far more confident in being able to make those adjustments to keep my blood sugars where I want them to be.

For some time, I’ve been waking up feeling like I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep. It’s been a real struggle to get up and going throughout the morning. So, at the turn of the new year, I decided to prioritise sleep. I would ‘switch off’ an hour before bed, so that I don’t go to sleep while my mind is still buzzing. Quite honestly, it’s been one of the best changes that I’ve made for myself (more on that one, soon).

Today, I feel pretty happy about where I am at with my diabetes. I’m not perfect, and I don’t always manage to do everything I’ve outlined here religiously each day. There are still things I’m working on improving, too.

However when I think about where I am today, it wasn’t the quick overnight fix I was desperately seeking when I started using an insulin pump four years ago that got me here.

It was the sum of small, gradual changes that I’ve made over the past four years that suited my own needs. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but it’s some of my highlights.

Some of those changes have been directly related to the day to day management of my diabetes. Some of those changes have been more around my routine and habits, which I guess better support me in showing up to manage my diabetes each day. There were equally things that I was happy with, or didn’t want to change (carbs and coffee, to name two).

I don’t believe for a second that there’s only one way to manage diabetes. But I know that I spent years thinking about, and feeling overwhelmed by all of the changes and improvements that I wanted to make.

So I guess the point of this post is that if you are thinking about making changes at the start of a new year, start small. Pick one tiny thing that you could do each day that might further your goal. Above all, be patient.

I promise you’ll reap the rewards.

7 Comments

  1. Tony Sangster

    H Frank, Please look at 2 youtube videos: Dr Stephen Phinney – Nutritional ketosis, and Keto-adaption – see what athletes and us more ‘normal’ types can do. Yes, I know he is talking mainly about Type Two diabetics but he does mention Type One Diabetics and the added challenges there.

  2. Pat Keating

    Hi Frank, I also look forward to your blogs. Your spot on. I don’t weigh foods, I just try to eat small and stay away from carbs, not always easy. Each day is a struggle as I’m also going thru Menopause, I have put on so much weight, specially around the stomach. The Endo has said this is normal for Women. Keep up the good work. I will definitely be more mindful as I too get pretty exhausted.
    Regards Pat.

  3. Rick Phillips

    that is exactly how I learned to love coffee. At first I liked the sugar and cream. Then gradually, I learned to love the coffee.

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