I have been asked several times over the last few years of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, what good tips or advice can I give to staying very well controlled. I’m going to give you what, in my opinion, have been the biggest changes in learning to live WELL with Diabetes. (This really applies to all types of diabetes, but be sure to keep a close eye on your BGs when you are starting any new food or exercise routine and keep in contact with your Doctor! I’ve had to lower my insulin dosages a few times when I’ve started something new.)
1. READ THIS BOOK!!!!
Dr. Bernstein’s The Diabetes Solution
Seriously. This book changed my life, my understanding (or lack of understanding) of Diabetes, and how to not be controlled by this awful disease!
2. Keep a Food Log!!
I recommend this for a few reasons. 1 – its easy to not realize how much sugar you are actually eating in a day, because it is hidden in so many foods. 2 – There is no way to get control over something, if you are not well informed about what you are working with and what tools you have. And 3 (most importantly!) – Different people react differently to different foods. I have learned that under no circumstances can I eat cereal and maintain my sugars throughout the day. If I have a bowl of cereal (even the super healthy, organic, gluten-free kind) my sugars will be OUT OF CONTROL all day, but I can eat a slice of pie and not have the same issue. It’s weird, bodies are weird, but again – if you know what you react badly to – you know what to avoid! It’s all about arming yourself with information.
3. Read Labels!
This coincides with the above. For the first 3 years of my diagnosis I carried around the CalorieKing Calorie, Fat and Carbohydrate Counter book. It was small enough to fit into my purse without too much trouble, and I preferred to write out my food log (and they didn’t have apps for that yet) so, I was very easily able to count my carbs. Nowadays, I use the MyFitnessPal app and I love it, but I still have my CalorieKing book that I can reference to if I need it.
4. Be Active!
This can be as simple as a 30 minute walk, or making sure you get your steps in. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, but, making sure you are active every single day makes a world of difference with those sugar numbers! I really like the Beachbody products, because it’s sometimes WAY too cold to be outside walking, and the variety is nice. However, you really can do anything and variety is the best way to continue with activity, as you don’t have the option to get bored of one thing.
5. Another Book!
This one is a fairly new find for me and I love it! I have fallen off the wagon a few times, but as Sarah says, don’t beat yourself up, just hop back on up! So, that’s what I’m doing. This has made a huge difference with my sugars and it has gone hand in hand with the scientific evidence that Dr. Bernstein provides in his book as well. I highly recommend it and she has a whole series and a blog that she posts recipes on!
I Quit Sugar; Your Complete 8 Week Detox Program and Cookbook
Her other books include:
I Quit Sugar For Life
I Quit Sugar Cookbook
I Quit Sugar Slow Cooker Cookbook
I Quit Sugar Kid’s Cookbook
And for a bonus:
6. Check Your Blood Sugar Religiously!
I have had a problem in the past with one Doctor not wanting to give me enough strips to check myself, which was odd, but most of the time my Doctors have encouraged more frequent testing. I’m up to around 8 times a day; Morning, Night, Before Food, 1-2 Hours After Food, and if I feel funny then I will check. I (unorthodoxly – not a word, but I’m using it anyway) will correct my BGs if I’m 150 or higher. Most don’t recommend a correction until you reach 180, I say 150. The more you check your sugar, the more control you will have, period. If you are not on insulin and your BGs are high, you can drink water and/or go for a walk to help bring it down.
So, there you have it. These are the things I do to keep my A1C under 6.5, My current mission is to get it below 6. I’ll let you know in January, when they do labs, how that’s going for me. It takes maintenance, but one thing I’ve learned is if you put in a little work now you will feel MUCH better going forward, you will avoid all the Diabetic side effects, and have a ton more energy!! Living with Diabetes doesn’t have to be a scary thing and it doesn’t have to be a life sentence! You can live a long, abundant, healthy life with Diabetes. You may even be healthier than your non-diabetic friends because of all the self awareness you develop! 🙂
What was your most recent A1C reading? What great Diabetic tips to you have? I’d love to hear about them! Comment below, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!
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