Recently I have been thinking a lot about diabetes management and what was holding me back from fixing my stint of night time hypos / hypers. I came to the conclusion that I was overwhelmed with information which lead to multiple possible scenarios as to why my blood sugar might be out of range. This made things complicated when it really was as simple as adjusting a basal rate that was either too high or too low. Next, I realised that I was fearful of nighttime lows which prevented me from taking extra insulin when I needed it. In addition to the vast amount of information and the fear of lows, I also believe that personal belief systems play a significant role in the way diabetes is managed. It all interlinks. I’m definitely not perfect, but I am now in a place of better control since fixing my night time basal and have recognized where I went wrong.
Too Much Information
Diabetes management is very similar to the way weight loss / dieting is looked at. There is an abundance of misinformation out there and it costs a ridiculous amount of time to keep up with it. It might be suggested “hey, if you cut out your carbs you won’t have to take insulin” or “If you eat carbs, but only before 7pm you will be fine” – things like that. I know I am guilty of sharing my dieting habits on this blog, but my aim is to educate rather than to push you to go in the same direction.
The fact of the matter is, even if you did try each and every suggestion, are you allowing enough time for the change to take place? Do you psychologically enjoy this change? If not, then sooner or later you will be back to square one. Take inspiration from what other people suggest, but remember that their body is different to yours so you have to look at and analyze your own results and make adjustments and tweaks from there.
Is fear holding you back? Are you scared to experiment because of lows or highs? It’s understandable. Sometimes fears become so strong that they become imbedded in your brain and prevent you from doing things like exercise or other physical activities. To break this fear you must begin to feed your brain with things / people that show how that fear is irrelevant.
There was a brief time where I began my workouts with a blood sugar of at least 10mmols because I was fearing lows – I felt weak when I was low. However, an out of range number at the other end of the scale does not allow me to perform at an optimal level either which is why I fixed it fairly quickly. I recognized that I was scared and focused on working out the right level of insulin and timing instead. I also looked at all the workouts I had managed to achieve without lows and this helped me get back on track.
You must believe that you have the ability to take control of this disease. If you tell yourself “it’s too hard, I can’t do it”, guess what, you won’t be able to do it. Know that there are some factors that you can control which will definitively contribute to the management of this disease. You have full control over your mind.
For instance, I posted a video on YouTube a while back about something diabetes and exercises related and someone (another diabetic) commented, point blank, and told me it was impossible to exercises with diabetes. That was his belief. However, I prove this statement wrong on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day. Like I have said before, I don’t believe diabetes is a limitation on my body and I will always make sure I work harder than anyone in the room to prove this point.
Don’t believe anyone if they tell you that you can’t do something, including yourself.
At the end of the day, this is your body and you know it best. One doctor might recommend a high fat low carb diet, another might recommend something else. The truth is you have to think about adherence and something you can see yourself doing a year down the line. Change takes time so if you are struggling with one of the above, be patient, be honest, and don’t copy anyone else, only use them for inspiration and be yourself.