a couple of weeks I added a discussion about living in denial, and made a decision to manage my diabetes. I appreciate the response and learned one very important rule about carbs. 58% of protein and 10% of fat convert to carb, and using this rule has made a huge difference in my numbers.
Now the problem.... I'm already tired of counting, weighing, calculating, and journaling. Fortunately my DH sees when I get discouraged and start to wing it, so he will get right in there with me to count, weigh, and calculate.
On my refrigerator I have posted a picture of a foot that has dry gangrene.
This is my reminder to take diabetes seriously.
Does anyone else have strategies they use to make managing diabetes easier? Or are we all in the same boat?
May I suggest a slightly more positive approach?
I found that when I had something to live FOR and that something was clearly threatened by diabetes, I magically started having a 1,000-fold interest in high-quality self-care as a diabetic.
In my case, it was realizing that my absolute LOVE for playing my classical guitar was threatened by nerve damage, circulatory damage and brain impairment from long-term hyperglycemia. The idea of not being able to feel or use my hands from neuropathy, of not being able to read music due to retinopathy, of sustaining damage to my aural nerves, of being impaired in any way that would interfere with my beloved music just...lit a fire under me to do better NOW.
Others mention love for their children or grand-children as great motivators. Still others have a love of dance, of a favorite sport, of doing things outdoors like mountain climbing, surfing or nature photography.
Once you really hook up in your mind a strong link between doing what you love and how that activity or relationship is threatened by diabetes complications, it makes it more real -- and the loss wholly unacceptable to countenance.
Compared to losing the use of my hands at the guitar, counting carbs is nothing, really. Nothing at all.
Hi dusk ~
I remember your last discussion, and my response to it. I think that management is best looked upon as not a chore, something that you must do each day, but rather, a lifestyle that dictates how you live each day.
For example, one of the things that we do each day is to get out of bed and get dressed. It's what we do. It isn't right to go out into public in pajamas, or whatever is worn (or not worn) in bed. We have a routine that fits our life each day. Working in those finger sticks, injections, pump boluses or whatever it takes to manage diabetes, is something that must be incorporated into your lifestyle. there is nothing wrong with that. Yet, there is something so right about it.
There are days when I don't feel like getting dressed and going into public. There are days where I don't want to manage diabetes. Here is the trade-off: You can get aw ay with lounging the whole day at home. Not managing diabetes is a recipe for feeling rotten, DKA, neuropathy, infection, gangrene on the foot and on and on.
Make diabetes management a lifestyle, not a chore. Get help. See a CDE and a nutritionist who can help you with carb counting. I don't cook, and I am stil able to find foods that I like to eat without going overboard on the carb/fat/don't eat that scale.
After three strokes, bybass and heart valve surgery, DKA and a near death experience. I woke up. I hope you will take control far sooner than I did.
For me, I try and find the balance between good management and obsessiveness which can lead to burnout. Some people disagree, I know, but I don't bother counting protein and fat. I have way too much counting to do already and basically it works out with my I:C ratio which might be higher to handle those things.
Other than this, I can't say I have any secrets to keeping motivated; I just put one foot in front of the other and do what I have to do. It seems like you have a strong problem with motivation and easily become discouraged. This to me sounds as if you definitely could benefit from either some professional counseling or from added support in the form of a Type 1 support group where you can be around others who help motivate you.
Good insight Zoe, I do get discouraged easily which is why I'm on this website. I already pay for diabetes management out of pocket so I don't want to pay for a professional counselor, or diabetic educator unless absolutely necessary. I am not out of control with my numbers to the point that I have to have outside help to get them down and even, I just want a little boost now and then. Perhaps my question was not clear. I don't need motivation (I already have that) I was inquiring about what strategies other people use to make managing a little easier day by day.
For example, you said that you don't count fat and protein and that makes your day easier. That's a strategy, and that's what I really was looking for
Hi dusk. You're asking a great question--how do we make diabetes management a regular, ordinary part of our lives, something that we take seriously without becoming exhausted and discouraged?
I'm one of those who has to count 58% of protein and 10% of fat as carbohydrate, particularly in the early part of the day and when I eat a meal that's mostly just protein and fat. I have a spreadsheet that's always open on my desktop computer. There's a page where I plug in my current BG, adjust my insulin sensitivity factor for the time of day and then put in the carbs, protein and fat for whatever I'm planning to eat. Writing all of this here takes longer than it does to do it. Most people eat a fairly narrow range of foods on a regular basis. I've worked out the c/p/f of most of what I eat and listed that on a page in my spreadsheet. I just cut and paste the food name and the data into the calculation page. The sheet automatically calculates how much insulin I need to correct my BG and how much I need to cover my meal. I make quick notes on my log sheet and I'm done.
At first, I hated the amount of time and detail I needed because I felt a lot of anxiety about it. But now, I have a lot of notes on this spreadsheet and it's so, so much easier to work out that I feel investing the time and stress was worth it.
Anxiety is a problem for me, I admit. I've had some traumatic experiences in my life that seem to linger in the background, not far away. But I've made a conscious, deliberate choice not to be traumatized by diabetes. While I have felt at various times that life was frighteningly random and that it was impossible to have any certainty that things would turn out okay, I choose to see being diabetic very differently. I have enormous control over my quality of life, my health and general well-being if I do my best to take care of myself and keep my BG under control. Moreover, I can see clear, objective evidence that what I'm doing is working. I know what I've eaten. I can see how food affected my BG. I can see how my BG has steadily come down over the last while. I know why I'm doing so well.
Diabetes is a progressive disease. I don't have a fool-proof formula for managing it. There are days when everything seems to go haywire. But only occasionally. In time, it settles down and I know what to do to stay well. The strategies I have make all of this much easier for me.
it's good to remember not to get anxious by bad numbers and to see them as a help in continuing to manage
You understood my question perfectly and gave very helpful information.
The weighing is tedious at first, but as you go along you're going to just 'know' what is in certain foods and how you respond to them, particularly as we are creatures of habit and will tend to eat similar or same things often. So these foods will no longer need to be weighed (iie. you will know half a cup = ? or '1 serve' = ?). This will take some time, but it will get easier. There will also be some free foods that don't need to be accurately weighed or measured. This should also help.
Thanks super-sally. very helpful!
Just a thought--- Wouldn't your DH and family be motivation enough? I don't mean to nag on you here, and I apologize in advance if I come on too strong or offend you, but I would think that adopting a diabetic lifestyle would be done for them, as much as it would be for you.
I live alone, and if I don't take care of me, nobody else takes care of me either. I would be so happy if that was not the way it is. How fortunate you are to have someone who cares very much about you by your side. I am always amazed at my married friends. They would rather be with each other more than with anyone else.
I don't have a magic bullet for making diabetes care easier. I just urge you to make it part of your lifestyle; for you and for them.