Keep calm and manage yourself.

The length of this posting is a bit longer than usual. Just wanted to make sure you were prepared!

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There is quite a bit of angst in the blogs I have read about T1D. All of it is justified, but I think sometimes it can become a store house for fear. There is, in my opinion, a very fine line between education and fear. I think most diabetics struggle with the fears of the unkown, if you didn’t fear the unkown you would not be human. There are bad and terrible things that happen to people everyday, just look in the news, it is not surprising, to me, that bad things happen to T1D’s young and old, although it is no less tragic. I have learned to try to tune out the noise of fear so I can concentrate on the management of my disease.

First, I have to remain calm so I respond to what is going on, or not going on, within my body. If I am fearful, I will react and do something rash that will hurt me in the long run. It took several years for me to be able to find the right tools that work best for me in my management of this disease. I started with injections and two slower acting insulins, Humulin and Novolin, I had to inject myself and wait 30 minutes before I could eat. It was a bit frustrating for my family because I dictated when we could or could not eat. And since I was on a schedule for insulin injections, I had to eat at nearly the same time each day.  Then came another tool, faster acting insulin, Humalog and Novalog. It took a bit to adjust because I had trained myself to wait 30 minutes before I could eat, now I could eat at the same time of my injections. Then another tool presented itself, an insulin pump, and for me it was the best fit because I now had the stability of continuous flow of insulin like my body used to do and I had greater flexibility in when I could eat and what I could eat.

However, these tools still did not and have not corrected the basic structure of my life, what I put in my mouth to eat. The most difficult thing for me was to restructure how I ate. All the wonderful tools I had in my possession did little to manage my disease. I had to look at food differently. The hardest part of eating anything is knowing what is in it and how it potentially reacts to your system. Processed foods are high in fat and sodium and are difficult on my blood sugars. Fried foods, packaged foods, canned foods…etc all were easy to prepare and convenient for my life schedule but were rough on my blood sugars and  the containment of them. Thus raising my fear and stress, which further raised my blood sugars, which wrecked my mind and emotions. Through trial and adjustments I discovered my body works best when I feed it smaller portions more frequently. A typical day is breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack, and dinner. Breakfast and dinner are my largest meals for obvious reasons. I also wanted and still want to be aware of my weight management, so I use a calorie counter app for my phone and keep track of my calories. I try to stay in the 2000-2100 daily calorie range to maintain my weight and even lose a few. I know this sounds like a real pain to do daily, it can be. But I feel this is necessary for the stability of my blood sugars and more importantly the stability of my emotions and mental health, which I think is more important for me. I mean, anyone can manage blood sugars, but the real test is am I able to manage blood sugars and be happy, healthy, and calm?

I do not believe any one thing will be appropriate for all, but in all the blogs I read about T1D’s there is little mention about alternative eating. I read about MacDonalds, Burger King and the like, which everyone should enjoy once in a while but these high fat, high carb meals might be what destroys management of this disease and may be an indirect cause to the fear and emotional upheaval that comes with diabetes (or diabetus depending on where you live!! ;)).

I love to eat. I love greasy, fatty, high carb meals! My mouth waters as I write about this now, but I have to do what is best for me in the long run. If I want a pizza, I have to use flatouts by flatout bread instead of pizza crust…is it the same? Absolutely not, but it is easy on my blood sugars. If I want spaghetti, I use spaghetti squash, is it the same? Nope. If I want ice cream, I have to use alternatives that are not like the original. Occasionally, I will have the real stuff, like today, I wanted a cream cheese and apple stuffed Kolachy roll, so I got one….It. was. glorious.  I know I will pay a price for the sugar and carb rush, somedays are worth it…but it has to be once in a while, not once a day.

About the picture of the bars. These are some of the protein bars I have found work really well for sustained hunger management and blood sugar control. They taste good, not like chaulk, have decent consistencies,  and I enjoy them. Check them out at Questnutrition.com. Keep fighting the good fight fellow warriors!

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