We’ve discussed the importance of self-discipline and a paradigm shift for diabetics in Diabetes, self-discipline, and a paradigm shift Part 1.
Remember, we want a paradigm shift because all of the effort in the world won’t help your diabetes management if you are following and believing in the wrong “road map”.
Now how can we achieve a paradigm shift, or “aha! moment” as Oprah has popularized it?
First, by changing the way we think about diabetes.
Start by slowly but, consistently eliminating all negative inward and outward talk about diabetes. There is no need to focus on eliminating the self talk however, because you will only continue to do it.
Instead, for about 10 days focus on positive, empowering self talk regarding your diabetes and yourself in general. Doing this will naturally eliminate negative self talk by replacing those negative words with positive ones. After 10 days you are closer to making this a habit and it should be easier to continue.
At the same time, blood sugars must be improved. This is crucial because high blood sugar doesn’t support the process of achieving a paradigm shift. High blood sugar makes us feel sick and wears out our good moods. Keeping a good mood is important if we want to eliminate negative self talk.
This is literally true on a scientific level. If you go on too long feeling down and depressed from high blood sugars and bad diabetes control, your brain will struggle to handle day to day life in a positive, healthy way-thus not allowing you to maintain good habits easily.
It is true that diabetes is extremely serious and difficult to live with. We need to quit thinking about that fact however, if we are to conquer diabetes control. Every now and then you may need a pity party. Perfectly understandable. But, I warn thee, don’t stay at that party so long you end up wasted. I’ve done this before and it didn’t do me ANY good.
Secondly, and quite importantly, you need the right information about how to take care of your diabetes.
If your A1c is not in the right range or if you have too many swinging glucose numbers, go to your doctor and make it clear to him or her you need help to get things sorted.
Be honest with your doctor about what your weaknesses are. Perhaps you can’t say no to carbs or you simply don’t know what to eat or you have a hectic schedule and forget to check your blood sugar enough or you don’t think your basal is right because your blood sugar goes low in the middle of the night. The point is, your doctor cannot help you without a lot of information-honest information.
Oh and if you don’t feel support from your doctor get a new one.
I highly recommend Dr. Bernstein’s book: Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution. He actually has diabetes type 1 and is in excellent health after many decades with the disease. I took a lot of his advice and I am much healthier for it.
Don’t get lost in technology.
I think it is great when diabetics stay on top of diabetes technology news. There are so many promising advancements. However, if you are using the niftiest meter, pump, and glucose monitoring system and don’t have good control try to honestly assess why this is. Diabetes care is often complicated and yet, I found that instead of eating pasta and doing a square wave bolus I had better luck just eating a steak and green beans (low carb meal) and giving 1 unit of insulin.
Sometimes less is more. Stay on top of whatever you like but, keep the important elements about diabetes as uncomplicated as possible.
When I switched from the pump to syringes again after 7 years with the pump I had my own little paradigm shift when I realized I didn’t have to drive myself crazy with all of those features and buttons and supplies. I eat really good tasting, fresh, low carb food and give an insulin shot here and there. And that’s it. Don’t get me wrong, if the pump works for you-great! If not, don’t feel boring old syringes don’t work.
Believe in the impossible.
If for you impossible means never going a day with a reading over 150 then believe you can go a day without going over 150. Make that your standard.
Example: I used to try real hard to not have any 300-400 readings. For me this was a big deal and a real goal. It wasn’t very lofty an aspiration though. So I eventually tried convincing myself that I personally would not accept anything over 160. What happened? My glucose averages began to improve. Suddenly I wasn’t satisfied with 200 anymore, I had to be 110. This helped tremendously. If you are a stubborn person, use your hard-headedness for good here.
Once I realized I could change my standard, my expectation, my goals, I realized I had the power to do anything. Maybe that is part of our problem, we are told it is unreasonable to try for near normal glucose numbers all of the time. What if we believed we could? Would we do any better?
My paradigm shifted from:
sick, disease-stricken, usually battling high glucose, depressed about being diabetic
healthy, disease-conquering, successfully controlling blood glucose, happy to be alive
Once you experience a paradigm shift, the mind is set free and everything else is allowed to fall into place. I promise.
Give this a try and let me know how it goes.