From watching message boards and facebook, I’ve come to understand that more people than I imagined don’t believe that healthy lifestyle habits can improve their diabetes management or are an essential part of their management. They believe that adhering to the strict rules of carb counting and insulin dosing is all they need to do. And when their diabetes management isn’t where they’d like, they blame diabetes. And yeah, yeah diabetes is ultimately the cause of all our blood sugar woes. But focusing on that is NOT going to ever help.
So I’d like to offer some opinions on lifestyle habits and how they impact diabetes management.
First, I’ll say that my diabetes management was extremely challenged while I ate a typical American diet. I have never had an issue with carb counting or portion sizing. My challenge was facing the ups and downs that broke the rules about insulin and carbs. When I changed my diet to omit most processed foods, most of the time, I realized my blood sugars didn’t swing up and down nearly as much.
Same happened when I began to exercise daily. Easier diabetes management. Insulin is much more powerful when we exercise regularly. When I don’t, I cannot maintain tight control.
These discoveries were so huge for me that I can’t imagine someone not knowing the potential of healthy lifestyle habits on their diabetes.
No matter who you are, the positive impact you stand to gain from changing things about how you eat and move during the day is huge! I can eat carefully and exercise daily and use 12 units of my long acting insulin a day. If I eat like I see most people eating and if I don’t exercise regularly, I literally need 25-30 units of my long acting a day. That’s a HUGE difference. That difference impacts weight gain, hormone balances in the body, moods, metabolism, thyroid function, cholesterol, and more. That’s why I take it seriously.
Now, I didn’t make these changes overnight and don’t expect others to either. But it helped me to be slowly convinced that trying to make small, gradual changes over time were totally worthwhile. And that’s what I’m trying to do in this post for anyone who isn’t convinced. I benefited from reading stuff like this long ago and I hope somehow this helps someone else.
I write it over and over again because I believe it through personal experience. And yes, we all have unique experiences but I’m not saying eat what I eat or exercise how I exercise. Those details are up to you. However, if what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else. And just because it worked for you once doesn’t mean it works for you. Something has to work consistently in order to “work”.
If you love and respect yourself, and I hope you do, you owe it to yourself to adopt the habits that will nourish your body and mind for the long term, rather than going for instant gratification.