Are You Making Progress in Your Life with Diabetes?
You’ve been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and you (hopefully) have a plan. That plan may have come from visits with a Certified Diabetes Educator or nutritionist or something you’ve developed on your own after researching the disease. Maybe it’s as simple as fasting blood glucose and A1c goals set by you and your doctor or as complex as drastic changes to your food plan. Regardless of your plan it’s important to step back from time to time and evaluate whether or not you’re making progress. One thing that many folks don’t realize, or choose to ignore, is that type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease. It is going to change over time and, therefore, your plan may need to change as well.
Your diabetes plan should be viewed as a guideline as opposed to a list of strict rules. Everyone is different and how they approach their life with diabetes will be different too. Even doctors and CDEs won’t know how your diabetes will react to your plan until you’ve lived with it awhile. Assessing your progress is an important step in your diabetes care. Are you meeting your goals more times than not? Is your food plan one that you are able to stick with for the most part? Is your plan cumbersome or doable? You will, of course, discuss all of these things with your doctor, along with how your medication is working, on your next visit but that could be months away. You need to assess your progress and make adjustments long before that next doctor visit.
Using your meter to help you make decisions is a smart thing to do. Checking your blood glucose before and after you eat is a great way to assess how different foods affect you. If you find that a food spikes your blood glucose too much, don’t wait to ask permission to stop eating it!
Adding regular exercise is most likely part of your plan. Pay attention to how exercise affects your blood glucose and adjust accordingly. Do you find yourself going low? Be sure to eat a snack beforehand. Does exercise cause your blood glucose to rise? Drink plenty of water. (Exercise can sometimes cause a rise in blood glucose but it definitely helps in the long run so don’t stop!)
Making progress doesn’t mean that you’ll never have days when things don’t go according to plan. You may have a day or two when you’re just tired of thinking about food and you eat “whatever”. Maybe (most likely) there will be days when your diabetes just does whatever it wants regardless of what you do. That’s ok, you can circle back and try again. The most important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t blame yourself if things aren’t going well. If there is something you can do differently, try it. If your medication isn’t working, tell your doctor.
Every step you take to live well with your diabetes is a step in the right direction. It is progress. Life isn’t a straight road. There are many bumps and curves and detours. Life with diabetes is just the same. It’s silly to think that we can live our lives with diabetes in a straight line, never looking back, never adjusting our plan. Progress doesn’t have to be stellar numbers or hours on the treadmill, it may be as simple as making necessary adjustments.
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