Coping with Negative Progress
Last updated: March 2022
So many people, including myself, have gone into a doctor’s appointment knowing my A1c has to be better than last time. I have changed up my diet, increased exercise, and taken my medication regularly. You tell your doctor, with confidence, how much better you have done and the changes made. Walking to the phlebotomy chair you can almost hear everyone cheering you on for your accomplishments. A few days later your test results and you, have gone in the wrong direction. How can this be? What did I do wrong? You are lost and don’t know what to do.
No progress with my A1c
First off, you may not have done anything wrong. Our bodies are funny machines and it sometimes feels like they do what they want. Don’t waste time analyzing every little thing you did that could have been wrong. Luckily, A1c is really only based on one number, your average blood glucose level over the last 90ish days. Between my first and second A1c tests, I thought I made great changes. Which I did, but my A1c went up. I don’t think I did anything wrong - I just didn’t do what worked for my body. I made some more changes and my A1c dropped the next test. It’s not about what you did right or wrong, it’s about what changes you make after each test to keep improving your number.
Get rid of the failure mindset
Don’t think about being a failure and that you are worse off than before. I am willing to bet that even if your A1c went in the wrong direction, you made choices that make your body as a whole better. Let’s say you were a fan of junk and fast food. Over the past three months, you made changes and now you eat more fruits, veggies, and whole foods. It is possible you are eating more carbs but they are healthier, which is a good thing. In examples like this, you are not a failure at all, you just need to fine-tune your carb intake. You still made better choices for your body even if your A1c doesn’t reflect it.
Taking steps forward toward progress
The day those unwanted test results come back is the day you want to perk up and start the fine-tuning. A food diary with net carbs would be a good start. Know what you are taking in each meal and a total for the day. If you need to, take your blood sugar more frequently. For myself, I take my blood sugar before I eat. If it is high, that is a big deterrent to consuming too many carbs. If you are not instructed to take your blood sugar before meals, you may want to consider doing so. You could also step up your exercise if allowed. Either increasing intensity or time exercising should help your body use some of that extra glucose.
Remember, any change for the better that you make is good. Sometimes you have no control over how your body works. We all have bad tests and our own ways of doing things. You have to try different things to see what works best for you. Unfortunately, there is no one way to do things for optimal results. It’s all about trial and error. Just make sure you don’t get tunnel vision on fixing your A1c and make choices that are unhealthy for your body.
How often do you find yourself craving sweet snacks?