Are You Struggling to Manage Diabetes? Here’s How to Tell
Last updated: August 2023
Are you struggling to manage your blood sugars better but are waiting for the perfect time to start? Maybe you're waiting for an event that will "make everything better."
As a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES), I often meet folks dealing with this feeling. Something is keeping them from starting to control their blood sugar in the present.
What does avoiding diabetes management sound like?
As I work with clients and break things down, we realize they avoid diabetes management altogether. For example, avoiding diabetes self-care could sound like this:
- "I'm looking into getting gastric bypass surgery, so once I get that, my blood sugars will improve."
- "I need an insulin pump. Once I get that, then my blood sugars will be better."
- "When I finally retire, I'll have more time for diabetes."
While these statements may have a ring of truth, they're not a sure bet. What if you get an insulin pump, but your blood sugars don't automatically improve? What if you get to retirement and you suddenly become a full-time caregiver for an older parent?
I'm going to highlight 2 important aspects at play in these situations.
Focusing on the future instead of the present
In a sense, you're "kicking the can down the road." Instead of concentrating on what you can do right now in the present moment to manage diabetes, you're focusing on events that may or may not happen or may not occur in the time frame you expected.
Common emotions involved
Often, when people are avoiding diabetes management, they may feel overwhelmed, hopeless, struggling, or are looking for an easier way to manage type 2 diabetes.
These are all valid emotions and challenges that many people with diabetes experience. The danger here is in delaying self-care. It's too simple for the future event you're focusing on to become a moving target: first, it's retirement, then it's after you finish some of your post-retirement plans, then it's after you're no longer a caregiver, and so on.
Putting off caring for your diabetes means a higher risk for complications.
Placing high expectations on one change
You may be "putting all your eggs in one basket," as the popular saying goes. Maybe you hope 1 significant lifestyle change will suddenly improve your diabetes. While sometimes a large change can greatly impact your diabetes management, small, sustained lifestyle changes are still necessary to make lasting improvements.
For example, getting an insulin pump is a big deal. However, many people don't realize they still have to be an active manager of their diabetes to get healthy blood sugars using an insulin pump.
The danger here is giving too much power to these occurrences. If your expectations for these are set too high, you could be setting yourself up for disappointment. Unfortunately, diabetes takes planning, attention, and constant work. Period. There's no magic fix.
Diabetes management is personal
It's completely normal to look for ways to make diabetes easier to manage. It's wise to anticipate changes to your diabetes after significant life changes. Exploring options to make diabetes management a little easier is essential as well.
The key here is both short-term and long-term diabetes management planning. While you're focused on the future, what do you need to do now to improve your numbers? What are your hopes for the future?
Do you find it difficult to "eat right" and stick to a nutrition plan?