Big Changes Are Happening: Logs & More Logs

Since my diagnosis of diabetes several years ago, I've only had sporadic success with balancing my blood sugars. I've tried many different things to balance them including:  taking my medications on a regular basis, taking alternative supplements, eliminating certain beverages and foods, eating healthier, incorporating more fruits and veggies into my diet, exercise, and other things which I've long forgotten about.  None of these things has really helped me on a consistent basis but perhaps if I hadn't done them my diabetes challenges would be much worse.

I used to walk a lot until I started having numerous issues with my knees. I've since learned that I have arthritis in the knees. That was another set back.  But I rallied and am now walking much farther than I have for ages.  I'm using walking poles to help me (I do not do well with canes) and am working on consistency as it has been so long since I've been able to walk consistently.  I track my exercise on a daily basis so I can see when I am falling behind.  I can also see if this activity is helping to balance my blood sugar levels when I get an A1C test every 3 months.  One thing I can't seem to do, is control or manage the stressors in my life, of which there are several. I know I need to pray more and meditate more. I can pray often during the day but have discovered that I need far more time to meditate than I commonly have time for on a daily basis.  This is the next thing I really need to work at. 

In the first 6 months of the year, my blood sugars were balanced (that is without the walking) and after a few months of walking, I discovered my blood sugar was a little elevated again.  When the doctor called to let me know last week, I have to say that I was utterly frustrated and left feeling a little blue. I feel I try so hard and yet positive results elude me. In reflecting back on the last three months, I realized that I had become a little lazy with my diet.  In part because I had balance sugars for half of the year, and in part because I had started a regular exercise program.

To get my sugar readings back to normal, the doctor wanted me to increase one of my medications.  I was reluctant to do so.  I am fearful of adding more medications and in fact, I want to get off some of my current ones.  She also asked me to track my blood sugar levels and food intake daily as well.  Again I didn't feel hopeful about these measures.  I've made so many positive changes to my diet already that I didn't think tracking things  was going to help.  However after a day or two, I decided I must keep track of my blood sugars at least 6 times a day so I can better see how certain foods affect me.  I have to be honest and say I'd become a little slack concerning my diet due in part to my new exercise regime and because my blood sugars had been under control for the first half of the year.  I felt things were really on track.  When I got my A1C results, I had a rude awakening.  I also can't underestimate the level of stress I've been under over the last 3 months.  Though I can't control the stress, I can do some things to try and manage it better.

Oatmeal with cinnamon. I also eat some bran flakes or Fibre 1 for breakfast but porridge seems to be best.

So now I'm keeping several logs:  a daily food and blood sugar log, and an exercise log.  The food and blood sugar logs  have already been very useful.  I am learning what foods are good and what foods aren't and how little of something bad it takes to really raise the sugar levels.  My exercise log is great too because I really don't like exercising. But with a log, I can see what I've done or haven't done and try to correct it.  I also keep track of when I do much more activity around the house and whether I do more stretching or other movement. All these things add up to physical activity that can help a diabetic.

After keeping my food log for a few days, I realized that I had become complacent over the past several months about my eating habits.  I had let good habits slide a little due to the extreme heat we've been having and because I had started exercising.  I thought I had room to "play" because I was now burning more calories.  (If I had thought about it for awhile I know that wouldn't have been my conclusion.  But sometimes we turn a blind eye to things).  I also know that with the two trips I made out of town this summer, I had to eat a lot of restaurant food and that didn't help matters.  I did try to eat salads while on the road.  But that was not enough to compensate for eating out more often than usual.

I'm also discovering that when my body feels a certain way, it is NOT necessarily low blood sugar.  This is borne out by the regular glucose testing. In the past, I would simply snack if I felt I was hypoglycemic.  Now I test myself and find I am not so no need to snack at that time.


Green salad with pinto beans.  I am trying to eat this or a variation of it 1 or 2x a day. Another salad I like is made of grated celery, carrot, apple, avocado with freshly squeezed lime juice.

Today I talked to my doctor again about what I'm learning through the food logs and glucose testing.  She thinks I am making great progress and we will review my progress in a few weeks time.  It is my goal to eventually get off all of my medications.  I've had this goal for a few years already and so I know how difficult it can be for most diabetics to truly do this.  I have renewed determination.

One thing I can say is that all these logs take an awful lot of time on a daily basis.  It also takes a lot of time to plan and prepare healthy meals and snacks every day especially and to take food with you when you go. One also has to shop for all the food.

Barley soup with vegetables (carrots, onion, celery and spinach). Good thing I love barley!  This is good for me for lunch or dinner along with some lean chicken or baked salmon.

For whatever reason, my blood sugar levels don't seem to drop quite so readily as other people who make positive dietary and physical activity changes.  Because of this my emotions and attitude have been on a roller coaster for some time over the consistently high sugars.  I get frustrated when what I am doing isn't working.

In the last few days though I can "see" the results of my more focussed approach.   The blood sugar level is improving.  Today though it dropped so low after lunch and I had a scary incident. My sugar reading was 3.8 and I was very irritated, unable to concentrate on a phone call and shaking.  I had to have pop for the first time in a while just to get my sugar levels to normal.

 I'm hoping to be on a more even keel soon with all the hard work I am putting in.  Replacing bad habits with good ones, or implementing positive habits on a consistent basis, will be my big challenge.It takes me a very long time to form new habits (at least the good habits).

I also signed up for a coach to check in with every week to make sure I am getting my exercise.  I am currently doing it on my own  but feel I need an accountability buddy with all my current challenges.  I hope that after my 6 month stint with the coach is done, that I will feel like and look like a new me. If I have my starts and stops and ups and downs, I hope to be able to pick up again after I dust myself off. Wish me luck.


Comments

  1. I am praying for much success for you sis, love you.

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  2. Logging is difficult. I try on occasion with exercise, but loosing steam is always problematic. Maybe try to do it in a notebook or tablet so you can do it at the table/couch/bed rather than sitting at a computer.

    Do you have access to a swimming pool for exercise? When my knees are acting up, it does seem to help a bit for the crawl stroke doesn't put much stress on them. Unfortunately, we only have pool access in the summer (winters are just too much $ at our local health club).

    Keep up the good work! Even though the progress might not seem like a lot at times, I know you will eventually succeed at meeting your goals!

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    1. Thank you, KT. I do worry about loosing steam. That is one reason why I will be working with a coach for at least 6 months.

      I find that it is easier for me to track things on a computer as I am often at the computer. But I often carry a little notebook too for those occasions when my computer is not with me.

      Swimming is something I want to do more of but there are challenges, not the least of which is the inconvenience of getting to a pool on a regular basis and the cost of going frequently. It is something I hope to incorporate later.

      Thank you so much for your vote of encouragement.

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  3. I admire your regime, logs and exercising. Have you tried exercise in a warm water pool? I do that 3 or 4 times a week, and almost anyone can exercise in water. I meet people in the pool who love this way to exercise and who have arthritis or back or knee problems. Where I exercise is inexpensive. The pool is indoors and year round. It relieves stress too and can be very tranquil.

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    1. I would LOVE to exercise in a warm water pool. I actually enjoy being in warm water but the pools here are too expensive and too far away for me to use. It sounds wonderful that you can access one for very little cost. I wish that was the case everywhere.

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  4. Bless you, Penny, as you work through this. You can do it! The Lord bless you and keep you and cause His face to shine upon you and give you His peace. Be of good cheer. Friends love you and are praying for you and are cheering you on!'

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    1. Thank you Linda! Your encouragement and prayers (and those of others) mean so much to me.

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  5. OH, Penny, I can SO relate. I am on a new blood sugar medication because the previous one caused horrible side effects, and did that for a matter of years, while all the doctors told me I had Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Well, I got to the point where I was so worn out and weak from years of digestive difficulties (receiving very little nutrition from what I ate) that I had my husband take me to our family doctor.
    I said "Someone has to do something about this. I cannot do anything any more. I can't break a dog biscuit in half. I can't open bottles and certainly can't open jars. I can't do anything at all."
    So he took me off the metformin and put me on something whose name I forget, and the very next day (yes, the very next day) the symptoms stopped. All the wrenching wracking pain in my digestive system was gone. I could eat and the food didn't rush through me undigested.
    I'm beginning to get my strength back, and I feel like a new person. Breaking dog biscuits is easy! The dog is happy and I am happy.
    Meanwhile, I will be praying for you and your sugar levels. I think it's time I started frequent testing, too. Maybe we could do Tag Team Testing!
    Luv, K

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    1. Oh Kay, you really went through a lot with the serious side effects of the one medication. I'm so glad you've gotten off of it and on something else that works better for you, and I'm sure Lindy is happier too ;-) Sometimes I wonder if I too am allergic to the Metformin but it doesn't sound like I have the terrible effects you suffered. I've read that it can cause weight gain among other things.

      Thank you for sharing your story and for keeping me in prayer. I really, appreciate it so much.

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  6. It's not easy, doing so much logging, but it is revealing and ultimately successful. I came to the point of saying to my self, "If you don't want to log it, don't eat it!" The best realization of all.

    I wish you all the best.

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    1. Great points Joanne. Thank you for your kind thoughts.

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  7. I pray God will give you the resources you need to succeed.

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    1. Thank you very much, Dimple!

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    2. Thought I'd let you know that the money Wildblue-Viasat-Excede owed us has been refunded. I thank God for that, and stand by the recommendation I made regarding avoiding that company.

      Blessings!

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  8. Keep up with all your hard work, it will pay off! Chances are you just haven't been in the new routines long enough for it to show a difference yet, but it will!

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    1. Thank you for your visit and your encouragement ;-)

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  9. Oh, I do wish you good luck. You are an inspiration (as always), Penny.

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    1. Thank you for the words of encouragement ;-)

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  10. Good for you!!! I hate you have to deal with this disease but you are doing the right thing by tracking. Our journals don't lie - - - and they really do help. I agree it is tiring doing all the cooking, planning etc but it will be worth it for you. Planning is my big thing that is difficult to do. I generally don't mind the cooking. I need to get better with exercise, too. Thanks for your honestly. Hopefully it will motivate and encourage a few people.

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