Life

Life with Diabetes

It’s World Diabetes Day today. I had the displeasure of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2016. It is what it is though and what choice does one have but to accept it and learn to work around it. I am determined however to get it into remission and I will succeed. For now, I will share what seems to work for me at the moment, however do bear in my mind that this is based on my personal experience and is not an sort of medical or dietary advice.

My Diet

There is no doubt that controlling your blood sugar takes more than just diet but what you eat does play the biggest role. The following has worked for me based on trial and error:

  • Refined carbs are not my friend. I will still enjoy a piece of cake here and there but I don’t make a habit of it
  • Sweeteners, and this includes natural sweeteners like Xylitol, cause a spike in my blood sugar so I just don’t bother with them
  • I stick to drinking water, and unsweetened black coffee. I have started drinking unsweetened black tea as well.
  • Intermittent fasting (IF) really helps as well. I stick to the 16:8 fast but I have learnt that fasting alone is not enough. Discipline is required in that 8 hr eating window. I have worked from home since lockdown started and found myself constantly “grazing”. I slowly gained 4 of the 6 kg’s I had lost in the first 3 months of following IF. Of course it wasn’t just the constant nibbling, it was also the lack of movement every day that caused the weight gain. I have a timer so that I ensure I don’t eat for 2,5hrs at a time for now. I plan on getting myself to two meals a day before year end.
  • My blood sugar readings also appear to be affected by my weight. When I lose weight, I have lower readings. When I gain weight then my average reading rises as well. It seems to take as little as a 2-3kg change in weight to make a difference. Clearly it is in my best interest to keep the number on the scale moving in a downward direction.

The Power of Exercise

I am not exercise’s greatest fan but I have finally accepted it’s importance in maintaining good overall health and in keeping my blood sugar levels within a normal range. Diabetes is known to take a toll on one’s heart so it is important to maintain good heart health and that is where exercise comes in. Since self-discipline is not my strength when it comes to this topic, I have signed up with a personal trainer to make exercise a habit in my life. I have to admit that after 2 weeks, I look forward to our sessions and feel fantastic after them. My circulation has clearly improved and I appear less prone to retaining water. My average blood sugar reading has also lowered over the last 2 weeks so this was clearly a great decision on my part. ๐Ÿ˜œ

Stress Management

I was blown away when I saw the difference stress makes to my readings. I immediately know when I have underlying stress. It’s right there in my blood sugar readings. It is actually quite scary how much stress affects my body. On the flip side, I have also noticed how spending time with certain people in my life results in lower levels regardless of what I eat when I am with them. These people are good for my body, mind and soul. It’s important to never underestimate the damage stress can do so I try to keep my stress levels as low as possible. Some of the techniques I use to de-stress are:

  • Dancing at the end of the day to my favourite music. It as has the added benefit of getting the circulation going burning off excess sugar in my blood.
  • Reading. I can happily spend an entire weekend reading.
  • Focusing on a conversation with my son or cooking/baking with him. It requires me to live in the moment. It is an amazing feeling and I love doing it (When he allows me to)
  • Connecting with friends, although, it is mostly via whatsapp these days
  • Meditating every morning for 10 minutes. I am so thrilled that I have kept this up for over a month now. I am well on my way to making this a habit! (Whoop whoop)
  • Saying my morning mantras in the shower. I say mantras to keep myself aligned with my purpose. It is so calming to say these at the start of the day
  • My morning prayer. I find it so peaceful to start the day giving thanks for what is and what will be and just handing the day over to God.
  • Journal writing. I love writing. I have a normal journal as well as a special gratitude journal. The one thing I have noticed is that when I am consistent about writing in my gratitude journal, I get wonderful surprises ever so often. How cool is that!
  • A candle-lit bubble bath, especially on a exercise day. I also use this as my visualisation time.

I don’t view diabetes as a life long disease. I choose to view it as something that can be overcome and that is what I plan on doing. My first milestone is to start 2021 free of meds.๐Ÿ˜ It is to be respected at all times though or it will do some serious damage. If you have been diagnosed with it and don’t take it seriously, then I invite you to reconsider this choice, to start monitoring what causes your spikes and to work around them. You have everything to gain from doing so. If you are prediabetic do what ever you can to turn that diagnosis around.

I wish you all the success in keeping a diabetes diagnosis under control. It can be done. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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