Diabetic Education

When I was first diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, the doc and dietary nutritionist worked with me to understand what my health risks were, along with the changes I’d have to make in my eating habits.

I think for those of us that have been on this planet for a while; we understand what a struggle it is to lose weight, once your metabolism and/or life-style has changed significantly. It’s difficult enough to take the weight off; but then to maintain the habits that got you there; there-in lays the problem. You’ll hear folks who have studied the subject say that your body’s inclination is to return to your previous weight; even rebound beyond that to a new celluloid high. This yo-yo effect of dieting; sometimes referred to as ‘weight cycling’; is what awaits many of us if we fail to find a way to incorporate the healthful aspects of our culinary and exercise life-styles into a habit; on a long-term basis.

My initial foray into the world of Diabetes was initiated by informative, but too few, nutritional and dietary classes through my doctor. They seemed to think I got the concept of my disease and how to control it, rather quickly; but I beg to differ.

Years later; sparse memory of my insufficient education leaves me with these main points the nutritionist tried to instill (of course I’ve read lots of med info since).

  1. Regulate your carbs: 40-65 at each meal/15 for snacks between meals and after bedtime.
  2. Watch your sugars; closely!
  • I was given a print out called ‘78 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health’; as I read the list, my unspoken answer to each stated effect was yup, yup, yup; it was quite the eye opener.
  1. Learn the Glycemic Index; which carbs are good, which are bad and why it’s important. Simple carbs vs. complex carbs, why does it matter?
  2. Study all the pertinent dietary issues: detox, fat intake, fiber, hydration, muscle maintenance, heart health, hunger taming, weight-loss plateau, portions, alcohol usage, vitamins/minerals, emotional weight gain, binging & purging, BS highs & lows, BMI, and so much more; and of course; exercise.
  3. Test your blood sugar regularly, at both regular and varied times; and note down which foods, what eating patterns and how exercise effect your glucose levels. The more aware and comfortable you become with BS testing and gaining info along with understanding how to lower your A1c; the closer you’ll get to your weight-loss goals and a positive trend towards a non-Diabetic future; or at least learn how to mitigate some effects of the disease (These thoughts are generally for non, insulin-using Diabetics; they, in some ways, apply to insulin usage but that is a different ball game for which I am not informed).

During my last semi-annual check-up in March, I showed the doc an Excel spreadsheet I’d been keeping of my weight, blood sugar testing, eating habits, exercise and other notes that I’ve kept. I thought it interesting; he ran down through the blood sugar readings quickly and without comment, and nodded in approval when he got done. It seemed like he did this kind of indifferently, so it raised curiosity in me and I asked, “Boy; you ran through that in a flash, so what do you think?” He said; well your testing numbers look really good, but I’m just glad that you’re testing.” This elicited further curiosity, “So why; are there folks out there with Diabetes that don’t test?” He said; “You’d be surprised!”; and that I was!

Coming up; I will try to focus more on dietary habits and some personal tips that worked for me. (Sorry; promised this last time 😦 ) Please try to give me some feed-back, ask questions or let me know what interests or relates to you; I would love to create a productive dialogue!

– Bill

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