How to Stay Consistent with Diabetes Management
When living with diabetes, managing it is essential. It is important to keep our blood sugars in check to prevent a host of health-related issues. But at the same time, diabetes isn’t a disease one can see and feel every single day, and because of this, it’s easy to forget to care for ourselves. Think about it, we have: work and/or school, obligations to our friends and family, bills and if we have time, indulge in our own hobbies and interests.
All of these can make it challenging to remain consistent in managing diabetes, especially when you’ve been recently diagnosed and are learning how to incorporate it into your lifestyle. But if you’ve had diabetes for a while, here are some other reasons staying consistent is tough:
- No established routine/schedule
- Diabetes anxiety
- No support or accountability
- Diabetes is “out-of-sight”
- Unsupportive environment
The list above certainly isn’t exhaustive, and I’m sure there are other reasons you can determine why consistent diabetes management is difficult for you right now. Fortunately, there are solutions to these problems. Let’s dive into what you can do today and also what you can work towards to sticking with your diabetes management routine.
Identify the Easiest Ways for You to Stay Consistent with Diabetes Management
The first step is determining what matters most to you right now? Not six months or a year from now, but today? What changes to your diabetes care can you start to make almost immediately? Take some time, about 10-15 minutes, to jot down what issues are high priority.
For instance, your goal may be to get to an A1C of 6 percent in the next few months. That’s a great goal! But, you want to determine what actions will help you get there. Maybe you want to eat four home-cooked meals per week instead of dining out, or maybe you’d like to dedicate 30 minutes a day to exercise.
The point here is to be specific and also start small. If you only want to focus on one aspect of your diabetes care to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, do that! Go at your own pace.
Create a Schedule
Write these down—how often are you supposed to your blood sugar and take medication? When are you supposed to eat your meals/snacks? Do you have time put away for physical activity? What about medical appointments?
Keeping track of all that in our heads is exhausting, even for some of us who’ve been living with diabetes for years. With today’s technology, we can schedule when those things need to get done. Set a reminder on your phone to do the above.
For example, if you know you need to test your blood sugar two hours after meals, set a reminder to do it when you begin eating. Another example—if you know you have spare time in the days and evenings to exercise, set a reminder to be active. Finally, if your goal is to be consistent with healthy eating, set aside time during the week to meal prep.
Detach Yourself from the Numbers
It’s hard not to tie our worth to how well we are managing diabetes. When your blood sugar is higher than it should be, it’s easy to feel demoralized and continue with our care. It’s times like these when we need to remember our blood glucose numbers, A1C and time-in-range percentages don’t define our value as human beings. Those values are simply data points to help us determine what adjustments we should make to get where we need to be.
Use Calorie-Counting and Fitness Tracking Apps
Just like how we should schedule our blood sugar tests and when we take medication, let’s take the same approach with tracking our food and exercise intake. This is super helpful as you begin to build healthy habits. Calorie-tracking apps give you an idea of how much you’re eating per day, as well as other important nutrition information such as your protein, carb, fat and micronutrient intake. Fitness apps also help you monitor your workout progress. Some apps also allow you to set reminders on when to log your meals and get in a workout.
Build Your Support Team
At Beyond Type 2, our mantra is that you are not alone. It means you don’t have to do diabetes by yourself and you have people who want to support you. It’s important to remember that because diabetes can often feel overwhelming and confiding in others about our struggles can sometimes feel like admitting failure. Identify people in your life who you feel emotionally and mentally safe around. These people can be your spouse/partner, children, friends, colleagues and your healthcare team. Tell them your intentions of being more consistent with your diabetes management and ask for their support and help hold you accountable. Help can come in the form of periodic check-ins, reminders, or whatever you think would best make you feel supported. Remember, there are people out there who want to see you happy, healthy and thriving with type 2 diabetes.
If you need more help, consider seeking a professional. A personal diabetes coach can also offer on-demand support. mySugr is a popular diabetes app and remote coaching program that provides 24/7 one-on-one personalized coaching from Certified Diabetes Educators who will work closely with you to set and achieve personal health goals and overcome daily challenges of managing diabetes. mySugr app pairs with Accu-Chek Guide, Accu-Chek Guide Me and several other meters.
Life happens and can knock you off your game. In these moments, it’s important not to panic. These moments may be temporary, or if not, you can adapt. Here are some tips to consider:
- Keep snacks in your drawers at work, in your car and in your purse just in case you get hungry.
- Keep a list of local resources in the event of financial hardship. Community clinics, centers, and food banks are great resources to find low-cost or free diabetes supplies, receive healthcare and obtain food.
- If you’re traveling, buy a diabetes travel case and stock it with supplies.
- Sign up for a diabetes supplies subscription service or inquire about the delivery of supplies from your pharmacy. Brands like Accu-Chek offer a subscription program of their test strips. Users receive a free Accu-Chek Guide Me meter when they subscribe.
While these tips aren’t exhaustive, these should give you a pretty good idea of where to start in your journey to consistent diabetes management, how to reach your goals and maintain your behavior. A diabetes management routine that’s easy to stick to and fits your lifestyle can be a difference-maker in not just your A1C, but your overall health and life.
This content was published in partnership with Roche, the makers of Accu-Chek products, a Founding Partner of Beyond Type 2.