Why I Think Seeing a Dietician is Beneficial for Diabetics

Last year, I wrote a blog post about having your Diabetes Care Team and why it’s so important for you to choose the right people. Choosing the right people that support you and are helpful and sensitive to your current condition is so important. I’m part of a diabetes support group for women on Facebook and it’s always so sad seeing some women being mistreated by their doctors and wondering if what they’re doing is even right because their doctors make them feel dumb and inadequate. Having the right people by your side should NOT make you feel less than the amazing person you are.

Your Diabetes Care Team should consist of a Primary Care Physician (PCP), Endocrinologist, Certified Diabetes Educator, Opthalmologist, Podiatrist, Dentist, and a Registered Dietician. All of them specializing in fields that can help monitor and manage your diabetes.

Since I was diagnosed with Type 2 in February 2017, I have really slowly built my team. Like really slowly. I had my PCP who diagnosed me and started me on oral medication in hopes that by losing weight and eating better would naturally bring me back around,which it didn’t.

In 2018, I went to a diabetes education class with a diabetes educator. I learned a lot at that class and I’m really glad I went, but I don’t know if the lady that headed the class is still working there anymore. Also in 2018, I got my opthalmologist and podiatrist. They’ve been keeping an eye on how my diabetes has been affecting my eyes and feet, which so far has been good.

In 2019, I was referred to an endocrinologist who put me on insulin which I’ve been using ever since. My dose has gone way up to the point that he may have to prescribe me another insulin on top of that.

And finally in 2021, I got a dietician. My PCP was supposed to work it out for me but that never happened so I had to do it on my own. Thankfully I’ve been taking classes and other services from a local nonprofit that provides classes about diabetes, hypertension, and healthy eating among other subjects. They also work with dieticians and other specialists to bring their services to the Native Hawaiian population. I’m very grateful for their services.

Nonprofit organization that serves the Native Hawaiian health care system on Hawaii Island. They provide medical, behavioral health, and community education services.

Here’s why seeing a dietician is so important. Going to classes about healthy eating and diabetes will always go over what you should and shouldn’t eat. You can ask the instructor questions but you can’t have a conversation with them during class because there are others there as well. I suggest seeing a dietician so you can sit with them, one on one, and really get to the nitty gritty.

I saw my dietician for the first time yesterday and we talked about when I usually eat, what I ate in the last 24 hours, what my glucose reading was, what my concerns were, if there were any changes recently in appetite or anything really, and she gave me suggestions on what I could change. Talking to someone one on one is really getting the information to sink in better than during all of the classes I took.

I have to go back in and see her in a month to see if any of the changes I’ve implemented are working. The changes I’ve agreed to make are to eat brown rice instead of white rice, try whole grain bread instead of white bread, get more fiber in my diet is the big goal, try to incorporate more vegetables in to my diet, and continue to walk AT LEAST 15 mins for AT LEAST 3 days (the more the better).

I’m going to have to increase how many times a day I check my blood sugar which might now be about six times a day at least. I think my endocrinologist might also want me to check before and after I eat now too. But I’m willing to do this now more than ever! Why? Because I’m so close to breaking 200lbs! I haven’t been less than 200lbs since 2012. There was a short stint in 2019, but I gained it all back because of stress. I want to break 200lbs once and FOR ALL!

If you haven’t seen a dietician, I really suggest you do. They can come up with a menu of things you should eat more of as well as what kind of physical activity you can do to bring your blood sugar down. The one on one experience will also benefit you as well, I think.

I would love to hear your stories about your journey with diabetes. Feel free to submit your story. You can submit it anonymously if you want. I just really want to know that I’m not going through this alone, that others out there are going through similar experiences like I am.

Lifestyle Change vs. Diet

I’m sure you’ve heard both terms being thrown around a lot, but do you know the difference?

Diet has two definitions:
1. the kinds of food that a person habitually eats.
2. a special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons.

Which one do you hear more of? I’m forever hearing on the tv about commercials of miracle diets for weight loss. Diets don’t work. Why? Because diets are meant to be temporary. A diet consists of temporarily changing your eating habits to promote a certain outcome, like weight loss, before returning to your previous eating habits.

Now lifestyle changes are where it’s at. A lifestyle change consists of adopting healthy overall habits that promote long-term weight control and health. A diet focuses on food intake whereas lifestyle changes your diet with other factors that affect your weight and health, like exercise. In other words, a diet is a temporary solution and lifestyle changes are healthy habits for life.

What kind of lifestyle changes can diabetics make?

  • At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day, like brisk walking, water aerobics, hiking, or using a manual lawn mower.
  • Cut back on sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Eat more fruits and veggies.
  • Get rid of junk food and snack on more nutritious foods.
  • Replace refined carbohydrates with wholegrain foods.
  • Reduce amount of saturated fats.
  • Choose lean meats over processed meats.
  • Apply stress management techniques in your life.

Did you know that stress can really mess your body up? Stress hormones can increase blood pressure, slow down your digestion, and can make blood glucose control difficult. Reducing stress can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension, depression, and anxiety.

In my opinion, I never use the word “diet” unless describing something like diabetes diet, even then I don’t mention it often. Why? Because “diet” is a dirty word. I’m not looking for a temporary change, I’m looking to change my life. Your intentions are everything. If you only intend to diet, you are only looking for temporary. Speak it into existence and tell the Universe you are changing your life for the better.

Do you want to know more about a diabetes diet though? Here’s what I have found for you and for myself.

Healthy Carbohydrates:
– fruits
– veggies
– whole grains
– legumes
– low-fat dairy products
Fiber-rich Foods:
– veggies
– fruits
– nuts
– legumes
– whole grains
Heart Healthy Fish:
– salmon
– tuna
– mackerel
– sardines
Good Fats:
– avocados
– nuts
– canola, olive, and peanut oils

When you’re looking for things to eat, remember to avoid these foods:

  • fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury
  • high-fat dairy products
  • coconut oil
  • processed foods high in trans fats
  • high-fat animal proteins

You should aim for no more than 200mg of Cholesterol and less than 2300mg of sodium per day.

Diabetes management is a lifestyle change. We have to create new, healthier habits for our lives to better manage our diabetes. We can do this! Change your life for the better and not for the temporary.


References

Healthy Eating
Diabetes UK
Mayo Clinic


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The Journey: Episode Fourteen

JUNE 14, 2020

I’ve been getting pretty frustrated lately with my blood sugar. No matter how high I go with the insulin injection my blood sugar doesn’t seem to change. It doesn’t go up and it doesn’t go down. I’m not sure what’s wrong. Maybe it’s my diet, maybe I’m not doing enough with diet. Maybe I need to go on a low carb diet. Or maybe it’s because I need to exercise more. Maybe I need to do more cardio or more strength training. Maybe I need to do more.

I’m seriously considering upping my insulin from 75 units to 80 units. The only thing is my insulin pens hold about 300 units each which means at 75 units I can get four injections from each pen. If I go up to 80 units I won’t be able to make four injections per pen and that means spending more money for insulin. That’s so frustrating.

The Facebook group I joined shares a lot of low carb recipes and I think I should try some of them as well as change my diet and lifestyle to be more low carb, high healthy fat and protein. That means carb counting and dissecting food labels at the grocery stores now and being mindful of high carb snacks and food. Which means learning about the glycemic index and which foods are okay and not.

I plan to take on a 30-day challenge which will involve going low carb. Here are the rules:

  • No food high in refined sugars – candy, ice cream, soda, energy drinks, etc.
  • No fast food
  • No white bread or pasta – only whole grains
  • No alcohol (that’s not a problem for me)
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Drink more water – about 130 ounces
  • Add more fruits and veggies

I was thinking of doing the 30-day challenge in July but I think I might have to do it sooner than that, which is fine, because it’s just 30 days no matter when they are. I’m not sure if I’m going to do a single post detailing everything or if I’m going to post every day or maybe just once a week with a daily log. Maybe I’ll do that one. One post per week on a specified day with each of that week’s days on it. I think that would be a good way to document my challenge.

I think I’ll start next week Sunday and post on Saturday until the last two days. Well I guess I’m going to go on this journey and share it with you folks to help you on your own journey. If you want to go on this challenge with me feel free to join me!