7 Little Ways to Care for Your Diabetes

Whether you are newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes or have been living with it for years, you can make small changes to your life that could potentially turn your life around. You could come off the insulin injections, you could stop taking tons of medications, you could potentially reverse your diabetes.

Be warned, it will not happen right away. You will need to have patience and persevere. You need to set your goals, keep them in your heart the entire time. It will be hard. You will feel devastated and tired and frustrated, but you can do this. My favorite quote from wherever I had heard it, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.”

1. Lose (Just A Little) Weight

As your body gains weight, it can have more difficulty regulating blood sugar levels with the insulin your body naturally produces. This leads to insulin resistance, your pancreas will produce more and more insulin to move the sugar from your blood into your cells. But it will become less effective and can cause damage to your pancreas.

Insulin promotes fat storage and weight gain. It causes an infinite cycle of weight gain, insulin resistance, more insulin production, more weight gain. But modest weight loss, 5 to 10% of your body weight, can lead to huge improvements. Just a 7% loss can improve insulin sensitivity by 57%!

2. Water Down Blood Sugar

The more dehydrated you are, the more concentrated the sugars in your blood become. Those who drink less than 16 ounces of water per day have a higher risk of developing elevated blood sugar levels compared with those who drank more. You can drink water, herbal tea, and milk. Coffee should be limited to three cups a day, caffeine can dehydrate you.

3. Try Exercise Snacking

Instead of doing 30 consecutive minutes of exercising, try to spread the physical activity throughout the day. Maybe three 10-minute walks throughout the day. Research suggests that these bite-size bits of activity can help control blood sugar better than one longer workout.

Don’t forget to do various types of exercise, like aerobics and strength training. Adults naturally lose 8% of their muscle mass every 10 years between ages 40 and 70, diabetes can double that. Try spending 10 minutes a day building strength by using weights, resistance bands, or body weight moves.Another 10 minutes doing aerobic activity such as fast walking, swimming, jogging, etc. Then another 10 minutes of stretching, which will improve joint movement and reduce chances of injury.

Walking as much as possible throughout the day matters!

4. Muscle Up With Protein

Protein is important for maintaining muscle and stimulating several hormones that contribute to blood sugar regulation. Focus on fish, white-meat chicken, plant-based sources, and lean cuts of beef. Make sure you’re eating protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

5. Get Vaccinated Against COVID-19

People with diabetes, obesity or both are at increased risk for severe illness and death from COVID-19. Research suggests that COVID can worsen diabetes by causing damage to the pancreas and system-wide inflammation that increases insulin resistance.

Even if you get COVID after having been vaccinated, it should indirectly result in less COVID impact for preexisting diabetes. You can get a milder case of COVID with the vaccine. Also don’t forget to stay up to date with your other vaccines as well.

6. Don’t Focus On Sugar

After being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for the first time, people often go to extremes, like drastically limiting carbs. But too few carbs can lead to fatigue, nutritional deficiencies and dangerously low blood sugar. Women should aim for 30-45 grams per meal and men should get 60-75 grams.

Proper nutrition is so important after a diabetes diagnosis, meaning consulting with a registered dietician or certified diabetes care and education specialist is very important.

7. Let The Meds Come As Needed

It’s common for people who are trying to their diabetes to feel like failures if they can’t get off their medications. Even if you do manage to come off your medications, medications could still play an important role in your life, like insulin. Don’t feel defeated by the amount of medications you have, hopefully one day, you’ll knock them out. You can do this!


References

AARP Magazine, Dec 2021/Jan 2022

30 Day Low Carb Challenge: Week 1

I would like to note that you don’t have to read these. They’re are my documentation of my journey through this challenge and it will be lengthy. Each one will be an entire week’s worth of entries. This is mostly for me to log and read. Thank you!


Sunday, June 21, 2020

For breakfast, I had 3 strips of bacon, 2 hot dogs, 2 eggs scrambled and 2 slices of toast with butter. Usually my tummy gets queasy when I eat this sort of greasy food without rice to control the grease, but this morning it wasn’t so bad. It came out to 33g of carbs. My limit is 45g. Oh but my grandma bought a Boston Cream Cake and I wanted to try a slice so I had half a slice, 1/16 of the cake, and that put me right at my limit: 45g. I was a little upset but at least it wasn’t more than 45g. Also this morning, I had a daytime detox tea which doesn’t say if there’s carbs in it but I should think it doesn’t.

For lunch, I had some hummus and cauliflower stalks with a BBQ Chicken Creations sandwich, again with white bread. That wasn’t so bad. I actually really like the cauliflower stalks and hummus together. Also, I had a Mountain View Stone Cookie as a snack which was a mistake. 200 calories and 29g of carbs in just one cookie!

Dinner was garlic butter shrimp. I was blown away that garlic butter shrimp has almost no carbs whatsoever. The only carbs I had was in the veggie rice medley I had with the shrimp in place of my usual white rice. Good thing my sister had a bag sitting in the freezer this whole time. Otherwise, I’ll be having quinoa as my rice replacement for the rest of this challenge.

In total, I have had roughly 125g of carbs which is a complete plus for the first day! My goal is between 90 and 175g of carbs per day. These are my choices for the rest of the challenge.

Downfalls: The slice of cake and the stone cookie were complete mistakes to have but at least I had them now in the beginning. It can only get better from here. My post-meal blood sugar after lunch was 199mg/dL so there’s still a lot of work to do. We didn’t get to walk the dogs today so we’ll see how walking the dogs can impact everything.

Upsides: I was completely in range as far as carb intake. And with this number, I’m 100% sure that I’m satisfied and not hungry. 80% full is 100% satisfied.

Calories Consumed: 1840Calories Burned: 2327Caloric Balance: +12 (over)
Protein: 80.1gNet Carbs: 125.6gFat: 111.7g

Monday, June 22, 2020

Today was rough. I was so hungry. But my husband made sure I didn’t give in. I had a detox tea this morning. I fasted 16 hours from the night before and that ended at 10:30am. I also had a Herbalife raspberry tea. Before breakfast, I had some roasted red pepper hummus and baby carrots. For breakfast, I had two hotdogs on two slices of bread and some baked fries (skin on). It wasn’t the best breakfast but it’s what we had until we can go to the store again. At least there was no ketchup.

Half an hour later, I got hungry again. I asked my husband if I could have ramen, but he said no and tossed me a protein pack instead. But I was still hungry! So I had some cauliflower and broccoli rice and some leftover shrimp from dinner. That kind of tied me over. I took my dog out for a walk, took us an hour. It was a good walk.

For dinner, my husband made slow cooked pot roast. I had quinoa with my dinner. Wasn’t that bad. I had a pretty decent sized dinner. Lunchtime was hard. It’s only the second day and it really sucked. I have to go out and get more alternatives to the carb heavy snacks in the house right now. I’m going to be week during this first week, I know it.

Downfalls: I had white bread slices again today. I need to get whole grain bread soon. I ate a lot more today just to feel full. I also forgot to take my blood sugar after all the food.

Upsides: I went out and walked my dog which was good. This experience will help me prepare for the next week. I had less grams of fat today than yesterday! I burned more calories today than I consumed so I’m on the path of burning one pound a week!

Calories Consumed: 1697Calories Burned: 2434Caloric Balance: -239
Protein: 100gNet Carbs: 126.8gFat: 82g

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

So today I cheated. Badly. I was craving beef stroganoff and we tried to do it as low carb as possible for dinner but we couldn’t find any alternative noodles for egg noodles ANYWHERE. Not even Safeway had any. So we had to get egg noodles. I also had furikake chicken for lunch. It was so good. But it came with rice and potato mac salad. No alternatives. Considering how much carbs I eat normally, I’m still pretty stoked that it took me two days before I went back to eating rice. However, I can’t make a habit of this. LOW CARB DAMMIT.

Breakfast was two hotdogs, two eggs, and two buttered white toast. We finally got whole grain bread! Today was a bad day but a good one too. We bought some great low carb alternatives. We bought veggie tots and sweet potato fries. We bought a lot of fruits too. We forgot to grab whole grain pasta at Safeway though, so we have to go back because I want spaghetti tomorrow. Either we get whole grain pasta or veggie noodles whichever one we can find. But, at Safeway, we found low carb ice cream! I know this challenge says no ice cream, but it was no ice cream high in refined sugar. Each bar has under 10g of carbs and is high in protein so I think it’s a plus. But we forgot to grab that too, so tomorrow we’re gonna grab those, pasta, and some shrimp, they go on sale tomorrow too.

I’m very upset about today, but I can only go forward from this and do better. I also did go over my carb limit today and I’m really sad about that. I was going to walk my dog today, but I fell asleep and slept for two hours! I’ve been really tired since starting this challenge. I think it’s because I’m not eating a lot of carbs so my body is working harder to burn protein and fats instead maybe. Also, I had diarrhea after eating the furikake chicken. My stomach was so upset with me. Was it the grease from the chicken or the rice and mac salad? No idea but it was definitely lunch that did it for me.

Downfalls: I was weak today and gave in to white rice. I went over my carb limit and I didn’t go out to walk my dog today. Today was bad.

Upsides: I did a lot of walking in the store today while shopping. Dinner was really good too.

Calories Consumed: 1684Calories Burned: 2347Caloric Balance: -164
Protein: 60.8gNet Carbs: 198.1gFats: 72.7g

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

So today was a little better but not by much. I’ve been weak. I had a slice of pizza and a breadstick with two mini cinnamon rolls for dinner. For breakfast, I had fruits and hummus and baby carrots. For lunch, I had a Subway sandwich on whole wheat bread. But I did get some exercise in today which was great.

I must be strong and not give in to the carbs! I’m really upset about it. My husband had been craving pizza while we were on this challenge. Today was just a bad day.

Downfall: I had too much carbs today.

Upsides: I got out and walked a lot while shopping and walking my dog.

Calories Consumed: 1753Calories Burned: 2334Caloric Balance: -82
Protein: 64gNet Carbs: 181.6gFats: 77.8g

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Okay so today we were out almost the whole day. I had simian for breakfast with three medium boiled eggs. It’s not my finest moment, but then I didn’t eat until dinner. Not because I was forcing myself not to eat, but because I wasn’t hungry. But because I missed lunch and didn’t have anything since breakfast, I was hungry at dinnertime and that’s where I lost it.

Dinner was teriyaki chicken and rice with a salad topped with a couple slices of blackened ahi. I also had some sort of salad dressing with it. We ordered takeout from a local restaurant so I’m not sure what the salad dressing was. The plate came with three teriyaki chicken breasts and I didn’t save any of them for later. I am ashamed of that.

My only compensation is that we were out in the sun for most of the day and it’s been super hot and sunny all day. We also walked the dog at the walking park after dinner so we got to walk off dinner a bit. There was no breeze but the clouds finally covered the setting sun so it wasn’t hot and sunny. We did a pretty good pace with my good old girl. We could only do 1.5 laps around the park because she was starting to get tired and panting a lot.

We’re planning to make morning walks without the dog a thing soon. We just have to buy my husband walking shoes so we can get some serious laps in. He only has his work shoes. It’s Hawaii, we don’t usually wear shoes here. Maybe we’ll get to run a bit, too.

Downfall: A lot of freaking carbs today. Too much.

Upside: We’re making plans to be more active. I got a personalized weight loss book in the mail that walks me through the best food choices to make and tips for beginning my weight loss journey. I’m really excited about it and can’t wait to make the necessary food swaps towards weight loss. ALSO, I now weigh 209 pounds. I’ve lost three pounds since starting this challenge. I’m sure it’s water weight but that’s still something.

Calories Consumed: 2203Calories Burned: 2368Caloric Balance: +334 (over)
Proteins: 148.4gNet Carbs: 221.3gFats: 72.7g

Friday, June 26, 2020

Today the cravings were non-existent. I had a blackened ahi salad from the night before for breakfast. It wasn’t that bad. I didn’t finish it so I gave it to my husband to finish. I had one serving of M&M peanuts, I actually opened the share size package and split it in to three servings. All for me of course. Then I tried out my Breyer’s ice cream. It was surprisingly very good and it helped on the super hot day we had.

For a snack, I had a pair of chicken sliders from Market Pantry – Target. They’re pretty good. For lunch, I went to Subway and had a 6-inch turkey sandwich on wheat bread. I couldn’t hear what the guy said but they didn’t have all the options available anyway so I went with wheat. Loaded it with veggies and had a little bit of mayo to make it not so dry.

For dinner, we had spaghetti with whole grain spaghetti noodles. The noodles were actually really good. I thought they were going to taste weird but they were actually really good. However, my tummy wasn’t having all the sauce and it was getting queasy, so I had a scoop of rice to help calm my tummy down. It helped but at what cost?

Downside: I had quite a bit of sweets and starch.

Upside: I ate a lot less than the other days.

Calories Consumed: 1550Calories Burned: 2266Caloric Balance: -217
Proteins: 67.5gNet Carbs: 170.7Fats: 64.9g

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Today was hectic. My sisters, husband, and I went down to our storage unit to find Crystal’s high school diploma so she can apply for grad school in Germany. The storage unit is crowded with crap and there’s no light or air conditioning. It was pretty hot. I sweated a lot.

For breakfast, I had leftover spaghetti and some rice. Not so great. I also had some Hello Panda candies, also not good. After we were done with the storage unit, I had a chef’s salad and hot dog from 7 Eleven not the best choice but it wasn’t completely unhealthy. And we went to the mall and I had a Gotta Guava Jamba Juice, so good, high in sugar.

For dinner, we ordered out and I had some mochiko chicken, white rice, and a salad. I thought I had ordered the mochiko chicken curry but turns out I was wrong. So I had a very carb heavy day but I did get to burn off some of those calories. Not really.

Calories Consumed: 2512Calories Burned: 2546Caloric Balance: +465 (over)
Proteins: 94.4gNet Carbs: 347.8gFats: 74.5g

Overview:

The first week could have gone better. I didn’t stick to the challenge very well and that is completely my bad. And I’m starting to pay for it. My blood sugar levels aren’t going down and now my insulin dosage is going up. It’s very frustrating. I need to try harder next week.

The Journey: Episode Fifteen

June 21, 2020

I woke up this morning and checked my blood sugar, it was 156 mg/dL. No bueno. So tonight I’ve decided to go up to 80 units of insulin. I’ve poked my right thigh as much as I could while keeping at least 1/4 inch distance between injection sites. I just can’t bunch up enough skin and fat to have a less painful injection, I think I should put the injection sites closer together. I’ve only injected four times into my right thigh.

I’m a little nervous about injecting in to my left thigh tonight because I don’t trust my left hand so I have to reach over and inject while making sure my hand stays steady. When it moves too much while the needle is injected it can hurt a lot.

One thing I’m not happy about is that I can’t really tell where I have recently injected. My most recent one still shows sign of the site, but the earlier ones have already started fading. I’ve been thinking about marking my skin with a sharpie or something but then, you know, skin absorbs all kinds of stuff and I don’t want it to absorb ink near my insulin injection site. But I’m afraid I won’t remember where I injected on my right thigh when I come back to it in 4 to 5 days. I’m not sure what I can do about that.

Also, I’m on the low carb diet. Hopefully this will help bring my sugar readings down in the morning with the increased 80 units. Given my sugars have been pretty high lately I’m not too worried about lows on this challenge and with more insulin. However, if I should go low, I will adjust my insulin accordingly. Now I can only get three shots out of each pen. Diabetes is so expensive.

None of my insurance covers insulin but thank goodness for the Lantus savings card otherwise I’d be paying for all of my insulin at once. But I still have to pay $92/box of five pens. Now one box is only good for about 15 days unless I use up the last of one pen and then use some of the next pen to make 80, but that means two injects on that night. Yikes, maybe not.

I need to take better control of my diabetes management. I have to do more indoor exercising for sure. The weather here in Hilo, HI has been all over the place. One day it’s hot and sunny, the next is pouring rain. Some days it’ll start out hot and sunny then end up pouring from noon to dusk or vice versa. So I should rely more on at-home exercise. I should make any excuse to get up and move around too.

I also need to drink tons of water and use the bathroom a lot. Which means we need to buy more toilet paper. There’s a lot I have to and sometimes it feels very overwhelming. So much so that I don’t want to do much sometimes. But even just a little bit of something is better than nothing.

If your diabetes has you down and you’re just overwhelmed with managing your diabetes, don’t give up. Do something, anything, no matter how small. Doing something like drinking more water or drinking water at all, is a step in the right direction. You’ve got this! We’ve got this! Never give up on yourself. Diabetes will make you stronger.

EDIT: I have decided against upping my insulin to 80 units. Since I’ve just started the 30 Day Low Carb Challenge this could impact my blood sugar so I want to see how it goes from here for the next couple of days. Also I have another doctor appointment on Friday so we’ll see what happens.


If you like my content and want to see more, follow my blog! I post journey updates and new blog content every week, even when my depression gets the better of me, a new post always goes up.

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30 Day Low Carb Challenge: Introduction

So I saw this post on Tumblr of all places. Someone posted about going on a low carb challenge for 30 days. During the next 30 days, I have to:

  1. Avoid food high in refined sugars
    • candy, ice cream, soda, energy drinks, etc
  2. Avoid fast foods
  3. Avoid white bread and pasta
    • limited to only whole grains
  4. Avoid alcohol
  5. Reduce salt intake
  6. Drink more water (about 125 ounces per day)
  7. More fruits and veggies

To avoid annoying everyone with daily posts for the next 30 days, I’m going to post on Sundays. So each week will have a daily log of what I’ve done or haven’t done, how I felt doing it, and if I’m struggling. Since I would be writing at night and the last entry would be Saturday night, I’d schedule it to post on Sunday afternoon. On the last week it’ll just be two days and then an overview of what the whole challenge was like.

My first day of the challenge is today. If you want to join me, feel free to join. Who knows, maybe after the 30 days I might actually change my lifestyle and diet because of this.

Why am I doing this challenge?

Part of me wants to see if I can even do it. But another part of me knows that I need to do it. My blood sugar hasn’t been within range at all for the last three months. No matter how much insulin I take, my sugar doesn’t go down it just stays the same. I’m too afraid to go up another 5 units of insulin to 80 units. I hope this is what I need to do to lower my sugar.

I have always had a lot of trouble with my diet maybe by taking this challenge and turning it public, it’ll make me more accountable. I don’t want to fail in front of you guys. I’m no punk!

But I have to remember that this isn’t just for you guys, this is first and foremost for me. This is for my health and my life. I have to be able to do this, because if I can’t then, well, I don’t want to think about what would happen next.

Wish me luck guys!

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!