What Was I Doing Right? The Quest for a Lower A1C

Today I was thinking about how closely I was monitoring my blood sugars back when my A1C was at 7.1. 7.1 is not necessarily my ultimate goal, but it was the best my A1C had been since pre-diagnosis and it was the result of lots of hard work and habits I have since dropped. So what was I doing differently then, and instead of asking myself what I’m doing wrong now, how can I re-implement the things I was doing right?

Exercise
Now, since high school, except when I was taking PE courses in college, exercise has never been a strict part of my routine. Call it laziness or lack of athleticism, it’s hard for me to get excited about moving for no apparent reason. However, when my A1C was at it’s best, I was making a concerted effort to exercise twice a week. Today’s recommendations suggest exercising 60 minutes most days, but even 20 minutes twice a week affected my blood sugar levels and other aspects of my health.

Glucose Monitoring
At this point in my diabetes life this should be a given. But honestly, without the aid of Dexcom, even testing 8 times a day leaves me feeling lost. But the thing is I’m honestly not even testing 8 times a day. Even with Dexcom I was testing at least 4 times a day to be sure that Dex was calibrated. Until Dexcom becomes a reality again, it’s time to start testing my blood sugar often.

Carb Counting
Guessing the amount of carbs I am eating on easy things to measure like cereal and potato chips should not be happening. It’s not fun to count every morsel that goes into my mouth, but it’s necessary for what I would consider acceptable blood sugar numbers.

Capping the Carbs
When I first got my pump, I was attempting to cap my daily dose around 100u. Now this is VERY IMPORTANT, I was in NO WAY limiting my insulin dose, just attempting to limit my carb intake to somewhere around 100-120 grams. I’d explain to you the math and my own personal insulin intake for how this works out, but I don’t think you actually care. Trust me on this one. The science behind this is simple. It’s like a drain. If one very dirty person takes a shower over the course of a week, the drain doesn’t get clogged. Now if 100 very dirty people take a shower at the same time, the drain might get clogged. Consequently, the more carbs I eat the harder my body has to work to “unclog” my blood of sugar particles. I’m by no means going low carb, but 100 is a limit I can live with and one that my blood sugar doesn’t so much mind, either.

Simple is better.
There are a lot of PWDs who stay away from high sugar fruits because of the after meal spikes it causes. Yet another piece of evidence that everyone’s body is different, I don’t typically spike as long as the fruit I’m eating is high in fiber, such as an apple. Keeping the carbs simpler seems to allow my body to process the sugar more quickly. In fact, if my blood sugar is below 100 I don’t even have to bolus for an apple! It’s like magic. (Again, everyone’s body is different so don’t try this at home, kids). Bottom line is, when I focus on simple carbs vs. complex carbs, I tend to have better readings with the simple ones.

And Finally…

Remember that it’s okay to not be perfect. Remember that failure isn’t in your diabetes vocabulary. Remember that you can do this.

 

And just keep swimming…

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