blood sugar

As I have said in a previous post, I am a diabetic.  To control my diabetes, I take medication in the form of pills and I take a long-acting insulin twice a day.  I also monitor my blood sugars closely, taking my blood glucose readings at least once a day and having blood work done at the hospital once every three months.

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I also try to use exercise and diet to control my blood sugars.

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My ‘before-eating blood sugars’ have recently been in the range of 7 to 14 mmol/l (milimoles per liter) – they should be between 4 and 7.   My blood sugar readings follow along with the food I have eaten.  If I eat late at night or if I have a baked dessert after supper, I always find my blood sugars up in the morning.

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Before Christmas, my blood sugars were excellent.  They were responding well to my regular exercise (I bike on my stationary cycle once every two or three days)  and to my better eating habits.  However, in spite of the fact that I did not gain weight over Christmas, my blood glucose readings are higher than they should be.

unhappy Alexandra
unhappy Alexandra

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The chart below shows the difference.  For October (the first 25 readings) my early morning blood sugars did not go above 10.  For January 2014 (the next 20 readings) they are often above 10.

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blood sugars

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I know from past experience that blood sugar control is a bit like a fall down the stairs.  Once you start to fall, it is hard to stop the tumble and every step adds its injuries.  Once you get to the bottom of the stairs, you just lay there and it’s hard to get up and get back to normal.  Once I overeat one day and get a bad blood sugar reading, guilt and fear and avoidance take over.  Like falling downstairs, every day of poor control contributes to an overall pattern of high readings.  It’s like my body says, ‘Oh, high sugars must be normal for me. Give me sugar.’  Part of the problem is avoidance … when my blood sugars are high, I don’t take my blood sugar readings (fear?) and sometimes I conveniently ‘forget’ my medication (denial?).  It takes several days of control to get over the guilt and get my blood sugars back to normal.

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To regain control I must:

  • control my evening eating
  • take my blood sugar readings (don’t be afraid to see the readings)
  • take my medications (don’t stick my head in the sand)

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I’ll get my act together, and get back on track, and let you know how I do …

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Best always, Alexandra

Alexandra dismayed
Alexandra dismayed
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drinking water for health

Drinking water is so good for me.  It fills me up, keeps me from being dehydrated (and thus keeps my metabolism going), keeps my joints lubricated and flushes toxins from my body.  It is just about the easiest thing I can do to keep well.

drinking water

I try to drink 6 glasses (cups) of water per day.  The Dietitians of Canada website (http://www.dietitians.ca/Nutrition-Resources-A-Z/Factsheets/Miscellaneous/Why-is-water-so-important-for-my-body—Know-when-.aspx) suggests that women drink 9 cups of fluid a day!  Some of the fluid can be supplied from milk, tea and coffee, juice and so on.  I limit tea and coffee since they contain caffeine.  I rarely drink soft drinks since they contain loads of sugar.  I go through bouts when I drink sugar-free soft drinks non-stop, but I always wonder what the sweeteners are doing to my body.  I also rarely drink juice since it makes my blood glucose too high.

I usually have one cup of tea per day and at least two cups of milk, so on an ideal day, I am at 9 cups per day.  On an ideal day…  well, there are certainly days when I don’t drink the fluids I should.  For some reason, I also have a hard time drinking fluids early in the day.  So I can always use some encouragement and a few reminders.

Over the next five days, I am going to keep track of my fluid intake.  I can do this with both of my I-Pad tracker apps, MyFitnessPal‘  (http://www.myfitnesspal.com/) and  ‘CheckOff Diet Tracker’ (New Angle Technologies LLC).  However, I also made a page in my notebook to keep track of the water and other fluids I am drinking.  Since I can keep my notebook nearby, I can keep my goal of drinking fluids literally ‘in sight’.

Goal #7: to drink nine cups of fluids each day for five days, including at least two cups of milk, one cup of tea and no juice or regular/diet soda.

drinking water

In five days, I’ll tell you if I achieved my goal of nine cups of fluid per day.

Follow along with me if you like.  Let me know how you do!

Best always, Alexandra

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increasing fruits and vegetables in my diet

My first short-term goal was to try to limit my evening eating.  Two days of effort showed me that by planning my evening snack and by keeping an activity nearby to divert my attention from eating, I could avoid an evening of mindless eating.  To put this learning into action, I am going to track my evenings over the next 30 days.  This will help me learn a new behavior.  To follow my progress, just click on the ‘evening eating’ tab above.

Today, I want to set a new short-term goal.  I usually include fruit and vegetables in my diet each day, but I could improve my intake of both.  Canada’s Food Guide recommends that a woman of my age should eat 7 servings of fruit and vegetables each day.  Fruit and vegetables are so important – they provide fibre, nutrients, and compounds to fight cancer and heart-disease.  Dark-green leafy vegetables and colourful fruit are particularly rich in anti-oxidants.  I like the list of benefits provided by the USDA ChooseMyPlate website at http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/vegetables-why.html

Since I am diabetic, I need to be careful how I include various foods in my diet.  Fruits and vegetables generally have a low glycemic index and help my body to regulate its sugar levels.  I try to eat only whole fruit and vegetables rather than juices because juice makes sugar rapidly available to the body and can result in blood sugar spikes and valleys.

Goal #6: To increase my intake of fruit and vegetable servings in the next four days (Nov. 27 to Nov. 30) to 4 servings of vegetables per day and 4 servings of fruit per day.

Here is the page from my notebook where I will keep track of the vegetables and fruit I am eating.  I can also list ways of including these foods in my menus.  For example, I can add a serving of berries or raisins to my cereal to increase the fruit intake in my breakfast.  And I can make sure my grocery list includes lots of fruit and vegetables.

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Once the four days are over, I’ll show you my completed page so you can see how I did.  You can also use this page to track your own fruit and vegetable intake.

Best always, Alexandra

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