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Making Lists

Do you have to make shopping lists when you go grocery shopping, just so you won’t forget half of what you went out to get in the first place?

Or, have you ever underestimated the power of a to do list, and missed to call that one person you really had to speak to?

No? It’s just me then.

This is of course a super simplistic way of looking at it, but the main message stays the same: unless you write down what you want, it will be difficult for you to get it. Or get there.

How do you keep track of everything that needs to be done?

For me, it’s definitely the easiest to make a list out of it.

Until what needs to be done becomes a routine, it’s very difficult to remember all the things that require your attention. (Not least if you’re handling something like diabetes.)

And, if there’s something outside of yourself that you want and you don’t formulate clearly what it is, how will other people ever know how to give it to you? And also, how do you get a crystal clear view of exactly it is you want?

Before going on last month’s Low Carb Cruise, I felt a bit nervous about it. First of all, it’s a long trip and secondly, I was about to be in the same room as so many of my Heroes!

I talked to a brilliant friend of mine about it, and she told me to write a list of the people I wanted to talk to during the cruise.

“This is so silly”, I thought to myself, “what’s the use of a list?!”

But, as the excellent friend she is, she pushed me to do it anyway. And am I glad I did!

Lo-and-behold, when I found my list again a few days after we had gotten onto dry land again (but my body was clearly still on the ship, everything was swaying), I had accomplished Every. Single. Thing. on that list! I had talked to all the people I wanted to talk to, and a good few more!

This close-to-obsessive list writing of course doesn’t just apply to rather mundane things, like grocery shopping, or super exciting things, like making sure you grab the chance to talk to your heroes. It’s also absolutely useful for everyday things, like what to bring on your holiday, or things like where you want to be in a year from now, what you’d like your A1c to be and what kind of tools you want and need to simplify your life. For example. Not to mention the good old to do list!

Lists don’t have to be exclusively used for practical things, you can very well use them for things like your emotions and actions to. In that case it’s called a to be list.

What do you want to be like today? How would you like to act in certain situations? And, how do you want to feel?

If you know what (or who) makes you feel good, why don’t you ask for it?

And how do you formulate said wishes, thoughts, questions and desired actions? If you leave it at just a thought, you most likely will forget it. If you see it on and off it’s easier to focus on it. You and I both know that any goal you have is so much easier to reach if you know what you want and you state it clearly, making you focus on it.

Remember that goals like “one day I’d love to be able to go skydiving” just won’t cut it either. It’s too general! Your goal needs to be a SMART one, Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. The one about skydiving then becomes “In 3 months I want to have the appointment booked for skydiving, providing my doctor says it’s ok at least 2 weeks before”

Then the challenge is just how to get there.

What do you make lists of?

Diabetes Expert

Diabetes Expert – that’s a bold statement!

Being an expert, you have to be perfect, don’t you?

You need to be able to juggle anything that is thrown at you, know every single little detail about your topic and preferably have 67 Masters, PhD’s and other qualifications to be one.

Right?!

I used to think so. I really did. “Experts” in my life used to be my doctor and endocrinologist, for example. And these people know a lot, they definitely do. But they usually have zero training in nutrition, for example.

And they may not know or understand everything about YOU and YOUR individual case. You’re always going to be your own best doctor, because you know YOUR body, your situation and your case the best.

So, who am I to call myself a Diabetes Expert? 

It’s true, I don’t know everything about you, your life and your case. Yet. But I am willing to listen, learn and help you on your road to become a healthier you.

It’s really my passion in life, to get to help you through what I’ve already been though. To share all the tools, tricks and food that I’ve found has helped me and many others.

But what happened to GrainBrain? I’m sure you’re curious!

GrainBrain has been a fantastic stepping stone on my journey of becoming healthier, happier and more experienced. And it has served me very well when I was only about eating healthier (i.e. grain free).

Now that I’m fully focusing on helping people with diabetes to become healthier, lower their A1c’s and feel more confident, I feel that the name GrainBrain has run it’s course in my business.

I don’t want to hide behind a brand anymore, I want to show even more of myself, my journey and how I can help you on yours. Become even more authentic, if you want.

Which is why I’ve decided to change the name of my business, refurbish the website and get a fresh breeze in here! So please help me welcome Hanna Diabetes Expert!

In light of this, I looked up how a few people define what an expert is. And their answers made me smile.

Warning – there’s some self-assessment coming up! 🙂

“What qualifies anyone to be an expert? I view an expert as someone who has considerable intellectual knowledge and real world experience in a particular field, area of study, process, or activity. They possess knowledge and experience in greater measure than a majority of others in their field. And they can express their expertise in order to help others understand and implement any appropriate ideas and actions based on that information. (…) Today, I would venture to say experience builds expertise faster and stronger than education. For education not applied is merely knowledge locked in the brain and not tested in the real world.”

Well, if 30 years of trials, errors, successes and blood, sweat and tears aren’t experience enough, I’m not sure what is?

I thought this was a really interesting point of view. Another article I found, listed 5 quite similar characteristics of being an expert as states above:

“Knowledge: Clearly being an expert requires an immense working knowledge of your subject. Part of this is memorized information, and part of it is knowing where to find information you haven’t memorized.

This is one of my favorite parts of doing what I do – I learn new things every day. Whether it’s about myself, a client, or diabetes in general, I make sure there’s an ongoing addition to my knowledge.

“Experience: In addition to knowledge, an expert needs to have significant experience working with that knowledge. S/he needs to be able to apply it in creative ways, to be able to solve problems that have no pre-existing solutions they can look up — and to identify problems that nobody else has noticed yet.”

Having a coaching background that has taught me a trick or two throughout the years is certainly beneficial. Experience and knowledge go hand in hand. And, the whole reason you work with someone, be it a coach, mentor or expert of some sort, is to get another perspective on your situation. It’s so easy to get stuck in your own bubble and lose view of the Big Picture. Working with someone on the “outside” of that bubble can really help you regain your aerial view.

“Communication Ability: Expertise without the ability to communicate it is practically pointless. Being the only person in the world who can solve a problem, time after time after time, doesn’t make you an expert, it makes you a slave to the problem. It might make you a living, but it’s not going to give you much time to develop your expertise — meaning sooner or later, someone with knowledge and communication ability is going to figure out your secret (or worse, a better approach), teach it to the world, and leave you to the dustbin of history (with all the UNIX greybeards who are the only ones who can maintain the giant mainframes that nobody uses anymore).”

Yes, communication is definitely key. In any relationship. But there’s also a huge difference between talking to someone and talking at someone. The latter is usually a waste of everyone’s time. And you can only communicate your solution to someone who is ready to hear it.

“Connectedness: Expertise is, ultimately, social; experts are embedded in a web of other experts who exchange new ideas and approaches to problems, and they are embedded in a wider social web that connects them to people who need their expertise.“

I aim to help as many people with diabetes as possible. To get new input and not get stuck in old ways, I make sure to stay connected to different other experts within fields of interest to my clients.

“Curiosity: Experts are curious about their fields and recognize the limitations of their own understanding of it. They are constantly seeking new answers, new approaches, and new ways of extending their field.”

One fatal mistake would be to get stuck in my thoughts, my ways and in what has worked for other clients. Every client is a new, exciting opportunity to help someone with a problem (or many).

I want you to know something though…

Being and calling myself a Diabetes Expert definitely doesn’t mean that I have perfect values all the time, endless amounts of energy, smooth cgm curves and my A1c keeps effortlessly where it should be. I have catastrophical days, too. Because there is no such thing as a perfect diabetic.

Diabetes is a lot of hard work. Sometimes grueling hard work. But it’s also about perspective and wanting to find a solution. Finding YOUR solution, how you can cope with it and how you can turn it into the very best you can.


What are you an expert in? How do you share this with the world?

HbA1c, just a number?

Do you ever find yourself paying a little too much attention to a specific number?

Your weight? Your distance covered? Milestones reached? Friends on Facebook?

Or, perhaps, your HbA1c, the “lighthouse” of how you’re doing as a diabetic?

It’s easy to put a lot of weight on a number (pun intended!), because it’s something measurable, something you can follow and have a direct understanding of whether it improves or gets worse.

What’s difficult to understand is that these numbers, none of the ones I mentioned above, matter much.

Your weight technically doesn’t matter much, as long as you feel fit and healthy with it. Neither does the amount of kilometers you ran last week, unless you were in a race… Counting milestones only creates an inner stress and pressure to reach your goals faster, harder, more productively. And, friends on Facebook – are they r e a l l y friends…?

I know. This is crazy cakes.

We’ve been told, time and time again, to set measurable goals, and it’s really hard to find ways to measure improvement without those numbers.

So also when it comes to diabetes care and the HbA1c value.

I’ve been conditioned for 30 years to regard my HbA1c as the shining light of how well I’m doing, so the habit isn’t easy to break. Even when I know I’ve done pretty darn well lately.

I had my a-few-times-a-year appointment with my endocrinologist earlier this week.

Driving there (only takes about 7 minutes, but still), I was super-nervous and kept sending little wishes out for a lower-than-last-time HbA1c reading (which was 6,4%).

I got there, peed in a cup, had some blood taken, weighed in and measured my blood pressure. For someone who has a severe case of “White Coat Syndrome”, which is when you get nervous just seeing, being near or even thinking of a doctors office, the last part always seems a little stupid. And it was this time too, because it was through the roof.

I got into my endo’s office and we chatted a bit about life in general, before we got into the whole diabetes thing.

Once again, I was complimented by her on how well I’m doing. This is still a weird feeling to me, after having basically been a disappointment and being scolded for the other 28 years I’ve met with endocrinologists.

She told me that there probably isn’t much more I can optimize about my care without having a lot more hypos. “Watch me” I thought to myself, as I still think I can, and I will keep trying to optimize and improve until the day I die.

Anyway, to the value that every diabetic has been conditioned to regard as a sign of life or death: my HbA1c was 6,2% this time, or 44 mmol/mol.

This is the lowest I can ever remember having during my 30-year career in and with diabetes. I asked my parents, too, and they can’t remember anything lower either.

The fact that I’ve put so much emphasis on it and then receiving exactly the result I was hoping for made me ecstatic. Happy, euphoric and close to tears of pride. In my opinion, with all right. (And I have yet to celebrate this properly!)

After we had discussed some other topics, and I had received all the supplies I needed from their office (making it feel like Christmas every time I go there!), I got into my car and drove off, full of joy!

I got home, told my husband about the result, he gave ma a huge congratulatory hug, and I was so darn pleased with myself. I posted a rarely-seen-selfie  and got on with my day.

Later in the evening it hit me though. I was sad. Despite my excellent HbA1c result. Despite the praise and the congratulations. I felt saddened.

It took me a good few minutes to figure it out, a little EFT tapping and some meditation came in very handy at that point.

I was sad, because that result didn’t mean anything, really.

Fine, it means that I’m reasonably well controlled in my diabetes. It means that I’ve come a long way from where I started a few years ago after a long diabetes burn out, giving me double figure HbA1c’s. And it gives me a little hope for the future.

But it also means that I’m not really awarded in anyway for it (unless I buy myself something pretty, or have a glass of champagne to celebrate). It doesn’t give me a break from diabetes, not even for a minute. It doesn’t stop the poking, prodding and always having to be on alert. It doesn’t mean I can live carefree and forget about everything.

It just means that I’m alright and that my doctor is proud of me. And that I’m technically “pre-diabetic” according to my HbA1c. 

Don’t get me wrong.

I love the fact hat I’ve found my own way and am finally in the position where I feel like I have even the faintest of clues about this whole diabetes thing.

I love the feeling of not being scolded by my dream health care team. And I love that I can say that I’ve reached a new record in my life.

But I don’t think it’s the best idea to put as much of a value as I do on this one value. Especially as there are so many other factors that determine how well I’m doing and/or how healthy I am.

 

What about you – do you also put too much emphasis on one single number? Perhaps it’s your weight? How far you’ve run this week? Or maybe you’re like me and put (too) much focus on your HbA1c?

Weight Loss – 5 Tips

Sure, food is a big part of losing weight. But it’s not the only part.

This is such an important realization to make, if nothing else to stop yourself from buying into the next fad diet with some super formula that will make you loose weight faster than lightning.

That’s nothing more than excellent PR and marketing work. Rarely there’s any science at all behind it.

The following tips are true for the vast majority of people, whether or not you have diabetes, metabolic syndrome, adrenal fatigue, other problems with endocrinology, or just plain don’t-know-what-to-do status.

 

1. Mental Clarity

The major, number one on the list of weight loss tips is: Mental Clarity.

This is so important I could talk about it all day.

What you eat and how/if you move is crucial to what happens to your weight.

But so is also your mental state.

You’re probably confused and feeling lost when your weight loss suddenly stops or you can’t keep the 500 kcal limit a day (ok, that last one is i n s a n e). You start wondering what’s wrong with you and why you can’t look like that Victoria’s Secret angel…. (ok, that last one is probably self-explanatory… We all have different circumstances and starting out points; all of us can’t end up looking like a super model!)

So you end up feeling stuck. What’s a girl to do?!

a) Answer these crucial questions for yourself:

– What/who/why am I holding on to this weight for?
– What is my excess weight shielding me from? (This can be mental or physical things, like not wanting extra attention or having been bullied around the time when you started gaining weight.)
– Who will I be when I’ve lost this weight?
– How will people see me when I’ve lost the weight?

The answers to these questions will help you clear your mental blocks around weight loss.

b) Why?

Another question!

Answering your “why” (as in why you want to lose the weight) is bringing back the enjoyment in the whole process. It’s a motivator, part of the goal and something to look at on days where everything is blah.

So WHY do you want to lose weight?

If that doesn’t work, you might need more help, in which case I’d recommend working with a coach, therapist or practitioner (for example nutrition and/or emotional freedom technique (EFT Tapping))

 

2. Sleep

No sleep – no weight loss.

This has so much to do with hormones, de-stressing and giving your body the time it needs to heal and repair itself.

When you’re depriving your body of sleep, you’re actively stressing it. And let me tell you this, nothing will happen to your weight if you stress! (Apart from if you want to gain a few and feel miserable.)

Stress hormones, such as adrenaline, norepinephrine and epinephrine give your body other things to do than to focus on weight loss. They throw your body into a “fight or flight” mode and all your body will care about is surviving. Certainly not about losing weight, it will rather hold on to it in case it needs it for the flight-part.

A night here and there without proper sleep is, admittedly, not going to do much. But when it becomes a habit, it might halt your progress.

This goes for any other stressors as well, not just the lack of sleep. Our new favorite hobby, “being busy”, definitely doesn’t help and is a reason why I think so many are overweight these days.

 

3. Exercise

“Eat less, exercise more”, right?!

God no, please don’t!

Exercise shouldn’t be a self-punishing mechanism, although I know very well that it can easily be one.

You should exercise because you enjoy it. Because you feel that your body feels well. Because your mood improves and you can push yourself a little further every time.

Yes, it’s important to exercise. But it’s just as important not to do it out of hating yourself. You have to love the weight off!

As for what kind of exercise you “should” be doing, I couldn’t care less!

Do what motivates you, what makes you feel good and what makes your heart and soul sing those happy tunes.

Be it power walking (with a good audio book!), running, dancing, weight lifting, swimming, mountain climbing, (aqua-) aerobics, pilates, yoga, tennis, football, floor ball, basket ball… You get the point; whatever it is that makes you feel good – do it!

 

4. Eating only when you’re hungry 

“Ooohhh, it’s almost 12 o’clock, that means I get/need to have lunch!”

Recognize yourself?

Unless you actually are hungry (and by hungry I mean properly so, not just any little rumble in your tummy), don’t eat a full meal.

If you’re not hungry when your usual lunchtime rolls around, there’s no one who says that you h a v e to eat. Save it for when you actually are hungry.

Eating because you’re used to it is frankly pretty silly. It makes you eat more than you need to, and, in most cases, it puts you back on the blood sugar roller coaster. (You don’t want that, whether you’re diabetic or not.)

I’m definitely not advocating any type of eating disorders!!

But I am telling you to listen to your body. What does it tell you? Are you really hungry, or are you just bored? What does it need? Are you procrastinating something that you know you should be doing with a snack or a meal?

Check in with yourself before your next meal, are you really hungry?

 

5. Food

This point could (and will be) a whole blog post/a third of my book.

That you are what you eat is clear by now, with everything you eat slowly becoming part of your cells, muscles, skin, bones, organs, hair and nails.

So that what you eat plays a more-than-crucial role on your weight journey is clear as crystal.

Let’s assume you’ve realized that all them carbs aren’t your best buds.

And let’s assume you’ve done something about that. Like starting to eat less processed carbs, flour, bread, pasta and rice, and have started eating more healthy, healing, happy fats. For instance.

And what if your weight is still the same? Or, gasp, has increased?!

If you’ve gone over the point’s I’ve mentioned above, here’s 3 things for troubleshooting Vol. 2.0:

– You’re not eating enough fat, and still eating more carbs than your body can tolerate.

– You’ve fallen for the “low carb baking” train and use almond flour (etc) like it would be water. There is such a thing as eating too many nuts, and in this case, I’m pretty sure that’s what’s happening.

– You’ve heard dairy is basically a “free food” instead of the carby stuff, so you use it. A lot. But it might be that your body cant handle all that diary, and reacts with bad skin and weight gain.

No bueno. Dial back on these things one by one until you find which one(s) is(are) your culprit(s).

 

5.5 Patience 

Patience, my dear, patience.

Being someone who has close to zero patience (working on it!), I understand you completely.

You’ve made all the changes needed; you’ve even given up on bread.

So, naturally, you expect results, like, yesterday.

Except that’s not always the case.

After years, even decades of abusive eating, your body won’t “get it” straightaway.

We can adapt, and your body will adapt to your new, healthier ways. Being animals of habit, the same goes for your body when it comes to weight loss. It knows what it knows and not a thing more. But it can definitely learn new things.

All you need to do is to give it a fair chance to do so, too!

Can you show yourself, your weight loss journey and your body a little more patience? I think you can!

 

Quick recap of what’s important with weight loss:

1. Mental Clarity

2. Sleep

3. Exercise

4. Eating only when you’re hungry

5. Food

5.5. Patience

 

Which of these have you tried? Where are you still struggling? Answer in the comments below!

 

 

New Year – New Resolutions?

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion”

So why stress yourself to a goal you think you need and want?

I don’t believe in new years resolutions.

They are very often a surefire way of setting yourself up for failure.

Why is this?

There are many more or less valid reasons to why you don’t stick with your own promise to yourself.

I want to run through five of them with you today.

 

  1. You set goals you don’t want yourself.

Why, or, rather, for whom do you want to lose that weight?

For your partner to find you more attractive? For your kids? To keep up with the Joneses?

It’s all a damn lie.

If you don’t want it for yourself, and yourself exclusively, you are very unlikely to actually stick with it.

Ask yourself if the promise you made yourself last week actually is for your own sake or for someone elses.

FIX: Chose a resolution for YOU.

 

  1. You say the same old resolutions you did last year. And the year before. And the one before that.

“I want to lose weight, get healthy, organized, and save more money. This is my year, this year I’ll make it happen.”

Does that sound familiar? (Turns out that they are some of the most common new years resolutions, so technically, they should be familiar!)

Do they also happen to be the same ones you made last year?

Keeping up “appearances” in front of yourself is just a huge let down. Let’s face it; if you didn’t manage to make all of that happen last year, what says you’ll be able to do so this year?

Maybe something else is keeping you from creating your new life? More on that in the next point.

FIX: Ask yourself what you want NOW, for THIS year as the person you are TODAY and want to be in a year from now. What you wanted last year doesn’t matter. Anymore.

 

  1. You bite off more than you can chew.

Back to the example: “I want to lose weight, get healthy, organized, and save more money. This is my year, this year I’ll make it happen.”

Does that even sound realistic at all?

I know a year might seem like a huge chunk of time for you to get everything done and dusted. But if we’re real here for a second, we both know that that’s not the case.

Every day life gets in between your high hopes and promises to yourself, and all you end up doing is to stress and be disappointed in your seeming inability to make “any changes”.

You’re simply not giving yourself a chance!

FIX: Set realistic goals. What can you achieve within the next year? What do you want to achieve in the next year? Pick your number 1 on that list and stick to it. (If you manage to do more of them, awesome job!!)

 

  1. Your resolution isn’t focused enough.

If you’ve ever done any kind of coaching, or are at all into that sort of thing, you’ll have heard of SMART goals.

Goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely are more likely to be reached.

And although this is a fantastic starting point of goal setting, there is one thing that is more important than the others: SPECIFIC.

If your goal isn’t specific enough, such as “I want to lose weight”, you never know when you’ve reached your goal.

If your goal, on the other hand, is specific, such as “I want to lose 5 kg until the trip I’m going on 20th February”, it’s a completely different thing.

Your brain registers it as a goal with a deadline that you have to make continuous effort to reach.

Do you see the difference?

You need to set your goal in a way that leaves you knowing exactly what you need to do next as a first step toward a healthier, happier, and better you.

FIX: Make sure your resolution is specific.

 

  1. You’re should-ing all over yourself

As in, if you don’t really want to make this change for yourself (see point 1), but feel you S H O U L D do it.

I’m sorry, game over, better luck next time.

If you say that you “should lose weight” instead of that you “want (really badly) to lose weight”, there’s a huge difference in how you, your body, brain and energy interpret that message.

A resolution that comes from guilt with an added side of stress and unhappiness for dessert will never work. And you should never say never.

It’s similar to that ever long to do list you have made for yourself that you know, deep down inside, you will never finish. Or want to finish either. It just creates too much anxiety, too much stress and too little fun!

FIX: Eliminate “should” from your resolution vocabulary. Or, better yet, altogether.

 

Your goals and resolutions ultimately have to make you happy, make your soul bubble and your heart shine.

Reviewing said goals and resolutions definitely should happen more than once a year as well. This is my biggest pet peeve with new years resolutions – once a year, on a more or less alcohol induced evening, you “have to” make promises for the next year.

That’s just weird!

 

Help is right around the corner though. And especially so if you’re in the Zürich (Switzerland) area!

If your (true) resolution is in any way health or fitness related, I’ve teamed up with two beyond excellent coaches to give you the best possible start of the new, healthier, happier, fitter and more productive you. Check us out here!

And, if you are in or around Zürich on the 17th January you have the exclusive chance to try us out and take us out for a test run! More details and to book your seat, click here!

 

Remember; resolutions are out, fun is in.