How often do I have high/low blood sugars that need treatment? 🤔 A question from the audience!
Learn how I attempt to avoid the high and low blood glucose readings (that are, more or less, a part of life as a Type 1 Diabetic).
What about you? How often do you have highs or lows that require treatment? Let me know in a comment!
If you prefer to read the information in the video above, please find a written version right here:
High or Low Blood Sugars?
This week, I have another question from the audience. And it’s a personal one-ish. Well, I don’t want to get your hopes up, it’s not that bad. Actually a normal question, but it is more personal natured one. So I’m looking forward to answering it. Because this person writes:
How often do you have a real low or high blood sugar that you need to correct? Is it rare, or is it part of everyday life?
I thought this question was very, very interesting. And I guess I’m not that open, perhaps, with my blood sugar levels online, because I frankly don’t think it’s very interesting to share them. If you want me to, I could share more of my day to day values. (If you do, please leave me a comment so that I know because I cannot read your thoughts out there! 😃)
High and low blood sugars are of course part of living with Type 1 Diabetes and no one can deny that. The frequency of them, however, can greatly and amazingly be influenced by different lifestyle factors, for example. For me, for example, a low carb lifestyle has really helped to eliminate most highs and lows. I no longer get those extreme highs followed by extreme lows, because I simply follow the law of small numbers so I don’t have that much insulin in my body. And also not that much insulin required, that I get those quick drops. Furthermore, I don’t eat that much sugar and carbs so that I get the high highs. You can do a lot with lifestyle factors!
It’s also a question of definition. For me is low is below 3.2-3.5 mmol/l, which is about 65 mg/dl, and my highs are already around 6.5 mmol/l or 117 mg/dl. It’s really a question of definition. Do you mean those super-highs of 400 mg/dl and then down to 20 (22 mmol/l to 1.3)? Or, do you mean this sort of gradual, just on the verge kind of sugar surfing highs and lows? It differs from person to person.
The number 1 thing that I would advise people in this situation is to check your basal settings. Whether you have your long acting insulin or an insulin pump with a basal setting, make sure that those dosages are correct. That can save you a lot of trouble! This is something that I do on myself, as well, I make sure that my basal settings are correct (or as correct as they can be because life happens and things go up the wall sometimes) If you want me to do a video about how to basal test properly, then also let me know in a comment!
If your basal dose is correctly set, you also need less corrections to get the results you need. If you’re too low or borderline too low, for example, and your basal isn’t too high so your blood sugar won’t keep going down much further. With the right settings for you, you only need very little carbs to get you back up into a healthy safe range. Same with highs, if you are borderline high, you don’t need that much insulin to get yourself into a nice, safe healthy range again, because your basal insulin is correctly set.
I correct before there is a high or a low. Of course when I can, things like sleep, illness, travel, stress and things like this too much work (guilty as charged!) can of course make this a little bit trickier and hinder me from keeping that level of control. But whenever I can, I do react before it the low blood sugar or the high one is a fact.
Managing this before they’re a fact, I cannot say enough that a CGM, a continuous glucose monitoring system, really is worth its weight (well, really is worth its value) in gold, because they’re quite expensive. They’re small, but expensive things. Anyway, they are worth absolute gold so that you can react before there’s a high or there’s a low blood sugar.
CGM’s are of course not exact. I don’t know of any CGM system that is absolutely exact. Especially when my goal range is so small, it is very, very annoying that it is more most often 1-3 mmol/l (18-60 mg/dl) off. It’s not really exact, but it is invaluable to see the trends! Where is your blood sugar trending? If your blood sugar is steady and starts to trend downwards, then you can already treat so that you need a lot less and the the hypo doesn’t become a fact. Or, if you see that you’re trending upwards, you can play with either temporary basal if you are in a pump, or wait it out and see what happens ,or correct with insulin. For the trends, and the CGM is fantastic and I could not recommend any more!
Reacting in time actually also helps the Standard Deviation of your blood sugar, as well as your Time In Range, which is what reacting in time will help. This will also help your HbA1c. That little trifecta is a fantastic measurement of health for diabetes. And that also is helped by reacting in time so that you don’t go high and don’t go low, but you can react before it is a thing.
Doing it this way, reacting before a high becomes a high or low becomes a low, makes them very rare. It actually makes them more rare than then it would be, if I, for example, added a ton of sugar, or the recommended amount of carbs for example. This is true for me, and I’m not going to talk about anyone else. But for me if I added that, I would have many more highs and I would have many more lows, because I would have to fight the carbs as well as my body with the stress, work, illnesses, and all of the other 45 things that always influence our blood sugar.
This is my Dexcom G6 24 hour curve from 20th February, and I’ve marked where I used my method and reacted before a high was a high and a low was a low:
I want to hear from you:
Do you have highs and lows often and that you need to react to? Or are they rather rare for you? Let me know in a comment. I’d be happy to chat with you there.
Ps! Join me live next time, Thursday’s at 6pm CET on my Facebook or Instagram for another episode of Type 1 Thursday!
How do your blood sugars react when you get sick? Let me know!
If you prefer a written version of this information, please keep reading:
Influenza & Type 1 Diabetes
Last week, I was very much under the weather, and I did not manage to do anything. Last week, I spent the whole week in bed, because I got a nasty case of the influenza. This never happens to me *touch wood*, I never get sick like that. So it was a first in a good while. I also got a question about this, which is today’s topic on Type 1 Thursday:
As a Type 1 diabetic, eating very low carb, what happens to blood sugars and ketones when I got that sick?
No. It didn’t go perfectly, let’s just be honest about that. I definitely did not have any smooth CGM lines during last week when I was really, really ill. And it’s not an easy feat to try to get, especially as a Type 1 diabetic, but definitely also as a healthy, “normal” person, whatever you want to call it. What did I do, how did I handle it, and what happened to me? Maybe it can help you, if the influenza gets you, too!
I heard today that just in Switzerland, we have about three virus strains going around right now. That’s a lot! I think I just had one of the influenza strains. Last Tuesday, I was so ill that I thought I had pneumonia. I was 99% sure that I had pneumonia. I went to the doctors to get an X ray, especially to check that it wasn’t pneumonia. Well, it wasn’t. But I really felt that badly. I really am not one of these people who just runs to the doctor for whatever, there has to be a legitimate cause for me to even visit a doctor’s office. That’s how bad I was last week. And I’m amazed at my body for turning something that I thought was pneumonia just a week in a bit ago to standing here. You know, I was fine already last weekend, again, and that is astonishing to me that my body managed to get turned around That will and I would like to thank my wonderful gut bacteria. And I would like to think that I did a few things right, which I will get into a little bit later in this life.
Influenza & Blood Sugar?
But first of all, I wanted to go through what happens to your blood sugar when you get ill, because it will go up. Evidently, your blood sugar will go up, especially if you’re a Type 1 diabetic, because you are, of course a little bit more (I don’t like to say it, but), a little bit more sensitive towards infections that way. Blood sugar goes up, for sure. And what can you do against that? Well, you can actually just manage as well as you can. Increase your basal as much as you dare to until you see an effect. With that in mind, I was on + 200% basal on my insulin pump, and it barely budged from 10-11 mmol/l, around the 200’s mg/dl. That was of course scary for me, as I normally have quite good blood sugars. It was good to to know that it was the infection causing it and nothing that I ate, because I also fasted due to that I had such a sore throat and I was coughing so much that I couldn’t eat anything for four days. I only had broth, tea, soups and water for four days. And I think that also helped to turn the influenza around a little bit quicker.
In addition to this, your bolus is not going to be the same as when you’re not sick. Your corrections and mealtime insulin is not going to be as effective, that ratio will also go up, get worse, and you will need more insulin. I used almost 50 units of insulin in one of the days that when I was the sickest, and that I haven’t done since eating high carb, so it was quite bad.
Remember to hydrate because both having influenza and having that high blood sugars will dehydrate your body. So think about hydrating a lot the whole time, sip small sips even if you have the worst throat ache in the world (like I did!) Also consider adding electrolytes, because that can be something that could help you.
Influenza & Ketones?
What happened to my ketones? Normally my ketones are under 2.5 mmol/l on a very low carb way of eating. And this seems to be a normal thing for me. As soon as they go over I get a little nervous. As ketones are never really a goal for me, I don’t really measure them too often, but when I do, they seem to be staying under the 2.5 mark. Because I was fasting, liquid fasting, and because I was sick, my body needed more energy, and because my blood sugar was maybe a little bit high, and my ketones went up to 4.3 mmol/l.
This was actually nothing that worried me at this point, though, because I didn’t feel worse (I already felt like absolute shit…) But the ketones didn’t actually worry me any extra, because I knew I was doing everything that I could for them to do their job. I just chose to monitor them and as long as they didn’t go higher, didn’t have a panic attack about it, and I didn’t worry about it. My theory is that both blood sugar and ketones go higher, because your body needs more energy to get well again, the immune system needs more energy to kick the nasty bugs that you are fighting. I don’t know, maybe the this is not even true, but if you do know why blood sugar goes up when you are ill, and also ketones, please let me know in a comment! I’d be really interested to know from someone who really knows their stuff.
How do you treat a really bad influenza, especially as Type 1 diabetic (but also as a normal person)? I would say hydration is definitely the number 1 thing! Your body can survive without food and might actually get healthier quicker without food. But hydration – we need to hydrate a lot. So make sure you flush out those nasty bugs and the high blood sugar. Make sure you hydrate when you get sick!
Also painkillers, I cannot tell you… I don’t normally take painkillers at all. But last week, they were a Godsend. And I had water soluble ones so I didn’t have to swallow any tablets. Absolutely amazing, saved my life.
Throat lozenges with that numbing effect also really helped me to get through the influenza. Along with echinaea, I have a specific one in a alcohol solution that really helps your immune system to get into a higher gear. To sip, I had my beautiful, beloved “throat coat” tea, which I love when I am sick, because it really feels like your throat gets a coat! Also CBD oil, because it is anti inflammatory, and can help with all the mucous-y stuff going on in your face.
So that’s what happened to me last week, I got sick, blood sugar up, ketones up, but I was not worried because I knew my body was just doing its job in trying to make me healthier.
How do you react with your blood sugars when you get sick? And please let me know in a comment somewhere on the inter-webs and I’ll be happy to chat with you there.
Type 1 Thursday is here with another question from the audience:
“Hello, I notice that you don’t drink any protein drinks or shakes? Do you think they are unhealthy?”
As a short answer, no, I don’t think they’re unhealthy. But I do think there needs to be a need for them, as protein needs are individual. Check out the whole explanation here!
I want to hear from you, do you drink protein shakes? Or do you get your protein from other sources? Let me know in the comments! 🙌
If you prefer to read my views on whether protein shakes are good or not, you can find a written version here:
I am so excited, because there is another question from the audience today that I will be answering. If you have any questions that you think that I should be answering on these live chats (that we have every Thursday 6pm on Instagram, and Facebook), please do let me know in a comment somewhere on the interwebs and I’ll be happy to answer them.
To today’s question, it reads like this: “Hello. I noticed that you don’t drink any protein drinks or shakes is that because you think that they are unhealthy?”
Protein is a very individual
Protein threshold is very individual, especially on low carb, but also generally. Maybe on low carb you give a little bit more of a damn about the protein amount, especially if you have read #*#. Richard Bernstein’s book and checked out his Diabetes University. Protein needs are very individual and it can range from anything, for very sedentary people something like 0.8 grams of protein/kilogram body weight, which doesn’t mean 0.8 grams of meat but 0.8 grams of protein, to something more normal, if you are a little bit more active, maybe something like 1.2 grams per kilogram, or maybe 1.3, 1.5. But it can also go as high as something like 2.4 grams per kilogram, up to five grams per kilogram, if you are a super active athlete.
If your main fuel is protein and amino acids, then it is very individual how much you should be eating. This is why I personally don’t need to drink any protein shakes. I am not a very active athlete, well, I try to keep active but not that active. I’m also not a growing child. So I don’t need as much, and I can cover my protein needs with real food. You have to determine for yourself how much protein you need in your individual case.
Protein in Meat
All meat generally contains about 20 grams of protein per 100 grams of meat. Not all meat is protein, and not all protein is meat. Only one-fifth of the meat is actual protein and amino acids. If I eat 400 grams of meat a day, which is possible, not in one sitting, but if I have two sittings, lunch and dinner, which is normal for me. I don’t really have breakfast so I don’t have to pay attention there. If I have two sittings, and I have 200 grams of meat or protein filled food per sitting, that gives me 80 grams of protein for a day. And that would mean that that is 1.3 grams per kilo of body weight that I have (now you can count how much I actually weigh) Personally, I just prefer to get my protein from real foods because I can. And because I don’t have that extra need for protein shakes that you may have, as I said, if you’re a growing child or a very active athlete.
Need for protein shakes?
The short answer to your question is; I don’t think that protein shakes or drinks are unhealthy, per se. I just think that there needs to be a need for it. And in my case, I don’t have that need. Perhaps, in your case, because you are asking, there is a need for it and then you have to determine if that’s true or not for you.
If you do need a protein drink or a shake, I would recommend something that is clean without any sugars and any added stuff. Flavours is one thing, but you can also flavour it with other things like natural cacao powder or something. You don’t have to buy the ready mixed flavoured stuff, but something that is clean without sweeteners and without dextrose, please, because that will mess with your blood sugar, all the ways till Sunday. If I had the need for protein shakes, I would go for something like an egg white protein or a whey protein.
So, in conclusion, no, protein shakes and drinks are not inherently unhealthy. But there needs to be a use for them and a need for them. Thank you so much for your question!
I would love to hear from you – what are your experiences with protein and with protein shakes? Do you drink them? Or do you get the protein that you need from real food? Let me know in a comment below, and I’ll be happy to chat with you there.
https://hannaboethius.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/HDE-T1T.png10801080Hanna Boëthius/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/HannaDiabetesExpertLogo@2x.pngHanna Boëthius2020-01-30 19:04:012020-01-30 19:04:03Why No Protein Shakes?
How does Low Blood Sugar Affect Weight Loss? 🤔Does it have to? What factors do you have to look out for?
Type 1 Thursday is here!
Do you have experiences with how blood sugars impact weight loss? Share them in a comment!
Thank you so much for watching. Please let me know if you have any questions!
If you prefer to read my thoughts on this, here’s a text version on low blood sugar and weight loss:
Blood Sugar and Weight Loss?
This week I’m excited about the new audience question! (If you have any questions that you want to hear my answer to, then please let me know!)
This week’s question comes from Joe, and Joe writes, “how do low blood sugars affect weight loss?” Thank you for the question!
Are you insulin dependent?
A lot of it depends on if you are taking external insulin or not. Because weight loss happens when a) the blood sugar is stable and b) there’s no excess insulin in the body. There are different theories of weight loss, two main ones as I see it, which I’ve talked about before here on Type 1 Thursday. One is the good old calories in vs calories out which we know is maybe not as applicable as they thought that it was. The other one is that it is actually hormone regulated, mainly with insulin as it is the master hormone in the body. If you don’t have excess insulin, and your blood sugar’s are stable, weight loss will occur.
In diabulimia, which is a very, very serious condition to have, which is when you take no insulin to lose weight. But that is not the point of this. This is about healthy, happy weight loss, if that is necessary. This is not an eating disorder thing that I’m talking about. Just to clarify that, and I find that very important because it is a terrible, terrible condition to live with. So, none of that, just healthy healing, healthy weight loss if necessary.
What is a low blood sugar due to?
A low blood sugar is because you took too much insulin for that particular circumstance. For that particular food, for that particular mood, for that particular weather, whatever it is that is influencing your blood sugar, you took too much insulin for that. That’s why you ended up with a low blood sugar, because nothing else lowers blood sugar like insulin does, and nothing else can lower blood sugar lower than it should be in a normal human being than insulin. So, if you are treating diabetes with insulin, does that mean lows are equal to excess insulin? Which then means that it will be a slower weight loss?
Well, actually, not necessarily. It depends on how stable your blood sugars are. If they are jumping like a roller coaster, so that it’s super high and then goes super low (which means that you then have to treat it and then go super high and super low. Again.) That’s a completely different thing than if your blood sugar is really stable. And then sometimes it trends downwards and dips minimally and you can correct it very easily. I’s a completely different thing than if you are all over the place in terms of blood sugar, and are struggling with it. Balanced blood sugar is the key, not a jumpy blood sugar. That’s what we should aim for. And that usually also aids weight goals.
Low Blood Sugar anyway?
You know, we all end up there no matter how good (or whatever) we are as people with diabetes, no matter how well we take care of ourselves, circumstances do change in the body. And lows do happen. They happen to me, they happen to everyone I know who are normally quite well controlled.
The key here is how do you treat it? Do you choose to eat the whole kitchen? So you grab anything from grapes, to peanut butter, to that sugary candy you have in the back somewhere, to snacks, to yoghurt, to honey, to you know the whole nine yards which will end up on this rollercoaster blood sugar ride, which is quite detrimental for your health. And it feels, first and foremost, really, really frickin terrible. So try to avoid it for that reason alone! Or, number two, do you treat low blood sugars targeted with an exact measurement of glucose? Because that doesn’t create the rollercoaster rides. It creates an even curve, even if you do dip a little bit you take a gram, or two grams or three or four, depending on how much you need (and that you need to do a trial and error with). You just come up a little bit again, and then you’re fine. Again, you don’t get those big swings. So that is really important how you treat the low when it does happen.
Correcting a low is of course, necessary, it can and definitely does save your life. So don’t skip it, even if it would potentially kick you out of ketosis, if that is your goal. I’m not saying that ketosis and keto and low carb is everyone’s goal, but if that is what you’re worried about in this question that treating a hypo will kick you out of ketosis or something, don’t be! You really need to save your own life in that case. It doesn’t matter if you get kicked out of ketosis or not. If you are fat-fueled in that way, or you can burn both fat and sugar, you will get back into ketosis very fast afterwards, so don’t worry about it. It really is key that you do take care of this.
The short version of my answer to your question, Joe, is that low blood sugars do not have to affect weight loss at all. It depends on how you treat the low and depends on how stable you are blood glucose is normally and that you don’t have excess insulin in your body.
Hope that helps!
If you have any questions, do let me know. And also do let me know your experiences of blood sugar and weight loss? Have you managed to lose weight, or maybe you don’t manage to lose weight although your blood sugar’s as good as perfect? Let me know in a comment, and I’ll be happy to chat with you there.
How important is mindset in diabetes management? What difference can it make? 🤔
It took me so long before I realized just how big of a deal mindset work is when it comes to diabetes management. How do you react when you see an undesirable number on the display? What are you thinking when you’re faced with a meal you know you won’t feel good eating? And what can you do to help your diabetes management be a success in the long run?
It’s time for Type 1 Thursday!
And – if you want the whole presentation on this topic from me, why don’t you join me at The Low Carb Universe in Mallorca, 12-17 November 2019? Check it out!
And 2 – I do a live every week on Facebook and Instagram to discuss a topic about Type 1 Diabetes that maybe you haven’t discussed with your doctor or healthcare crew. Join me at 6pm CET on Thursday’s!
Have you noticed a shift in your mindset? Or do you need one? Talk to me! 😊
If you prefer to read rather than watch a video about mindset, here is a text version of the points I made above:
How can mindset can help your diabetes management? How he can help it and what difference can it make, or how can it hinder you?
As I define it, these are my own figures, not at all scientific! This is my experience and from the people that I’ve talked to about this, but I see that having success maintaining a healthy lifestyle, 30% is food and medicine, I see another 30% in other lifestyle factors, movement, hydration, sleep. To actually make your health care successful, I do see that there is a 40% need for mindset, as well. Don’t discount the mindset part because it is very important! And maybe even more important than you know! How exciting is that?
There is a fear of geting caught in a trap of constant perfection. No type 1 diabetic is always perfect. No health cares are ever completely perfect. We all make mistakes. And that’s okay. And that’s a huge part to realise when it comes to mindset! You have to be kind to yourself – that is just the starting point. And do remember that all feelings that you have, whether it’s about diabetes or something else you’re trying to get a better grip of, all feelings are completely and entirely OK! It’s okay to feel them. It’s okay to have them. They are all OK.
“Fixed” vs “Growth”
There is this theory of that we flip flop between what is called a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. (I have a full length presentation on this, join me in Mallorca to find out more!) What I’ve seen from my research, we basically flip flop between these two mindsets depending on the situation, depending on what we’re faced with, actually depending on a lot of factors. As a sort of rule of thumb, a fixed mindset is that you avoid challenges, and that you give up very easily. Making effort is actually a bad thing for you, in the specific situation. You’re “just not talented”. A “why me” mentality usually goes into the fixed one. Running away from critique is also common. Other peoples success is threatening, too. I’m sure we can all recognise some parts of this in ourselves in what we were doing and how we’re reacting to things!
On the other side of the fixed mindset is the growth mindset. A growth mindset is where you seek challenges, you keep trying, even though you maybe fail sometimes and you see making an effort as the key to actually making something a success. You ask yourself, “what can I learn from this situation” rather than, you know, “why me” and “I’m not talented”. Your motto is basically “I can do it”, and other people’s success is inspiring to you.
These are the two mindsets that we flip flop between, depending on how we how we react to things. Also, I think that we are many who can recognise ourselves in the growth mindset. So it’s not all bad! We’re not only, you know, “everything is shit” and “why me” and “I don’t want challenges”. I think we all have parts of both! I find it very interesting when we start paying attention to this. And I’m sure this is something that you can do, for example, in your diabetes management. How do you react to, for example, that blood sugar reading? Is it “why me” or is it “okay, what can I learn from this?”, for example.
Mindset is not…
Mindset is not a magic bullet of motivation. It is definitely not a shortcut to success, if anyone got that, and mindset is nothing that we’re born with, it’s something that we learn. Mindset is not the same as positive thinking, either. It’s also not fixed in these two categories I talked about above. You’re never stuck in one, as I said, we flip flop between both of them.
Added to this, more specifically to food, is actually the diet mentality, or diet mindset. I wanted to highlight it, because I think it’s so terrible for lots of people with diabetes, and for anyone really who tries to look out for their health.
A diet mentality is where you see food as the enemy and you’re focusing on your bad habits – that you would have bad habits to break somehow. You’re looking for temporary fixes. And you’re focusing on what you don’t like about yourself, how silly is that? That’s not the way forward, the way forward is to focus on things that you do like about yourself and increase those and then the other ones will follow. Diet mindset is where you’re really focused on the scale. I don’t feel like that is a good measurement of anything really, the scale. I threw out my own scale very many years ago, and I only weigh myself at the doctor’s office, because they require it. Otherwise, I don’t really care what it says. It’s some sort of arbitrary number on a piece of electronic machinery (or even if it isn’t electronic) – it doesn’t really matter that much. Try to step away from the scale! Also in a diet mentality, you think that you have a finish line, that you will have arrived at some point, whatever that means. And I’m only highlighting this because I think it can offset the rest of your mindset work, which can be quite crucial in type one or diabetes management in as a whole.
How do you view setbacks? Are setbacks something informative to you? Do you draw information out of it? Basically, going back to the growth mindset of “what can I learn”? Or are setbacks a label on you as a person? It’s also silly, but we all get to that point at some points of our lives, and that’s fine. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just something to be aware of!
Success = Mindset + Learning
Success whether within health, whether it’s in sports, whether it’s in life in general, it is mindset, plus learning and the willingness to learn new things. No one can do everything from the beginning. So we do need to learn, in addition to our hopefully, majorly growth mindset work.
How do you change your mindset? This can be a tricky one, but a few short tips is to start small. If you know the analogy of chopping up the elephant into small bite sized pieces, basically eating the frog first? That’s how you get forward so you look at the whole picture first and try to accomplish all of it at once. You have to start with the very smallest goal that you can imagine. Also, you have to think forwards. “How will I feel in a week of doing this?” (or in a day, and a month, in a year, in 10 years?) How will it feel making this change for me? Provided that it is for you, but I would hope so because otherwise it’s not going to be motivating for very long. You have to find what motivates you? No one else can tell you what motivates you, you have to find that within yourself. And that’s a very big part of mindset work!
And also, don’t make excuses. It’s all about prioritising. You can say that, “oh, I don’t have time to check my blood sugar”, but today, especially with CGM’s and these very fast blood sugar meters, it’s really quick. It’s just that you don’t want to do it. It’s that simple. So please don’t make excuses for yourself.
And now I would actually love to hear from you, have you noticed a change in a change in your mindset? Or perhaps you need a change of mindset? Talk to me in the comments below and I’d be happy to chat with you more there.
If I (& my parents) had a penny for every time we’ve heard that “promise” during the past 34 years, we’d be laughing all the way to the bank.
Let’s talk about the prospect of curing T1D. Do you think we’re getting close to one? 🤔
After a weekend of particularly shitty blood sugars, this is more relevant than usual. A weekend where I had to, yet again, come to terms with my own mortality. And insulin acting like saline.
With diabetes awareness month coming up in November, there is somehow a communal hope brewing. A hope of more awareness, because awareness should lead research teams everywhere to be motivated to finally find a cure. Right?! Don’t get me wrong, awareness is GREAT! It’s necessary, it’s inspiring and needed in the world. All T1Ds should speak up, and not only during the month of November. But – diabetes awareness alone won’t cure us.
And frankly, not to be too pessimistic, but rather I choose to see it as a realistic mindset, I’m not sure there will be a cure in my lifetime. 🤷🏻♀️ Have we gotten any closer on this in the past 34 years since my diagnosis? Since the diagnosis of those who have lived with this a lot longer than I have? I don’t know.
Just because ones diabetes is (mostly) “well controlled” doesn’t mean the fears aren’t there. The fears about the future. What the future may, or may not, bring. Will diabetes cause any limitations to my life? And it certainly doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be first in line when they start curing it. Even though diabetes tools and tech has evolved at an astonishing speed in recent years – we still need a cure. Even if it is very possible to have happy, healthy blood sugars with T1D – we need a cure. And we would have needed that cure yesterday.
Until then, we’re not waiting. Do whatever it takes for you to be healthier, to live your best life and thrive with T1D. ✨
Diabetes & self love – why is it necessary? 🤔And why is it so crucial to find your way of showing yourself self love?
We’re going deeper than the ordinary advice when it comes to diabetes (“Medication, food & movement” 🙄) , this is more about the mental aspects of living with a chronic illness, such as diabetes. The mental aspect that no health care professional has ever talked to me about in my 34 year long experience with Type 1 Diabetes. But that is oh-so important and can make a world of difference to your management!
How do you show yourself some extra love when it’s needed? Let me know!
Prefer to read this information about self love and diabetes? No problem, I’ve got a text version for you right here:
I cannot wait to discuss today’s topic, which is maybe a bit more on the “fluffy” side, rather than, you know, what health care tells you, which is, “medication and nutrition and movement – that’s all that matters in diabetes care”.
No, no, it’s not. As we’ve seen, during the past few couple weeks, I have gone through quite a lot of interesting topics (if I can say so myself!) with you guys, and this is yet another one! This is about diabetes and self love. Why is self love is so important when it comes to diabetes? I will first go through what self love is, because the idea of it is kind of fluffy on its own, I will go through how to show yourself a little bit more self love. It’s maybe not as difficult, or as easy, as you think it may be. And then I will also go through why it’s especially important in diabetes, to take good care of yourself in the form of self love.
What is self love?
So let’s get right to it, and start with what self love actually is? Self love is, to me, the same as self respect, self improvement, self compassion, that you feel compassionate towards yourself. It’s self acceptance, and remember acceptance – it will come up a couple of times in this piece, so bear that in mind. Self love is integral to your well being, because it just makes sense to make yourself feel better than you would feel otherwise. But it’s not just about feeling good, it’s also about making the right decisions for you as an individual, whether you are diabetic, whether you are not diabetic, whether you are struggling with a health issue, whether you are not, it doesn’t matter. It’s about making the right choices for you. And these can, of course, differ as I so often say in my videos, be very individual. So don’t just take model from someone else who’s doing something, and calling it self love. You have to figure out what works the best for you. And this also comes down to that you have clear values for you, and that you accept your weaknesses, as well as your strength (there was that word again!)
How can you show yourself self love?
So how can you show yourself a little bit more self love? Well, let’s get all cosy up in here, on this episode of Type 1 Thursday! For example, you can find your happy place. Where do you feel good, what is a good place for you to be in, whether mentally or physically, whether actually spatially. What would be a good place for you to be at? For me, it somehow often involves a beach and some sunshine… Make sure that you know what places work the best for you.
In order to raise yourself love game a little bit, do something you’re good at! It’s not even that out of this world, just do something you are good at, whether that’s knitting or writing a story or and maybe that’s growing a plant – it could be anything that you’re good at. (Maybe you should choose something that has more immediate results, maybe leave the plant thing for another time?) Do something that you’re good at, because that really raises your self love feelings.
Practice mindfulness. Whether that is in the form of a meditation practice or some other form, it really helps to put things into perspective, and makes you see the positive things a little bit more, well, positively.
Decide whether you’re going to act on what you need, or what you want. What you need is often more permanent, and what you want in that instant, can actually just be very, very temporary. Make sure that you always go and make choices for what you need, rather than for what you want in that moment, because that can lead you astray.
Make sure that your self care game is levelled up! That means eating the right nutrition for you, for example, it means moving your body, it means sleeping properly, making sure they have the right sleep hygiene, as they say so nicely, and make sure that you have social connections. Make sure that you are working with people that you enjoy being around, and that you have people around you that you can turn to. This is the whole point of the series that I’ve been making recently and Type 1 Thursda, it’s been a lot about self care and how to improve it.
When it comes to people, do set boundaries! Set boundaries for things and people. For example, if you notice that you’re not feeling uplifted after talking to person, or being with the person, or even thinking about a person, then maybe they are an energy thief and maybe they need to get out of your life for a while? It’s the same with things like workplaces, offices, make sure that you set boundaries. And even on social media, do set boundaries, about when you answer messages, so that you make sure that you are appreciating yourself and respecting yourself.
A real biggie is forgiving yourself. You know what? You’re not perfect, but you know what? It’s completely OK not to be perfect! No one is perfect. No one’s ever going to be perfect. No one’s gonna be that one perfect person. So let it go. And make sure that you understand that it is completely fine. Forgive yourself for not being perfect, because you never will be. Okay?
Live by design. This means your design, not my design, not that person’s or another one’s. Make sure that you know what you want from your life! This goes back to boundaries, it goes back to self respect, it goes back to self improvement, compassion, acceptance… What are the things that you want to achieve in your life? It’s not going to be the same as for me, and that’s fantastic! Go for it, as long as it is by your design.
When you start something like this, it can be really good to check in at in the beginning. Where are you now? Mentally, physically? Where are you in terms of self love? That’s how you know what you’ve got to be working with!
Self love & Diabetes?
Why is this particularly important for diabetes and living with diabetes? Well, we know we all know that we are more than people with diabetes. And and we also know that it’s a mentally frickin’ difficult illness to live with. It’s incredibly difficult to live with it, especially if you have no idea what your blood sugar is going to do next, for example. That’s really where the self love, self compassion and self acceptance comes in! The whole thing is that you have to take excellent care of you, because no one else will. You see your doctor seven minutes a couple of times a year? What are they going to do? Nothing. Who’s going to take care of you between those doctor’s visits? Yeah, that’s you. Don’t look to other people to take care of you, because you’re the only one who can actually do that.
When it comes to diabetes, no matter what the number, whether that is cholesterol, blood pressure, blood glucose levels or HbA1c – it doesn’t matter. You are enough! I have problems realising this myself sometimes, but you really are enough and you don’t have to do anything more than you’re already doing. You work your best and I know you’re working really hard, so please just show yourself one love and make sure that you know that you are enough!
You can also turn it around and look at the positive sides of diabetes. I know some of you out there right now, thinking “there’s nothing good with diabetes and it’s all shit”. It’s actually not! NEWSFLASH – it’s not all shit living with diabetes! it’s actually quite cool, because you get stronger than most other people, you have more courage, you are more resilient, you are more independent. You have all this amazing knowledge about health that not very many other people have, how cool is that? It’s actually a kind of a blessing in disguise to live with diabetes, if you think about it. It’s not just all negative and all shit, I promise, it’s it’s actually it has a lot of positive points as well.
The main point when it comes to self love and diabetes is acceptance. accepting yourself, accepting diabetes as a part of you, that is a huge topic in self love for diabetes. And it really just means that if you fight against the diabetes, you, first of all, know that it’s going to come back and bite you somewhere it hurts quite quickly. Secondly, you’re not going to get anywhere by fighting it! Your ultimate goal, my ultimate goal, everyone who lives with diabetes’ ultimate goal is to befriend diabetes. I know some of you are shaking your heads and probably closing your phones and laptops right now, but it is to befriend diabetes and work with it and not against it.
So now I want to hear from you, how do you show yourself some extra love when it’s needed? Let me know in a comment, and I’ll be so happy to talk with you there.
Are nutritional supplements needed for people with diabetes? And, which ones could potentially help?
Some say they can help diabetes management, others say supplements are the hugest waste of time and money. So what should you believe?
Here’s my take on nutritional supplements, and which ones may make sense for you to explore.
What supplements do you take, if any? Why?
If you’d prefer to read this information, please find a written version below:
The topic for today is supplements and nutritional supplements. Are they are needed for people with diabetes? Do they actually help at all? Is there a point of taking them? Or why should you take them at all? It’s quite a weird topic here because this one I can actually somehow give a little bit of advice on in comparison to last week’s episode where I couldn’t really say anything.
What are nutritional supplements? They can be anything from enzymes, for digestive issues, to amino acids that you may need for something specific that is not working properly in your body, vitamins, minerals. herbs, if you find that they help for something. It doesn’t have to be diabetes that you’re taking supplements for, it can also be something else. And why would you take them as a Type 1 or Type 2, as a diabetic? Well, some have been proven to increase your insulin sensitivity, for example, which we can all appreciate very much. It can also lower inflammation, some of them that have been studied on that in that department. That can also be good. because fluctuating blood sugars do cause a lot of damage, not only complications of diabetes. If you think of inflammation as rust in a chain, they can basically make your body feel like a rusty chain. And who wants that? Nutritional supplements are there to add the nutrition that you may be normally wouldn’t get or not enough.
I, myself, do take supplements. I have optimised my supplement game quite a few years ago when I really studied this and really got into what is good for people wanting a potentially healthier blood sugar management, improving your insulin sensitivity. I found that if I take the supplements in “batches”, so I buy a package of them and I eat them until they’re finish, then I have a break, then I eat them again, I noticed the most actually benefit for myself. That’s only myself and cannot be said for any other person.
What do I consider the most important supplements for blood sugar management, at least in my own case? I’ll also mention a few more that I’m currently not taking myself.
Number one of what I take myself is chromium. It helps the body to use glucose in a more efficient way. And it has also been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in that way. Chromium is one of these classic ones that I think when I was growing up, it was said to “help people with cravings”. My guess is that just means that it gets the nutrition in the form of glucose actually to be used better by the body- That’s why it would curb cravings, because cravings are sometimes (not all the time but sometimes) a lack of nutrition that is masking behind that.
Number two is another mineral that is magnesium. I swear by magnesium, I love it! I sleep better, for example. It helps the body relax, it builds up bones, it helps build and relax your muscles, and it also helps your insulin sensitivity to increase. That’s why I really, really like it. If you want a band aid of nutritional supplements, I would say magnesium is a big one of them, because it helps in so many ways! It can really be beneficial for a lot of things. Doesn’t have to be, but it is in many cases.
Vitamin D3 Supplement
Especially this time of year when is grey and crappy outside, vitamin D3 comes to the rescue. The “sun hormone” is what they call it in some publications. When the skin is hit by sunlight, cholesterol helps to build vitamin D3 to help the body with actually almost anything. That’s why they lean towards calling it a hormone, because of all the benefits it has. Vitamin D3 is unbeatable and if you have too low vitamin D, it can cause problems. Low vitamin D3 is linked to auto- immunity, that has been shown in a couple of studies. That’s my main reason why I take it, but also because I noticed it on my energy levels when my vitamin D3 is not in range. I really have to look out.
Zinc is very helpful for the immune system, which you know, if the immune system works properly, maybe I don’t have to be sick that much? That’s also what vitamin D3 does, it can also help your immune system to function properly. I take supplements that help my immune system along so that I don’t have to be sick. Being sick complicates diabetes management a lot, whether you have good control normally or not – it doesn’t really matter. Zinc does a whole lot of other things, as well, for example, it activates the insulin signalling pathways in the body so that the body can realise that there is insulin, and in that way may increases your insulin sensitivity. It can also help in the processing of insulin and very many other things when it comes to insulin in a normal, healthy body, but also for us diabetics.
Omega 3 Supplement
Omega 3 fatty acids is another supplement I take. I don’t generally eat that much fish when I am in Switzerland because I’m not close to an ocean. I’m in the middle of Europe, put a pin in the middle Europe, and you get somewhere in Switzerland. I just don’t feel that fish is that fresh that often and that’s why I normally don’t eat that much fish when I’m here. When I’m by the ocean, say on a Mediterranean island, for example, I do eat a lot more fish. There it is actually freshly caught the morning, and for me, that feels a lot better. That’s why i supplement with omega 3 fatty acids when I don’t eat that much fish. Omega 3 can act as an anti-inflammatory in the body. It has not been proven to help diabetes management, per se, but if you get the inflammation reduced, it definitely can help your blood sugar management. What it has been shown to do, though, is to lower triglycerides and raises your so called “good cholesterol”, the HDL, so it does do good things in the body.
CBD Oil Supplement
CBD oil calms you down, it is anti-stressing, anti-anxiety, and leads to better sleep. Sleep is a crucial part in diabetes management! If you don’t sleep well, you won’t have good numbers. Magnesium can also do that, of ocurse. But sometimes you need a booster in this sleep department.
Those are the ones that I take; chromium, magnesium, vitamin D3, zinc, omega 3, basically every day and CBD on and off when I have to. What else could be good for people diabetes?
I don’t like comparing a supplement to medicine, because they can’t be the same. But berberine can have a similar effect on blood sugars, as for example Metformin. It basically can make you more insulin sensitive.
Alph-Lipoic Acid Supplement
Alpha-lipoic Acid is an antioxidant, and it can increase insulin sensitivity, as well. It had also it has also been shown to help a couple of complications of diabetes, like for example, neuropathy or macular degeneration.
Also, you may find it a good idea to take care of those fancy little gut bacteria with some good quality probiotics, because we all know about the brain-gut axis and we know that we feel better when our gut flora is intact. Your gut flora can also be harmed by blood sugar’s fluctuating a little here and there.
Also, thyroid specific things, because another thing that people with autoimmune issues get… are more autoimmune problems! If you do have problems with your thyroid being a bit lazy, maybe a Selenium supplement could help? Or iodine? Do read up on that so that you know what you’re doing!
As always, do check with a healthcare professional or your doctor before you start anything new, and adding anything to your diabetes management.
So what supplements do you take? Do you feel they’re helping? And do you understand why you’re taking them? Let me know and let’s chat more in the comments below.
“You give other people with diabetes bad conscience!”
The words of my Sweet Friend surprised me. I was gobsmacked, then I was amazed, then everything suddenly made sense.
“That’s soooo not my point”, I said, laughingly. “I know, I know it’s not, but if everyone knew how to take care of themselves like you do, then everyone would feel better. Not everyone has that motivation,” she continued.
My goal is always to inspire others, not to make anyone feel less worthy. I don’t want to be the one who makes you feel bad about your diabetes management, or yourself. I‘m not ever ”better than you!”
I want to inspire you, because higher powers know I would have needed it myself. When I was at my absolute worst, with double digit A1C’s and didn’t know my ass from my elbow in terms of diabetes management, I was trying everything out, one thing after the other and it all lead to the same shit… I wish, I wish social media would’ve existed, and I could’ve found some sort of motivation and inspiration in people who have walked the same path. And even when I had A1C’s of 7-8% I would’ve needed someone who I could look up to.
That’s who I aspire to be – I want to be your cheerleader, the one that cheers you on when the going gets tough! Me sharing my values and numbers, me sharing my lifestyle and tips, me sharing everything that I do on social media is NEVER about bragging. It’s about me being on the diabetes journey / just as much as you are. And I want you to see it as inspiration.
If I could get myself from double digit A1C’s to a healthy, healing, happy range of blood sugars, so can you. I promise And I’ll be there for you, to guide, inspire and motivate you. If you want me to, that is. Always rooting for you. 🙌🏼💗🌟
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