6 helpful tips to properly manage T1D
1. Food journal
Your doctor or your nutritionist probably told you to keep a food journal for them to understand your numbers and what brings them high or low. I started a food journal because of that reason, but it helped me so much that I continued writing down everything I eat until now. Of course, I take some breaks if I am on vacation, or away for the weekend because it can become overwhelming, but it is sooo helpful when I am analyzing my numbers and my graphs. I can understand why I got a low or a high with what I ate. So what do I write in my food journal? : the time and type of meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack), what I eat and the amount of carbs. I also count how many portions of veggies I eat during the day to make sure that I eat at least 5 portions a day, and I also monitor my protein intake since I don’t eat meat and chicken anymore.
2. Monday analysis
Monday means new week, so new analysis. I always try to take 10-15 minutes of my day to analyze my graphs and my numbers to see if I need insulin adjustments (I am on the pump), to see if I should stop eating at a certain time or to see what is working fine for me. 10 minutes a week can really have an effect on the BG levels!
3. Exercice journal
Yes, another journal! I just love them so much! I keep an exercise journal with me to keep track of my levels before, during, and after exercising. I write down the insulin that I adjusted before working out, the food that I ate before (if that’s the case), the change in my basal insulin, the type of exercise and the duration, and then finally my BG at the end, as well as the adjustments that I do before eating the next meal. It takes some time to do that, and it is hard to remember all of the adjustments and the BG levels at the time so I don’t do that every time I work out. When I do, it helps me a loooot in knowing how much insulin I need to decrease for what type of exercise, ad what kind of food I should be eating before/ after to avoid hypos/hypers.
4. Talk about it
In my opinion, the first and main thing to do to manage your diabetes is to talk about it. It can be in front of your friends, family, even strangers. Don’t be shy to take a shot in public if your BG level is too high, don’t be shy to eat candies in public or at work because you are low. I learned that years after being diagosed, but health always comes first. If you want to control your diabetes, talk to others, let them know how you’re feeling. It can be on the spot (feeling low or high), or just in general. Don’t be scared to seek for help, it is nothing to be ashamed of!
5. Change your lancet and your insulin pen cartridge
We all know that one old diabetes joke/lie: I change my lancet every day! It is weird when you think about it because it takes half a second to change it, but we are all lazy I guess! It is important, however, to change it! This will avoid getting infections and give you better results on your blood glucose meter. Usually, I try to change it every week (that’s if I don’t forget). I also tend to change my lancet more if I had to prick my finger in a place where my hands were dirty and I couldn’t have access to a sink to wash my hands. I use sanitizers but I feel more comfortable just changing my lancet afterwards to avoid any infection. Also, I use a pump but I always keep a pen with me in case of emergency, so I always make sure to change the cartridge in it every month. I write a little note in my agenda every time I do it so I know when to change it! I change it more often if the pen was under the sun for a long time!
6. Manage your appointments
Keep an updated agenda! It can be on your phone, an actual agenda, or a calendar. First, don’t forget to do follow-ups. Call your endo, eye doctor, podiatrist, nutritionist, trainer, etc. to take an appointment. Try to see as many professionals as possible to help you. It can be in every field. Diabetes has an effect on so many parts of our body that it is important to take care of each one of them. Secondly, write down every appointment so you don’t get lost! Writing them a small piece of paper can be good but you will eventually lose it (trust me!). Be organized!