Diabetes can be controlled and self-managed, however, it requires you to think about it everyday, throughout the day. What is a typical day in the life of a person with diabetes?
You get up in the morning and test your “fasting” blood glucose
Today, it reads 105 mg/dL (excellent reading!)
You prepare and consume your breakfast of 30 – 60 grams of carbohydrates and 1-4 ounces of protein and maybe 1-2 fat servings ** such as: ½ bagel with low-fat cheese and a slice of tomato or 1 cup cooked hot cereal with nuts and cinnamon and a poached egg or 1 cup high-fiber cold cereal with ¼ cup berries and ½ cup low-fat milk and a scoop of low-fat cottage cheese or perhaps two pieces of bread/English Muffin (anything but white) with an omelet.
Medication must be taken as directed. Some pills need to be taken before a meal, others during or after a meal.
Test your blood glucose to see how your breakfast choice and medication regimen affects YOUR body. Does your glucose remain the same? Drop? Or rise less or more than 50 points? If it drops then perhaps you are taking too much medication or you need to eat more carbohydrates. You never want to eat to feed your medication. If you need to gain weight you can eat more. If you are trying to lose weight then speak with your doctor about possibly lowering your medication if the numbers drop consistently around this time of day.
Time for lunch! Test your blood sugar. How has the medication and your morning routine affected your blood glucose? Prepare and consume 45 grams of carbohydrates and 3 ounces of protein and 1 fat serving ** such as: 2 slices rye bread, 2 ounces turkey and 1 slice low-fat cheese with 1 Tbsp light mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and 10-15 baked potato chips.
Test your blood sugar. How did lunch affect you, along with your medication regimen and your daily routine?
Snack time! Since you need to eat every 3-4 hours to maintain the most level blood glucose (see “12-Steps to Control” article) your snack can be a combination of carbohydrate and protein or fat for best results. Try a yogurt and chopped walnuts or 10-15 tortilla chips and guacamole.
Time for dinner. Check your blood glucose at this point. You may need to take more medication if that was advised by your doctor. Choose 45 grams of carbohydrates, 6 ounces of protein and 3 fat servings such as 6 ounces wild salmon teriyaki, 1 cup cooked barley, 1 cup of cooked broccoli, salad with 1 Tbsp. olive oil and vinegar.
Check your blood sugar to see how your dinner choice and medication regimen affects you.
Snack (optional). Have a healthy snack such as a fruit and nuts or low-fat cheese.
It’s time for bed! Check your blood sugar one last time for the day. This will enable you to see the difference in glucose readings at bed vs. first thing in the morning (fasting).
With all of this information you will assist your team of diabetes experts in making the best recommendations for you and to fine-tune your disease. Remember, everyone’s body works differently so you are unique and must be treated as an individual. When you get to know how your body is affected by the diabetes and your lifestyle and daily routine, you won’t need to test as often.
To control your diabetes you need to exercise, eat right, take the appropriate medication regimen (if medication is needed at all), monitor your blood sugar, stay on top of your HbA1c number (3-month blood sugar average percentage), visit your diabetes team and always remember that
Making Time to Exercise
Morning, noon or night, just try to fit in your 30-60 minutes at least 5 times a week for best diabetes control. And remember to be careful if your blood sugar is dropping during exercise, perhaps due to your diabetes medication peaking or because you had not eaten in several hours.
With your doctor’s approval, try a mix of cardiovascular exercise such as the treadmill, riding a bicycle, walking or running, aerobics AND strength training such as lifting weights and toning and endurance exercises like Pilates or Yoga.
Exercise is over and now you want to see how many points your blood sugar changed from exercising. Did it drop? OK, exercise can lower your blood sugar because you are using energy to get you through the exercise. Remember, sugar IS energy. The more energy you expend the lower your sugar should drop. Did your blood sugar remain the same? Some people maintain their blood glucose for various reasons: the liver stores sugar and sends it into the bloodstream as needed (and sometimes it sends more than is needed).
If your blood sugar starts to drop, the liver will protect you and try to help balance the sugar level. HOWEVER, for some, the blood sugar rises. In this case, if your blood sugar is dropping too dramatically because you have expended a lot of energy in your particular exercise and/or your medication is still working or even peaking during exercise, your liver will overcompensate and send out too much sugar into the bloodstream which results in higher glucose.
BE CAREFUL not to exercise when your medication is peaking (working it’s hardest).
YOU are the most important part of your diabetes care team!
**See diabetic food exchanges list. The amount of carbohydrates and protein are determined according to your height, weight, age, activity and gender.