Goals don’t make it happen, we make it happen

How many times have we made goals based on x amount of pounds and then topped it off with a time limit? I’ve mentioned before that the scale is a fickle old hag, so I will mention now that putting a time limit based on “her” opinion is only setting ourselves up for failure.

Not because we didn’t exercise enough, eat enough, eat too much, drink enough water, or any reason we think might be the culprit of our “stall”, “plateau”, or “set point”. (really, there is a set point, it’s usually at the finish line, I’ve not got there yet, 5’6″, 158 pounds, but I’m sure I won’t be quiet about it when I get there)

It’s like this, things happen. Not everything is in our control, and definitely not the rate at which we lose weight. Lucky for us, we are diabetics. We have enough stuff to worry about without setting up weight loss goals. We need to be worried about our blood glucose numbers. We need to be writing down everything we eat, testing one and two hours after eating and paying attention to which foods might not be the best fuel for our bodies.

Insulin, also called the “fat storage hormone“, needs to be in control in order for us to lose weight to begin with. If our blood sugar levels are high, we are still storing body fat. As a Type 2 Diabetic, a realistic goal would be “My goal is to improve my hbA1c at my next labs appointment”. This goal will not magically be attained, it takes hard work and dedication, we have to make it happen.

You may not think you can improve your numbers in three months, but you can. You are going to need a few things though: a journal, mini notebook and a pen or pencil. Your glucose meter with lancets and test strips (seriously, you are going to check it a lot). Your medications (never stop a medication on your own. Always check with your doctor, if he or she knows you are serious, they are usually on your side.) See if your doc will let you turn in your weekly food log and readings at a set day each week to evaluate any medicine changes or concerns.

Day 1: Once you have everything you need, Check your blood sugar that night before you go to bed. Write it down. When you wake up in the morning, check your blood sugar before you do anything else (well, wash your hands first). Write it down.

Eat what you normally would eat for breakfast, write down everything you eat and drink for breakfast, do not leave anything out. It is very important because you are figuring out which foods you should or should not be eating. Check your blood sugar one hour and two hours after breakfast. Write it down. (This means that no matter how tempting those doughnuts are that so and so brought to work, we can’t eat anything for at least 2 hours after breakfast)

If you feel like your blood sugar is low, test it. You should have your meter with you at all times. If we think it is low and we do not test it, then we do not know if it is low. Talk to your doctor about alternatives to “something high in sugar” for treating hypoglycemia. and then don’t guess, test.

Right before you eat lunch, test your blood sugar. Write it down. The reason for this is so that you know that number when you test one and two hours after lunch. (write them down also) Write down everything you eat and drink for lunch. It doesn’t matter what you ate, like with breakfast, this is your first day and you’re just getting a starting point. What does matter is that we write it all down.

Time for dinner? Test prior to eating, write it down. Eat, drink, write it down. Test one and two hours after dinner, write it down.

If I could give you a short cut, I would. I can tell you that in my experience, you could save time I wasted by not eating anything after dinner. It took me a while to get over snacking after dinner and eventually I found out the driving force was habit, not hunger. If you experience hypoglycemia before bedtime and have to eat something, well, do it, but test your blood sugar before treating something that may not be, write it down, and write down what you eat. If you are still awake one and two hours later, test your blood sugar and write it down. Before you go to sleep, test your blood glucose.

Day 2: Wake up, test your blood glucose. Is it higher than it was the night before? Is it higher than it was the morning before? Before breakfast, look over yesterday’s breakfast. Ask yourself is there anything you can omit this morning that might give better results, maybe leave off the jelly, or skip the orange juice. Anything that contains sugar or is converted to sugar in the body affects our blood sugar.

Some people can change on their own, me, I needed help. I found that a strict guideline was what I needed rather than being left to my own devices. I started with “old” Atkins, before the candy bars and frozen dinners, before the net carbs and fiber don’t count, luckily I learned that we are all different, and testing taught me that sugar alcohols like malitol was no different than real sugar thanks to testing often.

When my hbA1c did not go down as much as I thought it was, I bought another book, Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution by Dr. Richard K. Bernstein. It was an eye opener. He is a Type 1 Diabetic, but there was plenty of info for the Type 2, and he told me things I never learned in the 4 years diabetes was in the driver’s seat.

Remember keep in close contact with your doctor. Don’t worry about the weight, worry about learning what works for your body. Your health is more important than the scale, and believe me the weight does go down as we get control over our blood sugar. Just remember there is no magic pill or potion, only hard work and dedication, but getting a hold of the reins is an attainable goal.

I leave you today with a pic from May 2012. My smile is bigger and I’m smaller. My blood glucose numbers were at the point where my doc just wanted me testing when I felt bad, and my hbA1c was only being tested every 6 months instead of 3. Love those non scale victories!

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This is me in May of 2012. By then I had quit caring if people took my picture. Ok, really, I was beginning to like having my picture taken.

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