Some people accuse me of being strange because I really like sticking to the same schedule every day. I like to wake up around the same time, go to the gym at the same time, eat the same foods at the same time, go to yoga at the same time, go to bed at the same time. Even my aunt subtly accused me of a being a little rigid this summer while I was living with her.
I don’t have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – I’m simply diabetic!!
Now, I can understand why an insulin-producing non-diabetic wouldn’t quite understand this. I can understand why my friends give me a hard time for never wanting to stay up late or “party hard” …or “party” at all. But it’s my responsibility to ignore their chiding, ignore the fact that they may never really understand how hugely important simply going to bed at the same time every day can be to my blood sugars and my entire body’s health.
What they also don’t understand is that a night of hardly any sleep or a day of eating unhealthy foods at odd hours throughout the day doesn’t equal rebellious fun; it just leaves me drained and lacking the energy I need to do everything else the following day-along with blood sugars that are totally out of whack!
So, Rule Number One for being “boring” is: Ignore your friends. Especially because I often suspect some of them simply wish they had the discipline of a healthy diabetic.
Rule Number Two: Eat good foods at regular times of the day. I didn’t know this for a really long time, but going too long with out eating, especially in the morning, can lead to high blood sugars. I would’ve guessed it would be the opposite, but my lovely endocrinologist explained that when you don’t eat anything at breakfast and wait until noon to eat lunch, your body has not only gone without food, it’s also gone without any insulin besides your basal rate, which can have your liver thinking it’s time to pump out a little glucose.
So…eat. Breakfast. A snack. A small lunch. Another snack. Dinner.
And maybe you don’t need all those snacks. I personally like to eat several really small meals throughout the day because I hate the feeling of being “stuffed” and I know I need it to keep my energy levels up and my blood sugars level.
Rule Number Three: Exercise. I get a lot of slack for this one, too – not giving up a yoga class or a trip to the gym in the morning for the sake of staying up late or seeing a movie, etc. I often find myself saying, “I can’t, I’ve gotta wake up early to go to the gym.” And I usually get a raised eyebrow and a, “C’mon, Gin, just skip it for one day.”
But the truth is: I like going and I couldn’t care less about college parties, so even if I didn’t have to workout that morning, I’d probably still say no, thanks.
Thanks for listening to that five-sentence rant.
My point is that exercising at the same time of day is really important because if you exercise at night, you need to be prepared for making sure your blood sugar stays up all night. If you usually exercise in the morning, you need to be prepared to keep your blood sugar up all day at work or at class. When you mix that up, you might have to really change your post-workout habits. When you keep it regular, your body really can really start to adjust to the exercise and you’ll have to work a lot less to manage your blood sugars.
And besides, getting into the groove of exercising regularly will also simply mean you’re more likely to keep exercising regularly!
So, if you’re looking for a little better control, I say “be boring.” In reality, being regular about your food and exercise will give you more flexibility to do more fun things throughout the day. There’s nothing boring about my yoga class, and there’s nothing boring about being energized and alert and healthy all day.
Ginger Vieira has lived with Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease since 1999, and fibromyalgia since 2014. She is the author of Pregnancy with Type 1 Diabetes & Dealing with Diabetes Burnout & Emotional Eating with Diabetes & Your Diabetes Science Experiment. Ginger’s background includes a B.S. in professional writing, certified cognitive coaching, video blogging, record-setting competitive powerlifting, personal training, Ashtanga yoga, and motivational speaking. She lives in Vermont with two gorgeous daughters, a handsome husband and a loyal dog, Pedro.