There was a lot of discussion and commenting after the last blog, which I wrote about the benefits of being, well, kind of strict about food and exercise and scheduling. Thanks for the feedback It was fun to read and I appreciated all of it!
I wanted to clear up a few questions and issues that I had really not covered in the article itself that were brought up in your comments.
One reader thought I was being way too strict, and I’d have to agree with him that anyone who religiously refused to break from any kind of schedule would certainly be living on the “overly safe-side” and quite possibly missing some of the fun in life. What I was really trying to get at in the article is that by maintaining more regular habits, you’ll have an easier time in balancing your blood sugars!
For the reader who has managed to maintain an A1C of 5.8 (which is AWESOME, by the way!), he has obviously learned how to balance his sugars well without sticking to a super-strict schedule. We should all also note here that he’s a long distance biker, so his exercise habits, no matter what time of day they’re at, are having a great impact on his health as a diabetic! Thanks for setting a great example!
On the other hand, I think if you’re currently struggling to maintain your blood sugars and you’re finding that they’re all over the place, a great way to start figuring out your body’s needs is to incorporate some regularity into your health regimen. I’m not saying you have to do this forever, but if you really feel like your numbers are out of control, the best way to figure out what’s up is to be consistent with your exercise and eating habits so there are less variables at play.
Another reader wisely pointed out that what we’re all really striving for is that perfection – the perfect blood sugars – which we’ll never have because, well, we’re diabetic! But to at least have the intent, to at least have diabetes on the top of your mind as often as possible is one of the major steps toward almost perfect blood sugars.
And I’ve gotta ask, since when does regular eating and exercise schedules automatically imply that I’m not “living life” and enjoying the company of my friends and family? I still go to concerts and out to dinner with friends regularly. In fact, I spend plenty of time soaking up the company of my friends and find my biggest problem lately is that I’m simply a social butterfly and should be in the library studying!
And I still laugh more often than anyone I know – often accused of laughing way too loudly in public places. I still smile brightly every morning. I still get to go on adventures of sky diving, rock climbing, kayaking and hiking. I promise I’m not cooped up in my apartment waiting until 5 so I can go to yoga.
Being consistent with some parts of your life as a diabetic, I believe, leaves more room for adventure because the more in control of your diabetes you are, the less invasive the disease is in your life. Where’s the fun in being wildly spontaneous if your blood sugars are going from 45 to 400 over the course of the day? Sure it’s fun to go out and have fun, and I do, I just don’t usually drink while I’m out there and I don’t stay out all night, because having fun, to me, also implies getting enough sleep to have more fun the next day.
In the end: to each their own. For me, I’m striving for a balance somewhere in between “too strict” and “living wildly” – and I’m certainly not saying I get it right all the time or even most of the time. It’s a work in progress, and if it doesn’t work for you, I hope you’ve found another healthy and happy approach toward life that does!
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.