Is Moderation Enough?
In my previous blogs, I stated that moderation is important in managing my diabetes. In recent months, I discovered that this is not enough. How did I know? Tracking my daily blood glucose levels I noticed that on daily basis, the difference between the lowest and the highest readings are significant. For example, in the morning before breakfast, it is in the 130 mg/dL range, and by noontime before lunch (after taking my medications after breakfast), my blood sugar is in the low- hundreds. That is a 30 mg/dL range!
Tracking Blood Sugar
This leads me to provide a short narrative as to how I track my sugar. From my glucose meter (OneTouch Verio IQ), I enter the information into an app on my iPhone. The app is part of iOS. I did not have to download it separately. Apple calls it Health Data. it takes an extra step to copy the glucose test results to the iPhone, but it works for me. (I know that there are newer glucose meters that link via Bluetooth to the smartphones, but more on that in future blogs.)
This app is fairly comprehensive for it allows tracking of other results such as blood pressure, and steps taken (in km or miles). For a diabetic, the tool is very helpful for most folks like myself also suffer from hypertension and high cholesterol.
The test results shown below are daily readings for the month displayed from the iPhone Health Data app. Every time I enter a test result from my glucose meter, they are displayed here. I take two to three tests every day.
The app also displays long-term trends. In the display below, it shows average readings by month from April 2016. For every month, it shows the highest and lowest reading. Again, I can see the slightly downward trend.
I find these results very useful in managing my diabetes. Without this trend displays, it would be difficult to see the impact of my daily activities to my blood sugar. I noticed that every aspect of daily life affects blood sugar levels. The food intake, stress levels, exercise – all these things affect the sugar levels. The ideal situation is for the blood sugar level to be as constant as possible during the day. The highs and lows like those I described earlier are definitely not good.
Food Intake Plus Moderation
I find that in addition to moderation, I also have to pay close attention to what I eat. I used to think that I can eat a small piece of pie or a small candy bar for dessert. After reviewing these blood sugar trends, I see that there is a direct correlation between my eating habit (even with moderation) and the kinds of food I eat. For example, I attribute the downward trend in my blood sugar levels to avoiding carbohydrates such as rice, potatoes, and bread. Again I used to think that I can eat “just a little bit” of these foods. What I am finding out is that while it helped manage my diabetes, a better way is to avoid them at all.
So what have I been doing? By avoiding most carbohydrates, I lost some weight as well. In the last 5 months, I lost about 8 pounds. Unfortunately, one cannot eat. To fight hunger and the urge to eat, I supplement my diet with fresh nuts (walnuts and almonds). I find it therapeutic to actually crack the nuts and eat them. There is no salt, no processing of the nut and other additives that add calories.
I will continue monitoring my progress on this new approach and hope that the downward trend in my blood sugar continues.