Diabetes often feels like a daily burden and can leave you feeling bitter and hating your diagnosis.
Managing diabetes seems to be all about insulin to carb ratio and basal rates. At a typical doctor's checkup you're asked, "what are you doing to lower your A1C?" and if you're lucky they may ask about your diet and exercise habits.
Doctors tend to only care about lab results and rarely open up a safe space for patients to share. When diabetes centers around your numbers and "how well, you're managing", you feel no one really understands how difficult it is.
This data is important to measure how well you're managing and avoid complications, but you need to be heard, understood… to be able to better manage diabetes beyond the numbers.
Women with diabetes must be on board emotionally with the day to day and recognize how they feel, this is a true indicator of how well blood sugar is being managed.
To create the most change in how you experience life with T1D, begins with your thoughts.
In these three easy steps, begin to accept, believe and commit to your diabetes and learn how to walk away from bitterness to gain freedom and feel empowered.
1) Accepting your diagnosis
Many emotions run through a woman's mind when told she has type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that has no cure... (at least not yet).
"Why me?", "What did I do wrong?", "I'm not strong enough to do this." If this sounds familiar, know you are not alone.
A friendly reminder, that your A1C is going to fluctuate your whole life and it doesn't define you. You are more than the numbers.
Life tosses us all obstacles to overcome, health related or not you can accept your diagnosis and conquer it and the type of energy we put into challenges and our thoughts can either help us or hurt the outcome.
Hate has no place in your journey and only gets you off course in a hurry.
Being in denial and ignoring day-to-day self-care has a snowball effect, diabetes takes over and you feel out of control. Anger, denial, resentment are all negative emotions that will never serve you well.
If you worry about high blood sugar, this chronic stress spikes cortisol levels and pushes blood sugar even higher. Hating diabetes is not the answer, these negative thoughts spiral and steals joy from all areas of your life.
Instead, choose to accept diabetes knowing you have what it takes to beat it, to be freer and more flexible, realize deeply that the present moment is all you ever have.
I had this same conversation with myself and had to stop beating myself up for the roller coaster I was on. By choosing to focus on what I am doing well, knowing diabetes was not going anywhere. It was here, but it doesn't define me. I continue to build on this acceptance and celebrate me.
Surround yourself with positive friends, family and fellow diabetics who understand you and how tough this fight can be.
2) Believing you can
Now that you've accepted that diabetes is part of your life and realize your thoughts will impact the numbers, you are empowered. This is golden.
As a newly diagnosed teenager, I didn't know anyone else living with diabetes and felt alone. I put effort into hiding it. I felt stigmatized, judged like I was living with a handicap. Weakness, set me apart from my friends and I never got picked first for kickball in gym class.
I had to grow up, experience life and conquer other challenges in my life to see how strong I was. Managing diabetes was no different, it was an exception.
Testing, measuring, dosing 24/7 can leave anyone feeling overwhelmed, but what if you realized how much strength this takes?
"I can do all things through God who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13
Athletes use these words as motivation to win a game. Students use it as they prep for a test. Job seekers use it as proof they will get the job. And those of us battling diabetes hold onto it as a promise they have what it takes. Tools and support are available for us to feel our best let go of the hate and to thrive despite diabetes.
Begin each day telling yourself how strong, resilient and dedicated you are...recognize the little wins and soon you'll be convinced to keep going.
3) Committing to sustainable habits
As you are accepting your diagnosis and know you are strong enough. you can create a plan with consistent habit that favor only you. You will crave how great this feels, self-motivating, a win-win for women like you who want to live a life without hating diabetes.
Perfection is not necessary, choosing healthy habits that come natural to you, without resentment or the hate you used to have with diabetes. Years of messing it up with scary highs and lows, I now know what works and I stick to it 80% of the time.
My husband also manages type 1, and he gets it. We both love to eat healthy and move daily. Having someone to lean into when it's working and lean in even closer when it's not. Love and support are vital.
Feel depressed and anxious trying to be the perfect diabetic?
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Embracing a healthy routine and how you decide to show up for yourself will change everything. Ultimately you will reach an A1C level you can sustain. No rules, just settle into an eating and exercise plan that works for your lifestyle.
Deciding to shift your mindset, taking steps with small day to day wins, see the amazing things YOU CAN DO encourages you to keep going.
Be well, kinder and at peace with your diabetes my friends. Your thoughts dictate the path you take and a happier outcome.