Thursday, November 13, 2014

Time Change Got You Down?

Time change by committee
Perhaps it is just the people that I know but it seems that the time change this year has hit people harder than usual. There is just something about how dark it has been that can really affect how you are feeling. I went from appreciating the beautiful colors this fall to getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark. Add to that the early cold weather that we are experiencing and it could make the word “trudge” sound like a good thing.

If you are a reluctant exerciser like I am, it really takes a lot got get out there and exercise. Also, I find that when I am not at my cheerful best that it is hard to keep to my better eating habits.

So what do we do to conquer this feeling? As they say, I guess the first step is to admit that we are feeling a bit sluggish. Admit that you would just like to hole up until this winter stuff goes away.

Also, there are holidays and holiday parties closing in on us. There are so many temptations at holiday time between parties and treats at work. Also, it is a time when there are family traditions for food and activities surrounding food. In my family, we always got together to bake cookies and decorate them. The kids would bring friends and they would have a great time. These cookies were not going to win any awards for their beauty. There was a lot of silliness and that went into decorating the cookies.

At the Christmas cookie decorating party, silliness ensues.


First off, I am certainly not an expert but I have some ideas. My first idea is one that I struggle with all the time. I try and make myself do things. For example, it is really easy to sit down in your comfortable chair after dinner and watch TV. (I swear that I grow roots into the chair.) How about playing a game or putting together a jig saw puzzle instead?. Turn the lights up bright and sit at the dining room table. Once you get your mind engaged, it will help you stay awake and could even keep you from eating any snacks after dinner.

During the day, get outside. Even if it is for only a few minutes, walk at lunchtime, get out and breathe some fresh air. The sun does come out even in the winter. Get out for a few minutes and enjoy the air and light.

I am one of those people who would tell you that it is easier to eat non-healthy food than healthy food. In my mind, healthy food takes more work to prepare. (You might want to fight with me on this point but I will tell you that opening a package of cookies is pretty darn easy.) So it is time to do two things. The first is stop having the easy non-healthy stuff in your house. Really. If you want cookies, decide that you have to make them yourself. I don’t know about you, but that will stop me just about every time. The other thing is find some healthy food that you can have ready when you want a snack. You can pick up those single serve packages of nuts or buy a big package and make your own small packages. Buy some fruit and keep it ready to go. I am sure you have seen lists of great snacks for people with diabetes but if you need a refresher (like I do) here are some ideas

Also, when you are heading out to a party, eat a snack before you go. The thought behind this idea is that you won’t walk into the party hungry and eat everything in sight.

Another idea that I have seen is that when you are going out to a restaurant that you should look up the menu on line before you go and decide what you are going to have. If you have made up your mind ahead of time, then you can tune out what everyone else is getting and just enjoy the outing without thinking about the food.

With regard to exercise, there are three things that I do that might help you. They are by no means full proof but they do help. The first is that I joined a pretty stripped down gym (Planet Fitness). I don’t know anyone there. I walk in, exercise, and leave. I am there about 45 minutes. It is hard not to fit that into my schedule (although I can tell myself that I don’t have time.) The second thing I do is put on my gym clothes in the morning. I am then ready to go so that excuse is out the window. Last but not least, go when there is a TV show on the TVs that you want to watch. This is actually my latest find. The gym I go to has about 12 TVs across the front of the room. Because I go during the day, the TV selection is just terrible. I had no idea there were so many “DNA shows” on during the day.(Who knew there were so many people not clear on who is the father of a child.) But there is a game show that I will watch. (To each his own…) I will try and schedule my trip to the gym to coincide with the game show. That way  my mind is really occupied while I am exercising and the time goes faster.

Also, don’t forget that November is Diabetes Awareness Month. There are some great ideas for this month and beyond at the website.  

I hope you have a great week.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

The American Diabetes Association is hoping to raise awareness during the month with Get Moving Mondays, Tasty Tip Tuesdays, What's Cooking Wednesdays, Get Together Thursdays, Fact Check Fridays, and other things.  I urge you to take a few minutes and check out the web site to see what each of those things means.  There is lots of information there that could be of interest to you.

Did you know that it was Diabetes Awareness month?  Do you do anything special for Diabetes Awareness Month?  I would love to hear about it if you do.  Silent Sam and I don't usually do anything but I think it would be a great time to do some fundraising for the American Diabetes Association.  Maybe one small thing (and small things add up) would be to go to the Association web site and look (and perhaps buy) something from their shop.

Another thing you could do was make sure that you have seen all the doctors that you should see.  Have you been to see your eye doctor in the last six months or year?  How about your podiatrist?  With the end of the year just around the corner, it is a good time to go and see them before your deductible starts over again on January 1.  (How could it almost be 2015??!!)

Maybe you could take some time to read about diabetes and the progress they are making with the disease.  While the numbers of people with the disease are increasing, the people living longer healthier lives than they were before.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Discussion with the FDA on MONDAY

I just found out about an upcoming event - ON MONDAY - and I wanted to let you know.

The people behind put on great virtual programming.  If you have not checked them out, I urge you to take a few minutes and see all that they do.  

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Diabetes Sisters Virtural

Hi Everyone!

Sorry, this will be a quick update this week.  I am wildly behind.  I did want to tell you

about something new I found out about this virtual group that may interest the women in the group.

Instead of paraphasing the information from Karen Graffeo from Bitter~Sweet Diabetes blog, I

would like you to go to the page with the information.  You can find it here.

I have talked before about how important it is to have support when you have a disease like diabetes.

This organization offers virtual support for those of you who do not have any support groups in their

area or are not interested in attending meetings.  You can attend these meeting in your jammies and

no one will know!

Have a wonderful week!  Somehow, I think next Thursday will be here before I am ready for it!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Take a HIke

I don't know how it is where you live but here in the Midwest, Mother Nature is truly showing off. The trees are turning and it is just beautiful.

I think you should grab your camera (or grab your phone) and go out for a walk and take pictures of the beauty you find along the way. Pick out your favorites and keep them close by so that you can remember what a great walk you took. Also, you can take pictures today and then walk the same route in another week and take pictures again and have a visual record of the changes.

Take the time to walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Your body and mind will be thankful.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

What does a vacation look like to you?

We all have different ideas of what our perfect vacation looks like.  Some like to go and explore while some like to go somewhere to sit and rest.

Why do we want a vacation?  Is it our chance to re-charge our battery?  Time to make memories - store them like a hamster for later in the year when you need a pick me up?  Is it to experience different cultures and foods?

Whatever the reason, we all perk up when it comes time for our vacation.  No matter what you are doing, you will be taking a break.

What if you could never take a break?  What if it was the same thing more or less every day?

While those of us without a chronic disease don't really want to imagine it, many live managing a disease every day of their lives.  The need to care for themselves in specific ways doesn't change although the disease may not react the same way each and every day.

What kind of a break can you take with diabetes?  How tired do you get of managing an invisible disease?  While you get to know your limitations, how much can you push the envelope?

What can you do when you are sick of it?

The Joslin Diabetes Center suggests that you work to stay motivated but not "perfect".  When you are feeling low, don't make it harder on yourself to be perfect.  Don't use the feeling of burnout to stop exercising or raid the candy drawer.  Give yourself a break without going off the rails.

They also suggest that you identify barriers to good care.  These will be specific for you.  Ask someone to help - not nag you but help you with these barriers.

I have also found an article entitled "13 Tips for Fighting Diabetes Burnout".  There might be something there to help you also.

One of the main things the I have read is to make sure you can express your frustration sometimes.  It is a hard disease to manage and hopefully you have your diabetes team to support you.  If you just need to vent sometimes, talk to  your loved one but before you start to vent, explain to them that you are not looking for solutions but just need to talk about how you feel and how frustrated you are.  Tell them that if they have ideas that perhaps you can talk about it at a later time (even set a time) but that you just need to talk about your frustrations right then.  This way they will know just to listen and will not have the feeling that they need to "fix" the situation.  By setting another time to discuss any ways to help, both of you can be "in the moment" without trying to fix anything.

There is also a book from the American Diabetes Association entitled Diabetes Burnout: What to Do When You Can't Take It Anymore.  It is available from the American Diabetes Association  or from Amazon.  (buying from the American Diabetes Association means you are contributing to a great cause.)

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

I hate to ask but are you ready for cold and flu season?

Michael Ancher, "The Sick Girl", 1882, Statens Museum for Kunst

I am not ready for the cold snap that has hit the Midwest. I will certainly not turn on the heat – it is just too early to do that – but I am cold. I am also feeling just a bit nasally. You know that feeling that you might be catching a cold. Just those little twinges…

This has me thinking about cold and flu season. Back when Silent Sam was diagnosed with diabetes, we were told that we should be prepared for when colds and the flu will strike so that we have supplies on hand. 

Just like everyone else who read or saw that instruction, we did not prepare. Although, I will admit that I do go through the over the counter medicine drawer (yes, we have it in a drawer) to check for expiration dates and see what supplies we need a couple times a year. And this is definitely that time of year. I have only done this for the last couple of years and it is not foolproof but it has helped. There is just something about feeling sick and going to the drawer and finding either nothing in there or finding out of date medicine. 

So, I think I will let this cold snap be my guide and I will take the time to check out the drawer and see that we are stocked for winter. If you have not discussed with your doctor what over the counter medicines you should use, then now is the time to ask. People with diabetes need to be careful about the ingredients in their over the counter medicines.  It is far better to ask than to find out that your blood sugar is spiking because of your cold medicine.  Your levels will be affected when you are sick and you don’t want to add to the problem with the medicines that you are taking. 

You might want to check your kitchen cabinets also. Are you prepared with food for when you are sick?  One of the hazards is dehydration. Make sure you have fluids that you will drink to help keep you from getting dehydrated. Soups are good but they also can be a source of lots of sodium.  Check those labels and select soups that the sodium levels are not as high. Once again, talk to your doctor and/or dietitian for their recommendations.   

I suggest that while you are getting out the sweaters, putting up the storm windows (does anyone do that anymore?), and getting your heating system serviced, you take a few minutes to make sure you are ready with a plan for if you get sick. You will appreciate your efforts if you wake up feeling awful one morning. 

Thanks for reading!

I have to say, I love the colors of fall
Happy Fall!