November is a special time of year. It marks the nearing of Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season, but it also marks the month-long recognition of National Diabetes Awareness Month. As we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, it is a perfect time to stop and recount the people and things we are most thankful for.
Around this time last year, I shared part of my Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) story on World Diabetes Day. At the writing of that post, I was still settling into T1D and what that looked like for me day to day. Another year into this journey, I thought I would share a few things I have learned and the things I am thankful for related to my health as we wrap up National Diabetes Awareness Month.
Embrace New Technology and be Flexible
- At the beginning of 2020, I decided to venture into the world of insulin pumps. I chose the Medtronic 670G and what a journey with mostly ups and a few downs this has been. Initially, I was hesitant to move toward the pump because I was doing fairly well with managing my blood glucose and insulin administration on my own. After talking with my doctors and friends, they encouraged me that I would enjoy the flexibility and consistency that a pump would offer. I am so thankful for that encouragement because my pump has been a game changer! Anyone with T1D knows that perfection isn’t necessarily what we are seeking, but the variability in my numbers has decreased significantly, and day to day I feel more level. Plus, the access to detailed information for my health right on my hip is pretty awesome. Since I am new to the pump world, I will have the opportunity to upgrade to the new Medtronic 770G. I am excited to explore these new technology advances and thankful for the research being done that will improve day to day management of people with diabetes.
Surround Yourself with Community and Share
- I have always been a big believer in the importance of community and our circle of influence, and while navigating the world of T1D, this has been even more true. There are times where I feel like I have done all that I can do in terms of management, just to have a number higher or lower than what I am expecting or to feel zapped, etc. Having friends and/or colleagues who are navigating the same things coming alongside me and saying, “I understand,” makes all the difference. Another form of community is the social media community. I love learning from other dietitians, moms, etc. who also have T1D. What is their experience? What are their tips and tricks? There are so many things we can learn from each other. One of my favorite accounts to follow on Instagram right now is @goodlife.diabetes. Relatable and practical… Two of my favorite things!
Take a Deep Breath and Enjoy
- As a dietitian who works primarily in the eating disorder/disordered eating world and someone who believes in food freedom, intuitive eating, etc., navigating the various (and ever-changing) suggested approaches to diabetes management with one’s diet can be very interesting. Add in the body image aspect (hello pump and sensors and tubes, oh my!) and protecting our minds becomes so important. I believe one of the biggest services everyone can do, especially those with T1D is to learn to incorporate foods that you truly enjoy and experiment with how these foods impact blood sugars and how we can pair these with other foods/nutrients for stabilization. Through friends, clients I work with and even within my own experience, I find it is easy to limit/restrict foods (grains, fruit, dairy, etc.) that provide great nutrition for our bodies when it really isn’t necessary. How we pair and place these foods is key! It is always a learning experience, and certainly never perfect, but I am thankful for the freedom to take a deep breath and enjoy food while optimizing health.
What are you learning on your diabetes journey? What are your favorite social media communities you are a part of? As we prepare to celebrate Thanksgiving, what are you most thankful for on your own journey? I would love to know.
Happy National Diabetes Awareness Month. I can’t wait to celebrate again with you next year!
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