Change is hard

I’m going to tell you something that you already know. It’s something that I’m sure you’ve all experienced first hand.

Change is hard.

And you know what changes are especially hard? Health changes. Doing something that may be unpleasant or unfavorable in the short term to benefit you in the long term. We all know that we’re supposed to eat healthy, but if given the choice, most people would still choose the dessert or chips over the steamed broccoli. Whether it’s losing weight, eating healthier, becoming more physically fit, quitting smoking, becoming a better self-manager of a condition, or any other positive health change, even getting to the point of change is hard, let alone taking action. But these changes are worth the struggle.

Making health changes and sticking with them require a certain amount of motivation and confidence. You have to have the desire to change, but also the confidence that you can stick with it. It helps to have not only an end goal, but also a deeper value that your change is helping you live up to.

If making a health change wasn’t hard enough, it’s likely you’re going to face obstacles that try to undermine your resolve and your progress. It could be in the form of tempting situations, circumstances that are out of your control, or even people who intentionally or unintentionally sabotage your best efforts.

Alright, I’m going to take this out of the abstract and get personal. About a week and a half ago I decided to start a new fitness and nutrition program. That decision was immediately met with skepticism and opposition, mostly by those close to me. What they thought was maybe supportive behavior could be seen as the opposite.

“You don’t need to lose weight, you’re beautiful just as you are.”

“You already know how to eat healthy, what’s that program going to tell you that you don’t already know?”

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the intent of these comments, they come from a very loving place, but in terms of the decision I already made, they weren’t quite the types of supportive statements I was looking for.

My motivation for joining the program was about more than purely losing weight. I joined the program because when I pulled on my fall clothes, I noticed that my pants were getting harder to button and my shirts weren’t fitting the way they were last year. I joined the program because I was getting a lot of stomach aches and wanted to feel better. I joined the program because I thought that changing my diet to be filled with more unprocessed, healthy foods with less carbs would help me stabilize my blood sugars and maybe be just the change I need to finally get my A1c out of the 7’s. And ultimately with more stabilized blood sugars, I can help reduce my risk for future complications, a worry that is always lingering in the back of my mind. For me, my decision is about way more than just losing weight, but you don’t always have 5 minutes to explain your motivations when you’re turning down a piece of birthday cake or a drink at the bar. But whatever your reason, recognize that you’re doing something great for yourself and that’s what really matters.

If someone is on a journey of personal growth or health, our job isn’t to test their discipline, or to make assumptions about their reasons for wanting to change. People’s reasons are often personal and complex. Instead, our job is to support them and be there for them however they see fit. And if you aren’t sure how to best support them, ask. Maybe they need someone to hold them accountable, maybe they need a person to vent to, or maybe the best way you can support them is by keeping quiet. But the only way to know is to ask. A simple conversation helped to turn my skeptics into strong supporters who now understand my deeper motivation and reasons for my health changes.

Change is hard. Let’s all be part of what makes change possible rather than what stands in its way.

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2015 Diabetes Blog Week Day 4- Changes

Diabetes Blog Week

When I think about diabetes and what I’d like to see changed, one word comes to mind. Well maybe 2, a cure would be a nice change. But the word I’d like to focus on is integration.

Integration. I could yell it from the rooftops. Integration would make diabetes so much easier to manage. It would make communication so much more effective. It would make our lives in general a little less burdensome. 


What exactly am I talking about?

I want diabetes devices talking to other diabetes devices. I want my pump, my meter, and my CGM to all communicate constantly. And while I know this is unrealistic, I wish that this communication could happen across companies so that my dexcom CGM could talk to my Medtronic pump or a Bayer meter could talk to an animas pump. I want numbers and data flowing freely from one to the other, whether it’s then used in a calculation, helping to inform a decision, or just being stored for later retrieval.

I want diabetes devices talking to non diabetes devices. I want my CGM numbers and my pump talking with my phone, presenting my data (carbs, boluses, blood sugars) in an easy to read and accessible manner in an app. I want their data showing up on a graph on my computer or tablet. I want other apps that I’m using to integrate in a platform with my diabetes data, whether it’s food tracking that I do or exercise tracking. How great would it be for one app that would have my carb and bolus information from my pump, graphed against my blood sugars that are collecting from my meter and CGM, informed by my Fitbit tracker active minutes and steps, and integrated with the food that I tracked during the day in My Fitness Pal?! Think about how much easier it would be to see a trends and potential causes for highs and lows. Based on the food you ate here, it looks like you gave too much insulin and that’s why you dropped low here.

I want ALL of these devices talking to my doctor. I want to be able to walk into my endocrinologist’s office or even my primary care physician, or eye doctor, or really any doctor’s office and have all of this information available to them. I want the information from all of my devices to be consolidated into a format that is integrated right into my medical record. Then when I go to the endo, they aren’t making suggestions based off of just my CGM, they are looking at the complete picture with little burden to me since all of this uploading, syncing, and integration happens automatically. 


I’m hopeful that these changes are coming soon, that this is the future of diabetes self-care. Integration will be a requirement, not just a nice feature. 


This post is part of the 2015 Diabetes Blog Week. Today’s topic: 
Today let’s talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you’d most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people’s perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you? You can read more posts on this topic here

2015 Diabetes Blog Week Day 3- Clean it out

Diabetes Blog Week

As many times as I’ve tried to empty my closet, there is one thing that just keeps lingering. It’s like that piece of clothing that you really should get rid of, but something makes you hang on to it, even if it doesn’t fit or you don’t particularly like it anymore.

For me, I need to clean out this one stubborn bad habit I have- bolusing after I eat instead of before. This is not a new issue for me, in fact I’ve written about it twice before. The first time I talked about how it really comes down to control, and how giving insulin before I eat feels like giving up control of what and how much I eat. The second time I wrote about it was in reference to having a cue to remind a behavior…but obviously the cue didn’t stick and the new habit never developed.

It’s a habit that I know if I could develop would help a lot with my post meal spikes. So why is it stubbornly sitting in my diabetes closet?

It’s probably a combination of reasons:

  • I’m forgetful, plain and simple. I don’t think about bolusing often until halfway through my meal or after
  • I don’t want to give the insulin and end up not eating everything I gave insulin for and then either drop low or end up eating more food than I want
  • It’s something to blame for why my A1c has been pretty much hovering at the same place for the past year and not going down. It’s an excuse I tell myself, a way out for why there hasn’t been much positive change lately. “Well once I start doing that regularly my numbers will look better.”
  • Habits are hard to break and I haven’t given it the effort and investment it needs

Maybe this is the spring cleaning, the kick in the butt that I need to finally clear out this bad habit…for good. I definitely don’t need it cluttering up my closet anymore.

This post is part of the 2015 Diabetes Blog Week. Today’s topic: Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let’s clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you’re mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?

2015 Diabetes Blog Week Day 2- Keep it to yourself

Diabetes Blog Week

There’s one aspect of my diabetes that I’ve kept hidden, hidden from the Internet and online community, hidden from my friends and family, and in many ways, even hidden from myself. What have I hidden for so long?

My fear.

When I started this blog over a year ago, I stumbled on a blog post from Six Until Me from a couple years ago about PostSecret. Kerri asked her readers, “What would be your PostSecret submission?” A lot of people responded with different “secrets” that they had, but one really struck me. This anonymous poster’s secret is my own biggest fear, one that until now I have never told anyone.

“I feel that despite my best efforts, I will still end up suffering with complications, and I will have to live with the guilt of feeling like I did it to myself.”


This is probably the biggest internal struggle that I have. I know that keeping my blood sugar in control now will help me to avoid future complications. This is not a hard concept for me to understand. Yet, my A1c is consistently higher than I want it and higher than the recommended number to avoid complications. So the obvious answer is, lower it! Get it under control! It seems so easy, but it’s not. Every single day presents the struggle of keeping my numbers in range. Every. Single. Day. I have good days and I have bad, but I am trying.

I often wonder if I am too late, have I already done irreversible damage to my body? And who will I have to blame except myself if something does happen? Even with good control, it’s still quite possible to develop complications as I have read from other diabetic’s experiences. Then what? How do I explain that? How do you avoid the guilt and the blame and the “could have’s”? I know that I would be saying to myself, “you could have prevented this, you could have done more, you could have done better.” Maybe that isn’t true though.

In many ways I’m afraid of the future. But I hide that fear among my hope and optimism. I bury it under the long list of things that I have to do each day to manage my diabetes and live my life. I know that I can’t live my life in fear, I have to just live each day the best that I can and cross each complicated bridge when and if I get there.

This post is part of the 2015 Diabetes Blog Week. Today’s topic: Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?