As we approach the Independence Day celebrations, many of us will be taking vacations or spending time with family. We often are so focused on planning all the fun that we forget to reflect on the gift of simply having the freedom and independence to enjoy these celebrations.
But what does freedom and independence have to do with diabetes?
Diabetes is a chronic health condition that can slowly take away your independence to do many things such as:
- achieve your career goals
- enjoy your retirement years
- participate in activities with your grandchildren
- even daily living tasks like prepare meals and take care of your home
How can diabetes take these freedoms from us?
The short and simple answer is – over time uncontrolled blood sugars wear on our body and do damage to the blood vessels and nerves in the hands, feet, heart, eyes, kidneys, and many other parts of the body. When that happens, it affects the ability to do simple daily tasks such as:
- pick up your feet when you walk and not stumble
- pick up a coffee cup or spoon
- feel pain if you step on something and get a sore on your foot
- heal wounds when you get injured
- fight off infections
- see clearly to read or drive
- breathe well enough to exercise, do chores, or even take a walk
What do I need to do to stay independent and healthy with diabetes?
- Learn about diabetes and how to manage it.
- See your doctor for a diabetes check every 3-6 months.
- Get connected with a CDCES (Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist).
How to have freedom in your food choices – even with diabetes.
When we first learn that we have diabetes it is normal to be angry or in denial. You might feel like your freedom to eat what you want is gone. You might be given advice by friends or family or the internet about foods you should or should not eat, but often that advice is not the best because it may not fit your life.
Each person with diabetes has a different situation. Think about all the factors influencing our food choices: our culture, environment, finances, health, emotions, social events, religious beliefs, past experiences, news stories, etc. You may start with a guide of what to eat and what to avoid, but you will need strategies for different situations in your life such as holidays, work days, weekends, and social events.
Meal plans need to be personalized to your choices, and something you feel confident you can live with long term. That will give you freedom to make the best choices.
Who can help you set up a personalized meal plan that you are happy with? Registered dietitians that are also Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialists are your most qualified experts in that area.
Do you want freedom from doing finger pokes to check your blood sugar?
Learn about continuous glucose monitors (CGM) such as Libre2 or Dexcom G6. Even with prediabetes, CGM is a game changer because you get to see for yourself how different foods affect your blood sugar.
Don’t let diabetes take away your freedom and independence prematurely!
Get the information and help you need. In my programs I work with CGM and food plans and provide education on all diabetes topics. I have many strategies to help people feel like they have control and freedom over diabetes and their food choices.
Contact me and we can schedule a time to talk about what type of program might help you keep your independence for as long as possible so that you can achieve your life goals, enjoy retirement, and even just have the energy you need to get things done each day!