Getting Started (Keep It Simple)
A popular term that goes around at where I work is KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid), which is intended to help us remember not to complicate things that are complicated.
This principle of KISS has become very apparent to me as I talk with people about my success and how they too can get started on having similar results. As I was sitting in my office talking with a colleague of mine who also has diabetes, but who’s diabetes is currently not under control, despite the medications and various alternative options, I realized that he needed help getting started and he didn’t need some extravagant plan, nor a 10 point process.
He needed just a few, simple, practical applications to get him started on the right path. As we talked further, we explored what he was currently doing, what could we change and what was ultimately “doable” from his perspective.
As a person with diabetes, he already had all of the supplies needed to test his glucose levels, but when I asked him about is glucose curve, and if he knew how long it lasted, he had no idea. As I explained to him that the average glucose curve is about 4 hours, this is why most people will each about every 4 hours, but as I found out, I have about a 6-hour glucose curve, so if I eat every 4 hours … I am stacking sugars on sugars too close to each other, and this spikes my glucose levels. I have found that I need to space out my eating a little more than average.
So my first simple step in getting started is to understand your glucose curve. If you already have your testing supplies, this should be easy. From the time that you get up in the morning to the time that you go to bed at night, test your glucose levels about every hour. I know this is a lot, but you are trying to graph out your glucose curve, so you want a good number of data points. If you’re going to do every 2 hours, you can do this as well, but if you want the best readings, I would suggest every hour.
Based on your readings you should have a good idea of how long it takes your body to cycle your glucose. You may even see if certain foods will spike your glucose, or not.
Understanding what you are eating is so paramount. My colleague told me he ate “healthy” which I always find interesting because most of the time “healthy” does not mean “diabetic healthy.” For example, he expressed that he likes to have an apple and a hand full of almonds for an afternoon snack. I took him to my article Good Fruit, Bad Fruit and showed him that his apple has about 13.81 grams of carbohydrates. Then I took him to my article Good Nuts, Bad Nuts and showed him that his almonds have about 21.55 grams of carbs.
Given my rule of 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal and about 15 grams of carbs for snacks, he was eating a medium size meal for his snack. We continued this process for his breakfast, lunch, and dinner, where we found that was eating 500+ carbohydrates a day!
He had no idea, so my second simple step to getting started is to look up, record and review your carbohydrate intake. It’s straightforward to search on Google.com for “carbohydrates in …” to get an idea of how you are doing. For example, my colleague told me he had a piece of sugar-free apple pie the night before. He told me, “It was sugar-free, so it can’t be that bad for me?” We went to Google.com and looked it up, a piece of sugar-free apple pie has 58 grams of carbohydrates. That is LARGE MEAL! Just in the desert.
With these two simple principals, my colleague was able to make a plan to measure his glucose curve and understand it’s cycling, plus record what he was eating to appreciate the foods that are spiking his glucose.
Do you have any other simple steps to getting started? Please share with us your experiences on getting started.