Question: I feel embarrassed when I have to eat in the middle of class or I have to leave class to check my blood sugar. What can I do?
It is completely understandable to feel self conscious when you have to check your blood sugar or treat a low blood sugar in the middle of class, especially when you're trying not to be noticed. Good for you though for recognizing the need to put your health first! Coach Kirsten Ward, has a few tips to help you manage your diabetes.
For treating low blood sugars, keep snacks that you can easily hide in your pocket or in the palm of your hand, like jelly beans, small licorice, or lifesavers. Of course, you can always get some glucose tabs. They are quick and don't spoil. Also, there are "glucose bits" in a wide variety of flavors.
IUse a blood glucose meter that works for you. Try finding a meter that is small and does not "beep" while you are using it. You can check your blood sugar underneath your desk in your lap and most classmates will not even realize what you are doing.
Remember that we all think that people are watching us but the reality is that most of the time, they are focused on themselves. If you can remember this then you will be less worried about what other people are thinking about you.
Question: I don't like to hang out with my friends and watch them eat the food I want to eat, like pizza. What should I do? I want to spend time with my friends, but this is hard.
Have you considered telling your friends how you feel? You might be surprised by how understanding they can be. Dr. Erinn Rhodes, Director of the Type 2 Diabetes Program at Children's Hospital Boston reminds us that, "a healthy nutritional plan is good for everyone, not just people with diabetes." She suggests that you plan activities with your friends that don't involve food, like going to the movies, playing sports, or even doing homework!
Question: I've always been on sports teams, and I have friends who are more overweight than me. How did I get diabetes?
Everyone is different. According to Dr. Rhodes, "There are a number of different risk factors for type 2 diabetes that affect people to differing degrees. Being overweight is certainly a significant risk factor. Other risk factors include having type 2 diabetes in your family or being a member of certain high risk racial/ethnic groups including Black, Hispanic, Asian and Pacific Islanders." In other words, being overweight isn't the only reason that people develop type 2 diabetes. However, exercise is an important part of diabetes management. Talk with your doctor about your sports teams.
Question: How do I stay motivated when I'm trying to lose weight and stay healthy?
Eating healthy and exercising can be hard habits to maintain, especially when they're new for you. According to diabetes coach Kirsten Ward, it's not unusual to lose motivation after a few weeks or months. To stay motivated, she recommends you that you set smaller, realistic goals. If you are trying to lose weight, be sure your weight loss goal is realistic. Trying to climb Mount Everest before doing some smaller hikes would bring anybody tumbling down the mountain! Find a partner (or group) that shares your goals and can encourage you. Usually when one person is down, another person is up and vice versa. Don't forget to reward yourself! Try rewards that don't break your new habits (no junk food or days off from exercise). Kirsten also suggests that you write your goal someplace where you see it every day. Also, create a vivid picture of your goal. Imagine how you will feel when you reach it. You can keep this image in your mind, or go ahead and make a collage or photo. Keep it someplace where you can see it regularly, as it'll help to keep you focused. Finally, Kirsten wants you to remember that if you "mess up" it's ok. Don't punish yourself. Think about what caused the "breakdown", figure out how you can avoid that in the future, and re-commit to your goal!
Question: Will I have diabetes for the rest of my life?
Type 2 diabetes will always be a part of your life, but it doesn't have to control your life. According to Dr. Rhodes, "deciding to take charge of your diabetes now will reduce your likelihood of complications later in life and may decrease the need for medications, including insulin." Coach Kirsten wants you to remember that being active and eating smart are two great ways to stay healthy and prevent problems with diabetes. Remember to talk with your doctor before starting anything new.
Question: I got sick earlier this week. I know cough medicine has sugar in it. What do I do?
Being sick isn't fun for anyone. Some medications do have sugar but Diabetes Coach Kirsten Ward says a small dose shouldn't increase your blood sugar too much. You do have choices when it comes to cough medicines--ask your doctor or pharmacist about sugar-free options. Also check with your doctor if you are taking other medications--some cough medications cannot be taken with prescription meds. If your cough or fever won't go away after a few days, or you're having trouble controlling your blood sugars, be sure to contact your doctor. Also, remember to get your flu shots!
Question: Sometimes I feel like giving up on eating right, exercise, all this diabetes stuff. Is this normal? What do I do?
We all feel frustrated at times by daily challenges. Staying healthy is hard work. If you sometimes feel tired of eating right, exercising, and taking meds then you are not alone. But don't let these feelings undo all of your hard work. Dr. Rhodes reminds us that, "a momentary set back now and then is just that--momentary." Diabetes Coach Kirsten suggests finding a new goal that challenges but doesn't overwhelm you. Don't worry about running a marathon, but do try setting a personal record for walking. Also, try a new hobby that supports your health. Go dancing, roller-skating, skateboarding--do something different, and ask a friend to join you. If you can't get your motivation back, be sure to talk to a family member, a counselor, or a member of your diabetes team.
Question: I have been under a lot of stress lately and have not been eating right or exercise. I know that I need to get back on track, but I'm having a hard time figuring out how to do that. What should I do?
At some point, everyone feels the effects of stress. Often we forget that exercising and eating right can help with stress. Sometimes the thought of eating a cupcake sounds like a better idea than taking a walk or calling a friend. But it's important to remember not to let your stress take over and undo all of your hard work. Coach Kirsten, shares a few of her tips for how to eat right and exercise:
Use smaller plates. If you eat on a smaller plate it will help keep the portions smaller and it "tricks" your brain and stomach too!
If you plan on eating something with sugar, remember to always eat protein! Protein and healthy fat help to slow the absorption of sugar so your blood sugar will not rise as high or as quickly.
Choose a physical activity that you like and get moving!