We all need a little help from others from time to time. Really. Everyone with diabetes benefits from help at different times and for many different reasons.
While talking with someone the other day, I mentioned that I had tested my morning basal on Good Friday since I was fasting anyway. She looked surprised and kind of cautiously asked “Why do YOU need to test your basal?”. Made me smile honestly. Diabetes settings aren’t a set it and forget it of course. I’m glad people come to work with our Integrated Diabetes team of clinicians because of the expertise we’ve shown in our years of work. Word gets around. But I also think it is important to say that we know what we do because we also have to manage our own diabetes. And, in doing so, we need to make the time to look at our own data, see when something is off and do something about it. That definitely includes knowing when to ask for help too. This might be helpful in terms of diabetes management OR it might be helpful in managing other parts of our lives that impact our management in a silent sneaky sort of way.
You might be surprised to know that professionals need help too. We are all humans trying to manage a condition that was supposed to be completely managed without conscious thought by our own body. It is important to know that everyone should feel good about reaching out for help to get things squared away or to keep on track with your goals. You can’t do it all alone!
I wish the community of support that we have today was there when I was first diagnosed. The information and support that my parents and I could have used years ago is astounding these days. It wasn’t until I was an adult with type 1 and almost through college that I built a support team of friends with type 1 as well as clinicians that I trusted to help me. Thankfully the past 5-10 years have improved in all types of health management tools that can help along the way.
I thought it would be beneficial to create a list of things that even those who are educators use to manage well. When you reach out for support you are helping yourself achieve your management goals as well as putting more tools in your box to draw from as things arise in your life with diabetes. I asked our team as well as some good friends with type 1 for some of their most trusted tools and who they go to when they really need help or support.
Hopefully, some of these ideas will help you keep on track too.
Type 1 Diabetes Management Tools and Apps
CrossFit – workouts are programmed, and they change so you don’t get bored, but you don’t have to put the workout together for yourself. (Kudos to Kathryn for her recommendation!)
Accountability partner– find a friend so you can motivate each other to get workouts done. Someone who will push you to keep going.
Personal Trainer – Workouts are designed by the trainer and less work for you – you just have to show up.
Video classes or Gym classes – sign up online and make it an appointment like a doctor appointment. You don’t have to design the workout, just show up.
Physical Therapy – Issues such as frozen shoulder can come about in life with diabetes. Working with a PT specialist can help you keep on top of injury management or even prevention.
Mental Health Ideas for laughs and community support:
Meditation – Apps are abounding OR find an accountability partner here too
Family Support/Alerts and Reminder tools:
Work with a sibling, older child, or even a spouse to track intake of food for an all-over reset to healthy eating habits that can impact everyone. Work on menus for the week by having others contribute ideas for dinner, etc.
Hydrate Spark is a great tool that we love. If you need to be reminded to drink more water throughout the day (water is the forgotten nutrient very often) – then this might be your thing. It is a fancy water bottle that works with an app to track your water intake, and you can compete with a friend to see who is winning in water intake for the day. The water bottle glows to remind you to drink more in the day. (Thanks for the reference Dana!!)
Health reminders/ apps – there are so many to count these days. If you need a reminder for taking the other meds on your list, to pre-bolus, or even to go to bed on time, making use of alarms on your phone or an app can help keep you mentally free from trying to remember it all.
Weight management goals:
LoseIt App – ability to enter weight loss goals and a timeline and app provides calorie intake and burn goals to help achieve your goal. Along the way, it indicates how progress is going when you are ahead it predicts time to reach your goal sooner OR if you are falling behind, projects out and gives you tips on how to change course to get back on track to your loss goal time. Food logs are extensive as well. (Thanks for the reference Alicia!)
Noom – Tracking nutrition intake while learning about the psychological component of eating helps many who use Noom to succeed in weight management goals.
Learn all the ins and outs of using your technology to your advantage
Ask for more training in your devices
Look at your data – Use all the interactive apps and online databases to learn more about your management.
Investigate what is new and if it will fit your lifestyle and needs
Discuss with your healthcare team if you see something that might be beneficial to use.
Ask for the best trainer or a CDE who works with a lot of people who use technology to get the best start.
Many of these we have learned about from personal use, but there are many more we learn about from the wonderful community of people with diabetes we have the opportunity to interact with daily. Remember to share your success and the tools that you use so we can all continue to get the support we need. As always, if you feel you’d like to discuss more about your management, call our office for Integrated Diabetes Services and set up a visit. I’m sure we all have tools to share.
Integrated Diabetes Services, Director of Lifestyle and Nutrition.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Biology from the University of Wisconsin. She is a Registered (and Licensed) Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Certified Trainer on most makes/models of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems.