Protecting Ourselves from Sitting

When I first read this article I started getting pretty fired up. Actually, it was after I read the title of the article. Really? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that sitting for long periods of time (aka “sedentary lifestyle”) would lead to things like diabetes. But then I read further and discovered that even those of us who exercise regularly and sit for long periods of time (work at a computer, anyone?) are at risk for negative health outcomes.

So I started thinking about how I can make my completely inactive (computer-based) job more active. Here’s what I came up with:

1) fidget

2) walk around whenever I’m on the phone

3) go for a walk after lunch

4) take stretch breaks

5) run/walk up and down the stairs several times a day

6) perform breathing exercises while working

Ok. That’s what popped into my head. Any other ideas?

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Which diet is best?

This one is right up there with “what should I eat?” as far as the most common questions diabetes educators hear. For my answer to the “what should I eat?” question, please see my book.

But in terms of the “best diet” – I leave that to the nutrition experts. I’ve quoted David Katz, MD, before, who says that the “best diet” is the one you’re willing to stick with. And every year for five years now, U.S. News & World Report has been reporting on the “best diet.” This year, for the fifth time, they once again say that the DASH diet is best. The DASH diet was originally created to help people lower their blood pressure, and later this meal plan was adapted for weight loss. It includes lots of fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy and whole grains.

No matter which one you choose, the important thing is to adopt an eating plan that is sustainable, tastes good, and promotes health for the long run.

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10 Reasons to Start Fresh in 2015

Many New Year posts are about resolutions, full of enthusiasm and excitement for making changes, blah blah blah. But sometimes a new year can bring feelings of “here we go again” or “why bother” or ” ugh.” Maybe we didn’t reach our goals in the old year, or maybe we did, but just don’t have the energy to keep up the effort. Here are ten reasons to keep going, keep working, try harder, or start fresh with managing blood glucose levels in 2015:

10. Increased energy

9. Increased productivity

8. More stability in mood

7. Clearer mind

6. Healthier blood vessels

5. Longer life

4. Ability to focus on other things/people

3. Feeling good about ourselves

2. Being a role model for someone else

1. A healthier you (me)

Happy 2015!


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Making Peace with Diabetes

It’s easy to hate diabetes. And it’s easy to be frustrated with the tasks of managing diabetes. It’s easy to get angry when the numbers don’t fall where we want them.

But there’s another way to approach living with diabetes. Rather than getting angry, frustrated and full of hate, we can find peace. If diabetes is part of us, and we like ourselves, then there must be something about diabetes that we can accept… Does diabetes make us more self-aware? More open to meeting others? Better at math? More in touch with our bodies, science, health care? Does it help us to advocate for ourselves and others? Has it turned us into writers, videographers, health care professionals, technology developers, artists, or activists?

If we dig deep enough, we just might find something about diabetes that has brought peace to our lives. And then we might be able to make peace with diabetes. And that might even help us live better with it. I’m wishing everyone a peaceful diabetes experience (even with the ups and downs).

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Hope and Diabetes

Hope is one of the most important things we can incorporate into successful management of this chronic disease. Hope can help us maintain a positive attitude. Some people hang their hope on a goal A1C, a cure, or a prevention, or better treatment options. Others hope for a bright future, a good job, success in life, happiness, great relationships, fun, adventure, and so on. Regardless of what we focus our thoughts on, the point is to be hopeful.

A quick search on the word hope turned up definitions including an optimistic attitude, a feeling of trust, a feeling [that things] will turn out for the best, and synonyms including confidence, promise, expectation, and optimism. Personally, these are the words I want to associate with…in life and in diabetes. This week I am focused on hope.

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It’s that time of year again…

With snow comes shoveling, and with shoveling comes hypoglycemia, aka low blood glucose. Yesterday I shoveled three times – morning, mid-day, and late afternoon. I think it finally stopped snowing during the night. Then at 1:30 this morning, when I awoke with a low blood glucose, I remembered the lag effect. And it hadn’t let up as of 9:30 this morning when I was still low!

The lag effect is a situation where extended periods of activity on one day cause low blood glucose many hours later (sometimes up to 24 hours later). The lag effect is not a reason to avoid being active, rather be aware of times when this might happen; prepare for treating lows, use a temporary basal decrease (if you are on an insulin pump), or eat a little more.

If only I had timed this better. A perpetual low tomorrow would have been nice!

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Proud to be a Nurse

I am proud to be a nurse and to share this video about what the nursing profession is and what nurses are doing. I appreciate the recognition of nurses as innovators. From large, far-reaching projects to small, grass roots initiatives, nurses strive to make life and health better for people everywhere. Thank you to all the nurses who have paved the way for me and for current and future generations of nurses.

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Mixed Drink Messages

Living well with diabetes is about forming healthy habits for life. That isn’t easy, and we certainly don’t make healthy choices all the time – who does? But with a goal of eating well and engaging in exercise most of the time, we can approach this in a realistic and manageable way.

I found myself frustrated when I read about a study that showed sugary drinks are not unhealthy for active teens. What kind of a message does that send? Are we encouraging teens to consume sugary drinks (by not discouraging it, or by stating things like it’s not so bad)? Would we do this with smoking or drinking alcohol in this age group? What about teaching them: explaining the importance of physical activity and suggesting healthy beverages. We don’t have to make a big deal when they do have a sugary drink on occasion, as long as the focus is on healthy choices and activity.

Again, I’m not suggesting that we give active kids a hard time when they do choose a sugary drink. I’m simply suggesting that our messages be consistent and health promoting. Let’s focus on being proactive and positive – sending messages that kids will take with them for life.

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Do you need someone to hold you accountable in order to exercise? Or do you need a little extra kick in the pants to get out there and do it?

If so, findings of a recent study may interest you. People who received text messages about the benefits of exercise increased their weekly exercise time by almost four times. That is huge! And what a simple intervention – text messages.

If you think this might help you get on the ball (or the bike, etc.), have a friend or family member text you. As we approach the holiday season and less than ideal exercise weather, it helps to find little tricks for getting and/or staying active.

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Rating my food?

I’m not usually one for using coupons, let alone food rating systems, when I’m in a grocery store. I really just want to get in and out as fast as I can, especially since without fail I am always there at “rush hour.” I have perfected the art of self-scan (although the recorded lady still yells at me sometimes); I bag my own groceries; and I’m good to go.

There are, however, several food rating systems out there, and different ones are available at different stores. I do think it’s cool that we can get (hopefully) objective feedback on which chips are slightly more healthy than others (if we are into chips). You never know, I just might try this rating thing sometime. I probably wouldn’t go to a restaurant that got a bad rating, so it might work as a deterrent for less healthy food items too.

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