PERMISSION TO BE SELFISH WITH DIABETES

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PERMISSION TO BE SELFISH WITH DIABETES

If you’ve ever experienced the heavy brain fog of hyperglycemia and the deep unsettling anxiety that comes with hypos, you’ll agree that both states make it increasingly difficult for you to think clearly and be your best.

It doesn’t matter what the circumstance is, whether you’re at a social event, work, making love or, exercising – when blood glucose is outside of normal range, you can be a difficult person to be around.

Just bumping into and spending time with yourself when you’re going through a high or low….

Would you like that person?

I definitely wouldn’t like me!

I often laugh and tell people that diabetes has given me three personalities. One called healthily, one called high and the other called low.

In order to protect yourself from the complications of diabetes, you need to be proactive in managing your condition. Just like I say in my book, The Diabetic Muscle and Fitness Guide,

‘Any area of life you don’t control – someone else will.’

This is so true, especially in relation to diabetes. If you don’t look after your health – you’ll require a team of people to look after it for you.


Knowledge is Power


 

If you want to get the most out of life, you need to master diabetes and all the aspects that control it: diet, exercise, lifestyle and medication. That’s exactly why I set up the Diabetic Muscle and Fitness Training Lab.

 


You need to be selfish.


I know this sounds negative, but please hear me out.

When your blood glucose levels aren’t in range, it’s hard to be your true self. Those anxious, short-tempered personalities of diabetes take control and usually end up giving us a bad name. It’s surprising, just how many people are afraid to stand up and manage their diabetes in the public eye.

Do you worry about what other people think?

Ask yourself the following questions…

 

Are you afraid to inject insulin in public?

Are paranoid about having your CGM device or Insulin Pump on show?

Are you self-conscious to eat or drink something in certain circumstances to treat a hypo?

Would you be embarrassed to ask for money to buy food to treat a hypo if you’d forgotten your wallet?

Do you feel humiliated nipping to the toilet during a family meal to dose your insulin?

Are you mortified checking your blood glucose level before or, during sex?

 

There is an endless number of scenarios you will have to deal. The worst thing you can do is suffer in silence.

On Saturday past, I was invited out to dinner with a group of old friends. Our table was booked for 7:00 pm at one of my favourite steak restaurants in Belfast City Northern Ireland.

I arrived at the restaurant and realised that I’d forgotten my insulin pen.

DRAMA!?

Not really. The first thing I do in this kind of situation is ask myself two questions,

Q. What can I control?

  • Can I ring anyone to bring my insulin? No
  • Is there a chemist open nearby? No
  • Do they keep insulin in the restaurant? LOL No
  • Should I fast and eat nothing? No chance
  • Should I just go home and meet them later? No, I want to enjoy myself

Q. What can I cope with?

  • Can I eat what I want and cope with being high for a few hours? No
  • Should I just stick with meat, veg and water – even though it may make me go high? No

Luckily, I lived only 15-minutes away (30-minute round trip) from the restaurant. Having also arrived 10-mins early I figured I had a window of opportunity to nip home and grab my insulin as most restaurants take around 20-45mins to serve their food. So, I stood up and told everyone I was nipping home to grab my pen, and of course, there were a few sarcastic comments and sighs about being me unorganized…

I understood where the guys were coming from. At the end of the day, they were hungry and worried I was going to hold the meal up. I left my order with one of the party members before I left, advising them to order my meal just after 7:00 pm. This would buy me enough time.

I drove home, grabbed my insulin and was back in the restaurant for 7:23 pm. I promise I kept within the speed limit. (maybe telling a white lie…)

By the time I got back – the food still wasn’t out yet. It’s funny how we all tend to play the worst case scenario in our heads. Everyone was chatting and getting the drinks in. My absence went unnoticed.

Here’s the moral of the story and why you need to be selfish with your diabetes.

I wanted to enjoy myself, and the people at the table deserved me at my best. If I was to sit through the meal, not eat or, eat and cope with the annoying symptoms of hyperglycemia I know for a fact I wouldn’t be a nice guy to be around.

So, for the good of myself and the table. I decided to be selfish and put diabetes first. I’m so glad I did. I was able to relax, enjoy a great meal and empower myself with the confidence that I was in good health.

I urge you to think the same, no matter what your situation…

  • If you need to nip home and keep others waiting, do it.
  • If you need to inject and correct a high blood sugar with onlookers, do it.
  • If you need to leave the table and check your blood glucose, do it.
  • If you need to open a tin of drink or, open a noisy packet of sweets in the cinema to treat your hypo, do it.
  • If someone gives you a sarcastic remark, go and fix yourself up first, then come back and give them hell! Ha-ha

If you’re not proactive with managing your diabetes – don’t complain about developing complications. You can’t help anyone, or be your best self if you’re stressed out and not feeling good.

There’s nothing that takes up more time and space in your head than a volatile blood high or low blood glucose level.

I hope this article has inspired you to think differently and put yourself first. Protect your health.

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