Sunday, January 2, 2011

new year, new goals

When I was first diagnosed, I didn't want diabetes to set me back. Shortly after my diagnosis, I had planned to travel abroad for the month of January. My mom was worried about me leaving so soon after such a serious diagnosis, and my doctor was hesitant, but supportive of me going. I knew I could tackle this thing and I honestly had zero fears about being in another country while dealing with my diagnosis. I think this trip helped me tackle my "illness" head on. I didn't have time to mess around; I had to learn as much as I possibly could and be really strict with my diet so I could travel safely. Another thing that helped was the "honeymoon" period. For the first 3 months or so of being a type 1, your body still makes a small amount of insulin. So, at that point, I was only on pills that would help produce insulin, and I didn't need to take shots or carry anything more than my glucose monitor. Also, we walked A LOT, which helped stabilize my levels.

My point is that more recently, I have been letting diabetes hold me back. Actually, I have been letting my health hold me back. I don't know if I have felt more sick lately due to my diabetes not being in good control, or if I am just acquiring more health issues because my immune system isn't as strong since having mono a few years ago. I think that my diet and my water intake have a lot to do with the way I feel, and I know that part of me not being held back by my health is doing everything I can to take care of myself.

I've been thinking a lot about my resolutions for this new year. Last year, I didn't believe in making any big resolutions because I know that can be a setup for failure. However, it IS good to make small, attainable goals for the week, or even for the day. The more you practice those things, the more they become a habit and part of your regular routine. Merely thinking about what you want to achieve won't get you far. You can think about it all you want, but writing them down, setting goals, etc. is what will help you succeed.

I guess what I'm trying to say is I have a lot of resolutions this year, which may seem unrealistic, but I think they are attainable if I set my mind to it. Though my willpower has seemed to escape me for the last year or so, I know I am capable of having a lot of willpower and strength to help me succeed in whatever I am doing. Because I have shown this in the past, I know I can do it in the present and the future.

Here are my short- and long-term goals for the new year:

1. Drink at least 2 liters of water a day. My dr. told me I need to drink btwn 2-4 liters of water a day due to my low blood pressure/dizziness problem. I really DO feel better when I drink more water, and it shouldn't be difficult to do, but it's really easy to go the whole day w/o drinking much water. I need to be better about this, and I don't think it's unrealistic to drink at least 2 liters a day. If I drink 3 or more, even better. Long-term goal.

2. Do an elimination diet. I tend to feel fuzzy-headed and generally unwell after I eat. About a year ago (or was it 2?), I did an allergen test and found out I am sensitive to things like dairy and bananas. I'm still convinced that part of me feeling bad is due to the food I eat. I know I need to do this to see if I feel better, but it is really hard to not eat the things I love! However, I HAVE done this before, and I know I can follow a gluten-free diet for a month. Short-term goal.

3. Plan my meals out for the week/cook more. I've been eating pretty randomly for a while now, and I think it would help me feel more satisfied and more in control of my health if I put more thought into what I'm going to eat. I also think this will help with the elimination diet. If I know what I can eat, I can have those things on hand and ready to use in a recipe so I don't feel hungry or frustrated. Plus, it can get really tiring eating the same thing every day. It'd be nice to switch things up while getting all the nutrients I need. Long-term goal.

4. See a naturopath. My skepticism of western medicine and doctors led to me to more holistic practices. I did feel better after going to this particular place, and I do believe that some people have deficiencies and need help through certain vitamins and herbs. After doing the elimination diet, I plan on seeing a naturopath to give my health a once-over. It's been at least a year since I've seen one, and I think it would be beneficial. The only sucky part is that it's not covered by insurance. I have paid so much in the last 2 years to figure out why I feel so bad, why I get dizzy, etc. Though I think it's a good use of my money to figure out my health concerns, it can also be really frustrating knowing that I spend more on this kind of stuff than other people I know.
Short-term goal.

5. Indulge less. In the last year, I have been really lax with what and when I eat. I wanted to believe that I could eat whatever I wanted, but it's not true. Eating crappy also leaves me feeling crappy. Even when I eat healthy snacks but graze too often, it keeps my blood sugar higher than it should be. If I allowed some more space in between snacks, my blood sugar levels would be lower and a lot more steady. I know this, but it's somewhat of an "easy fix" with the pump. Knowing I can correct my blood sugar so quickly has led me to believe it's okay to eat whatever I want. However, I think my body is really sensitive to blood sugar changes. And because I've been having more high numbers, my health has declined, and I feel sick more often. I'm trying to not think of it as what I "can" and "can't" have, but instead what will make me feel "healthy" or "unhealthy." Long-term goal.

6. Work out at least 3 times a week. This shouldn't seem that hard. I used to be a workout machine. I never thought of it as work. I thought of it as something that kept me healthy and made me feel good. I used to go almost every day, sometimes skipping out on things like happy hour after work because I wanted to get to the gym. Lately, I have found it harder and harder to go. I've been working later and getting really hungry by the time I get home. Then I get relaxed and don't have the energy to workout. Or I've been scared to go because I've been feeling dizzy and am scared to drive home afterward. Or my blood sugar falls too quickly and I go through more test strips and have to cut my workout short, and then I get annoyed. Because I've been feeling so dizzy this year, I've been checking my blood sugar more, and then feel I have to save my test strips for that instead of for when I work out. I did up my prescription so I can get more, but it's nerve-wracking to think I won't have enough. Basically, I feel like I've developed a routine so I have an excuse to not go to the gym. Overall, working out has a positive effect on my health, and even though I am currently lacking the energy and stamina to work out for long, I know it's something I have to build back up to. Long-term goal.

7. Obsess less about testing. I never used to worry that much about testing. Most of the time, my numbers were great. I would have a few lows and a few highs, but I always took care of it. Lately I have been very worried about going low or being too high. When I feel dizzy, I'm not sure if it's related to blood sugar or blood pressure, so I have started to test a lot more. In fact, I've become obsessive about it. These last couple weeks have been better. I've been trying to control my thoughts about it and not be so paranoid that I might pass out. I'm trying to reason with myself more, but it can be hard once I start feeling spaced out and dizzy. It's hard to be logical when your hands are shaking and you feel loopy. I think it's good that I'm so aware my body and how I feel, but it's also detrimental and debilitating. Worrying as much as I have been can't be good for my health, so I feel that as I choose a healthier lifestyle, I will start feeling better and as a result, will test less.

I have more life goals in mind, but those are my big health goals for the NY. It may seem like a lot, but they all tie in to each other. And I have done all these before, so I know I can do it all again. This is what I'm telling myself anyway!


  1. Valerie, I have done an elimination diet myself, and as hard as it really gave me some good answers about my own health at the time. I am very interested to see how this elimination diet and holistic doctor(s) work for you. Please update about these as you meet these goals...I know you will! Good luck!

  2. Thanks! I'm getting tested for a gluten allergy, so I'm waiting until after that to start the elimination diet.