How do I Manage to Get Such a Low HbA1c?

Posted on September 2, 2011


This question was sent to me via twitter, and I wanted to share what works for me.  Please keep in mind, I am not a doctor, and each and every one is different.  This is just my story. 

Managing bloodsugars….It takes work and discipline.  I cannot tell a lie.  But it is so worth it. 

Here’s what I do:

1.  I test like a maniac.  Yep, like a crazy woman.  I prick my finger about 11 times a day (give or take a few).  I don’t even mind the little prick of the lancet anymore.  Tips of my fingers are a bit “messy” looking, but I am not a hand model so it is okay.  I choose to hold the lancet instead of putting it into a device.  Those devices hurt too much (my opinion).  But I test pre any meal or snack, pre run or any other exercise, two hours post a meal or snack, post exercise, and before bed.  And if I am feeling “weird”/low, I test then too. 

2.  Exercise, exercise, exercise.  I cannot say this enough.  I am convinced that running (my main form of exercise) has kept me healthy.  I love running.  It keeps my bloodsugars low, helps me metabolize carbs, and keeps me overall healthy (heart, weight, cholesterol,etc.).  And running actually energizes me.  I feel great after a run.  Good for the body, mind, and spirit.  Diabetes can be stressful sometimes and a good run always helps. 

3.  Eat healthy.  Nutritious.  I love food.  And yes, I eat Hershey special dark chocolate kisses.  But in moderation and along with whole grains, fruit, veggies, healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, natural peanut butter, and almonds), and lean meats (chicken and fish).  I really watch what and how much I eat.  I will have treats like a frozen yogurt or ice cream but only occassionally.  Eat well and be well.

4.  Water is essential.  You are probably wondering what water has to do with it, but I believe when my body is healthy, my bloodsugars show it.  And since I am a runner, I believe lots of water is key.  I will have a Coke Zero  when I need a caffeine boost, but I always make sure plenty of water is on board.

5.  Rest.  You gotta sleep.  If I don’t get eight hours of sleep, I am a mess.  I need sleep.  When I don’t get enough sleep, I get tired and cranky and then I drink more caffeine (not great for bloodsugar) and tend to snack more or overeat (not good for bloodsugar).  Get rest. 

6.  Be happy!  Mood affects my bloodsugar.  When I am stressed or down, my bloodsugars show it.  So I do everything possible to be in a good state of mind and not stressed.  Running is key for me.  But so is everything else listed above.  Talking to friends or people in the diabetes online community is a great resource too.  Diabetes can be overwhelming at times and reaching out for support is important. 

7.  The insulin pump.  I love the pump.  I have been on the pump for 8 years and have had a great experience.  Is it perfect?  No, but darn close.  The precision of the pump cannot be captured with shots for me.  And being a runner, I love being able to adjust the basal pre and post run.  I used to take multiple shots and still had great HbA1c, but the pump has made life so much easier.  I count every single carb and really pay attention to glycemic index affect of foods on me, etc.  I keep a record of foods so I know if I need to make alterations.  Carbs affect me differently.  For example, wheat bread vs. white bread vs. apple.  may have the same number of carbs, but I don’t need as much insulin for apple as bread. 

8.  And lastly, listening to my body and spending the time to make corrections.  If my bloodsugars are running high or low, I take the time to try and figure out why?  And if I need  help, I contact my endocrinologist.  But often, I see patterns, new behaviors, foods, etc. and I can figure out what is causing the high or low.  But it takes time.  The time is worth it though. 

And that’s it for now.  Top of Mind stuff that works for me. 

Take care all….