Never never never never never give up


the beginning is the hardest

never give up…

No matter what is going on

Never give up

Develop the heart

Too much energy in your country

Is spent developing the mind

Instead of the heart

Be compassionate

Not just to your friends

But to everyone

Be compassionate

Work for peace

In your heart and in the world

Work for peace

And I say again

Never give up

No matter what is going on around you

Never give up

― Dalai Lama XIV


Although H.H. The Dalai Lama refers to global issues with his powerful words, the gist is one we can all take to heart – never give up!


If, like me, you’re choosing not to take insulin, accept you’ve chosen a difficult path! Not to imply taking insulin is easy, far from it! But it’s a different type of difficult. It’s one of calculation – of carbs, basal and bolus amounts, constant monitoring (with or without a pump), adjusting to trends, potentially higher risks for dangerously high or low glucose levels.


Insulin-free, hey, we’re not having to deal with that stuff. Sure, there’s less serious risk of hypoglycemia, no needles or (fat-storing) insulin. But, we do have to deal with food choices, keeping our muscles toned to soak up the glucose circulating in the bloodstream, watching the stress level, making sure we get enough sleep.


It’s a constantly moving game of multiple variables, all in relation to one another. Like trying to keep many plates spinning on poles in the air. If one falls, how does it effect all the others?


It’s hard work, tiring and requiring constant vigilance. And maybe the worse of all… there’s no vacation from diabetes. You’re on 24/7/365…period.



Monitor your stamina, pace yourself, but never give up and never personalize what happens!


So take a moment, think of the last time you tried to change a habit. Perhaps you committed to brushing your teeth after every meal, or maybe going to bed before 11 pm. Initially, you managed fine, but then you forget to brush one day, or a fascinating book entices you to read one more chapter, and you lose traction on your just-getting-started habit. Back to the bad old ways, thinking you’re doomed forever!


It regularly happens to me, around food limitations especially. I’ll eat the right type (low carb) and quantity (small portions, 3 oz. max of protein with 1/2 my plate filled with veggies) for weeks on end. No exceptions, no cheating…then one day, I’ll sneak in a bite of something harmful, possibly a tiny teaspoon of pie or chocolate pudding.

Chocolate Pudding


Instantly an interesting process unravels, following that bite. As if a switch in my brain toggles, although testing with my glucometer after that naughty bite reveals a still acceptable glucose level, a scan of my body confirms my clothes fit the same, a surreptitious pinch fails to find a larger glob of fat deposit, and before I pause to investigate further, my brain registers it as “Hey, I can do this, a bite here or there won’t hurt me…” (substitute your own justification here).


And so a false sense of confidence is triggered.


Before I stop to reconsider, buoyed on by that false confidence, I begin to allow other “naughty bites” to creep in here and there. If there’s any sugar in those bites, intellectually I know it’ll trigger hunger, or a craving for more. But even as I notice my thoughts register that intellectual information, I still act impulsively!


Despite knowing better, the brain lunges forward impulsively and moves you to an action you want to happen but didn’t want to be fully conscious of making that decision.


At this point, my self-imposed “taboo” attitude towards those foods has been broken. Until I re-establish it, it is no longer in place.


Ever had this happen to you?


At this point, many give up, or give in. I have, countless times over the years.  


But don’t. Meditation teaches us to return again and again to the breath. OK, so what’s that go to do with a bite of forbidden cake?


In formal meditation practice, which mirrors all of life, we’re instructed to be aware of the rhythm of the breath, observing it from a place of neutrality. If something, a thought or sound perhaps, grabs the attention, move your awareness to that phenomenon, before returning to the breath.


So the purpose in meditation is to return to the breath or object of focus. If you find yourself doing that 60 times per hour, you’re really paying close attention. If it happens just once or twice in an hour, you’re not. You’ve most likely gotten caught up in the compelling thought, or a daydream.


So how is that like life?


Well, it teaches us to make the act of returning crucial to all mindful action. Take the notion out into your life. Apply it to the food habit you’re trying to cultivate.


So for each teeny tiny teaspoon of dessert that I sneak in, I mindfully return to the notion of that being a harmful food, and I’m able to not indulge.


I never never never give up on my commitment to stay on a nutritional plan that holds the promise of keeping diabetic complications at bay. And so I continually return to it after a little wayward treat.


Never give up and always return! What can you commit to return to? Leave a comment, I’m curious to learn how it is for you…



Filed under: Mindfulness


  1. Linda says:

    While I admire your choice not to use insulin, I have opted for insulin over the suspect oral medications — except metformin. I have LADA.

    I recently did my first fat fast, for 10 days. on 1000 kcal, 900 from fat, per day, I still required 9 – 12U per day of insulin! But … minimizing my insulin without compromising my blood sugar is my goal. And I won’t give up.

    Dalai Lama is a fascinating person with great insights for all of us!

    • admin says:

      Linda, we all need to do what’s within our capabilities, which also fluctuates not just from person to person, but for each of us over a period of time. LADA, is a late onset ‘version’ of Type 1. I’m unaware of anyone with T1 or LADA managing without insulin. Type 2 is more flexible in that regards. Nevertheless, the point isn’t whether insulin is used or not, it’s the fact that even being insulin-dependent, mindfulness can help reduce the amount needed. That’s got to be healthy and helpful. I’ve coached clients who are Type 1, insulin-dependent, and noticed as their awareness and mindfulness increase, the correlation between that process and the resulting decrease in insulin. A very gratifying situation and result for all! Don’t give up, paying attention furthers the situation. Be well…

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