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
Not just to your friends
But to everyone
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.
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?
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…