The Buddha was a list maker. His teachings were passed down for over 500 years through the oral tradition. In order for them to be easily memorized, he summarized them via lists – the 4 noble truths, the 8-fold path, the 5 hindrances, the 3 poisons etc.
It works! Think of it as mnemonics, techniques for helping you to remember.
Learning from this method, I focus on the 6 ways to keep my glucose levels within a non-diabetic range, insulin-free. I say range, because when living with this condition, no matter how carefully, sometimes the body just does unexpected things.
It’s important to be OK with that. Not to the point to of “who cares”, but coming from a perspective of acceptance, kindness, and self-compassion.
Do what you can to manage your health, and accept whatever the result is.
If you accept how things are, there’s a better chance for improvement because you start from a place of feeling OK about yourself.
If you don’t accept what’s happening, you’ll often end up feeling bad. That’s not a great position from which to launch into your next step.
In managing Type 2 insulin-free, there are 6 main areas I pay serious attention to…diet, exercise, stress management, sleep, medication/supplements, and…
Most of you will have heard or read about the first five. The odd one out is the last one, mindfulness. This rarely shows up in relation to any of them!
Yet, I’ve found it the most important, the foundation that any success in the other five areas rests upon.
There’s no shortage of places to find information on what to do about the first five topics. Indeed, they’re recommended as areas to focus on by experts in the field of diabetes management.
What’s often missing is how to make these changes.
Where they end, I begin…I’ll explain how to, not just what to.
Most likely, the experts and medical personal advised you, when newly diagnosed, to make certain lifestyle changes. They probably even mentioned the ones above.
Easier said than done, especially if you received that advice, tried and failed.
If you didn’t succeed, it’s because you were told to change ingrained long-term habits.
If so, don’t worry, you’re in the majority! It simply doesn’t work that way…it’s often not the problem knowng what to do, it’s how to make and keep what you change.
The 6 areas the Buddha would have paid attention to;
1. Diet. As this is central to keeping diabetes under control, it is probably the most important. Ignore it and no matter what else you do, it’ll be either difficult to maintain BG levels or you’ll end up taking higher doses of medication/insulin.
2. Exercise. The muscles are the biggest users of glucose in the body, with the brain using the most. When we become resistant to insulin it is no longer able to open the cells for the glucose to enter where it’s converted to energy. Instead the glucose circulates in the bloodstream. This isn’t a good idea. Working out increases muscle tone, allowing the muscles to vacuum up the glucose circulating in the bloodstream and is a major player in avoiding serious, nasty complications.
3. Stress management. Under stress, the body releases cortisol, which spikes blood glucose. To minimize spikes, it’s helpful to manage your stress. One common response to stress is by eating for comfort or reward. Often this means carbohydrate-rich foods, a habit that can also lead to weight gain. Weight gain further increases insulin resistance, and so the vicious circle continues.
4. Sleep. Sleep impairment is an under-reported medical condition that exacerbates many physical and emotional conditions. Getting less than an optimal amount can be detrimental to your health. It can make you more prone to mistakes or accidents. It can also increase your appetite, and therefore your risk for eating more food than you need.
5. Medications/Supplements. Take medications and supplements suggested by your physician. However, don’t be passive about it. Question them to be clear what the prescription is for.
Some of the pertinent questions I ask; Any side effects? How long before it takes effect? What should I do if I miss a dose? Is it safe to simply stop or do I need to titrate it down slowly? Taken with a meal or not? Any other supplements, medications or food that can have either a positive or negative effect on it?
This isn’t a complete list, but you get the gist. I don’t just go with what they tell me, but question further until I feel I know enough to understand.
6. Mindfulness. Being mindful, paying bare attention to every moment, equally receiving whatever it has to offer, neither pushing away or clinging to it. An alert wake mind catches any variations in these major areas, adjusting them when needed before they get out of hand. Being aware permits you to tweak any trends heading in the wrong direction before it’s too late.