I don’t believe in doing things the hard way. I’m all about the EASY button. Does this make me lazy? Or efficient? You say tomato, I say tomaaaato. But we can all agree that effective disease management can only benefit from simplification.
There are non-techy ways to do this. Have a grocery list before you go to the store and stick with it, so you don’t end up at home with Jalapeno potato chips and the best deal on ice cream in town. I’ve heard that bad diabetics do that some times, but of course Sister Mary Good Choices over here wouldn’t dream of such behavior.
Walk around the block after your three major meals to help lower blood sugar; enlist the dog, as puppy-faced guilt will get you out the door. Don’t eat after 7 pm because your carbs will turn into sugar that will sit in your sleeping system all night and cook your organs. Get eight hours of sleep for general health and so that you’re not a grouchy mess all day; sugar highs and lows accomplish enough of that. Hydrate like you’re on fire; use lemon slices or pour seltzer in a wine glass if you must.
In addition to the basics, there are brilliant minds from MIT and the like who have created many technology-savvy solutions for even the most tech-averse individual (read: moi). The first of these is my wireless insulin pump device, which provides all of my blood sugar and insulin records at a glance. Going to the endocrinologist is much easier now that I can simply pass over my handheld device and she can assess my diabetic behavior in a few seconds.
I have recently gone beyond the pump, however, and spent some time in the App Store on my iPhone. I researched several “diabetes-friendly” apps, but found that most of them track what my wireless pump device already handles. I don’t really need an app for carb-counting, as the numerous classes you have to take on the subject before you’re eligible for the pump ensure that counting carbs is basically your new superpower.
That said, if you do not have a wireless insulin pump like my cyborg self, be sure to Google the best apps for diabetes management. Tracking your diabetic data can feel like a full-time job, and simplifying the task can only give you a greater shot at having…you know, a life.
And let’s face it…you’re on that smart phone 24/7 anyway. You’re texting, you’re calling, you’re facebooking, and you’re checking email. Why not put that thing to work to help you deal with your diabetic lot in life?
The one thing that causes the greatest impact on my sugars is stress, plain and simple. So even finding non-diabetes specific apps that help reduce stress is an invaluable way to manage your illness. My favorite one right now is called Cozi, and it is a family calendar management app. Every family member gets a color, and the entire Kalita schedule is now available at a glance. The kids are responsible for checking the calendar before asking for outings with friends, and for inputting their own extracurricular activities. (Hey, if they can learn a little time management in their early years, all the less stress-inducing for the mommy.) And the parents are now entirely clear on who is picking up which kid for what on the right day.
Uncomplicated fitness and wellness apps really work for me too. MapMyWalk turns my sunny strolls around the neighborhood into straight-up, hard-core fitness experiences. When I see the app tracking my progress, I increase my pace and extend my route in a way I wouldn’t otherwise be motivated to do. Then I hop on MyFitnessPal and input the exercise, as well as my awesome food choices (except on days when I don’t make any).
While apps like these are not diabetes-specific, they have everything to do with good health. They also provide additional intel for you and your doctor in crafting the best health plan for you. And if technologically-illiterate me can handle these, they will be a digital walk in the park for normal earthlings like you.
Move beyond the music, and put that phone to work for your wellness.