When I was in college, I had an A1C target in mind that seemed impossible to achieve.
Each time I’d review my three-month average, things were generally no worse, and no better than they had been before.
At the start of every new year I would promise myself: “This is the year…”
But having vision without clear goals isn’t a recipe for success and I didn’t have a good idea on how to get to where I wanted to be.
I eventually found my way to the A1C of my goals over time and through a lot of mistakes, so I’m here to share four of the most helpful ways I made it there.
1. Eating a strictly Gluten Free (GF) diet.
I’ll preface this by saying, going GF might not be necessary or helpful for everyone, but for me, it was a game changer.
Several years ago, I did extensive testing with my naturopath that indicated gluten could be a trigger for me. For years, I struggled to make it a priority… going GF for a few months at a time, and then breaking the fast on holidays or special occasions, and then going back to eating gluten regularly.
About three years ago, I decided to try the strict GF life again – this time for real. I intentionally trial-ran reintroductions of gluten into my diet, but started to notice brain fog and nausea when I reintroduced, and clearer thinking and more energy when I went without.
Learning to understand my own body and the signals it was sending was a major part of my journey in this area. I also noticed some significant improvements in blood sugar once I started following a strict GF diet (probably for a number of reasons.) Being GF makes it easy to turn down foods that would normally be higher in sugar and carbs, and removing a triggering food from my diet has supported my health on all fronts.
2. Supplementing Smart.
Like diet, supplementation is highly individual and should be done under the care of a trained physician.
I’d encourage anyone looking for better blood sugar control to talk with their doctor about supplementing with Chromium. Chromium is a mineral closely linked to blood sugar control. When I miss a few days of this supplement, I immediately notice a difference in my blood sugar and ability to come down from a high blood sugar quickly.
While your doctor can recommend a specific brand and dosage, I prefer Sweet-Eze, a supplement blend which includes chromium, vanadium, and other blood-sugar supporting herbs.
3. Using low-intensity exercise to my advantage.
We might expect exercise to result in low blood sugar, but that isn’t always the case. Any high intensity or burst exercise (anything that spikes a cortisol response) can actually trigger high blood sugar in the middle of or post-workout.
While I love weight lifting, running, and other high intensity exercise, I use low intensity workouts (walking, hiking) as a way to increase insulin sensitivity and help my insulin work harder.
My favorite antidote to a stressful afternoon or a carb-heavy meal is really as simple as it sounds – a walk around the block.
4. Instagram (yes, you read that right).
The #T1D community is strong on Instagram and I’ve gotten so much encouragement and support this way, not to mention all sorts of tips and tricks that you don’t read in a book or hear at the doctor’s office. Social media gets a bad rap, but technology can be used for so much good – especially when living with chronic illness.
To get started just search #T1D and #T1DCommunity #BeyondType1 on Instagram.
So there you have it! If you’re interested in implementing any of these steps into your Type 1 life, shoot me a message! I’d love to hear about your struggles and your successes.