It has been exactly 20 years today since my grandmother passed away. My grandmother was a fierce, intelligent woman who held our family together.
I was a teenager when my grandma’s health declined. She had congestive heart failure, diabetes, and was legally blind. As a teen, I did not understand the extent of her health problems nor how they related.
Now that I’m living with the same diabetes diagnosis, I understand what my grandma was going through, how diabetes and heart disease are linked and how those issues can potentially limit your life.
It’s my mission to share what I’ve learned with people with diabetes and their loved ones. There is a family history of diabetes on both sides, and I just want to do my part in changing the narrative.
On this day of remembrance, I want to encourage you to keep your health in check: learn more about your condition, maintain a healthy diabetes management routine, and if you need help, don’t be afraid to ask. Don’t let diabetes limit your life.
How a consistent schedule benefits diabetes management
Starting each Thursday, I will be sharing a quick tip that will help you on your diabetes journey.
This week’s tip is about keeping a consistent schedule.
It’s important to keep your body consistent, which may include everything from what time you eat to when you sleep. You can help your body to regulate the body’s hormones and blood sugar levels by creating a regular routine and rhythm.
It’s easy for us to be concerned about the future with chronic illness. However, we must keep in mind that there is so much life left in us. It may not be the ideal life that we’ve imagined, but it is still life. So instead of worrying about the how our conditions might affect us in the future, let’s just focus on today. Do what you can today.
I can no longer watch my family making unhealthy choices
If anyone wants to know why I do what I do, here’s one of those reasons: to be able to see this sweet face everyday.
I want to show him and his siblings the right way to take care of the temple that God gave to them. I want to show them that this diagnosis is not the end of the world, and that we have the power to change the narrative.
Observing their current eating habits solidified that the fact something has got to change. With a family history of diabetes and heart issues on all sides of their families, there’s no reason why my family should not start changing their current lifestyle.
In a couple of weeks, I will be sharing what my husband and I are planning create a new health legacy for our family. Follow my blog to stay updated!
Right now it’s 9:35 PM where I am. I’ve just finished taking a hot, relaxing bath after an extremely rough day.
Besides blogging, writing contributing articles and moderating, I am also a co-founder for a local nonprofit organization that helps young school-age entrepreneurs. In about a week from now, we will be hosting our biggest annual event: a youth entrepreneurship fair where youth from all over our state and surrounding states sell their products and services.
I absolutely love planning this annual youth event! I love seeing the excitement of the youth when they make a sale. The fun and amazement from the community when they hear the stories of how these youth entrepreneurs got started. It makes planning this event so rewarding.
Planning this year’s event is a little different than previous years, with the exception of last year’s event (which was online). Because of the pandemic, our event, which usually takes place in March, takes place this month, on July 17th.
Unfortunately, we’ve been hitting a lot more snags than usual. Many of our senior youth participants have canceled because of timing and schedule conflicts. It’s been harder to get media coverage for our event (which usually we had been able to get media coverage from all TV stations and radio). There has been a lot of miscommunication or no communication at all, from some families of the youth participants. Then there’s the health department requesting extra data and requiring us to implement extra procedures from kids who only plan to sell drinks and packaged sweet treats.
Today, I was really under pressure and at my breaking point. Between following up with parents who I have not heard from since the pandemic contacting us two weeks before the event, the last minute cancellations, the health department breathing down our backs, following up with the TV and newspaper stations, making sure my kids are not killing each other and trying to work on blogging and posting, I was angry, frustrated and depleted. Every ounce of me wanted to explicitly express how I felt at that moment.
Needless to say, it has been rough experience for me and my colleagues.
Instead of losing my cool, I’ve stopped everything I was doing, changed into some walking gear and walked. I didn’t care what was happening at the moment. I knew that I needed to pause in order to keep my composure. Fifteen minutes later, I returned home and resumed work with a sound mind. I was able to solve all of the issues that I could with kindness and patience.
A brisk walk is one of the newest ways that I’ve been managing my stress. Besides exercise and diet, managing stress is a huge component of diabetes management. All of us have experienced various forms of stress, including personal, interpersonal and environmental.
For those of us living with diabetes, stress can make it more difficult to manage our condition. Stress disrupts our daily routines and causes fluctuations in our blood sugar levels. Stress increases our blood pressure and raises heart rate, resulting in rising blood sugar levels.
If you find yourself in a stressful situation or environment, remember, everything doesn’t require a response. Try these healthy strategies to help manage stress:
How do you describe your current exercise routine? Do you tend to stay committed or do you find having a difficult time just scheduling time to exercise? Do you get easily discouraged?
When I was diagnosed with diabetes, my mom taught me one of the most important tips for treating diabetes: walk everyday. Each morning before breakfast, I wake up and walk for 35-40 minutes a day, which equates to 3500-4000 steps a day or 1.5 to two miles. If I had a meeting or trip to attend, I would wake up earlier in the morning and get my steps in. During my kids’ school year, I also wake up between 4:00-6:00 AM to walk.
No matter what situation pops up, I always make time to exercise. There are times when I just want to sleep in longer, especially if it is a school day for my kids, but I’m motivated by my willingness to get my walking done on time and then I would achieve my steps for the day. My family is well aware of how my day runs and they sometimes take some time to walk with me.
Two years later, I am still committed to this regime with no plans of stopping. My A1C results is a major factor that motivates me to keep going.
I’ve recently worked with Dr. Char Counseling from Nashville to create a quiz to help determine what your exercise personality! This is a five minute quiz that will help you answer the following:
Are you driven more by habits, or by motivation?
How do factors like family and friends support, stress, and your environment impact your exercise routine?
Should you be looking for more motivation, or be focusing on habits?
After taking the quiz myself, I’ve found out that I am motivationally driven due to my willingness to intentionally exercise everyday and not allowing myself to be deterred by any situation.
What is your exercise personality? Take our quiz below and share your results in the comments!
My one vital tip that constantly keeps me sane on this health journey
There are days that can be so overwhelming and draining, especially when it comes to diabetes. This is a typical day for me:
Waking up between 4:00-5:30 AM so I can walk for 35-40 minutes before the kids wake up for school because I know I will not have time during my kids’ school day to do it.
Making sure that I am eating the correct amount of the right foods at the right time so I can take my medication and prevent my blood sugar from dropping too low.
Making sure that my family’s needs are met.
Helping the kids with homework and projects.
Finally, making sure that I am completing my tasks in a timely manner for my business, my kids’ school PTA and monthly diabetic support group meetings.
When I have a few moments or an hour to relax and unwind, I choose to feed my soul with activities that encourage and edify me. I make time in my day to study God’s word, listen to sermons and podcasts and connect with some amazing ladies to talk about the bible and pray for one another with just one click on my smartphone.
An amazing friend and sister in Christ, Dominique Young recently created a free, life-changing social app called The Faith Mamas Tribe. It’s a safe space for women to connect and grow in Christ. The app has daily bible studies and nightly devotionals. My favorite is our weekday Mornings With Jesus where we read the bible for an hour everyday from 6:00-7:00am. Mornings With Jesus not only edifies me, but it also motivates me while I exercise.
There’s space to submit prayer requests and pray for one another. There’s also space to connect with other women through groups. No matter where you are in life, there is a group for you. There’s even a chronic illness group and a health and wellness group, which I’ve joined and post about my journey regularly. The moderators who run both groups are authentic, encouraging, helpful and inspiring!
Whether it’s Friday night prayer, a weekend Faith Talk or a daily uplifting post, my soul is filled up every time I am on the Faith Mamas Tribe App. If you’re looking to grow authentically in Christ and this community sounds like something that you want to be a part of, then take a few moments download the app here: https://faithmamas.org/
It’s equally vital to focus on your spiritual health as much as your physical and mental health.
Until Next Time,
The Genetic Diabetic
What are you doing to feed your soul each day? Comment below and let’s chat!