Hey! Hope your week was as good as mine was! If it wasn’t then don’t worry. The next one will be here soon and you have a chance to make it better.
Here’s what I learned in the past week:
1. Diabetes is reversible & behaviour change possible!
I already knew that, so it’s not a new lesson but this week it was reaffirmed to me. You can read about one of our members, Danny, and his story of how he lowered his blood sugar from 20.9 to 4.8 in 2 weeks.
The lesson this week was not that it was possible theoretically, but that it was actually possible in practice. The biggest problem that we have when we want to make a lasting behaviour change is replacing what we have established as “normal” with something brand new. That’s not easy to do in any aspect of life. If a smoker wants to quit, knowing the harms of smoking isn’t usually enough to break the habit. It’s figuring out what else do I do when I’m stressed, bored, tired etc. In order to make a change, we need to replace the problematic behaviour with something that’s not awful. Otherwise, our brain can just quickly revert back to the pattern it has been reinforcing for so many years.
In terms of diabetes, just telling someone to cut down their sugar intake isn’t going to be enough. My personal experience makes me believe that sugar is an addictive substance. A drug! Since it’s energy release lasts such a short time, your body is quickly craving and urging you to refill the tank because it’s going to be empty soon. So if you just cut your body off all of a sudden your brain is going to panic. The volume will go up on your cravings and you’ll need supreme willpower to get yourself through that phase.
This week, I was able to see someone realise that it was actually doable. There are ways that you can manage the cravings by replacing them with other food items. Because he was able to survive without feeling hungry and have alternatives to his problematic addiction, he was able to sustain himself long enough to see the change.
Whatever your bad habit or behaviour is that you’re trying to get rid of is, try and think about what acceptable alternatives you could add or turn to in order to get by.
2. Loneliness is a real problem
Once again, this seems pretty obvious on the surface. This week I have had several discussions with different people about problems they were facing. Interestingly, loneliness was never mentioned as the actual problem. Instead, it manifested as lack of sleep; binge eating; stress; anxiety; and depression.
Most of the time, we try to address something like binge eating without evaluating the confounding issues. Here are some strategies to suppress your appetite. Or, when you feel hungry, try this. However, if loneliness is the underlying trigger, then the binge eating will likely not be solved until that is first addressed.
The difficulty is that it’s not that easy to un-loneliefy yourself. But it definitely can be done. Here are some of my quick thoughts on dealing with loneliness:
1. Let your loved ones know about how you’re feeling.
2. Don’t wait for others to initiate quality time with you, be the initiator.
3. Find someone or people who need your help – volunteer for a cause you believe in.
4. Adopt a dog or cat.
5. Learn a new language or skill.
6. Come hang out with me at the clinic 🙂