Tip of the Week: Keeping Records

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2011-11-02 18:28:42 -0500
Started 2011-09-01 10:21:46 -0500

I am writing this tip of the week more for me more than anything. I was an avid record keeper and food journaling fool for the first 2 years. I was so curious about what my body was doing and learned so much. But I fell into a period of lax last fall and I have had the hardest time getting back on board.

Keeping record of your numbers is so important and not just your glucose levels. Keep a copy of your lipid panel from your lab work so you can compare them every 3-6 months and see what is going on.

Keep your food journal close to the table so that you can fill it in as you are eating. Writing it down often helps (or at least it does for me) keep you from taking that little extra serving. In my peak, my journal included fats, calories, carbs, proteins, and fiber. These were the things I was watching and I had goals set by my doctor and myself to reach. Numbers don't lie. Record what you want and what you are going to use to educate you about your body.

You can't keep record if you don't measure. Measure your food portions, measure your exercise time, measure your weight, and measure your emotions. All of these kinds of things are part of your record keeping that make the whole picture more clear. I even had a place for weather conditions. That also is part of what affects us in our general well being.

Experiment and write it down. Experiment over a determined period of time. A one time experiment is not going to tell you everything. So unless it was a horrible recipe or caused an injury in exercise, conduct your experiment for a week or more to get a pattern. Keep those records very tight so you can learn about yourself.

Averaging your records. You may have one really bad day, but when you take your numbers and average them out over the week, you may just be pleasantly surprised. Then when you average your month, you can take pride and when you average your quarter, you may have a better understanding of why you have the A1c that you have. It is like weighing yourself every day. That is horrible! It will make you crazy. You want to look at averages, as they keep a more accurate look at what you are doing.

All of this help you see what works, what doesn't. This also helps your doctor see what is going on. I used to take my journals in to show my doctor. He never really looked too hard at them, but at least he had access to what I was doing.

So now that I have laid this all out, I need to get my notebook all set up again. If you don't know where else to start, try using our 21 Days Guide. Even if you only do one thing, start a good habit. It can really make a difference.

26 replies

Mickey/CCHT 2011-11-02 14:32:00 -0500 Report

I replied to this back when i first started on this site about a month ago. I have been keeping a food journal and my bs's. It has been a great tool in helping me figure out what foods are working for me and what does not. I'm very good about keeping it updated. It goes with me everywhere! Don't leave home without it! LOL

nzingha 2011-11-01 22:55:36 -0500 Report

Excellent advise Gabby ..all of which I have been doing and I type out my report and take it to my doc and i keep it on my PC and print a hard copy for myself as well… I do keep my note book on my dining table and fill in as soon as I have done my test.. it has become routine for me now.. I too became careless over the past year and now I have a new man in my life who goes everywhere with me and the truth is I am NOT in love with him. His name is Insulin…when I take him he makes me feel weird all over my body .. which means its fighting and still trying to resist me..lol! The doc says I am in denial.. hence those feelings but its not that I am.. I just hate the damn thing and my body is not hesitating to show it. It makes my face puffy in the mornings, when I take the long standing one at nights and my eyes look glassy… hate the damn thing.. tho without it I would be a goner!

GabbyPA 2011-11-02 18:28:42 -0500 Report

Too bad you can't dump this "guy". Sometimes we have to put up with some crummy stuff to have a good result. I would talk to your doctor about it though. Your side effects seem kind of strange to me. There are other insulins and perhaps "dating around" might find you something better?? =0)

GabbyPA 2011-11-01 20:34:01 -0500 Report

I will tell you, this practice will become very helpful as the holidays approach. I am very bad in the kitchen as I taste as I cook and that adds up in ways you would never imagine...well, okay, maybe you would.

Keep that journal close and keep the ink pen handy. It is going to get a work out the next two months...let it help you.

MEGriff1950 2011-11-01 18:59:11 -0500 Report

This post is older but still very good advice. When I get lax with my journal I also get lax with my eating. I had to chuckle when you mentioned weighing yourself and recording. I went to the dr last week and overnight I lost 42 pounds, LOL darn cheap scales.

akamonie 2011-10-13 13:40:43 -0500 Report

Gabby I need to keep records other wise I start cheating. I got the idea of a color code for my numbers. I've only started this Monday. Like any numbers below 70 I use light blue pen, any in the 100's I use a green pen and so forth. This makes it easier to see at a glance how the dayi is going. I also record what I eat, the times and amounts of medication I take. Plus any note to myself that should be considered and looked at later. I really like the charting and journal idea. I also like the full size note book its easier to see and make notes etc. I guess we all have to find what works for us. Thanks for your idea's and I will think about all you said and maybe work some of your ideas into my note book charting.

GabbyPA 2011-10-14 09:01:35 -0500 Report

That is a cool idea. I never thought of that but it would make it much easier to glance at. Thanks!

Pamela155 2011-10-15 16:06:36 -0500 Report

Gabby, I am new on DC and was glancing through discussions and saw your challenge last month for others to also journal their numbers and foods daily. If you are still journaling, I would like to take up that challenge with you! I could also use others to reply to the joys and horrors of being diabetic. THanks, everyone!

nzingha 2011-11-01 22:57:54 -0500 Report

i'm here… i jump on this site at least once daily… feel free to ask me questions…once i get the notification… i'll reply… i use this site in my free times at night and while i'm face booking…

GabbyPA 2011-10-16 08:31:59 -0500 Report

Sure, join in. There is not really a place that we keep each other accountable, but the more who are doing it the better we will be. I got away from it while I was on vacation, but the book it back out again.

MewElla 2011-10-13 13:45:47 -0500 Report

I have kept a log of my testing #'s, food journal, anything unusual like stress, sickness, amt of exercise I do ea day and take to my dr appt…It is a huge benefit to me and the dr to get on top of anything unusual going on very quickly. It sure works for me..

Mickey/CCHT 2011-10-13 14:44:21 -0500 Report

I'm with you Gabby! I totally need something like this. I'm bad though! I will start and then stop, but we are on the path of change so here we go! LOL

Jan8 2011-10-13 11:56:19 -0500 Report

I've been keeping a food journal as long as I have had diabetes type 2 and type 1. it really lets me know what I can and cannot eat. Some days i am so very tired and other days I am so happy that I have energy. Today is a low energy day. Maybe a nap would do it. I'd love to be able to exercise or do some weight bearing exercise but then the fibro kicks in.

TsalagiLenape 2011-10-13 07:44:40 -0500 Report

Well your record keeping is more intense than mine. Yet I want the same kind. Just a bit chaotic right now with new baby and etc. So once the chaos has settled I will start this. Just need to collect it all and go from there. Thanks for the great tip. Have a great day!:)

nzingha 2011-10-12 22:52:38 -0500 Report

I actually keep a daily record of my numbers and what Ive eaten just in case there's a spike and I keep this little note book on my dining table where I eat.. with a pen stuck inside so as I eat I record. Then I type it up on my computer at the end of each month…

Caliafiosgram62 2011-09-03 15:59:03 -0500 Report

I've never been good about keeping a journal. I've started one again. Maybe this time. We'll see. Maybe if I say here that I am going to try one more time, I'll stay a little more motivated.

GabbyPA 2011-09-04 09:06:29 -0500 Report

I started mine again as well and am on day 3 so far. If I can make it consistent through a month, I will have restarted my good habit. Want to take that challenge with me?

hac62 2011-10-12 17:05:19 -0500 Report

I keep records of my glucose testing but now I realize I need to do the food journal also thanks so much for sharing

Caliafiosgram62 2011-09-04 10:17:33 -0500 Report

Ha ha OK I'll try it. I don't give myself much of a chance. But maybe if I know someone else is with me, well maybe. I'm on day three, too. Only 27 more to go???? Yikes

GabbyPA 2011-09-05 10:29:53 -0500 Report

I am doing it to reset my bench marks. I have been so much going on eyeball things and not really paying close attention. Writing it down makes me see what is REALLY going on. It does help. I try not to get depressed about what is going on, but to use it as a tool of how to get back to what I was doing that worked for me in the past.

Raeguerney 2011-09-02 18:55:27 -0500 Report

I journaled years ago when I was diagnosed and again when I got sent to diabetes school to help me get better control of my bs. It helped a little but I got lazy about it when the class was over. Now, I'm going to a monthly meeting at the local hospital and that helps to keep me informed, connected to others with the same problems and interested in doing what I know I should do.

Doryian 2011-09-01 15:41:48 -0500 Report

I'm a newbie diabetic & insulin user. I started keeping records for my first doctor appointment after getting out of the hospital. The plan was to let him see the notations and then stop. But when I was at my appointment, he drew a big smiley face on the sheet & made me feel good about it. Things still aren't under "control," so I've kept it up - I figure it'll help get things under control & honestly, it keeps me more accountable. On the flip-side, it's just ANOTHER chore to have to do/keep up with…

GabbyPA 2011-09-02 08:24:28 -0500 Report

That is the one problem. I got kind of obsessive about it and it took over. I needed to find a balance. I started my new journal today, so we will see how I do in that.

Butterflies and Birds
Butterflies and Birds 2011-09-01 10:57:20 -0500 Report

I also wrote EVERYTHING down when I was first diagnosed…so intricate that it amazed even me. It was very helpful and was easy to keep my bloodsugar in check. When I stopped journaling, I don't know…but I have now been encouraged to start again ( I even bought a new Pink Journal for encouragment…and maybe my doctor can be more informed too. Thank you for this Tip of the Week.

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