Have you set any New Year’s resolutions for better diabetes care? Our most recent community discussion on Making Ordinary Rituals Extraordinary (or doing M.O.R.E.), can give you some great tips on how to set the best goals and how to accomplish those goals. Melissa Joy Dobbins, MS, RDN, CDE, and CEO of Sound Bites, Inc., joined members of the diabetes community and our chat host Jewels Doskicz to give her expert advice on doing M.O.R.E for your diabetes.
Q. What are your diabetes and health goals for 2017? What results do you want?
A. Melissa: Healthier family meals and dancing! Check out my recent challenges.
Jewels: My diabetes goal for 2017 is purchasing MiniMed's 670G [automated insulin system] to get support from the latest d-tech. Results will be more freedom from diabetes and safety.
• Listen to my body's needs and learn when to say no to wants; reestablish better control.
• My health goals are to work on my mental well-being. Mental health is just as important as physical health.
• My diabetes goal is to decrease insulin needs via diet and finding ways to increase sensitivity. Health goal is to increase exercise.
Q. How does your personality influence your habits, choices, and diabetes management style?
Jewels: I am definitely Type A. The diabetes benefits related to that are huge.
• It has a direct relationship with it. I'm a go-getter, so when I really want something, I do what it takes to get it. No excuses.
• I try hard not to take things too seriously, and I like to think that influences and informs most of my life.
• I've learned doing the best I can is good enough. I'm enough. And I'm not so hard on myself anymore.
Q. Do you prefer to moderate or abstain from certain foods and beverages? Why?
A. Melissa: I’m still figuring that out! I think it depends on the food or beverage. Chocolate is not safe in my house!
Jewels: Abstain—unless it's chocolate or my blood sugar's low.
• Moderate. When I completely cut things out, I crave them so much more.
• Certain foods and drinks I will abstain from because I don't want to take a bunch of insulin just to have it. Others I will moderate.
Q. How are your eating habits serving you? How do you prioritize what to focus on?
A. Melissa: I look at where I can make the biggest improvements first, like getting more veggies in my day.
Jewels: Choosing to eat what makes me feel good while supporting my health has served me well for 33 years with T1D.
• Our eating habits ensure low A1cs and less deviation. My priority is to ensure that my kids become health advocates.
• Biggest bad eating habit is failure to plan and being stuck with few or no low-carb choices. I’ve got to plan better when possible.
Q. What benefits do you get from exercise? Is there a guilty pleasure activity that keeps you motivated?
A. Melissa: What keeps me motivated is knowing I'm benefiting my body, mind, and energy levels. Okay, maybe a Coca-Cola later in the day too.
Jewels: Exercise equals endorphins, energy, joy, and ease of diabetes management.
• Lower blood sugar. When I exercise, my BG always drops.
• Improved insulin sensitivity and all the benefits it brings. I have fun exercising. Find a sport you enjoy!
Q. Stress has a wide range of implications on diabetes health. How do you manage yours?
A. Melissa: Exercise, talking with friends, cuddling with my kids, and doing puzzles!
Jewels: When I feel stress-heavy, I crave cardio and yoga. Both create balance.
• Take a deep breath and remember that chances are, it's not that important.
• Stress can be managed for better diabetes management and more predictability. It's crazy how the mind and body are linked.
Q. What activities do you find soothing and relaxing? Can you increase them in 2017?
A. Melissa: Reading, puzzles, and the Just Dance video game with my kids.
Jewels: I'm going high speed too often. In 2017, I'd like to create more space for shifting down and relaxing. I'm hoping for more quality sleep in 2017 with the help of artificial pancreas technology.
• Going for walks, riding my bike, shopping, watching YouTube videos, and getting manicures or pedicures.
• I find riding my bicycle relaxing, and I am going to do more of that this year.
Q. My support system looks like ___?
A. Melissa: My family is my comfort zone. Friends help me balance out “me” time.
Jewels: A robust circle of family and friends. But those who truly understand are those who are personally touched by the disease (you!).
• Mostly just me. I do a lot of googling and have a lot of medical-based education. For major things, I go to my endo.
• PCP, endo, RD/CDE
Thank you to everyone who joined this week’s discussion, especially Melissa Joy Dobbins and Jewels Doskicz. Hopefully they have left you feeling inspired to set some goals for better diabetes management.