A Surprising Diabetes Helper
Simple Marker Tips that Work!
Sometimes the simplest tools make a big difference in successfully managing diabetes. Grab a marker from your desk or kitchen drawer. Yes, a marker. Basic black is fine, but permanent is best. Get going -- take control -- with the following ideas.
Mark food boxes and cans to show how each item fits into your meal plan.
Who wants to squint at the small print on the Nutrition Facts panel when hunger pangs hit? Go through your pantry and write meal-plan essentials on the sides of boxes and cans. Note calories and fat grams per serving if you're intent on losing weight, and keep track of carbs if you count them.
Keep track of fingerpricks when you lance for blood glucose testing.
To make sure you adequately rotate lancing sites, outline your hand on a piece of paper. Place a dot on the outline to mark your most recent lancing site. The next time you lance, choose a different spot. Some Diabetic Living readers have told us they like to hit two or three spots on the outside of a finger, then two or three on the inside before moving to the next finger.
Write encouraging words on the bottom of your exercise shoes.
Whether your workout is a walk around the mall or a half marathon, keep your spirits up and acknowledge the effort you've put into getting some movement each day. Other favorite, inspirational words include these:
- Go for It!
- Run, Baby, Run
- Check Out My Moves
- Just One More Step
Know how to measure 15 grams of liquid carbohydrate to treat low blood glucose.
Health-care professionals suggest treating hypoglycemia, a blood glucose reading under 70 mg/dl, with about 15 grams of rapidly absorbed carbohydrate. When glucose gel or tabs aren't handy, consider 4 ounces of fruit juice or sugary soda. It's easy to overdo it, so mark a small plastic cup ahead of time and save for any low blood glucose events at home. If your blood glucose is under 70 mg/dl, drink 15 grams of carbohydrate, wait 15 minutes, and retest to make sure your blood glucose has returned to the comfort zone of 70-120 mg/dl.
Keep track of how far you've come.
Walking is a favorite activity of many people who are adding movement to their day to manage their diabetes. To set a challenging goal for yourself, decide to walk across your city or state -- but you needn't leave the neighborhood. Simply mark your miles on a map and celebrate all those steps.
Save the last juice box in case of low blood glucose.
Does a family member unthinkingly grab the last juice, just when you need 4 ounces to treat a blood glucose reading under 70 mg/dl? Defend your stash with a well-placed label.
Note the foods that are "free" in reasonable portions on your meal plan.
It's comforting to know there are a few food exceptions you can eat without counting them against your meal plan. The American Diabetes Association's Diabetes Exchanges and many weight-loss plans allow some "free" foods. Just be aware of portion sizes and number of servings, and avoid any that compromise your health goals. Dill pickles, for example, may not be a good choice if you're eating less salt to lower your blood pressure.
Head out for a walk.
For good health, 30 minutes of continuous activity at least 4 days a week is a baseline goal. If you're serious about losing weight, more activity can help. Set aside time in your day to get the exercise you need. Post a sign so your family respects your "me" time.
Avoid medication blunders.
If you're juggling multiple types of insulin or diabetes pills, mark the vials or bottles so you can identify at a glance which one you're taking. When taking pills or giving shots becomes routine, it's unfortunately easy to confuse two medications and take too much of the wrong one.
Use this simple portions reminder to guide your food choices.
Copy this diagram onto a paper plate to remind yourself what a healthful meal looks like. Not every meal you choose may be as rich in vegetables, but aiming for this type of ratio helps ensure an eating plan that can benefit your heart and your diabetes.
Responsibly dispose of used sharps.
Set aside a puncture-resistant plastic (unbreakable) container for used lancets and syringes: a rigid and opaque empty detergent bottle. Mark it prominently with the words "sharps" so family members know what's inside and know not to recycle it or throw it in the trash (if that's not allowed in your area). Store the container out of reach of small children. Securely fasten and seal the cap with heavy-duty adhesive tape (such as duct tape) when the container is nearly full. Check with your local public works department about proper disposal of medical waste in your area.
Keep track of infusion set changes.
The infusion set for an insulin pump, typically used by those with type 1 diabetes, should be changed every 2 to 3 days. To help you remember, write the change day on the infusion set with a fine-point permanent marker.
Make a record of what you eat to help meet weight-loss goals.
Health professionals tell us over and over that writing down what you eat is a proven way to encourage weight loss. An accurate food diary also helps you and your health-care provider see how food affects your blood glucose control.
Decorate your T-shirt with inspiring words.
Choose a slogan that celebrates the effort you put into living well while controlling your diabetes. You can keep a slogan T-shirt to yourself (put it on when you clean house or ride your exercise bike) or show it off to the world.