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Curiosity Can Conquer Your Fears About Elevated Blood Glucose

By Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., R.D., C.D.E

No matter how it is said, being told that your blood glucose is above normal is unwelcome news. It may be hard to keep listening because your thoughts become flooded by your emotions. My clients tell me, “I just couldn’t deal with this diagnosis, so I just didn’t do anything.”

Sometimes the hardest part of diabetes and prediabetes is accepting this diagnosis. If you are struggling, you are not alone. Resist taking all the fun out of life by telling yourself you have to do something. The truth is, you don’t have to accept anything and you can continue doing nothing. Of course, another option is to use the power of mindfulness and curiosity to conquer your greatest fears.

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Asking questions may not seem like a very radical thing, but they are how true and lasting change happens. In fact, questions are how revolutions begin. For many patients, being told that their blood glucose level is above target is the beginning of a personal revolution.

In Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat with Diabetes, we try to help you see that the goal of diabetes care isn’t to be in control of your diabetes, it is to be in charge of your diabetes. What’s the difference? Being in charge is about taking responsibility and ownership. It begins by learning what is happening to you!

Again, questions are the best way to learn anything. So when you begin testing your blood sugar, don’t try to be perfect but instead look for patterns or trends that seem predictable. Make guesses about how your glucose numbers, eating, activity levels and feelings are related. Start having fun with it. Okay, fun might be a bit strong here, but you know what we mean.

Here are examples of questions you might ask yourself:

  • Do I have any feelings of guilt, blame, shame or fear about blood sugar levels that are out of my target range?
  • What do I notice about my blood sugar in the morning before I eat? What percentage is in my target range? What percentage is out of my target range?
  • Without judgment, shame, blame or guilt, do I have any guesses about why that happened?
  • What do I notice about my after-meal blood sugar readings? What percentage is in my target range? What percentage is out of my target range?
  • Without judgment, shame, blame or guilt, what are my guesses about why that happened?
  • Do I see any changes when I’m active or exercising?
  • How does physical activity affect me?
  • How do I feel physically this week? Am I sleepy, alert, weak, strong, hungry, tired, or anything else?
  • How do I feel emotionally this week?
  • How are these emotional and physical feelings related to my diabetes, blood sugar, eating, physical activity, or other variables.

If you have been diagnosed with elevated blood glucose, get curious! Curiosity will help you understand what it going on when your blood glucose level is out of target. And curiosity naturally leads to opportunity: a new opportunity to listen to and care for your body.

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About the author

Megrette Fletcher is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, author, and co-founder of The Center for Mindful Eating. Megrette is the 2013-2014 president of The Center for Mindful Eating, a non-profit, organization to assist health professionals to explore the concepts of mindful eating. She has written articles for and has been quoted about mindful eating in Diabetes Self Management, Today’s Dietitian, Today’s Social Worker, Bariatric Times, Glamour, Family Circle, The Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, Women’s Day, and Oxygen Magazine. Megrette currently works as a diabetes educator in Dover, New Hampshire.

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