Megrette Fletcher, M.Ed., R.D., CDE, and Michelle May, M.D.
Your Hemoglobin A1C test is like a 3-month report card for diabetes. It helps both you and your healthcare provider know how your overall diabetes self-management is going.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t do much more than that. Most importantly, it doesn’t tell you what is or isn’t working. Often, people don’t think of checking their blood as a learning opportunity. Instead they say, “I don’t want to know” or “I ate too much so I already know it will be too high.”
There is fear in these statements: fear that the blood sugar levels will be used as evidence of cheating, rather than a chance to learn. This is another example of “diet thinking,” which is the assumption that you did something wrong and therefore should feel bad and experience shame and guilt.
If you are open to learning more about what affects your blood sugar, start to monitor your blood sugar every day. Monitoring your blood sugar is an important and powerful tool when you look at the numbers with interest and curiosity rather than blame and judgment. This is a huge shift toward taking charge of your health, reducing stress, and learning more about how your blood sugars are affected by various circumstances.
How to do a blood sugar log:
- If you are not checking your blood sugar regularly, are you willing to make a commitment to test and record your blood sugars twice a day for the next 7 days (a total of 14 blood sugar tests)?
- If so, Download Fearless Blood Sugar Monitoring Log.
- Test your blood sugar before and/or two hours after a meal. For example, you could check your blood sugar before breakfast and two hours after breakfast. (Paired testing offers a lot of information that we will explore in another post.)
- Also check your blood sugar when you think you may have “overdone it.” Remember, the purpose is to help you learn, not to create feelings of blame, shame, or guilt.
- Jot down your notes about your meal, exercise, physical sensations, or anything else you think might be helpful in understanding your blood sugars.