To the person living with type 2 diabetes who feels like they’re hitting a wall, this letter is for you.
Managing a type 2 diabetes diagnosis can be challenging. Perhaps you started out strong when you were first diagnosed, but now are having some difficulty sticking with your treatment plan. Maybe your needs have shifted over the years, and you’re not sure how to manage your T2D with other life changes. Or maybe a medication that once worked for you is no longer effective.
Whatever the reason, we all struggle and go through difficult periods from time to time. I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t give up, but you should stay committed to keeping your diabetes under control.
Working closely with your healthcare provider is key — they can help address concerns you might have and recommend modifications to your treatment plan, diet, or exercise routine.
In the meantime, here are some things that you can think about that may help when you feel you’re reaching the end of your rope.
Remember what your goals are
It’s important to remember your reasons for wanting to keep diabetes as well controlled as possible. Uncontrolled diabetes can have some serious consequences — from heart attack to stroke to losing your vision, or even your limbs. If you have a family, think about how you want to be there for them, not just physically, but in good health too. Maybe your motivation is a friend, a beloved pet, or an event — whatever it is that inspires you to stay on track, visualize that and keep reaching back to it when you feel like you’re hitting a wall.
Steer clear of carbohydrates
If you have T2D and you aren’t following a strict carbohydrate-restricted diet, you won’t be able to keep your diabetes under control without the use of medications, plain and simple. And even if you’re taking medications, if your diet is high in sugars and carbohydrates, they may not be enough to manage your diabetes. Try a ketogenic diet, or low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, first and see how that impacts your sugars. This may sound difficult, but think about what your life could be like if you were able to cut down the number of medications that you’re on.
Cutting out carbohydrates from your diet, especially in this toxic food environment that we live in, can be daunting at times, but if it means it’s the key to reversing or at least putting your diabetes in remission, then strongly consider trying it.
Build a network that works for you
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes, so don’t be surprised if you find other people who are probably just as likely to be in the same situation as you. Connect with like-minded individuals so that you can build accountability together, support each other, and share helpful resources. Find people in your area who are also living with T2D and organize low-carb potluck meals, walks, or even just time to chat in person. Send each other text message reminders to check in and make sure you’re doing okay — sometimes just knowing that another person out there has your back can go a long way.
Reward yourself with positivity
Maintaining a positive attitude and creating incentives for yourself is important, especially when dealing with setbacks. If you miss goals or have bad days, think of your motivation and commit to your goals instead of beating yourself up. When you do reach your goals, treat yourself to something you truly enjoy doing that is outside the realm of diabetes and food, like going to see a movie or getting a massage. Above all, make sure to be truly kind to yourself no matter what.
Dr. Priyanka Wali is a board-certified internal medicine and obesity medicine physician. She graduated from the University of Southern California, cum laude, as an undergraduate and continued her training there for medical school. She completed her residency in internal medicine at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.
While she understands the importance and necessity of guidelined-based therapies, Dr. Wali believes medicine at its core is a personalized process and probably shouldn’t be standardized or scaled. The best medicine is individualized medicine, which takes time, patience, and most importantly a human connection. She is particularly interested in health optimization for individuals of all ages and demographics and has a passion for solving medical conundrums. Whether this involves optimizing a patient’s health prior to starting a family or addressing a medical ailment that has been persistent and unsolved after seeing many providers, Dr. Wali is committed to meeting the healthcare needs of her patients in many ways.