Always Room For Improvement

call_bellsIt’s a matter of perspective, but I have a problem with something for which there is always room for improvement. Specifically speaking diabetes.

When is “good” good enough? Our control is measured by our A1C results, at least from the medical professionals, and through their conditioning that number is often times how we measure ourselves.

My A1C’s are terrible, and they have been forever. I was once able to get one down to 7.5, that was in February of 1999. My highest since I’ve started keeping track was a 10.1 in January of 2004. Since that high reading it has been high 8.x’s and low 9.x’s.

Some people would be embarrassed to admit to numbers like that. What comes to mind is Kassie’s post about conversations around those numbers.

I’ve gone into my personal struggles and how it’s a highly mental game for me. In other words, I feel I have the tools I need, and understand how they work, but struggle with the daily application of those tools, discipline and motivation.

My first goal is to get my A1C’s down below the 9’s. Once I’ve achieved that I would imagine that I would work to get down under the 8’s and into the 7’s. Many people are able to get below the 7’s and into the 6’s. The elite are able to break the threshold of the 6’s and be in the 5’s. An A1C in the 5’s is pretty damn near what a non-diabetic person would test.

I would be happy with anything lower than where I am now, but knowing that there is room for improvement may eventually get under my skin.

I fight with my weight almost the same way. There’s always these “thresholds” that I’m trying to break through. They usually fall on the 10 spot. It’s as if there is a bigger deal about going from 265 to 263 vs. 260 to 258. A pound off is a pound off – why does it make me feel better about cracking through the 10 mark??

For the record I found out that there are two types of perfectionist. Normal perfectionism and Neurotic perfectionism.

As defined at http://mentalhelp.net/psyhelp/chap6/chap6p.htm:
(standard internet disclaimer applies here – never ever take anything you read on the internet as 100% verified accurate or true)

Normal perfectionism involves the desire to excel and take pleasure from putting in extraordinary efforts without feeling compelled to be perfect. It is setting high personal standards while accepting one’s personal limitations, so one feels good about a job well done.

Neurotic perfectionism involves excessively demanding standards that often cause the actor to feel stressed, unhappy and personally critical. Sometimes perfectionists are actually less effective because they fret about mistakes, worry about slow progress, and try too hard to impress others.

I am definitely more along the Neurotic side of that, but only (mostly) in regards to my diabetes. And yes, I do routinely visit with a counselor.

I will at some point come to a place where I’m happy with my numbers, both weight and A1C’s. I do believe that they are related – in that my discipline struggles are particularly with eating too much too often, so when I manage to conquer that, both my blood sugars and weight will come to a natural balance.

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3 thoughts on “Always Room For Improvement

  1. Scott-

    I once went to a lecture by Dr. Irl Hirsch and he said something very interesting. He said people who have consistent blood sugars, even when the A1C is higher than recommended, are better than blood sugars that swing heavily, even if the A1C appears to be in the recommended range.

    In effect, a person with an average range of 150-250 (with an A1C of 8.5) has a lower risk of complications than a person with a range of 50-350 (with an A1C of 7.5).

    A1Cs can be deceiving. It’s your standard deviation (the amount that you typically swing) that you should factor into your “How much do I suck today?” quotient. 😉

  2. We are in the same boat, my friend, and thanks for talking about it. I will be ecstatic when I get more than one A1c below 8 – maybe then I’ll reset my goals but for now I’m being more realistic. I can dip down there, but need consistency.

    Consistency. That’s the elusive factor for me.

    Keep us posted, your tales of your efforts will help me stay on track, too.