A Practical Example of Overthinking My Diabetes

Sometimes I need to calm down and stop interfering with my diabetes so much.

But that’s complicated, right? Because sometimes exactly what I need is more engagement and action.

There must be a happy medium, right? (shout out to Stephen)

Here’s an example. I tripped myself up over and over. I would have been better off relaxing and letting things play out. Let’s take a look.

Screenshot from mySugr Logbook showing my log for the day

What we don’t see here is my CGM graph, which paints a much more complete picture, and partially explains my … overreactions.

Example 1

  • After breakfast, my BG has spiked and is now dropping way too far and too fast. I can feel it coming, and am watching it on my CGM. So even though my BG is 125 mg/dl, I proactively eat something.
  • Now I’m watching my BG steadily climb, and I’m worried that I’ve eaten too much. Will I be high on the basketball court? That’s no fun. I better try and take the edge off. But I’ll be exercising soon, so be careful! Small bolus.
  • Of course, as soon as my bolus delivers (otherwise known as the point of no return), my CGM up arrow turns to a flat arrow and my blood sugar stabilizes.
  • But now there’s fresh insulin on board. Just before planned exercise. Nice.
  • Which resulted in a bunch of extra food and carbs that I could have avoided, just in order to get through my exercise.

Example 2

  • After a short run and some basketball, I got cleaned up and grabbed some lunch.
  • Even though I didn’t see evidence of a dramatic rise in glucose levels on my CGM, I felt like I would be spiking soon, as if all of the carbs I ate earlier have been just sitting in my stomach and not digesting. And now that my body is done exercising my stomach can get back to work.
  • So on a feeling (note: generally a really bad idea (but sometimes a really good idea)), I padded (increased) my lunch bolus a bit.
  • Which resulted in my expensive shopping trip (a low blood sugar while stopping to pick up “a few” groceries).

Just freaking RELAX, yo!

In both cases, I am guilty of overly micro-managing diabetes. Which is tricky because that is diabetes! Micro-management!

It seems one of the tricks to diabetes is finding the middle ground – the happy medium – between micro-managing too much, like I did in these examples, and not managing enough.

Has this type of thing ever happened to you? Where you try and do the right thing, only to have it backfire on you? How do you know when it’s time to chill out and give it some time versus taking action?


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26 thoughts on “A Practical Example of Overthinking My Diabetes

  1. Love the blog! I chased my tail like this for years. I’ve found a low carb/higher protein diet has really helped stabilise my levels. When I run I take carbs with me to munch on the go; seems to work! The real test will be over the coming years as I increase my mileage; in 2018 I will be running 150 miles across the Sahara Desert. Please follow my blog to see how I get on!

    • Thanks! Yes, I’ve been really happy with how stable I can be when I have the discipline to enjoy a nice salad for dinner or something like that.

      Congratulations on taking on such a huge adventure! I’ll definitely be following!

  2. Oh my gosh, Scott, I know exactly what you went through on those occasions!
    I feel like every day I’m on a roller-coaster that’s run out of control on a greased track. And your numbers are *still* way better than mine; on an average day (an *average* day) I can go from 365 to 56 to 412 over the course of a few hours!

    • Thanks so much for reading and sharing. I can’t tell you how much it helps knowing I’m not the only one who experiences these things. 🙂

      The numbers themselves are good, but boy did I have to eat to deal with lows (or potential lows).

      • You’re welcome! I stumbled across your blog very recently, and I have really enjoyed getting updates from a fellow “grown-up” with Type 1.
        Unfortunately, there don’t seem to be many resources available out there for dealing with Type 1 as an adult. Plenty of stuff for kids/teens and their parents, but not much for those of us trying to juggle a career and keep up with the Joneses while also dealing with high and low blood sugars!

  3. I don’t micromanage my diabetes. I rely on the CGMS trend ( if a 15 minute delay can be considered useful ) to make decisions. The penalty for doing that is … lots of roller coaster rides. I am either battling a hypo 15 minutes after it got started or a high 15 minutes after it crosses the danger line.

  4. Sounds like something I would do. When I think I should do something I shouldn’t have and when I wait it out, I should have done something. Why can’t diabetes be predictable?

  5. I’m overreacting with the notion about being happy with your numbers for my teen! HaHa! Teaching the kid sugar surfing now. Let’s hope any of these tricks stick in the brain for her to apply later when she’s overreacting to her grown up arrow trends. I’d rather know than not know, make a not so great adjustment and later shrug shoulders. Heat always a factor for us.

  6. I suppose it’s faintly possible there’s a middle ground, somewhere – it’s probably where the tooth fairy has her castle? But I can’t believe in a happy medium, that’s just too much of a stretch.

  7. Scott, thanks for the shout out! There’s one thing that’s NOT wrong here: You have data to look at. Better to know than not know. And yes, I’m completely guilty of overreacting to a high or low and then having to fix my correction later. It never seems to end… get me off the glucoaster!

  8. Scott, when you exercise in hot weather do you notice that your bg drops faster? Yes, you’re micromanaging, but I think you might also be reacting to all of the data from your CGM and pump that requires an instant decision.
    We’re expected to continually engage in high wire walking while simultaneously functioning with our other life responsibilities. There are bound to be slips now and then.

    Janis N. Senungetuk < http://www.facebook.com/JanisSenungetuk

    • Hi, Janis!

      Boy, another variable to look at! 🙂

      Yes, I’m sure the temperature does something to us, and I bet it’s even amplified for endurance activities. And yep, it’s often really hard not reacting to all of that information coming at us constantly.

      I think the high wire act we all do (and make look easy, I might add) would even be hard if it were the only thing we had to do, right?

  9. If I may give a shoutout to Dr. Stephen Ponder, this is what “sugar surfing” is all about. You can’t do nothing, or you’ll fall flat on your face. You can’t overreact, or you’ll wipe-out and your board will pop up and smack you in the face. It’s a precise game of tiny adjustments, made impulsively and without time to think. It’s all part of the game, and I commend you for not giving up.

    It’s rare even for the most skilled of surfers to catch the perfect wave and ride it all the way to shore. That’s why it feels so awesome when you do (or so I’m told). It’s unrealistic to expect that end each and every time, but we continue to climb up and keep on trying.

  10. Aw man. This is diabetes in a nutshell. Thanks for sharing. Sometimes I think the inundation of always knowing my sugar via CGM can be too much for exactly this reason. Then there’s the power in knowing the trends! Sigh!

    Missing you dude!