Advice to My Younger Self

If only I had these letters to read when I was growing up. If only I had this advice when I was going through these key points in my life. What could have happened if I went outside more? What could have happened if I had known more about diabetes before? Maybe these letters can help you or someone you know make the right choices in their life.


Dear 12-year-old Me,

For the love of everything that’s good in this world, please get off your butt and get outside. Go outside and enjoy the world. One day soon, it’ll be too dangerous to go outside as kids. Enjoy the outdoors. Run around, ride your bike, be stupid. Enjoy the outdoors. Your activeness now will be a savior in the future.

Sincerely,
Present Me


Dear 16-year-old Me,

Please get some sleep. Stop staying up late. It’s not cool to stay up late. Also, please stop eating garbage. Just because it’s easy to make doesn’t mean it’s good for you. You don’t have the rest of your life to correct your mistakes in life. You have this one life and if you want to live it to the fullest and see everything on your bucket list, stop making these mistakes. It’ll be easier to just not make the mistake than to try and fix it later in life. Don’t be dumb, don’t make those mistakes.

Sincerely,
Present Me


Dear 19-year-old Me,

Please, please, go spend time with dad. Go outside and walk with him. Go downstairs and watch tv with him. I know you want him to be here forever and I know he makes it seem like he’ll be around for a long time to come, but he won’t. Go spend time with him. Learn more about diabetes. Help him with his diabetes. This is your last year with him. What you do won’t prevent him from leaving but maybe it’ll help you come to terms with his death, that at least you tried. Please, just try. For me.

Sincerely,
Devastated


Dear 20-year-old Me,

I’m so so sorry. If only we had made better choices in our life. We could have avoided this diagnosis somehow. Maybe. Here’s my advice to you: DO NOT STOP TAKING YOUR MEDICATION. EVER. Take them on time, every time. Even when the side effects seem unbearable, they’ll get better for us. Don’t stop taking your meds and go and get educated on diabetes. Get educated early. There might still be a chance for you to bring your numbers down and maybe even reverse your diabetes, if that really exists. You have a chance. You just need to lose 10% of your body weight and make better food choices. It’s still early on in your diagnosis. You can do this, I believe in you.

Sincerely,
Present Me


Dear Future Me,

I hope we finally got our life in order somehow. I hope we got the baby we always dreamed of having and I hope we’re finally at that healthy weight we’re been hoping for. I’m just starting to retake my life and I hope I’ve made it. Please continue to work hard to keep your numbers down. I have faith in you and I love you so much. I hope we can change our life for the better. I love you.

Sincerely,
Courtney ❤


I definitely encourage you to write letter to your past selves and your future self. What do you wish you could have been told back then? What do you hope for in your future? Maybe it’ll help you come to terms with your diagnosis. Remember, you can never turn back the clock, but you can keep moving forward. You can CHOOSE to keep moving forward. I believe in you and I love you.


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What is the Glycemic Index?

Some of you may have heard the term “glycemic index” thrown around in the diabetes community and you have no clue what that means. That’s perfectly fine, here’s an entrance in to the topic of the glycemic index.

The glycemic index (GI) is a system that ranks foods on a scale from 0 to 100 based on their effect on blood sugar levels. The higher the number, the faster the food effects your blood sugar level. However, there is another term that goes hand in hand with glycemic index and that’s glycemic load (GL). The glycemic load is how much of that certain food will negatively or positively affect your blood sugar levels.

For example, watermelon is an 80 on the GI, but there is relatively low amounts of digestible carbohydrates in a typical serving of watermelon, usually 3/4 cup. The GL value of watermelon is then 5, meaning it’s high in sugar but if you control the portion size, it won’t affect your blood sugar too much. You’d have to eat a whole watermelon by yourself for you to experience a negative effect on your blood sugar levels.

The GI helps to categorize foods as either slower-acting good carbs or fast-acting bad carbs. This reflects on how fast your body converts carbs into glucose. The smaller the value, the less of an impact the food will have on your blood sugar levels.

Glycemic IndexGlycemic Load
55 or lower = Low/Good1-10 = Low
56-69 = Medium11-19 = Medium
70+ = High/Bad20+ = High

Food package labels might have the glycemic index for reference. If the labels don’t have anything, you can find a list of common foods online.

If you don’t find the food you’re looking for on the list the general rule of thumb is if the food is closer to its natural form it will have a lower value compared to a refined or processed food which would have a higher value.

There are other factors that can affect a foods GI value such as how it’s prepared, if the fruit is ripe, or what kinds of other foods you eat with it.

For example, carrots are fairly low in value. It’s best eaten steamed or raw. If you boil them, they lose some nutritional value and can break down in to glucose easier when digested than when raw making their GI value go up. If you eat raw carrots with ranch dressing, that increases the GI value. If you eat a whole bad of baby carrots, you can bet that’ll have an affect on your blood sugar.

Other factors that can affect GI is yourself personally. Your age, metabolism, and activity level all affect how your body reacts to carbs. So when looking at the Glycemic Index of a food, don’t take the number at face value just note that if it’s in the low category, then it’s good. If not, then be careful how much you eat.

Portion sizes really matter when it comes to Glycemic Index. Just because something is healthy, doesn’t mean you should eat a ton of it.

To recap, glycemic index and glycemic load should be taken with a grain of salt but do let it guide you to make the right dietary decisions in your life. Be aware of how the carbs in the food can affect your blood sugar level and don’t eat too much. Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.


References

WebMD
Mayo Clinic


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