My yoga teacher used to say “the mind is a box”, a self-perpetuating entity that endlessly recycles itself loop upon loop. In yoga these loops are called vasanas. Habits etched so deeply in that we don’t even know they are there. Think a habitual response to a stressful event. That’s a vasana
I have definitely developed some indelible grooves after having weathered diabetes the last 13 years. The way I inject, the way I finger prick, the way I scan my freestyle libre. Habits I do on automatic. Then there’s the other stuff; like how I deal with a low or the things I tell myself about my diabetes. Do I really need to perpetuate these habits? Is it worth it?
Going plant based has definitely pushed a lot of habits to the surface. My metabolism has increased so I am way more sensitive to insulin. Which means anxiety about lows is at an all-time high.
And because I’m trying a low-fat approach, even increasing my fat intake by a smidgen means some sustained annoying just over the range highs. It’s hard not to compare. “Why can’t I be like all those other people on Instagram or facebook who sport their perfect A1C’s and flat lines?”
Reflecting on these habits has propelled me to make some changes. I’ve started working with a new CDE who encouraged me to work with a diabetes dietician.
Right now, we are tackling hard to dose for foods like bread, rice, potato, sweet potato and oats. These foods hit my blood stream 2-3 hours later. To work out the dose I’ve been doing ‘experiments’ eat, wait, record and stay equanimous.
Thinking about my blood sugars like they aren’t ‘my’ blood sugars. Accepting that a rise in 2 mmol or a drop in 2 mmol is to be expected. Being willing to move from a tightrope mentality to a balance beam. Giving myself some mind space. I.e. If I hit 12 mmol during an experiment, it’s to be expected. Even an hour or two at that number isn’t going to be a train smash.
Switching up my mindset is not new to me. Yoga affords me the ability to be able to watch my thoughts, to know I am NOT the thoughts. The thoughts are coming and going in my presence. I have learned that this ‘I’ who turns an action into a habit is just a role, it can’t be who I am. Stepping back from the action, the thought, the one identifying with the thought and recognising myself as that presence in whom all identifications, thoughts and habits are taking place, has helped me cope mentally and emotionally to no end.
And yet, I am still dealing with the reality that an essential component in my body does not work like it should. That the medication I take, the timing, the dose and how it will actually work on any given day is unpredictable.
Having outside support, asking for support and taking my time to observe, adjust and wait for me is thinking outside the box.
With great respect…