So here is an info post for those of you who are recently diagnosed or are making strides to clean up your act.
The docs always tell you upon diagnosis what you need to survive: your meds, your test strips and meter, and a way of taking your meds. Maybe a log book. And some fast acting glucose.
I’m here to tell you about all the stuff that really comes in handy, but docs don’t always tell you to invest in, either because they forget, or maybe you’ll figure it out on your own.
1) Measuring cups, spoons, and a scale
Are you counting carbs down to an exact science? Then you’ll need these. A cup of steamed white rice is somewhere around 45 grams of carbs. So maybe you just want half? Measure it. Take it from me. I can’t “eyeball” anything worth beans and I’ve had this for 30+ years.
It’s especially tricky when your serving size is measured in grams. (See scale suggestion.)
2) Storage space
I currently have my supplies in two locations. The hall closet and my bedroom closet. A shelf in each is occupied, mostly because I get three month supplies of everything. And you can’t forget the fridge for your unopened insulin. Mine sits on the door where the butter and eggs should be.
3) A sharps container
If you are on shots, throwing your used syringes in the trash is generally frowned upon… and in most places probably illegal. My family used have a device that would crop the needles off before dispensing them. But be warned: these buggers are small and expensive. And you’ll probably need many of them.
4) A fanny pack
Don’t hate. I still have a black one. I don’t actually wear it though. I use it to pack my supplies in when I travel. It has so many pockets and it was freakin’ cheap. Yeah – I could get something fancy pants on Etsy, but why? It’s just going to stay in my luggage all day.
Some athletes will find them useful for carrying their meters on bike rides or runs. (I never did, but if it works for you…)
5) Pump accessories
Pumps come with basic supplies to make them function for you. But that doesn’t make them any more convenient. My pump is “skinned” or stickered with a fun design that exposes the important information and buttons only. I have two holsters. I have a leg band and stomach band. I really wish I had a remote control.
6) The Calorie King book
This was one of the most useful items I had when I first became a pumper. (Now I just use an app, but some people like books.) It has calorie, fat, and carb counts for just about everything. It has to be updated every year, so be aware that you can also just Google the website in a pinch. Especially handy when you aren’t sure how to carb count that epic restaurant salad.
7) 4 Oz Juice cups
So, if you are like me and like to consume the fridge when a low blood sugar shows up, control the portions BEFORE you pour. I found that if I snagged an 8-10 oz glass from the cupboard, I poured myself a whopping 33 – 40 grams of carbs to treat a low. Not good. So I recently found 4 oz plastic cups at my local supermarket. Boom. 15-20 fast acting carbs. (Though, they are way easier to try and chug, so go easy.)
8) Smaller plates
Maybe it’s a psychological thing. But if I have a giant buffet plate, I want to fill it edge to edge. And now I’ve got all this food in front of me that I’m not sure how to carb count. So we have luncheon plates, which are significantly smaller and we use for everyday meals. So much easier.
9) A mobile app
I currently use one to keep blood sugar and carb logs. It’s hit or miss sometimes, but works much better for me than toting around a paper log book. (Or doing nothing at all!) My specific app allows you to graph your sugars so you can see your progress over the week, month, and year. There are many out there for all devices, with various price points and features. (My specific one is called Diabetes App – located in the App Store.)
10) Resilience and Patience
Hey, so, you were running really really well for the last day and a half and suddenly your blood sugars are over 250 for no apparent reason. Or maybe you just wanted that slice of cake. Or you skipped your work out. Oops. Oh well. Treat the high, carb count for that piece of cake, and make up your workout tomorrow. Move on. It does nothing to dwell on it or guilt yourself for something that doesn’t want to be controlled.
Have another tip to add? Share it below.