When I was a little girl, I remember watching my mom pack my dad’s lunch each morning. Everyday it was the same thing: A ham and Swiss sandwich on raisin bread with a granny smith apple. I often wondered how he could eat that over and over again without getting sick of it. At one point, my dad explained to him that eating the same lunch every day helped him keep his blood sugar under control. He knew exactly how many carbs he was having, how his body responded to those carbs, and how much insulin he needed. This made a lot of sense to me and I have certainly adopted the same approach at different times in my life. Diabetes management revolves around calculations so eliminating some of the guesswork in any way is certainly a plus. Eating the same thing each day is one way of creating some ease with blood sugar control. Having a consistent workout schedule also helps because you can prep yourself accordingly each day. There is no doubt that developing routines around eating and exercise is highly beneficial for diabetics.
There is such a thing, however, as getting a bit too attached to your routine. About a year ago, I was so deeply devoted to my daily schedule that I grew severely anxious if anything interfered with my routine. I exercised first thing in the morning and followed the exact same daily menu. I had to get 8 or more hours of sleep each night in order to be able to wake up early enough for my walk. If someone finished off the spinach, I panicked about what to eat instead of a smoothie. If a friend visited, I was so preoccupied with how to still do everything I “needed” to do that I barely enjoyed her company. Traveling to anyone else’s home was practically out of the question, and when I did make a few trips, they were riddled with concern for what I was eating and when I was exercising. Not very much fun, to say the least. My blood sugars were extremely predictable and I felt like I had mastered my diabetes but, I later realized, this came at the cost of my mental and emotional well-being.
When I look back on that summer, I see that I was stuck in a rut-tine. My inability to see past the daily program I had established for myself was preventing me from living a full life. I had set out on a mission to feel my best at all times, which is why I had enforced such serious control over my habits. But I learned that abiding by a strict schedule in order to achieve what I believed was diabetic perfection did not have me feeling all that great after all. If I never let myself have a lazy Sunday morning or enjoy a glass of wine with a friend or a spontaneous dinner date with my boyfriend, then I was just living in monotony.
Since then, I have started to strive for a different type of routine, which I like to call a groovetine. As I mentioned before, I still find it beneficial to keep some aspects of my schedule predictable for ultimate diabetic health, but now I am also incorporating more flexibility into my day as well. Maybe I don’t eat the exact same breakfast everyday, but I can try to keep the amount of carbs fairly consistent. I don’t walk 7 miles each morning anymore, and instead I try to go to bed each night with several options in mind from which I can choose depending on how I feel when I wake up. If I wake up and feel like staying in bed a little longer to read, then that is what I do. Of course, there is a bit more variance in my blood sugars nowadays, but there is also a whole lot more variety in my life. I know I am in my groovetine when I am feeling present enough to make decisions each day that reflect all of my current needs- mental, emotional, as well as physical.
Anyone else ever found themselves trapped in a rut-tine? What helped you break out and discover your groove-tine? Please share below- I would love to hear!
This post was inspired by my upcoming trip to Calgary. Stay tuned for a recap on that and some tips on traveling with diabetes!