Find what works and find a way to stick with it

I think one of the most important things to learn about diabetes is how individual it is. Just because something works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for the next person. No book or blog post can tell you how to manage your diabetes. The only thing that will tell you how to manage your diabetes is lots of experimentation.

Over the past two weeks my activity level has increased a lot because I’m walking around all day every day. Easily getting about 15,000 steps each day just as part of my work. This weekend I’m also going to throw in swimming a couple of times a week, which will increase my activity level even more.

Since I’m in a new environment with a new routine and little free time, I fell off the low-carb diet I’ve been using to manage my diabetes. I know there are lots of people who manage diabetes well on a high-carb diet, so I thought maybe it would work for me.

My basal insulin decreased a lot and my carb and correction ratios increased. Despite carefully calculating all the carbs I was eating, and not eating that high carb (meals were usually around 30-40 grams of carbs), and even with using Fiasp and pre-bolusing and having a pump and CGM at my disposal, and despite the increased activity level and halving meal boluses at times to account for upcoming activity, it wasn’t working for me. I’d spike high after every meal and crash low while trying to work—and because I had insulin on board, those lows were much harder to bring up than lows on a low-carb diet.

I finally got sick of ping-ponging from 2 to 14 mmol/L every day. Yesterday I went grocery shopping and bypassed the bread and fruit in favour of low-carb foods. I don’t have my full kitchen or baking facilities that I’d usually have at home, but I’ll make due. One day of eating low-carb and I’m back to spending the past 24 hours between 4.5 and 7.5 mmol/L.

Such a relief!

It’s so important to experiment and find out what works for you, not what works for other people. And once you’ve found what works, find a way to stick with it. :slight_smile:


This is also one of the most frustrating things about diabetes for me - I need structure, rules, but…there just aren’t any “do this, and your blood sugar will do that” rules! But I agree; you have to figure out what works for you, and I’m so glad you have figured it out for you. It sounds like you have pretty awesome control with the low carb diet!


I think you find this structure, whether it’s low-carb or intense exercise or Tresiba or whatever else, though experimentation. Trying different things and seeing what works and what doesn’t. It is annoying in that it takes a lot of time…years… But it pays off in the end.

I do a lot of reading of both forums and books (blogs, not so much) and am constantly absorbing information. Ten years ago I never thought I’d try a low-carb diet. It seemed way too restrictive to me. But when nothing else was working to give me the kind of control I wanted, I gave it a try, and it worked. I’ve been on and off since then, but each period of “off” is shorter than the last because I just can’t argue with the results that are right there in front of me on my CGM.

In addition to low-carb I also do “sugar surfing” where I make tiny carb or insulin corrections throughout the day and night to steer myself back towards my target range. I was doing that last night. Some people might find that idea intolerable, but waking up once, glancing at my CGM and doing a 0.5 unit correction with the touch bolus button on my pump (no need to sit up or pull my pump out) is so much better than having my CGM alarm every 15 minutes to an hour all night long because of highs and lows.


I’m hoping (in a way) to get to that place sooner rather than later. I’m still honeymooning, so the unpredictability is just a given right now. I do eat a lower carb breakfast most mornings because otherwise it just sets my day up for poor BG results (my ICR is highest in the mornings as I’m more insulin resistant, more carb sensitive, both, or whatever!). I know if I was able to do low carb, I probably would because I see the difference in how much easier it is to control my numbers.

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In my experience, unpredictability is always a given, even 26 years into this journey. That’s part of what I like about eating low carb, it takes two variables (carbs and lots of insulin on board) out of the unpredictability equation. It’s also why I’ve found micro-bolusing or micro-carbing to be such a good tool. I think if I were doing low carb alone, I’d still go outside my target range daily.

Yup, if I was to pick just one meal to eat low or no carbs, it would be breakfast.


That is really great! I know how hard it is to go on a specific diet when you don’t have a half-decent kitchen :frowning: Of course, being in a regular hotel room with NOTHING is the worst.

I have always been interested in Bernstein (@britt_j is a pretty strict Bernstein diet person I believe, for instance) but never thought I could/ should impose it on my boy. But, because we have to, we are fairly low-carb at breakfast (12 carbs), it’s the only way we can survive it.

I post quite a bit about taming large carb meals, but most of our day-to-day meals are in the 40-50 carb range (except for sports recovery). The very large carb meals (for us, 80 and above) are quite a challenge to us. We are re-learning all of that with a pump right now.

@Jen - I agree that finding your own personal routine that works is key. I have always bucked at the thought of consistency and routine (just my personality I guess). This is now, and will most likely always be, the biggest challenge for me. Thanks for the reminder!

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Too true. In our house, we rarely eat the same dinner twice in a six-month span. Lunch varies considerably, too, though my breakfast is pretty routine. Adding to the challenge is that we can’t always eat at the same time each day, and dinners can span an hour or up to four, depending on such things as what the dishes are and how much there is to talk about over a cocktail and snack beforehand. Life would be so much easier if we ate the same rotation of meals each week, and at the same time, and for the same duration. But would it be as enjoyable?

Right now we’re eating low-carb not by design but because it’s so darned hot, a light salad and a bit of oozy cheese is all we want. My numbers the past few days have been scarily good. But alas, it won’t last!


I don’t really have a “routine” other than repeating those behaviours (like eating low-carb) that lead to good blood sugar control. My schedule is enormously variable, both in terms of my work (sometimes sitting at a desk or in meetings all day, sometimes walking around all day, regular travel) and in terms of the rest of my life (I can’t drive, so I transit everywhere, which means sometimes a lot of walking, sometimes not much at all, exercise sessions a few times a week but not daily, and my groceries are dictated by how much I can carry). I eat the same breakfast each day (usually eggs), but aside from that my meals and snacks are hugely varied, especially when I’m not at home (like now) and don’t have access to my usual baking and kitchen.


I love the way you wrote it. Thank you.

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For me too! I was reading the first part of your post and thinking “Oh no! You’re on that trip! And you’re feeling crummy!” I’m so relieved you’ve determined what works and are having success with that. And making do is fine - it’s not forever! You’ll eventually be reunited with an oven and a proper kitchen. But for now, I send you good luck for your low carb adventure eating! (We’ve enjoyed recently store bought hard boiled eggs and cottage cheese for the hotel fridge on a trip to Vegas. It was nice to have something handy for breakfast that had protein.)


Holy cannoli! This sums up our life almost exactly. And that last line, that’s it!!! Eureka! I think it all the time! Would I trade the current crazy plan for anything else? Nope. Would EH? Nope. We wish it was easier, but even when we stick to the same exact food things, life’s other influences take their toll on the diabetes management. So, we keep trying.