2.5.15

Don’t Mess With The Beast – Stay In The Zone

Don't Mess With the Beast, Diabetes Productivity

What’s the fastest, most-efficient way to derail your day? Go low or go high. This is our beast. Don’t wake it up. Don’t taunt it. Learning to preserve your creativity and momentum is critical as a modern student, professional, and parent.

Here is the goal: Do whatever you can to maintain your zone, especially when you need to be your best. Of course imperfection is inevitable. Occasionally, your blood sugar will be over 250 for no reason. You will go below 80 when you should not have. This is the grind. But, when you have established control–firmly entrenched in a comfortable blood sugar zone–you must do everything possible to preserve it for productivity sake.

I love stories. This deserves a story. Last Monday I had a test. I’m in medical school. Tests are the norm. Tests are usually difficult. I cannot afford to be high or low during a test. Preserving the blood sugar, in my zone (130-180), is paramount. I woke up to 104. Perfect. I started off the day with the usual coffee with a hit of coconut oil (recipe and reasoning coming soon). I watched my CGM (continuous glucose monitor), saw it casually climbing up as the dawn phenomenon initiated.

During my day, this is a most precarious moment. What I do next will affect my whole day. This is where I decide if I want to mess with the beast. My heart wants a steaming bowl of oatmeal, served up with blueberries and bananas. It’s cold out. I can barely feel my fingers in my kitchen. Yet, my brain wins, and I opt for a few handfuls of trail mix (mainly nuts with a few raisins) and bolt for the door. I enter the test at 150. An hour later, after the test, I’m at 175. The beast was tamed.

I didn’t even think about my blood sugar during the test. My brain performed as it should. I kept my cool. No anxiety. No cloudy eyes. No having to go pee halfway through.

So why didn’t I choose the oatmeal? The room for error was too large. It was just too many carbs for the moment. Anyone who reads the DDG knows I have no fear of carbs. Fruit, grains, and Clif Bars are my jam. All that said, it wasn’t worth the risk on test day. I could not afford to overshoot, going low, or undershoot, and go high. Performance was paramount and a high-carb meal wasn’t in the plan.

Pick your spots to mess with the beast. When you need to be on, set yourself up for success. No need to be a hero.

Former co-founder of DiabetesDailyGrind, Ryan's mission is to motivate others with diabetes to live their own authentic life. Most days, when not in the hospital during his medical residency, you can find him on the bike, surfboard, or yoga mat. He believes in the power of clean eating, and loves his Dexcom.

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