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Aim for better, not perfect

We know that it is important to make every attempt to reach your diabetes goals set by your healthcare team in order to keep your blood sugar levels in target and manage your diabetes.

But the human body acts in mysterious ways. It reacts to lots of different situations; and these reactions can often impact blood sugar levels. This is something that is out of a person’s control and more often than not cannot be anticipated, it also impacts everyone, whether they have diabetes or not.

Because of this, it’s not always possible for people to manage their diabetes perfectly. There are a lot of tasks involved in managing diabetes and blood sugar, so it is not always feasible to do them all, each and every day, with absolute success.

For example; most people don’t eat totally healthy meals and snacks every day, something may crop up in your life that prevents an activity from taking place, or you may simply forget some medication or to log your blood sugar every now and again. Your body also performs dozens of metabolic functions continuously throughout the day that affect your blood sugar, most of which are hidden from view. Sickness, stress, or even just a bad night’s sleep can impact your diabetes as well.

Perfection comes at a high price, often at the cost of your peace of mind, and tends to limit what you are willing to try for fear of failing. Expecting to manage your diabetes perfectly, and not doing so, can leave you feeling demotivated. For some people, making perfection a goal and not achieving it, can cause them to stop engaging with their diabetes entirely.

A psychologist told me, "Human beings simply are not designed to be perfect. When it comes to diabetes, I tell people to try your best and know that good is good enough."

Contrary to popular belief, it is also not always possible to perfectly manage your blood sugar levels. There are too many factors that affect blood sugar, from the temperature to your hormones. Sometimes you may do the same exact thing two days in a row; you eat the same foods in the same proportions and do the same exercise, yet you get different blood sugar levels!

You might think now that knowing you can’t manage diabetes perfectly is discouraging, but actually it’s good news. It can liberate you and stop you thinking it is all your fault when you seem to do the right thing and get unexpected results.

Here are a few things that will help you do that:

  1. Discuss with your healthcare professional what your target range should be for your blood sugar levels, and how to best achieve that. This will include noticing how your blood sugar responds to different foods and activities and what to do when your blood sugar is outside of that range.
  2. Forgive yourself when you have difficulty managing your diabetes. Diabetes is a life-long condition. It is a marathon, not a sprint. Forgiveness is a powerful way to help you manage your diabetes going forward.
  3. Make your diabetes a judgment free-zone. Don’t take the things others say to heart, and don’t judge yourself. Instead, do your best and appreciate all you are doing to manage your diabetes.

Lastly, remember your whole life doesn’t have to be about diabetes. You are you, not your diabetes. Do the things you enjoy, spend time with loved ones, take up a hobby, remember to live your life as fully as you want to.

Doing well with diabetes, not perfectly, is a worthy goal. You will feel more satisfied with yourself and everything you do, which will help you do better. Then embrace your own perfection simply for being the remarkable human being who you are.

The views expressed in the Accu-Chek blog are not necessarily those of Roche Diabetes Care Limited or our publishers. The content is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely – you must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content. Although we make reasonable efforts to ensure that the content is up to date, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content is accurate, complete or up-to-date.

23 June 2020