HI, I'M DR. MARK HEYMAN

Episode #20: Finding Accountability with T1D

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In this episode…

Do you ever find yourself sneaking around on diabetes when no one is watching?

You know what I mean. You eat an extra cookie and ‘forget’ to take insulin. Or you put off changing your infusion set even though you know it’s time. You may even under-bolus for your food because you don’t want to risk going low.

Many things get in your way and make it harder to hold yourself accountable to stay on top of managing diabetes. Feeling burnt out, limited time, and anxiety are some of the most common barriers to accountability.

If you are having a hard time holding yourself accountable with T1D, ask yourself this question:

Why is managing type 1 diabetes important to you?

Answering this question is the key to holding yourself accountable with T1D.

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Managing diabetes is a means to an end. Being healthy, lowering your A1c, and staying on your endo’s good side are all great things to aim for, but they’re probably not going to be enough to keep you motivated when things get rough. Instead, you need to figure out how managing diabetes will help get you to where you want to be in your life.

In this episode, I talk to Katelyn about her struggle to keep herself accountable and pushing herself to lower her A1c. I work with Katelyn to change how she thinks about accountability by identifying the reasons why managing T1D so important to her.

  • Starting a family
  • Independence
  • Being more active

By shifting her mindset about what she wants, Katelyn learns how she can use this ‘why’ as leverage to hold herself accountable because she knows managing T1D will help get her closer to what’s important to her in a tangible way.

With this mindset shift, Katelyn is ready to do this work, but she knows it’s not going to be easy. To set her up for success, we talk about three strategies she can use to tolerate the uncomfortable feelings she may experience when holding herself accountable with her T1D management.

Here’s an overview of the strategies we talked about:

Grounding: This is the practice of using your physical environment to help you stay in the present moment. One of the biggest barriers to accountability is getting stuck in your head. The sensation of your feet on the floor or an ice cube in your hand can help you stay present, making it easier to keep yourself accountable.

Visualization: You want to make your ‘why’ as real as possible for yourself. When you visualize what life will be like when you get to that place (e.g., holding a baby, going on a solo adventure), it makes the goal much more tangible for you and shows you why the tough stuff is worth dealing with.

Partnership: Katelyn struggles with is having her husband push her past her comfort zone with T1D. He wants to avoid making her uncomfortable, even though it would help her because it makes him uncomfortable. Allowing him to see that holding Katelyn accountable with T1D will help get them closer to their goals as a couple makes him a part of the team. He’ll be more willing to push himself out of his comfort zone because they are working in partnership toward something important to both of them.