5 Tips for Staying in Range This Summer

June 6, 2024

Summer = spontaneity and spontaneity + T1D = 😵‍💫😵‍💫😵‍💫

You want to enjoy everything the season has to offer (last minute ice cream dates, nights around the campfire with s'mores, beach trips, etc.) without sacrificing your blood sugars.

These are the strategies that have helped me enjoy spontaneous dinners out, late weekend nights, vacations, work travel, and more while still maintaining 80+ % TIR and an A1C below 6. Plus, this is the foundational work that has helped the 900+ coaching members we’ve had at Risely realize that freedom and flexibility is possible for all of us with the right tools and knowledge.

  1. Bring your anchors with you. There’s a difference between having rituals to ground you and clinging to a rigid routine. Sometimes if we are too rigid in our routines, we aren't able to go with the flow of a group of people and enjoy the experience. BUT, when we have certain habits that can act as anchors wherever we go, we create a nice balance for ourselves.
  2. Be okay with asking for what you need and taking space. When we're out of routine and we're with other people, sometimes it can feel like we don't have control- the timing of meals and activities might not be ideal for diabetes. It’s natural for us to want to keep our T1D needs to ourselves, whether you don’t want to “make a big deal” or don’t like to draw attention to yourself. But the truth is, everyone’s experience is better when we ask for what we need. Whether you want to order a salad when everyone else is ordering pizza, or you want to take a walk when others are lounging, or you need to eat a snack when the group isn’t having dinner until later… You know what you need in order to take care of yourself, which allows you to be present.
  3. Understand broadly what certain factors are going to most likely do to your blood sugars.This a mini checklist of factors to keep in mind: Food - Higher carb / higher fat? Alcohol - will you be drinking? Will this lead to possibly eating later as well?Environment - extreme temps, humidity, or elevation?  Sleep - will you be staying up later? Sleeping in? Activity - will you be more or less active than usual? Spending time in a pool/hot tub/ beach?
  4. Harness the knowledge from what happened in the past. Focus on how these factors have impacted not only your insulin sensitivity and resistance in the past, but also your ability to stay in a more proactive state than a reactive state. For example, what patterns do you notice with your blood sugars when you are drinking alcohol? How do you normally handle giving insulin for a meal when you are up eating food late versus having an earlier dinner? Get curious about what’s happened in the past and what you can do differently to get a more desired result. The key here is to really understand your patterns and then see how you can get ahead.
  5. Don’t try to be perfect, aim for what is in reach.There isn’t anyone that can go away and have perfect numbers. There are going to be fluctuations in your blood sugars. We have to accept that we might have a lower time in range than when we are in our normal routines, but the goal is to still feel GOOD so that you can enjoy whatever you’re doing. So, if you usually have 50% time in range when you travel, aim for 55 or 60% and consider that improvement an WIN.

Bottom line: Diabetes LOVES routine. The easy solution would just be to stay in routine. BUT, as humans, we crave variety and if we’re not getting enough of it, we may feel down or unfulfilled. Adding things like travel and spontaneous activities can help spark joy and that IS as much a part of being well as hitting the target A1C.

The necessary mindset shift is: rather than feeling that you don’t want to be bothered by diabetes when you’re out of routine (because let’s be honest, you WILL end up thinking about it regardless), instead, recognize that to be more present it can help to actually pay attention to your diabetes. Come back to these 5 tips next time you’re doing something different and see if you can change your experience.