How do habits start? Sometimes it's difficult to remember how you got where you are and with each passing day it becomes harder to imagine a life that is different. That sentiment can be applied to so many aspects of of our days, but today it will help me tell a story about breakfast.
Arden was two when she was diagnosed, that was a long time ago. Those beginning years were well before I knew about the glycemic index, before I understood that all carbs weren't created equally. Today I know better but that knowledge still wasn't helping me to break Arden's cereal habit. That girl enjoys a Fruit Loop.
It's strange to some degree because Arden isn't a junk eater, doesn't like candy and other sweets. She's the kid that goes trick-or-treating to dress up and run around, not for the candy. Yet every morning she has one cup of Fruit Loops with fat free milk - and her BG's take a hit because of that choice. It's a choice that I sanctioned many years ago, and one that I regret now but all of the talking in the world wasn't getting Arden any closer to eating something different. At some point I gave up on trying to get her to change and set out to try and defeat her spikes as best as I could. I did that with a combination of pre-bolusing, temp basals and shear will. I learned how to defend against spikes and create boluses that didn't cause a low, all because of my battle with Toucan Sam. I guess that I should be grateful for that lesson, and I am. None of that however could make me feel any less like a drug dealer when I handed Arden her cereal in the morning.
But then something wonderful happened...
Arden got tired of the spikes. She began to pay attention to her health in a way that I found astonishing, I did not expect her to make this leap so soon and it all started at her Endo appointment. Arden's A1c experienced a significant decrease about six months ago. Her NP made such a great celebration of her achievement and gave Arden a huge hug as she told her how happy she was for her. As much as I believe that her encouragement got the ball rolling for us... it wasn't until Arden's next Endo appointment that she decided to take her fate into her own hands. Three month later Arden's A1c decreased again by .01, an accomplishment for sure, but it apparently didn't hold a candle to the previous decrease, at least in Arden's mind.
As we were driving home Arden asked me how she could get her A1c to go even lower, I could see that she was feeling competitive with that number and also beginning to think about her health in a different, perhaps more mature way. I didn't want to make too big of a deal about our conversation and so I offered a few small suggestions. We spoke about being a bit more patient before eating an unscheduled snack to give a bolus more time to work, (we pre-bolus meals but small unexpected snacks not so much). I suggested that we could exchange a grain for another vegetable at dinner and then I slipped in that making different breakfast choices would definitely help. The conversation turned to her CGM graph and I explained about how the prolonged spikes from the cereal raised her A1c. It all may sound like too much as I explain it here, but this was an easy and quick conversation in our car, nothing heavy.
One week later Arden approached me about finding new options for breakfast and she hasn't had a bowl of Fruit Loops since. She is growing up, understanding more, and I am proud to be able to say that I can see her wanting good things for herself.
I don't remember thinking even once about my health when I was eight.