Perhaps we’ll name the baby Google

Don’t forget that April 1 at 9pm eastern is the deadline for the latest Living Out Loud project. This month’s theme is food. Details are at the original entry.

Speaking of food, I was trying to come up with the assignment for this month and I mentioned something about folks writing down what they’ve eaten all day. Rich (and maybe Kim too) said that most folks wouldn’t bother to do it. I found this particularly interesting since it’s what I’m doing EVERY SINGLE DAY. By the time this baby comes, I will have a complete log of everything I’ve put in my stomach for the last 40 weeks. I’m a medical statistician’s dream!

Ever since I was diagnosed with diabetes back in 1985, doctors and dietitians have stressed the importance of logging your blood sugars and food. I can imagine it is hard for them to help you build good patterns of behavior if they have no patterns to look at in the first place. But it’s one thing to say you’ll write down what you eat for a day or a week. But every day? It gets old real fast.

the glucose log EVMS gave me When I first went to Eastern Virginia Medical School (EVMS) to talk about getting pregnant, they gave me a log book to track my food and sugars in and told me to bring it to every visit. I haven’t touched that log book except to scan a page for your perusal. I politely accepted their log book knowing I would never use it.

First I tried using my own Moleskine notebooks. My main issue was needing more space to log the random times I ate and/or checked by blood sugar. This worked okay except that it was a large notebook to drag out every time I ate. The other issue was that the whole thing was hand-written and lived in my purse so if it disappeared or got messed up I was lost.

Then I decided they just needed to see my blood sugars so I just logged those in Excel and made them some charts of my blood sugars by week. This blew their minds, but not in a good way. They wanted a log book. I hated their log book. They couldn’t understand the highs and lows on the chart and they wanted to monitor what I was eating. Fine. I told them I would try a new log approach for my next visit.

using Google Docs to track blood sugars

screen cap from the iPhone Enter Google Docs. I’m absolutely in love with this method for tracking my food, insulin, activity and anything else going on. I’m rarely not near a computer, and I can get to Google Docs from anywhere. To make it even better, Google recently made it so you can edit the spreadsheets from the mobile web so I could even enter data from my iPhone if I were inspired. Generally, though, I can log everything a few times during the day, remember what I ate with a few prompts from the insulin pump bolus history and my blood meter. I can make notes about stress levels, changes to my basal rates, or any other factor that might be affecting my health or the numbers on the chart. And I can print them all out before my appointment so the diabetes educator can peruse them by week.

My next appointment is Monday afternoon, so we’ll see if she approves of this latest method. Frankly, if she still doesn’t like it I’m going to tell her to suck it up and deal. Because I’m finally staying on top of it and since I’m the one who has to keep doing this until October, that trumps whatever she wants. What’s she going to do – fire me as a diabetic mom?

I know they previewed a LifeScan iPhone application recently and it sounds intriguing. For now, I’m overjoyed just to have Google Docs.

2 Comments

  • Jessica says:

    Tracking what you eat consistently over a long period of time is really hard – ask anyone who's been on Weight Watchers for more than a few months. The key is, obviously, finding a method that works for you. If your doctor doesn't like your method, she'll just have to deal – the important part is logging it, it doesn't matter how. So good for you for getting it done!

  • halowenslut says:

    I've been tracking food daily (with the occasional miss here and there) for close to two years now. Counting calories is what I had to do to first loose then keep off enough weight to keep my hip pain under control. Mostly I've done it online with different websites. I'm using the livestrong website now. I can't imagine carrying around some sort of journal!