Logging Off

Almost everyone has an unread book or two in their home. For many, they continue to purchase new books at a pace that far exceeds their time available to read them. For some, this buying compunction comes out of a sense of guilt with their conscience whispering, "You know you really should read more".

The problem is that simply buying a book is not the same as reading it. And just because you bought the book, or borrowed it, won't relieve you from the guilt of not actually reading more. So why do we do it... this habit of continually stocking more books than we can read?

Here's a theory. Taking action toward satisfying a core belief, "People should read more books", is better than taking no action at all. "What has this got to do with diabetes?", you ask? For starters, we know that most of the people who have purchased Sugar Surfing haven't yet read the book. That's perfectly understandable given the daily demands of managing blood sugar amidst an already busy life. The good news though is that it's there on the shelf or the counter and some day you may pick it up and open to a random page. Quite possibly, the words on that page will be precisely what you needed to read that day. In addition, just the act of purchasing the 'hot new diabetes book' probably made you feel good about 'doing all I can do' to manage this beast. A well intentioned act for sure and one that definitely sets you apart from the crowd. A truly proactive #pwd. But then there's the guilt of not reading it or not following through with the suggested track of self-experimentation. It's a lot like blood sugar logging.

And here is the point of this post. Why do we log? Almost immediately following diagnosis we are taught how to log data about our diabetes. We are given a meter, a special paper form, a spreadsheet template or perhaps told to use a certain mobile app. If we want our medical team to be in a position to help then we all have to be on the same page, right? At first, many are diligent at complying with the task of logging. We share our logbook when we need help and in return we get advice that we may or may not find helpful. Before long our detailed logs become less about sharing and more about doing what we were told. We learn to self manage. We make our own changes without oversight. For most, we find that logs are more effort than they are worth. So we stop. For others, the guilt of completely discontinuing the logbook is too much. Plus, we don't dare show up for our next quarterly appointment without it. Oh, the guilt.

 

If you like keeping a detailed logbook and it works for you, great. Keep it up.

 

However, if you find that it isn't useful then why continue? Several years ago, we observed in a study of an automated blood sugar logging and reporting tool (just blood sugar - nothing else) what a difference frequent review of blood sugar logs make with regard to blood sugar control. For people who only