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Sugar Surfing is a process, not a result

Every day, most of us apply Sugar Surfing principles in most areas of our lives. When driving a car, crossing a busy intersection on foot, or even answering the doorbell, we are using the Sugar Surfing process. By this I mean each of these actions involve some application of critical thinking if we are to perform these tasks effectively. And in each of the examples above, our choices (either actions or omissions) can result in failure (lack of the desired outcome to one degree or another). Like it or not, failure is our most powerful teacher.

Critical thinking is about making thoughtful, reflective decisions and choices. It’s not acting mechanically. It’s acting insightfully. Diabetes self care has been taught far too long as a recipe or set of rigid directives, and less than a constant series of options, where prior results immediately impact subsequent choices, actions and omissions. Life itself is a series of actions and reactions. Our reactions do not always have to be knee-jerk or involuntary ones. If we take just a bit more time and reflection, our thoughtless reactions become fewer. Actions which follow reflection become more effective. Sugar Surfers have trained themselves to see their blood sugar as more than a single point in time value. Rather, it’s part of a continuum of information which ebbs and flows. The BG trend line possesses the qualities of directionality, speed (rate of change) and even momentum (resistance to change in direction). Surfers learn to identify, then quickly reflect and interpret the internal and external forces which drive these glycemic tides. Many of these forces are learned by direct teaching or formal reading materials. Far more is learned though direct personal observation including trial and error style self experimentation. It's this latter form of self-learning that is often actively discouraged by medical professionals who work with persons with diabetes. Sugar Surfing is critical thinking in motion. Machines can react, sometimes quickly, but no machine can act with forethought of future actions or omissions of a person. That remains a human quality. Fortunately machines can’t think for us or make our choices, nor should they. Diabetes control exists largely in the moment. When confronted with a shifting BG trend line in any direction, a series of thoughts should pass through your mind fairly quickly. In the minds of experienced Sugar Surfers these considerations occur quite rapidly. Among others, when a delta wave or drop are seen, what recent actions (or omissions) might be contributing to this recently observed change? How fast (or slow) is this BG change occurring? Should I act by watching longer, or intervene immediately? If I do intervene, what and how much should be done and how often should it be repeated? Does this trend line change look familiar and is it consistent with any similar circumstances from the past? You might even want to verify the BG is changing with a confirmatory BG check just to be safe. How often will I follow up to increase my chances of a desired outcome? If some of the prior questions come to mind when you see a BG change happening, you’re already thinking like a Sugar Surfer. But even when things are not changing and you are pleased with the status quo, you should reflect on why it is that way and what can be done to sustain it and when should you check back in (glance at the trendline). No one knows you better than you. No one knows your own actions and omissions better than you. Setting aside judgment and self condemnation is something Sugar Surfers must learn how to do. No Surfer is perfect and never will be. Making mistakes are part of being human. But good Sugar Surfers learn quickly from their successes and even more from their missteps and errors. Surfers don’t judge other Surfers. The Surf Colony is a support system and not a peer tribunal. Surfers share. 2018 will be a busy year for Sugar Surfing. Check out upcoming face to face workshops, consider downloading the GlucoGram app for your Mac laptop, or donate to the mission. You might even wish to sponsor your own workshop by sending a message.

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