Sugar Surfing Lesson #16: The Power of Glancing


Glancing at a CGM screen is an empowering act. With a quick look, dozens of individual blood sugar readings are immediately converted into a family of recognizable shapes and patterns. The power to visualize these glycemic patterns as they are forming makes Dynamic Diabetes Management possible.

Sugar Surfing™ is the method of seeing, interpreting and acting upon visual glucose patterns and shapes with the intent of controlling the flow, shape and range of the trend line itself.

Sugar Surfing requires the focused awareness and interest of the individual in order to work properly. The engine of blood sugar control is driven forward by the information collected in a simple glance. Glancing can be likened to the wind that drives a sailboat. Without the breezes of glancing, the ship of blood sugar control often remains trapped in the doldrums; adrift and chaotic, lacking any meaningful direction.

In my practice I see some patients who glance at their sensors as little as once a day to never. They may have embraced this technology with enthusiasm and fascination in the beginning. However, over time their interest waned. There are several possible explanations for this. One reason may be a lack of clear understanding or training about how best to leverage this visual information in such a way as to improve blood sugar control as it is happening. This is the reason Sugar Surfing was originally written and why this blog exists.

Another reason may be a fear of failing or disappointment when seeing disconcerting blood sugar values. The reaction of the person or those who care for them can also turn into a disincentive to glance. If an out of range BG value is followed by judgmental comments or thoughts like “what did you do?” or "I failed", it should not come as a surprise that avoidance of glancing might be the behavior that follows.

Blood sugar values in any form (meter or sensor collected) are best discussed in neutral terms, without any “good” or “bad” comments inserted.

Like any skill, Sugar Surfing improves with time, attention and practice. Failure is the Surfer’s greatest teacher. If this is not appreciated at the beginning, unrealistic expectations quickly extinguish personal motivation. As an experienced Sugar Surfer, I own my fails and do all in my power to learn from them. It only makes me a stronger Surfer. No one has perfectly managed diabetes. It is always a work in progress.