*Disclaimer: All content and information in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only.
People with diabetes are faced with making over 180 treatment decisions every single day. The constant demand and unpredictability of life with diabetes can be quite a burden when it impacts every area of your life. For many people with diabetes, it is not unusual to become exhausted by the burden of managing diabetes. However it is well-known that being proactive with insulin management can significantly improve A1C and glycemic variability with your diabetes management. This blog is going to introduce you to the concept of bolus anchoring- a simple and effective way to make bolusing an everyday habit so you learn how to make diabetes fit seamlessly into your life.
What is a Bolus Anchor?
A anchor is when we attach a new habit onto a pre-existing behavior. For example if you have a goal to pre-bolus for breakfast because you’ve been having consistent highs every morning you want to find a way to build upon that habit. A new anchor can be simply prebolusing while you wait for your morning coffee to brew. The coffee brewing is a pre-existing behavior and prebolusing is the new habit.
When it comes to creating new habits, you want to first start with awareness building. With this step, you are going to track your everyday behaviors (this part is kind of boring- sorry!). But, it is essential! It will help you define a clear roadmap from getting from point A to point B. Some questions to ask yourself when evaluating your daily habits include:
- How many times a day are your carb counting?
- How many times a day are you drinking water?
- How many times a week are you moving your body?
- How many hours of sleep are you getting?
- How much screen time are you having a day?
- How consistent are you with taking your insulin?
Once you list out your everyday habits, you are going to want to rank them next. You are going to want to rank your level of confidence on a scale of 1-10 for the following areas: energy levels, competence and decision making, ability to self reflect without judgment, and trust in body and blood sugars. Ranking allows you to get clear on which areas you are already doing well with and what areas you need to put more focus on.
Once you have ranked the categories of your daily behaviors, you want to be able to assess them based on what feels good and what needs more focus and energy to feel more confident. A lot of times this step can be overwhelming because you may feel the desire to put your energy into every area. But, that can lead you directly to burnout and we definitely don’t want that!
Instead, you want to identify which area is most critical to your management at this current time. The key is to focus on just one area that you can master so you don’t get burnt out or overwhelmed by taking on too many things at once.
Based on the information you have gathered so far, start to think of ideas that you can start incorporating an anchor into your daily behaviors. Some examples may include:
- Carb counting your breakfast when you are making your coffee
- Pre-bolusing for breakfast when you brush your teeth upon waking
- Drinking a cup of water before a meal
- Going for a walk after eating dinner
Finding a Cue
Creating new habits can be really difficult at first. You may need to set up cues or reminders until the desired habit starts to happen automatically. Examples of cues could be: sticky note remembers, setting alarms on your phone, or making the desired habit more visible (like setting your long-lasting insulin in the bathroom so you inject when brushing your teeth before bed). Cues can look different for everyone- they can be strong depending on how much of a reminder you need in that moment and they can also be temporary too.
This can be such a life changing process in your diabetes management. Anchoring can be used for bolusing, medication adherence, or adding in new health-promoting habits. And the best part? This is something that you can use over and over again. Once you nail down one area, you can focus on another depending on what your next priority is.
For more information about how to utilize anchor inside your diabetes management check out Episode 25: How Bolus Anchoring Can Change the Game For Your T1D Management. Available now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.