T1D Living

Blog Diabetic Rules I Dont Follow

I want to preface this post by saying that just because I or someone else choses not to follow a particular diabetic rule doesn’t mean you need to too. You know YOUR diabetes and your body better than anyone.

And as the old saying goes, “You can’t break the rules until you know how to play the game.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s dive into the post!


9 Diabetic Rules I Don’t Follow

Mental Health Day Rachel


1. Change Lancet/Needles After Every Use

This is probably the first and most common diabetes rule people break, myself included.

My lancet gets changed once a season (or when it starts to hurt). And when I was on injections I changed my needle about once a week (or when it started to hurt).


2. Use Alcohol Swab with Every Injection and Finger Stick

Unless my hands (or injection site) is dirty, sweaty, or has been exposed to a lot of public things (like gas station handles and grocery carts) I don’t use alcohol swabs.

Insulin pumps are a slightly different story for me. I am definitely more likely to use an alcohol swab on a pod site because it will be there for 3+ days, but if I’ve showered within a few hours and haven’t done much, activity wise, then I will just slap a pod on – no alcohol swab needed.


3. Check Ketones Every Time BG Is Over 250

There are some weeks when I just can’t seem to get anything right, blood sugar wise. On these weeks I’m seeing 250mg/dL on my cgm at least 2-3x day. Do I have ketones? Probably. Can I clear these ketones at home? Yes.

Unless I’m exhibiting signs of DKA or my blood sugar really won’t budge despite throwing tons of insulin at it, I won’t check for ketones.

I’m also very aware of what DKA symptoms are and would gladly check myself into a hospital if I felt like I couldn’t handle the situation at home.


4. Hospital Anytime You Throw Up

When I was newly diagnosed I was given very vague advice that ANYTIME I threw up… ANYTIME… I needed to get myself to a hospital ASAP.

The VERY important piece of information that the nurse forgot to mention was that vomiting with the presence of KETONES is an emergency that requires a hospital visit.

But if I’m throwing up from morning sickness, food poisoning, or a bug, and it’s totally manageable at home, I am not going to a hospital.


5. Don’t Eat If Your BG Is Already High

If my blood sugar is out of range and I’m hungry or it’s meal time… I’m going to eat. I might do a really long pre-bolus, like 45-30min….. and I might eat something that is only about 15g of carbs, but I’m always going to eat.


6. Treat with only 15g Carbs When Low

The amount of carbs I treat with depends greatly on how much insulin I have on board and what I’m doing (physically) at that moment. That could mean I don’t treat at all, but suspend my basal OR it could mean that I’m eating 40g carbs.


7. Eat Sugar Free Foods

I avoid sugar free foods like the plague. I prefer real whole foods, always. Even if that means I need an extra couple of units to cover it.


8. Eat Whatever You Want, Just Bolus for It

I’ve heard this so many times, but I just can’t get behind it. Especially today when there’s access so many healthier options.

Certain foods are real daggers-in-the-coffin for some people. Oatmeal, cereal, pizza, and Chinese food tend to be the most common ones.

For me, it’s the cereal and Chinese food. Do I avoid these foods 100%, no. But I’ve removed them from my typical rotation because I just can’t get them right. And to me, a stubborn high in the 300’s isn’t worth a bowl of Cheerios, no matter how good it tastes.

Instead of cereal, I’ll make homemade “oatless oatmeal” (get my recipe here) or Overnight Nut & Seed “Oats” (get recipe here). And instead of ordering Chinese food, I make my own.

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.


9. Don’t Rub Injection Site

This advice is meant to prevent lows. Anytime you increase your circulation (like by rubbing the area), especially in the area of injection, you’ll increase absorption rate. If I’m dealing with a stubborn high, or forgot to pre-bolus, you better believe I’m rubbing that area. Exercising that muscle group (where your injection site is) will have the same effect.


What Diabetic Rules Do You Break?

Let me know in the comments…. What are some diabetic rules you don’t follow? Was there one on my list (or more than one) that you DO follow?

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Leave A Comment

  1. Emily April 13, 2021 at 9:33 am - Reply

    I feel this 100%. I secretly felt like a “bad diabetic” because I don’t follow all the rules, so this post is BEYOND a breath of fresh air for me! The “rule” that i break all the time is that I bolus off my cgm readings.

  2. Megan April 13, 2021 at 10:01 am - Reply

    I don’t wait 3 hours before correcting. If i notice my BG hasn’t budged after 1.5hrs (or worse… it is increasing!) I will throw another unit or two at it.

  3. Jonathan April 13, 2021 at 10:33 am - Reply

    So true, love your writing, it’s always a fun moment to visit your blog!

    The rule I break is not treating all ‘lows’ with emergency carbs when exercising. I’m a regular runner and my dex will sometimes read low just because the interstitial fluids around the sensor go low temporarily mid run and then magically go up (without correction) afterward.

  4. Jess April 13, 2021 at 4:45 pm - Reply

    I break just about every rule you do too 🙂 I also walk barefoot a lot. Not in public places, but my house & yard. I have full feeling in my toes, my healing time is great, and my sugars are pretty tightly controlled. If any of those things change then I’ll take more precaution, but the benefits of grounding far outweigh the minimal risk for me right now.

  5. Rick Phillips April 13, 2021 at 10:38 pm - Reply

    Rules? I dont need no damn rules !!!

  6. Brian Sixbey April 19, 2021 at 3:16 pm - Reply

    Type 1 almost 29 years now. Some of these I never heard – like going to the hospital every time I throw up, and I was never told to eat anything I like. I learned to avoid sugar free foods after getting diarrhea. Not worth it. I’m trying to get better about changing lancets (I was “gifted” about 1000 of them, and it’s nice to not hurt). I never use alcohol on sites – at most I’ll use a prep pad (for pump sites) or I’ll wash my hands. You can actually get worse bumps from alcohol pads and the chance of infection is small (unless I have to change a site in a public setting). I’m a proud rule breaker, been one for at least 28 years.

  7. Eric Chua April 20, 2021 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Ha ha very nice to have come across this article! What a great read!
    Have not heard of no. 4 before, and for no. 7, I love to go look for and get the nice though costly sugar-free twizzlers to chew on all the time (unfortunately in my part of the world now, difficult to get them and costly! But used to get them all the time back while studying in the States 25 years ago)
    For no. 9, I do follow and not rub but only because rubbing tends to give rise to bruises which look horrible and takes days to go down…
    One other rule I break is the 30 mins after injection before food… always difficult to follow if out and about and you can’t control when the food’s gonna arrive… so just take the jab as and when the food comes!
    32 years on and counting…

  8. AA May 5, 2021 at 10:55 am - Reply

    Thanks for such an honest post! I love this. If you have T1D and you have a life, you are a rule breaker 🙂

  9. Mandy May 20, 2021 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    I agree with all of this. I’m a parent of a T1D 2 year old and I’m with you on all of that (except for the swabs for the injection sites, he’s a messy, sticky toddler). When I had gestational diabetes, I didn’t swab for my mealtime finger pokes unless I had been touching dirty stuff too. As for just eating whatever we want and just dosing for it, we typically tend to eat healthier, so that’s fine for us, but I can see what you’re saying if people are eating crap food all the time. That’s not just bad for people with health issues, it’s bad for everyone. haha

  10. […] If you liked this article then you’ll love my other post, Diabetic Rules I DON’T follow! […]

  11. […] If you liked this article then you’ll love my other post, Diabetic Rules I DON’T follow! […]

  12. Cori July 4, 2022 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Haha! This is awesome and so true 🙂

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