Note: I know people can get riled up about the use of the word diet (“It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle change!!!!”) but I don’t care. It’s easier for me to use this generic term when referring to the change I’ve made in my eating habits. Also, until now I’ve always viewed these changes as temporary so I also use the word that way to refer to my past tactics. For me, it is all-encompassing.
I rarely bemoan my disease, usually just the fact that it’s my fault I have it since I didn’t get my thyroid treated in time to avoid it, but if there’s one thing that really irritates me about diabetes it’s HAVING to eat when I DON’T WANT TO. OK, there aren’t many times when I truly don’t want to eat because, well, I love food, but when I’m on a diet and trying to control my calorie intake, having a low (in diabetes speak, “low” means low blood sugar) after I’ve already eaten the max calories I planned to eat really ticks me off.
Short explanation: low blood sugar can happen for three reasons: taking too much insulin for the amount of carbs you eat, waiting too long to eat between meals, and exercising (it burns up the sugar in your blood). When it happens, I have symptoms like shakiness, extreme, almost insatiable hunger, pounding heart, sweating, feeling brainless and loopy, double vision, irritability. It has to be fixed by eating carbs, and the more simple the better–such as juice or pop or hard candy–because you want the sugar in your bloodstream as quickly as possible. The result of not fixing a low can be seizures, permanent damage to the nervous system, unconsciousness and coma.
Today, if I hadn’t taken too much insulin with dinner, I would have been right on target with my calories. But I’m still adjusting to the smaller amounts of insulin I need (due to the smaller amount of food I’m eating/less carbs) so even the measly 5 units I took with dinner still sent me into a raging low. I was at the grocery store, in the check out line, when it hit. My heart started pounding, I felt shaky, dizzy and loopy. I didn’t have anything on me to fix it so I looked to the candy bars. I picked up a peanut butter protein bar because it had the same amount of calories and carbs as a candy bar but had a lot of added vitamins & protein so I figured it was a healthier decision. It wasn’t until after I ate it in the car that I read on the label that it was artificially sweetened and the carbs were only coming from flour, which doesn’t hit the bloodstream as fast as sugar. So when I was in the second grocery store checking out (does anyone else go to 2 or more grocery stores to get their shopping done?), and the low got even worse, I grabbed some sweetened iced tea and drank half of it.
The damage? 400 calories I hadn’t counted on consuming. It’s only a minor setback but it is just frustrating when I wasn’t hungry and didn’t need to eat but HAD to or risk A STUPID COMA!
Comas are stupid. Don’t you agree? And so is diabetes. And cancer.
Anyway. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of my new insulin regimen within the next several days. So far, I’ve done really well and even though I crave petit fours every time I open the fridge and see my latest experiment for a wedding order sparkling at me and the smell of sweet white cake and cream cheese shoots up my nose, God really has guided my decisions and I have not strayed from the path of healthfulness.
I’ve been eating fruit in the morning, eggs and toast today, things like fish with veggies, fish tacos, bean and cheese burritos, turkey sandwiches, barbecue chicken and Spicy Whole Wheat Sesame Noodles with Chicken, Green Onions & Cilantro (I’d recommend using a little sweetener–I used honey–to offset the vinegar if you make them). All good stuff that is filling & nutritious so I’m not really feeling deprived. Except when I open the fridge and the petit fours sparkle at me. They really do sparkle because I put edible glitter on them, which only makes them even harder to ignore.
I’m not swearing off fat but I am trying to steer clear of white sugar as best I can for a while. I think it will help me get control of my blood sugar and another condition I’ll talk about later. Basically I’m doing really well, despite today’s setbacks. I mean, I really could have grabbed the armload of candy bars that my frenzied mind was yearning for when the lows struck, but I didn’t do too bad with the options I had. Thank you, Lord!
The good news is that me fighting these lows is due to my blood sugar being in a normal range where it is more susceptible to dropping too low. I was seriously fighting highs of 300-400 (normal is 100) for months leading up to this week. I think I was in denial as to how bad I had gotten with my diabetes control but it is a big relief to be back around 100, so I’m grateful for that, even if it does mean I might be more prone to low blood sugars.
Now I’ve gotta try and convince Dennis to eat the last two petit fours so I don’t have to witness their siren sheen & sparkle every time I open the fridge door. But you know what? I’m crazy. Because I’m planning on baking banana bread tomorrow, and not the kind I would allow myself to eat. And not because I have any good reason to. Just because I found a recipe I want to try out. God help me!