Saturday, March 17, 2012

Finding My Balance


This week has been eye-opening for me.  In my last post I wrote about my first-ever stellar day with D.  I have continued to have great success all week and it has caused me to take a serious look at what I’ve been eating compared to what I ate before this amazing week.

Let me insert something here that is very important to me.  I will not proceed to tell you that I have found the answer to dealing with diabetes successfully.  I will not tell you that you have to change everything you’re currently doing and do what I do.  I will not do that, ever!  I am simply going to tell you what I have discovered about me and how I eat.  I am going to share some things I’ve learned in an attempt to process it all for myself and, possibly, give someone else some insight into their dealings with their diabetes.  I am not a fan of fanatical people who think there is only one way to successfully live with diabetes.  Ok, done with that disclaimer about my “non-testimonial”.

So what have I been doing?  I discussed here how I’ve lowered my carb intake at breakfast.  That has continued to work very well for me.  Lowering my breakfast carbs has made it easier for me to avoid unhealthier carbs later in the day.  I’d say that the biggest change has been in my snacking.  I am not eating chips or “wheaty” carbs like crackers.  Instead I’ve been snacking on veggies like bell peppers, apples, mixed nuts and string cheese.  I’ve paid close attention to the carbs I eat at dinner; trying to eat mostly protein and veggies.  I added a snack before bedtime to attempt to keep my liver happy overnight.  I’m continuing to exercise at least 30 minutes daily but we recently bought a new treadmill and it has definitely amped up my workout.  I’m sure that is helping.
 
It’s not like I’m giving up much.  By eliminating the simpler carbs from my diet I have naturally lowered my carb intake to a more moderate range.  I’ve been keeping close track of the number of carbs I’m consuming (other than those in non-starchy veggies) and I have been eating an average of 100g of carbs per day.  Prior to this “experiment” I was probably eating closer to 150g of daily carbs because I was eating less healthy snacks and more carbs at breakfast and dinner.

I have had to finally give up some things to which I’ve been desperately clinging; white potatoes in any form, sourdough French bread (you know that heavenly white stuff that’s great with pasta?), crackers, chips and cereal. I have always been an “all things in moderation” kinda gal but I have come to the realization that there really are things I just can’t eat any longer if I want to maintain a healthy glucose level.  It’s time to let go of my fantasy.

I’m not ready to say that I will never again eat potatoes or French bread.  I think that I can splurge on occasion as long as I’m careful.  You see, ¼ cup of potato or 1 slice of French bread has never been enough for me.  I can’t seem to stop so it’s better if I just avoid those things for now.  However, if I go out to eat and want to have a baked potato or some French fries, I will!!  I haven’t given up pasta because, through testing, I have discovered that the Dreamfield’s pasta works very well for me.  I know that others have said it’s the devil in disguise but not for me.  I’m not giving up an occasional sweet but have learned that I have to exercise for at least 15 minutes after eating said sweet in order to keep my bg lower.  (I’m SO grateful for our treadmill and recumbent bike!)

One downside to this new routine is a marked decline in my energy level.  For the past few days all I have wanted to do is go back to bed.  I have nearly zero energy but I’ve pushed through it (thankfully, I don’t have to deal with work!).  I understand from reading about “low carb” diets that this is temporary.  My body is adjusting and it will eventually even out.  It had better because I can’t live like this forever!

Now it’s time to confess my fears.  I’m scared.  I’m really scared.  Can these small, simple changes really be all that has been keeping my blood glucose elevated?  It can’t be this simple.  I am afraid that I will fail.  I’ll wake up some day with a fasting reading of 125 and my bubble will burst.  I’ll have a day when I’m feeling particularly down and will consume an entire bag of chips or drive through Jack-in-the-Box and pig out.  I’ll bake a batch of cookies and eat 15 at one sitting. I fear my own weaknesses.  They have ruled my life for so long that I’m afraid they will win out again.  These aren’t just trite concerns.  There are tears in my eyes as I type this and my heart is pounding.  I’m truly afraid.

However, I can do this!  My amazingly good glucose readings have been my inspiration to continue.  I’m getting used to the slightly hungry feeling.  My fatigue is less today.  For the love of all that’s good in life, this has to work.

4 comments:

  1. Diabetes is a disease that often defies rules, and for that reason alone, it's enough to drive us crazy! But, I would say that if you're still struggling with fasting numbers that are higher than you think they should be, ask your endo about it. But also think about what you had for dinner. My experience has proven that proteins take about 6-7 hours to be metabolized, so if you had protein for dinner, it may be showing up in your fasting numbers! I find that proteins like fish, eggs or poultry tend to work very well, while beef and pork can be much more difficult (not so much difficult, but they definitely show up 7 hours later). If that doesn't solve it, perhaps a diabetes medicine can be the solution. While I'm not a big fan of diabetes meds, they may be appropriate if your fasting numbers refuse to cooperate.

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  2. For what it's worth, I don't find it's helpful for myself to think in terms of "perfect", "every day" and "always". It's arguable that I cut myself too many breaks. But I won't burden myself, or lie to myself for that matter, with an absolute commitment to do even the simplest thing EVERY day.

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    1. Hey Bob, I hear what you're saying and completely agree. I don't think I can adequately describe what I've been feeling over this past week and a half. It's almost like I've become "addicted" to the better glucose readings somewhat like I was "addicted" to the bad carbs before.....or not. :) The good news is that I'm not feeling punished at all or like I HAVE to do this. It feels right and it feels good. I had my first temptation yesterday when I was fixing macaroni & cheese for my grandsons. I was tempted to taste but knew that if I did I wouldn't stop. You would have gotten a kick out of the conversation I had with myself inside my head!

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  3. Oh Kate, you are doing wonderful!!!! I'm so proud of you for making these changes. They may seem small, but they are clearly having a big effect. And I don't want you to worry one bit about "failing". I will have none of that!! ;) You are human and you are wonderful - and if you get a bit off track at some point, all you need to do is take some small steps back in the right direction and you will on track again. You don't have to be perfect!! None of us are!

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