Talkin’ ’bout Diabetes

There are times when I feel that my body operates on a very different level than the rest of the world. For the past 10 years I have lived with the fact that I am diabetic. I have a physical need to inject myself with insulin for times a day as my pancreas is not producing it. As a result, we diabetics need to be mindful of the amount of sugar that we ingest.

The logical conclusion is that if minimize, or eliminate, sugar from my diet and continue with my doses of insulin, I will maintain a healthy blood sugar level. But my body seems to be blissfully unaware of this bit of logic.

Over the course of the past 10 years, I have had the opportunity to live through a few “experiments”. I will preface this by saying that I do not recommend this to any other diabetics reading this, nor am I sufficiently learned to quantify or qualify my observations.

At various times in my diabetic life, I have abstained from most sugars, knowing it was the “right thing to do”. And for the most part, my blood sugar levels remained within the expected range. But as with any extreme diet, eventually you break and the floodgates open, leading to binge eating and complete reversal of everything you have done.  This is why diets don’t work.  It has to be a lifestyle change.

On the other side of the coin, I’ve been through periods where I have ignored the fact that I am diabetic and eaten anything that I wanted to eat with no consideration for my body. Predictably, my blood sugar levels would be high. But after a while you reach a saturation point and then you need to reign yourself in.  Your brain comes to realize “I can’t keep doing this or things will get bad.”

I’ve found that I live best on the edge of that coin.

homer-cake

Rather than eating all the sugary foods I want, or abstaining from them entirely, I seem to operate best when I have consistent small amounts of sugary foods.  As an example, one of the best stretches of controlled blood glucose levels that I experienced was a few years ago when I was in the roll of a Trainer.  I would have a little bowl or jar on my desk with chocolates or candies in it.  I would allow myself 2-3 of them per day.  And my blood sugar levels remained perfect.  To illustrate the point, I once went for one of my quarterly checkups with my doctor and he was absent. The doctor filling in for him, who synchronistically happened to specialize in diabetes, reviewed my test results.  Then flipped back in the chart to the previous tests.  And then further back again, and again.  She looked at me and said, “when were you diagnosed as Type-1 diabetic?  Because looking at your test results, I can’t see any indication that you are diabetic at all.”  When I directed her to March 2008, her eyes widened and she uttered, “Oh, yeah.  Diabetic. But I’ve never seen someone who’s been so well controlled, consistently, for such a long time.”

Since then, I’ve come and gone with this practice a couple of times.  I’d stop for a while, with a view of trying to “be better and eat healthier” only to eventually crash and binge on sugary foods.  Then I’d go back to my routine of little daily doses, and things would be better.  It’s like I’m slowly building an immunity like some people do with poison by taking small doses and gradually increasing them.  If they aren’t careful, the dose could be lethal.  I suppose this is an apt metaphor since sugar will do the same to me.

Then there are days, like yesterday, that just seem to defy any given logic.  I knowingly ate more sugary foods, with no adjustment at all to my insulin levels.  I started the day having a chocolate croissant (from Tony’s Bistro) for breakfast.  Mid-afternoon, I had a bottle of Pepsi.  In the evening, a Chai Latté from Starbucks (which is surprisingly sugary when you look at the nutritional info).  And finally, a chocolate bar while my wife and I watched TV to end the night.  I love me a Crispy Crunch!

After this indulging, I expected to have some inflated glucose levels this morning.  But lo and behold, my blood sugar levels were lower than they’ve been in the past three weeks!  It’s almost like I have reverse diabetes… LOL  Eat more sugar, glucose is lower.

Now despite this, I have no intention of continuing with this level of sugar intake.  I know that this was an anomaly.  Though over the past few days, I’ve had a daily intention of keeping my glucose levels low.  So maybe there’s something more to it than a weird anomalous reading.  But I do plan on reintroducing a small touch of sugary goodness into my daily routine again; and I’ll continue to monitor my levels to see how they go.

And how about you, my diabetic readers?  Any weird occurrences that you’ve noted in your blood sugar levels depending on what you eat?  How regularly do you check your sugar levels?

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