Welcome to the all you can eat buffet or hunger vs habit, really?

It is an amazingly beautiful morning here in northern middle Tennessee on this the third day of Diabetes awareness month.

First of all, if you are new here, I am a Type 2 Diabetic, not to be confused with a Type 1 Diabetic, Type 1.5 Diabetic, Type 3 Diabetic or any other type there may be. I am also not a doctor, nutritionist, dietitian, politician, or any other follower of conventional wisdom for the sake of convenience or lack of wisdom.

That being said, I would like to welcome you to my thoughts about some of the lovely advise given to us Type 2 Diabetics here in the real world via our doctors, nutritionists, dietitians, politicians by proxy, and those lovely commercials, in other words, people who are normally not Type 2 Diabetics like us, just folks who in some form or another come up with things to keep us healthy, well, at least the intentions are good, right? (Lord, I hope so)

Being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes, being told to “change your white to wheat and limit portion sizes and exercise” is one of the many things we are told. Keep this in mind if you dare go further into my mind this morning.

“Eat every two hours to keep your blood sugar stable” is usually the second bit of advice given by the powers that be. This bit of advice, my dear readers, is pure gold to one’s ears. It may be the only bit of advice a Type 2 like me receives that makes our diabetes sound not so bad after all, it’s like getting a free pass at the all you can eat buffet.

Some docs are coming around to seeing how maybe all those low fat, high carbohydrate, every two hour feedings are not really working and changing their stance, but for some of the more unfortunate Type 2 Diabetics, sick and tired, compliant, yet getting sicker and more tired, eating every two hours, gaining weight, getting in trouble with their docs because they are not compliant… It’s a vicious cycle.

Since I feel like being really open today, I must tell you that once upon a time, I ate every two hours, my “hunger button” was the clock and it was always calibrated. Wake up, breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack, bed, sleep, maybe, midnight snack oh yeah, sleep?, probably not well, wake up and start the vicious cycle once again. Did two hour feedings help? No. Did I continue them? Why heck yeah, all the commercials for this and that aimed at me, the Type 2 Diabetic, you bet your bottom dollar I didn’t miss a meal.

Something was missing though. Something very important. The one thing that the doctors, dietitians, nutritionists, and politicians by proxy could have done, could have said, could have shown me, an easy little thing to let me know right up front, that while conventional wisdom is convenient, it is not very wise…

Have you figured it out dear readers? Do you see a pattern? Can you feel that there is something very important missing from the conventional wisdom spewed forth from the powers that be, the very powers empowering us to take charge of our own Diabetes?

The most important thing in our own fight against our own Diabetes (yes, even us Type 2’s are very different and vary from individual to individual) is our blood glucose meter. When we are told to eat every two hours, it kinda helps us become lax in testing. “The doc said eat, he didn’t say test, I tested this morning”

Our blood sugar varies with our stress, our food, our activity level. It varies even if we don’t test. Just because we don’t see it, it doesn’t mean it’s high or low, it simply means that WE DO NOT KNOW. Maybe, just maybe, two hours after that breakfast of turkey bacon and hearthealthywholegrains, our blood glucose is at 248. < just a number from my past, don’t worry, I learned I didn’t have to live like that…

If our blood glucose is at 248, I’ve got to tell you right now that the snack you are thinking about is not a good idea. I wish I’d had me around back then, if so, I would have told myself that very thing, heck, I would have knocked that wholewheatgrilledcheeze outta myself’s hand.

Eating every two hours does one thing and one thing only (disclaimer: remember I am talking about Type 2 Diabetics like me, not insulin dependent Diabetics because I was not an insulin dependent Diabetic), and that very thing is turning our hunger into habit.

After a couple weeks of every two hours, missing a feeding gives one that feeling of starvation. Maybe we have an hypoglycemic episode, maybe we test and see that our blood glucose is only 130, we’re not actually hypo, just feeling that way because we’ve been over 200 so long that even a 130 makes us feel like crap. Most of the time though, missing a meal, feeling hypo, we don’t really test, too hungry, dying of starvation even, we just eat or treat or grab a snickers… Hey, they said “every two hours”.

What if they were wrong? What if like me, one starts testing upon waking, prior to and one and two hours after a meal, before bedtime? What if one maybe skips that two hour snack because their postprandial from breakfast is still over 140? What if there was a way to know if we even really need that snack?

There is a way, you have the power to change your habit back to hunger. There is a way to have stable blood sugar without the all you can eat buffet that comes by every couple hours. Use your meter, use it often. If you’re low (under 70 is Hypo), eat or treat, it’s up to you, but please, for your own sake, the sake of your children and other loved ones who would like to keep you around for the long haul, please do not treat or eat without testing.

It’s ok if you are mad at me, my feelings are in good standing, people get mad at me all the time, it’s a side effect of speaking my mind. One day though, if you decide to take the road less traveled and maybe JERF to your meter instead of the clock, you can thank me. You may even decide that you are tired of being sick and tired and that you want to hang out with the less conventional maybe more wise real folks who have learned through testing that a non-diabetic can spout wisdom through books and all, but for goodness sakes, we are neither books nor lab rats, we are unique individuals with individual needs, and the only way to keep us from getting worse is to hold our heads high, test often, and fight our diabetes every chance we get.

 

 

 

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18 thoughts on “Welcome to the all you can eat buffet or hunger vs habit, really?

  1. Testing is probably the most important thing I did to gain control – blood does not lie. There was a time when I tested up to five times a day as I figured out what in the heck was going on and to determine what I could eat.

    You are so right to focus on testing. You will learn what to eat and how much – which may, or may not be different from what I can eat.

    Great post!

    • Thanks Phil, Yes, we are all so different. It takes time, patience and lots of testing to figure out what works for our individual needs, and that even the “amount” of food can have an impact on our Diabetes.

      This war we wage is not easy at all, but feeling good, being able to do things that I never dreamed possible (for me), makes it all worth it.

  2. Very few diabetic patients brought their BS logs to their appointments. Most didn’t even check their BS as instructed. And food log I could just forget. I never understood how they thought I was supposed to adjust anything…keep telling…

    • Exactly, we have not been good patients. So many people (us patients) believe that all the need is medication, we don’t need to watch what they eat, or exercise, there’s a pill for that.

      Telling our docs “I’m doing everything right, I’m testing,” means absolutely nothing when we have nothing to show. At least if we keep a food log and test religiously, we can show them that maybe the what ever kind of diet we are on is not right for us, or if something is working, we have the proof.

      In a perfect world, we would take our diabetes seriously and do each and everything we can to help our docs help us, to be foot soldiers for our doctors. When we do not take control of what we can control in our fight against our disease, it does not really hurt our docs, it hurts ourselves.

      If nothing else, I hope that other patients like myself see that docs are only scary when we try to wiggle around them. My doc was a pretty scary guy until I realized he wasn’t really scary, just scared of what I was doing to myself back then by doing nothing.

      Anyways, I’m trying to use Diabetes awareness month not so much to educate the public that there is a such thing as diabetes, surely they’ve heard of it, but more so to educate us diabetics about important things like testing, exercise, something, anything to help themselves, help their docs to help them.

      Doctors are pretty darned awesome, they take care of us when we need them, but they are not magicians or mind readers. It’s high time we as patients stopped waiting around for this or that miracle cure and do what we can to become and stay healthy.

  3. I’m actually a Type 1 with a LOT of Type 2 tendencies – I’ve become very insulin resistant to the insulin that I take (through a pump), so I also take Metformin. It is a vicious cycle of gaining weight, and lots of doctors also recommend eating every 2-3 hours or so, even for us Type 1s. You are so correct in saying you HAVE to add testing your blood sugar into that equation. And like we always say for Type 1, even with Type 2 – Your Diabetes May Vary. Something that works for one person (eating several small meals each day at certain intervals) may not work for another person. Lots of times, it’s trial and error (and LOTS of logging and testing!) to figure out how your body responds, and what works best for you in managing your blood sugars.

    • I have been reading your blog for a while, today though, I learned what fifteenwaitfifteen means through the link in the snacks post, and wanted to thank you for putting it out there, your experience and the things you have learned along the way. It’s crazy that after having been diabetic for a little over six years, I was never taught about the fifteen wait fifteen rule.

      Yes, trial and error!! Every day is a learning experience. I love reading about other people’s journey. Sometimes I learn new things, sometimes only re-affirming things I’ve tried, and sometimes just to see that I am not alone.

      Thank you for sharing your journey with Diabetes and showing me that even Type 1’s are not created equal, and re-affirming the importance of testing.

      • Glad to help in any way I can! I have learned so much from the diabetic online community, and just hope I can add to that wealth of knowledge and help others just as much. (YOU are adding to that wealth of knowledge and experience, too!)There are SO many things I never knew before having access to the DOC, and I’ve been diabetic for close to 20 years! I feel like in the past 4-5 years, I’ve learned more than I knew the whole 15 years before, and as a happy result, my health and diabetes control has improved. Win-win!

        • DOC is another one learned this morning. (This is why I am unable to speak hashtag, I am still trying to catch up on acronyms.)

          Most definitely a win-win!

  4. Really good article and so true about the testing. I also advise people to log their intake, especially carb amounts, and their tests. In a pretty short period of time you’ll come to understand what spikes you up and what doesn’t.

    The only thing I would comment on is that there are tons and tons of insulin dependent T2s. I’m a T2 and I’m on a pump. More and more we’re finding that insulin is an appropriate strategy for some T2s.

    • Hi Suz, Thank you for reading. I wish I had the experience to write a post about insulin dependent Type 2 Diabetics. Unfortunately, I lack knowledge of insulin other than it’s injected and I am a needle phobic. Only recently I found out just how lucky I was to be able to take oral medications without horrible side effects. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for each and every one of us to work with our doctors to find out what steps need to be taken.

      Many times people think Diabetes is no big deal, Type 2 is the easy kind, but it’s not. Each and every one of us is on a unique journey of our own, finding what works for us.

      I can’t agree more about a food log. I’ve met a lot of folks who want to make a lifestyle change but are afraid to talk to their doctor. The thing is that they don’t realize that a food log and a glucose meter are all you need to show the doc you’re serious and have him on your side to determine what kind of route needed for medication needs.

    • Thank you for reading. When we find our way down this path known as blood sugar control, it is our duty to call “foul” when we see it. Make your voice be heard and keep fighting the good fight!

  5. Two questions, Shannon. I don’t have T2D (yet!) and I’d like to keep it that way, but my FBS was on the high side (111) several months ago. I was thinking about getting a meter and supplies to check myself, but isn’t it kind of expensive if the doc hasn’t prescribed it? Do you know of any other OTC ways to check BS?

    Also, what is JERF?

    Thanks!

    • Getting OTC meter, test strips and other supplies out of your own pocket is by far less expensive than not knowing your own blood-glucose truth.

      MY opinionated RANT: Test thyself and know. To thine own self be true. The truth will set you free. Free to live a healthy, liberated (redundant, I know) abundant LIFE.

    • Hi Debbie 🙂
      JERF: Just eat real food, minimally processed, meats, cheese, low carb veggies, seafood, eggs, poultry, berries (or other low carb fruits) (Kinda like Atkins without the bars and frozen meals). There is a community on facebook, but be forwarned, they are not all diabetics and sometimes post recipes with honey or other things spiky. Their message is great though. https://www.facebook.com/JustEatingRealFood

      Testing can be expensive, but the more often we test, the more we know. I really think checking your postprandials would help to get a better picture. Walmart has a meter and strips, ReliOn ( http://www.relion.com/wellness/ ) is the brand, the meter is not very expensive and the strips are less than a quarter each (box of 50 $9.99), the walmart meter is OTC as are the strips. There is more and more science every day on what is good blood sugar and what is the damage zone.

      Anyways, here’s a nice read I came across a while back that makes even the 120 recommendations kinda scary: http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1215740

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