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.