Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 8, 2009
Two weeks ago, I wrote a post titled Starting A New Eating Plan. I knew it was time to do it because I had lost control over my diabetes numbers. The problem with diabetes isn’t one bad day; it’s many bad days in a row, because that’s when bad things start happening to your body.
Something I didn’t talk about in that previous post was where my numbers had been, compared to what I needed to shoot for. Here’s some figures for you. The American Diabetes Association says one’s glucose level should be between 80 – 120 mg/dl, or milligrams in a deciliter, which is 1/10th of a liter. Too much information? Well, let’s just stick with the numbers then. Anyway, the high figure used to be 140, and I like to try to shoot for between 110 and 140 because I just feel better in that range. When I start getting too close to 100, or lower than that, I start shaking or getting light headed; that’s never fun.
Anyway, the day I started on this new plan, which was two days after my diabetes clinic, the Joslin Center, had told me to increase the amount of insulin I needed to inject twice a day from 30 units to 40 units of 100 milliliters. That’s a bunch, because when I was first injecting, I was only at 15 units. My glucose figure had a 2-week average of 225. Just a few nights earlier, I had recorded a reading of 365; that kind of thing is scary, and it was after I’d eaten pasta earlier in the evening.
The eating and exercise plan started Monday the 26th. By the 29th, my afternoon reading was 110; 30th, my morning glucose reading was 130. I even lost two pounds. I felt pretty good going into the weekend, as my wife and I decided I get Friday nights and all day Saturdays off. After all, it’s hard to stick to a tight eating plan without a break here and there. I ate whatever I wanted last weekend, but I didn’t overeat, and I didn’t do much damage to myself, which was nice.
That Sunday, I went back on the plan, but I changed up some. Instead of straight chicken and mixed vegetables I added hamburger and salmon and spinach into the mix. I also added some ham slices for a sandwich instead of a full meal, and also allowed myself a quick snack, if I needed it, of a piece of wheat bread with peanut butter on it, and a much thinner layer than I would have had before the eating plan.
Last week my glucose numbers continued to fall, to the point where I had to cut back on my medication. One morning my reading was 110; phenomenal for me. Two days, though, my readings were under 100, once at 87, the other time at 97. Remember those shakes I mentioned earlier? I knew on those days that I needed to cut back on my medication, but I also had to eat sooner than 3 hours, and mix in some of the snacking I’d talked about. I didn’t lose any weight during the week, but as I said in my initial post, the goal really was about reducing my glucose levels. My average for the last two weeks had come down to 151, and I’m happy with that since my readings were a little higher over the weekend. But during the week, I only had one number over 140; wow!
So, this does prove that, when all the chips are down, one can modify their diet and bring down glucose levels. It also says that people can probably find some of their own maladies and, by changing their diets somewhat, modify some of their issues. Kind of like how, by changing my mother’s diet a few weeks ago, we were able to reduce her high blood pressure to almost normal.
Of course, I’m still not off the hook here. All I’ve done is given the medication a chance to work with me. But being able to reduce how much of the medication I’ve had to take, it means that my program is working, and probably if I decided to give up my fun nights, I could probably reduce it further. But I’ll never eliminate the medication completely, and if I gave up my one night, I’d probably have problems sticking to the plan as well. For now, I’m a happy guy.
By the way, notice I call it an eating plan rather than a diet? I think the terminology is important as well. People have problems sticking to diets, but having an eating plan, which includes some “free” days, makes it quite tolerable indeed. It may only be semantics to some, but I see dieting as something much different than what I’m trying to do. I may be crazy, but I’m getting the results I want, so it’s working for me.