Finding My Food Balance
Dealing with diabetes, and food issues, isnt easy.
March 2009 — I was sitting in front of a partially eaten dish of pasta thinking about how I really didn't want to eat the rest of it. At a time that I should have been happy about "saving" some calories, I was bothered and a little bit upset. For many people, this might have been just another moment in their day. Something so regular that it didn't stand out or scream for attention. They would have just stopped eating and moved on.
But once again I had to concede to the fact that I am living with type 1 diabetes, and food experiences sometimes become much more complicated than they should be – they can actually be downright unpleasant.
This small moment was filled with a lot of conflict for me. I was satisfied with what I had eaten. I had received a signal from my body that I had eaten enough for now, and didn't need any more.
But I had taken my insulin before eating, like we are supposed to, and now I had a problem. If I follow what my body is telling me - to stop eating - I will have a low blood sugar. If I follow what my insulin now requires, I am mixing up some already crossed wires by forcing myself to eat more when I'm really not hungry.
This made me angry. I was angry because I feel that I have a lot of mental and emotional issues with diabetes and food, and now that I was getting a crystal clear signal to follow, I wasn't able to do it without creating a host of complicating circumstances. Why does it have to be so difficult!
Then I started thinking about how necessarily backwards our food has to be. We have to make a decision up front about something that should come naturally later. In other words, we can never just follow the natural process of eating until satisfied. Admittedly, this is a problem for many people living without diabetes, but don't you agree that it is so much more complicated for us?
It is no wonder many of us have disconnected the wiring between our brains and our stomachs! It is something we've had to learn to do for survival early in our diabetes lifetime. I hold a lot of anger and resentment around that, mostly because I know that I have a lot of mental diabetes and food hang-ups. I believe that being influenced by insulin is one factor that has contributed to many of those food issues I fight with. I don't want anything contributing to my food issues! They are hard enough to work through without the added stress.
Some might suggest doing more planning around my meals. For a while I was doing some of that, and opposite in what you might think (that a meal plan is restrictive and limiting), I actually found a lot of relief and freedom. But I fell off the wagon somewhere back there, probably because it was a lot of work.
I also counter that our bodies probably have some natural self-regulating mechanism. Maybe causing me to be hungrier on (or shortly after?) days that I've been more active, and less hungry around periods of less activity. Wouldn't a rigid meal plan make it harder to follow that natural ebb and flow?
That doesn't make it any more appealing to get back on the wagon.
I am a master of justifying excuses for not doing whatever can be suggested, but I will concede that some sort of meal plan would probably be a step in the right direction here.
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dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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