Sabotaged by Lows

Nighttime treatments with favorite foods impair weight loss efforts.

Scott K. JohnsonBy Scott Johnson

June 2007 — I walk a fine line working hard to keep my blood sugars as close to target as I can, and keep them there as much as I can. In addition to this, I try to keep an eye on how much food I'm eating through the day.

I am working to lose weight, and when it comes to doing anything with your weight (losing, gaining, or maintaining) it's all about the calories; calories in versus calories out. There is no way to "cheat" Mother Nature. If you eat more calories than you burn, they will be stored somewhere! That's all there is to it.

I work hard all day to make good choices; to eat smaller, well-balanced meals, and to get out and move whenever I can.

I run into trouble though when I have a low blood sugar during the night. I wake up, ravenously hungry, a bit shaky and unsteady, and ready to eat anything and everything I can get my hands on.

I try to keep glucose tabs on my nightstand, but often times I'm not able to resist the idea of heading to the kitchen to eat some kind of sugary treat! I mean really now, when you are looking at a choice between glucose tabs or some sugary cereal in a big bowl of ice-cold milk – how can you blame me?

I think even that would be fine, if I could just eat a reasonable amount. I seem to get caught in the milk/cereal cycle. You know, when you need just a bit more milk to finish off what cereal you have in the bowl? Then after you eat all of the cereal, you end up with a bowl of cold milk just begging for a little more cereal!

Before I know what hit me, I've eaten WAY more than what I need to treat the low, and have just eaten a couple meals worth of calories! I usually have no idea how many grams of carbohydrates I've had, and take a wild guess at it. I bolus for the extra that I think I've eaten so I don't have a really high blood sugar. You can see where this gets me in trouble.

I also think that I am often somewhat mentally impaired during a low. Maybe I feel justified in eating some of the high-calorie, low nutrient foods that I enjoy, but are probably not very good for me (or my weight loss efforts). Maybe I'm using the low blood sugar as an excuse to indulge a bit.

Sometimes those urges and cravings I experience during a low are undeniable.

I am going to step back a little bit and not be so aggressive with my insulin for my dinner and/or bedtime snack bolus, as well as any late correction boluses that I do. Avoiding whatever lows I can during the night will play a critical role in both my weight loss efforts and glucose control.

Visit Scott's blog.

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.


Last Modified Date: June 12, 2013

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