I am ridiculously ignorant about my nutrition needs. I mean, seriously dumb. My doc, my trainer, my ongoing friendship with a registered dietician, and I am still make rookie mistakes. Hopefully I learn from them, probably mostly I do, but unfortunately there is no shortage of complications and complexities when it comes to my body and how it’s fueled.
It was lower body day with dumbbells and everything was proceeding as normal. While my pacing did not feel especially peppy, the judgmental Fitbit’s heart rate reading said I was adequately huffy puffy with this series (average heart rate for the 70 minutes = 133). I am still working at mastery over the Bulgarians, curtsey, and lateral lunges – maintaining the rib-tucking lean still requires extra focus and intensity to maintain – so I was paying more attention to my form first, rep counts second than anything else. I joke that most of my huffy-puffy calorie burn is brain at work, evidenced by the sweat-soaked hair from the steam coming from my ears. Things were going well; I was making good progress on overcoming my low back arching tendencies.
Except it felt as if I were sweating even more profusely than usual, and I was both more thirsty and getting more physically fatigued than is typical for this List and my perceived level of effort. Typically my brain gets tired long before body and then brain tells body how tired it is and the rest of my practice is hard-slog history. Today brain felt fresh, focused, engaged, wanting to go-go-go and body felt as if it were sending out mild distress signals, mostly ignored. Sweaty and gross is a fact of life. Judgmental Fitbit goes fast, slows down, goes fast, slows down. Mostly I ignore it unless I feel weird.
But in midway through the step-ups I started to feel weird, sweat pouring, a nanosecond of light headed. Standing on a box, doing a hip hinge on one foot – even a nanosecond of that type of distraction is a bad sign. It passed so quickly, though, that I was sure imagination was playing tricks, so I continued forging ahead. Rest break seemed to be in order and it helped. Yet by the time I entered my final block, I was starting to get that sinking feeling that something was amiss in my blood sugar. Even if mentally I did not feel I was working extraordinarily hard, body was processing the workout as if I were pushing really hard.
By the end of the second set of final block, I had the light-headed feeling of doom. Third set abandoned because fainting on the gym floor is frowned upon by employees and other members alike. Plus, so embarrassingly public! Yep, full on blood sugar crash at 59 when I tested in the locker room. I usually carry a can of juice with me, but it had been stolen with my other bag a few weeks ago. I always have glucose tablets with me, because M freaks out at the idea of me wandering around without anything to restore balance. They are unpleasant to eat, vastly prefer juice, but short of calling home, I was in no condition to drive. Popped a couple of those ick pills and just sat on the bench until I felt better, tested again and was on the rise at 70.
It was weird, it was unexpected, it caught me completely off guard and by surprise. And the little professor that lives inside my brain has to analyze and understand what happened, so hopefully I do not have a repeat experience.
I was not especially hungry last night due to a bigger and later than usual lunch. Rather than eat something sensible – like a peanut butter sandwich – I chose a protein shake with dried peanut butter instead. Big mistake apparently. The concoction upset my typically cast iron stomach enough that I was up and down a few times in the night. I thought for sure my blood sugar would be lower this morning, but it was shockingly high at 208 (first thing in the morning reading is more typically between 80 and 100, high is anything over 140). But I felt fine, so I made my usual pre-gym protein shake and away I went.
So my village (my docs, J, RD) and my friends – probably everyone except M – says listen to body, it will tell you what it wants/needs. M is a bit less woo-woo about it, suggesting a balanced diet with plenty of lean protein, vegetables, fruits, and some carbohydrates with each meal seems to work best for me. Which is possibly, probably what body is telling me it needs. Just protein and nothing else for dinner is inadequate. Body essentially had a tantrum overnight and spit out what I fed it. Okay, lesson learned. No protein shakes as meal replacement for me into the future.
Should I have known better and understood the signs I was experiencing? Perhaps. Since I have been off the diabetes controlling medications crashes are few and far between. It did not feel as if I were working extra hard and burning through body’s fuel in an unusually rapid manner this morning. Upset stomachs that wake me up are rare. Higher blood sugar from the stress – probably I should have anticipated this occurrence. But my biggest takeaway is that this experience taught me that I know and understand the signs now. Do not repeat the offending behavior and life will return to normal.
I put a fresh can of juice in my gym bag, just in case. Which of course means this experience is unlikely to ever repeat, because I’m now better prepared for it. And I am so beyond okay with not having another blood sugar crash like that again. After a few days (or weeks) without incident this too will fade from memory. Something to look forward to, even if I cannot hurry it along.