April is my month for medical appointments. Yay!
Tuesday I was in my endocrinologist’s office having a professional-model continuous glucose monitor attached to my arm. During my adventures in restrictive, calorie counting style dieting, I had daily, sometimes 2 and 3 times daily low blood sugar events. Kind of hard to be watching calories so closely if your blood sugar is dropping like a rock and you’re having slam juice to get back to the normal range.
It is perplexing because I am not on any sort of diabetes medication that would drop my sugar so rapidly. Could be the allergy stuff I have been taking to keep my nose and sinuses under control, but I kind of doubt it. I think in that period it was simply not eating enough calories or frequently enough to keep me going. Protein shake in the morning before gym, gym, then an apple until lunch and another protein shake and then nothing until dinner – my system was unhappy. Once I got back onto my more routine eating schedule, the low blood sugar events have mostly stopped – more like once a week during the day and maybe once or twice per week overnight.
After yet another one last night and me keeping track of what I ate yesterday, a new thought has popped into my head about the gratuitous sugar I eat. Yesterday was busy, stressful, crazy with self-employment client work, and I had both a decaf coffee-flavored milk drink and a cookie late in the day, normal dinner, and voila – 5 hours later I’m waking up drenched in sweat and low blood sugar. Sucks. Drank a couple of ounces of apple juice and a couple of saltines, and went back to bed. Just a few hours later, when my alarm went off at 4, sugars were low again and my disorientation and fatigue in trying to recovery made me miss my exercise window.
Totally sucks. I know what to do about high blood sugar; I am having a lot of difficulty coping with low blood sugar.
Hence my doc wanting to see what my system is doing throughout the days correlated to how and when I exercise and fuel body. Other than the early days when I was still on insulin, I have yet to have a drive-to-juice event at the gym. The protein shake concoction I drink faithfully before going every time seems to be my safety shield. I just hope this sensor stays glued to my arm for the whole 2 week cycle. The information it provides will be worth the inconvenience that comes with having to think about it and wear sleeved tops everywhere.
This is also the month for my blood tests and rechecking my A1c. My hope and yes, expectation is that there will be little change from its nice on-the-low-end-of-normal results last time. I like having the buffer that allows me to food transgress periodically without stressing about having to be back on the medications. But with this latest and not so great health issue, I am having that sinking feeling that the potential for penalties for any food sins remains with the realm of possibility.
The specter of a ultra low-carb eating style looming large in my future is occurring to me more and more. While I actually feel as if I am doing that now compared to former versions of myself and the types of foods I love and would eat regularly, I know there is always room to make more adjustments.
Before I get there, though, I will be more deliberate in my food treats and cheats. No cookies. No coffee-flavored milk drinks. Those two things are the worst offenders of late. My bread consumption was already down before this latest round of challenge began, although I do typically consume normal portions of potatoes or rice with my evening meal in hopes of avoiding these overnight events. It is really easy for me to forego desserts and nearly all other sugary treats. Candy, particularly chocolate, is a just-say-no item because kicking back the craving after I start is harsh. I haven’t had french fries in months and while M and I do have cheeseburgers while out and about on weekends at least once a month and pizza night is a staple for during-the-week visits with G and K, curtailing our periodic junk food fix should not be much of an issue.
It’s the things like chinese food, with it’s sugar-laden sauces and carb-palooza noodles and such that are probably going to have to be added to my super special occasions list versus whenever I feel like it or am out with friends or on business. There are a lot of healthier choices available, but unfortunately I do not enjoy them nearly as much. But when it’s business or socializing with friends, I will just continue to remind myself it’s all about the company and the food is a very distant secondary enjoyment factor.
But if any of that is a contributor to these low blood sugar crashes, it becomes a lot easier for me to feel less resentment about avoidance.
Eating healthy – it is just hard. Developing the discipline after a lifetime of not having much discipline is not easy for anyone. But now the blood sugar crashes are starting to impact my exercise, and I simply cannot allow something I can most likely control to impinge upon something I have worked so slavishly to implement and maintain. When I am feeling a little sorry for myself – like this morning, when I was feeling crappy and miserable – I feel persecuted and as if I am being somehow punished for trying to do better. Which is such bullshit and a big reason why I do not indulge much in self-pity; it is a complete waste of my time. If lifestyle changes were easy there would not be gazillions of self-help books on the subject and bazillions of experts offering advice and counsel on making it happen.
In the end, I did not end up calling in sick as I was worried might be necessary – after 2 overnight incidents I was having a very hard time making myself wake-up and then once upright, was feeling disoriented and dizzy. Food helps; a little juice at 4 to get me back from 58 into the normal range and a few hours more sleep. The protein shake for breakfast is infinitely better for me than juice, but makes falling asleep very difficult and uncomfortable.
So I am carefully tracking my food and timing for the next couple of weeks, hoping my doc and my dietician can help me sort out where I am going wrong this time. For some reason it is psychologically easier for me to do this sort of loose tracking when it has a direct impact on my overall health versus the more abstract weight loss objective.
While Wednesday nights are typically a for-fun workout, tonight it is the real deal to feed my need to stay on track with it. The world is not going to end if I slack and go light or even if I blew it off and just went home and to bed early. But I cling to my schedule for good reasons and know I have to make an effort or feel negative girl start nipping at my heels.
I kinda/sorta want to pooh-pooh myself and make my usual derisive comment about me and my first world problems. But something is not right with me lately, and it is becoming a genuine issue for me. I discussed it briefly with my doc yesterday – no, I am not overtraining and continuing my daily exercise is the very last thing I should be cutting back on or concerned about. WHEW! It is possible stress could be a factor, but this was starting to amp up long before the major stressors of last week. Part of me idly wonders if my reactions to the stressors of last week was overwrought because of whatever seems to be ailing me. Which really leaves diet as the next logical subject for exploration. I am going to just hang in and hang on until my labs and this continuous monitoring study are completed and results disbursed, and hopefully my system will settle back down.
Until then, food tracking – I loathe you, but in this instance I can understand the benefit. Getting to bed on time and adequate sleep is back to a highest priority. Gym training and practice will continue as normal, hopefully back on a normal cycle and schedule going forward.
Waiting is hard. But worth it as a step forward in my better health quest. Thankfully no one is telling me I have to actually like it.