Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Dieting and Diabetes

All of my doctors agree that I should lose weight. The benefits are many. I'm not totally uncooperative, but the difficulties of dieting when you have diabetes are more than you might think.

I have some things going for me.
  • I exercise regularly
  • I am up to date on how to diet and how to manage my diabetes
  • I have very good doctors
  • I have a husband who doesn't like sweets (this is very big)
So what's the problem?
  • My diabetes doctor says it's all in the portion size, BUT he also wants me to eat a balanced diet, take my insulin, and take the rest of my meds on schedule. He does not want me to skip meals. He wants my meals to be about the same size throughout the day.
  • My heart doctor says it's all in "taking care of yourself" and gives me diuretics to help me lose water (the water my diabetes doctor and my exercise coaches say I need)
  • My internist forgets to even notice that I've lost weight - no encouragement there
I take insulin four times a day: once before every meal and once at night. The nighttime dose is my base dose. It's good for twenty-four hours. If I don't take the right nighttime dose, then I have to adjust everything else. If I don't take the right meal-time dose, then my sugar levels go whacky. If I'm going to exercise then the calculations change.

My meal-time insulin must be calculated on my blood-sugar level at the moment, plus what I intend to eat. If I don't calculate correctly, I'm going to have to make some corrections. (That means more sticks or feeling bad.)

These calculations mean that I have to know what I'm eating. I am a conscientious reader of labels. I hope they are telling me the truth. I hate TV dinners (I like to eat them actually) because I eat them without the sauce, without the dessert, without the gravy. So, how many calories were in that gravy that I didn't eat? Does that mean I should eat a little more or what?

Exercise changes what I need to eat. It changes the way the insulin works. It changes how many calories I need to eat. It helps me make good use of my insulin and the small amounts of sugar I eat. Exercise is good for me, but it's not so simple as just walking out the door.

After I exercise I need something to eat. Do I need insulin with that? Or is it covered by the exercise?

I love oranges, but I should eat the orange not orange juice - except, of course, if I have very low blood sugars and need to get it up quickly.

Do you hear me saying "I need to eat"? When you hear that term, take it seriously. The person who says it means exactly that.

You see what I mean? It's just not simple. It's hard. I don't like to be a "special" person with special needs. I like to be like every one else. I feel like a juggler.

In spite of the problems I am losing weight. I don't know how I'm doing it or why. I just know I'm accomplishing it slowly, but steadily. I'm grateful for small things.



  1. Exercise, diabetes, and weight loss are a tricky combination. Good luck!

  2. Marilynne--did you make a new blog?? I didn't know this was you!

    Do you have a good nutritionist that can help you navigate all of these questions?? I was wondering if the hospital near you can help you navigate all of this so that you don't feel like you are juggling all the time. It must be very frustrating and feel very limiting. Ugh! I hope it gets easier for you.

    It's good you are losing weight, but just be sure you are healthy while you are doing it!

  3. I have three blogs: this one, Maxie Girl Books, and Marilynne's world. I'm a nut about blogging, I guess.

    I also was feeling whiny on Wednesday when I wrote the blog. I've been doing it long enough that I do know what to do - except when they change the rules on me. (groan) I am in the process of decreasing my long-term insulin and that's hard because I really need to keep track of what's going on. I can do it.

  4. It's hard to "just take care of yourself" when there are so many steps to get that done. You have become a scientist dealing with this disease! Does one of these doctors oversee all your care?

  5. Cinders, I have a very good doctor who gives me very good advice and leaves me to do it. The other day I realized how much of a burden it put on me. What I didn't blog about is that I go blissfully through my life with diabetes being only a temporary interruption. Sometimes people who are snippy call it denial, but they should try having diabetes before being critical. I'm not in denial. I have a lot on my plate.

    Thanks for visiting.

  6. It's not denial, imho. It's a choice! You choose to let it disrupt your life as little as possible. You're looking very healthy lately, so I think it is a good plan.
    Love, Cindy

  7. That's so nice of you to say so Cinders. Yes, I feel better. I'm walking easily and back to square dancing. At Curves I'm beginning to be talked about - in front of my face. (Giggle)


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