Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Learning curve steepens

I have made some important discoveries as I've begun the journey of facing type 2 diabetes head on. Pretty radical stuff, actually.  (Typed with tongue firmly implanted in cheek.)

1.  Having not felt true empty stomach gnawing hunger much at all in the last 10 years or so, I've discovered that it can feel downright uncomfortable. In my previous bursts of "doing good" with weight loss efforts since I started the blog in 2009, an occasional bout of real hunger felt righteous, even good. Over the last couple of weeks as I've experienced HUNGER a lot, there have been times where I've done millions of things to distract myself from "the hungry", including filling up with water, starting a work project, etc..., and finally determined that I must be "low" (blood sugar wise) if I'm feeling that hungry.

Low is really anything below 70.  Well, the lowest I've seen yet is 98.  I'm not putting myself in danger by feeling hungry.  My body and my mind are just totally unaccustomed to sitting through uncomfortable moments.

2.  Having a sane, legal, low-carb snack in a sane, legal, low-carb amount, like one cheese stick or a 100 cal. pack of almonds, doesn't take "the hungry" away immediately.  BUT it DOES work in a little while - 10 minutes or whatever.  Turns out I don't need to eat uncontrollably in order for a reasonable snack to do the trick.  I may want to, but I don't need to.

3.  Allowing myself to sit quietly and feeeeeel the pangs, trying to "be one" with them, embrace them...isn't very interesting.  My monkey mind has many other things to throw at my consciousness.  I've been trying to really focus on and feel the hunger and try to go deeper and see what it is I'm hungry for (besides food, in psychobabble).  Turns out when I'm not binge eating and consuming huge amounts of highly processed carbs and sugars, hunger is actually physiological, NOT psychological.

4.  The discoveries in #3 in no way make it easier to not eat when I WANT TO despite not really being hungry, which is how I most always have eaten.  But the discoveries in #3 DO make it seem tolerable and actually doable, to not eat when I can recognize that I am truly NOT hungry.  Does that make sense?  Thankfully it does to me, which is all that matters since it's my journey.

5.  I thought I'd have this type 2 all wrapped up pretty quickly, given the brisk response of my blood sugars in the first couple of weeks.  I'm staying normal through the days, but so far, the lowest I've gotten my fasting sugar in the morning is 109!  Damn - MY goal is under 100, and preferably lower.  Apparently this is going to take time, and paying close attention to what I eat, when I eat, etc.  It's a process, not a one time event from which I'll graduate.

I've been doing tons of reading up on type 2, recommended food plans, etc.  I see for myself that low carb eating is going to be the way to go for me.  Really low carb, but not as radical as Atkins Induction.  There are so many resources out there now for this condition that I feel lucky, because I've already gotten some great menu and meal ideas, and lots of good recipes.  And I've barely scraped the surface, both on information gathering as well as finding my bliss point.  But I'm grateful to be in the process, and I feel more clear headed and calm than I have in ages.  Maybe I really can say goodbye to "the whites" (sugar, flour, simple high glycemic carbs), and from there anything seems possible.


  1. Wow, we are TOTALLY on the same wave-length, and yet, on complete opposite ends of the spectrum on it. LOL Go check out my post for today! Freaky! :)

    Sorry the sugar level is being slow to normalize. Just stay with it! :)

  2. Hi Leslie! You have a really good plan, and you are figuring out how to solve all those little daily struggles.<<That is how you do it. And you have to be a little (or lot) hungry during certain hours on most days to lose weight. Hungry is our friend, though we don't tell her that very much. :D

    :-) Marion

  3. Hi Leslie
    The reason for my hubby and I to start living low-carb was to get his blood glucose under tight control (he's Type 2 too).
    Yes, it takes time but don't give up - you will get there.
    Yes, it can be quite a steep (er, andapparently never ending) learning curve. But it seems to be well worth it. His BG is far better controlled now than when he was on Metformin.
    We stick to very low-carb - so no breads, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. (and of course no sweetened foods at all). Mostly, we're just concentrating on the meats and fish, the good fats (animal, olive and coconut usually), the lower-carb veg (thankfully we love brassicas!), small amounts of lower-carb fruit (e.g. avocados and berries) and aim for a maximum 50g carbs per day - usually less than this.
    Dr Richard Bernstein's 'Diabetes Solution' book may help (although he's a Type 1 there's some good advice within).
    Also see Dr John Briffa's blog as there's a diabetes/metabolic syndrome section (his book is good too, although not specific to diabetes), and some of Mark Sisson's bits 'n bobs at might be useful too.
    One of the things we've learned is that we are all different, and what works really well for one may not for another - so test, test, test and keep detailed records of what and when you eat and what effect it has on you.
    All the best with it and keep listening to your body - you are doing great.

  4. Number Three. Boy, do I relate. Thank you for posting this. It's so good for me to read. Progress, not perfection :-)

  5. Glad to hear from you. I think looking at your process from a scientific perspective is really helping you sort things into beneficial categories.


  6. I think instead of 'wrapping it up' it's more of a 'management' model. No quick fixes w/ DM.


  7. I'm watching Mark Hyman MD's show on PBS right now...he's explaining the "diabesity" I just requested his Blood Sugar book from the public library. He's quite concise and right on clinically.

  8. I'm going through much the same as you, in terms of dealing with blood sugar issues, so I really understand what you're saying. The hunger thing is downright uncomfortable, because for so long, I never allowed myself to feel the discomfort.

    I think this is quite a process we are into, and our physical bodies and our brains (also emotional side) have to relearn so many things. It will take some time.

    I have also embraced a lower carb lifetyle (not as rigid as Atkins either). I still eat brown rice and oatmeal, because I think our brains need some complex carbs, but we have to learn how much is enough, but not too much. We will get there--we have to, because we have a lot of living to do, my friend!

    1. I should have said "my brain needs some complex carbs." ...didn't mean to speak for the needs of others.

  9. You're not making yourself go hungry for too long, are you? For me, that's just setting myself up for a boomerang.

    Also, I am wondering if weight loss will eventually bring your fasting blood sugar down? I truly don't know, but as you know I am interested in this since my Dad had Type 2 for many years.

    I am cheering for you Leslie. Keep trying new types of food. You can find things that are satisfying to you but will work for your diabetic diet.