That’s what they told me. I don’t remember who exactly, but it was someone at Mercy Children’s Hospital’s diabetes center in Kansas City circa 2000. After 2 years of taking regular and NPH insulin, which to be brief, put you on an insane diabetes roller coaster, I was switching to multiple daily injections and taking insulin to cover the amount of food I ate instead of eating to cover the amount of insulin I ate.
It was supposed to prepare me to get an insulin pump, but it would be nine years before I’d actually complete that process. At this time, I was rejoicing in eating, well, whatever I wanted. Every time my parents would say something to me, I would retort back with, “I can eat whatever I want as long as I take insulin for it.” Cakes, cookies, candies, even slurpees and ice cream, anything was fair game.
It was then that the weight gain started, I know. I mean, the two years before that my body had been recovering from a huge shock where I had been so thin I was almost dead, just before diagnosis. But eating whatever I wanted – no limits, no restrictions – this was heaven. And somehow, it caused habits of disordered eating that have been following me ever since.
I still remember those first two years. I remember snacking on cheese and diet coke when I would get hungry. I remember forcing myself to eat just a little bit more when I wasn’t hungry enough for the amount of food I needed for a meal. I remember hoping my blood sugar would get low, just so I could eat some of the orange slices my dad had in the cabinet.
I remember sneaking food and lying about my blood sugar. I remember being found out by my doctor when my A1C results came back and how ashamed I felt. And I remember not really caring that much.
I don’t know when the eat, insulin, nap started with the binging but I imagine it was somewhere around my junior year of college. This was the time when I put on the most weight. This was the time I broke 200lbs and went far beyond. This was the time I struggled in a long distance, slightly abusive relationship and sought food for comfort. This was the time when food seemed to be my only friend.
After that dark place I found the DOC. I started taking care of myself and low and behold I felt so much better. More energy. Less anger. Less low blood sugar. Less scary.
I am happy with where I currently am in my diabetes management, though I wish things were a little bit cheaper, and I’m not sure I’d like my a1c if I took it today. But the weight sticks around, a shameful reminder of a time gone by, and an excuse to return to old habits when life gets hard. I did manage to lose 30 lbs toward the end of 2012. My a1c at the time was over 10. I’m not sure how much of that weight loss was me actually trying or was the high blood sugars. (I can’t believe I’m admitting this on the internet). Nevertheless, it’s all back now.
It’s difficult. I’m working on being overall in a healthy mindset, taking care of diabetes and making healthy food choices and making sure I exercise and eating low-carb because I’ve seen the difference it makes in my Dexcom graph. It isn’t easy. In fact, it’s damn hard. All of it. Eating healthy, actually COOKING things? I hate cooking. Dragging my butt to the gym or convincing myself to go outside for a run? When I feel like I do today, not so easy. Low carb? Might be easy, were it not for my massive sweet tooth. Cigarettes? Diet soda? I know these things are bad for me, but they are my vices, especially in times of stress.
I have learned, especially in the last two years, that the best thing to do is to take things one day at a time, one meal at a time, one decision at a time. If you make a decision that isn’t ideal, all it means is that is the decision that you made at that point in time. It doesn’t mean, by any means, that you have to make another less than ideal decision later. I can do it. You can do it. Together we can help each other do it. One step at a time.
My doctor gave me the same advice ten years ago after I was diagnosed. “You can eat whatever you want as long as you cover it with insulin.” That advice landed me in the hospital twice from severe hypoglycemia and led me on a bit of a roller coaster bg-wise. After seizing in 2011, I started looking for an answer. I found it in Dr. Berstein’s book, Diabetes Solution. You should also read Wheat Belly as well. The diets are somewhat in line and cutting the wheat will cut a lot of weight in the process. The advice given by most doctors and the ADA is slowly killing diabetics. As you’ve realized, diabetics CANNOT eat whatever they want. Even a lot of the DOC still doesn’t get this and vehemently defends the position. In any case, give those books a try. I use Bernstein’s diet as a guide right now in hopes of eventually falling mostly in line with it.