Fighting the Facts

There is a simple fact facing me.

This fact is, I believe, the root cause of many of the things I struggle with around my diabetes control.

I am fighting this fact tooth and nail. Even though I can clearly see this fact, I have, so far, not been able to change my behavior.

And my mind is really fighting hard to come up with some other answer, some other reason that is easier to deal with.

But it can’t find anything that fits the puzzle so clearly.

So it turns up the volume on the depression. Because when I am depressed, it is harder to buck up and do the work.

Depression makes you want to stay stuck in the present – it makes you WANT to feel helpless against whatever may be bothering you.

What I am wrestling with is the fact that I eat way too many carbs.

BernsteinBookReading some of Dr. Bernstein’s materials, which makes perfect logical sense, but seems very extreme (in the degree to which carbs are limited), scares the crap out of me.

So I reject it – saying things like “it’s too extreme!!” and “who can live like that?!” But the man is living proof that his theories work wonders!

Then moving on to my latest series of books – which to my dismay, ventures into the lower carb lifestyle (although much more balanced) too! I found myself very disappointed! Why does everything that makes logical sense to me have to tell me to lower my carb intake?!

To see my favorite things, my staple meal items, to be blacklisted – forbidden , is hard for me to reconcile. And for the staple items in these “solutions” to be things that are so utterly gross and yucky to me – things I would never even consider eating, or for that matter even heard of before!

How does one with such incomplete nutritional information (me) come up with reasonable alternatives for all of this stuff?

My average daily carb intake tends to fall around 300 or 400 grams per day, unless I have a nighttime low when I can quickly add another 200 grams (in a heartbeat). Yes, I know – scary isn’t it?

Is it any wonder why my A1C’s aren’t where they need to be?

I am addicted to carbs.

It’s how I’ve always eaten, and don’t know any different. I like the way I eat – except that I know it wreaks havoc on my body – which I cannot continue to endorse.

My parents tried their best to straighten me out when I was younger – but I didn’t budge.

I have hope though – as I learn more about how to balance my meals and food choices, I know that I will be more satisfied with less food – that’s one of the things balance does for you.

But it feels like such a big change – to work towards that goal. Partly because I’m terrible at taking things slow, and try to change it all overnight. Going from total carbohydratoholic to moderately low carbs all at once. No gradual change here.

My knowledge level of foods that comply with my wishes also seems so inadequate. I’ve never learned about such things – and to be my age feeling that almost complete lack of knowledge is very intimidating to me.

I feel completely stupefied when trying to find things I like when I’m out and about. Or even at the frickin’ grocery store!! What am I even looking for?

Some of the recent posts from folks like Sarah and Beth help tremendously – giving me some concrete things to shop for and try. Brand names and things to ask for if I can’t find them.

My mental side is not giving up easily though – throwing up tricks and traps at every turn.

It’s very hard to (near impossible) to fight some of these physiological signals with willpower alone. The signals that our brains send coursing through every fiber, demanding that high carb rush to stimulate the endorphins and other “feel good” chemicals, they are almost unstoppable!

What can I use to combat such complex self destruction mechanism? What do I have that can possibly outmatch and outwit the minds drive for carby satisfaction?

Willpower is a good start – but it’s not strong enough or consistent enough. Willpower is susceptible to sabotage. Willpower, while it can be so strong at times, is can also be manipulated like a kid being tempted with candy. Why else do you think they put on those crazy costumes on Halloween?

I also get frustrated when I make choices that better align with my wishes, and can’t get my blood sugar figured out. When I have a low carb meal, but run super high hours later from all of the protein and fat – it’s frustrating! To run so high after making what I thought were good decisions. It pisses me off, and makes me want to just forget it!

But I try to take a step back, and tell myself that it is a new thing – and new things take us time, experimentation, trial and error, and a good deal of perseverance to work through and figure out.

Some days though, the carbs win out, and I’ll be programming a bolus for 180 grams of carbs in a single meal. I can’t even believe I just typed that.

I’m working up the courage to do a series on Full Disclosure – where I document every minute of every day for a week or so, what I eat, what I drink, what I test and bolus, what I’m thinking, how I slept, any other thing that may influence things. And open that up to all of you – drawing on the vast collective knowledge and experience that the OC has.

I’m just not ready for that yet – as it scares the shit out of me. I am open and honest in my posts, but you really have no idea just how “out of whack” my dietary habits and resulting wild blood sugar swings really are.

It will take a lot for me to come clean and spill it all – but I almost feel that it’s necessary. I will ask for compassion and gentle constructive solutions – and I’m not at all worried about that part of it.

The part I am worried about is being honest with myself, which is easier said than done.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…