It’s Amazing Really…

I had a low blood sugar.  I’m recovering and am starting to feel better.  I exercised incredible restraint in how I treated it, but still managed to eat at least two full meals worth of stuff.

While vacuuming down all of this food, I kept saying “Hang tight Scott, you don’t need much”.  That kept me from going ape shit and eating everything I wanted to, but it was a LOT of work.

How can a person feel so… hungry?  But “hungry” isn’t really the right word for it, is it?  Because it is not a hunger that comes from your stomach.  It is coming from somewhere else, and it is powerful.


As I sit here typing this, my stomach is all bloated, and I feel pretty miserable.  Not to mention wiped out from the low (thankfully sleep is right around the corner).  I have a gross taste in my mouth from all of the mish-mash stuff I ate (none of the things “go together”), and I’m a bit sick thinking about all that varied stuff in my stomach.  Like, handfuls of dry breakfast cereal do NOT go well with Velveeta cheese sandwiches dipped in ketchup.

It is absolutely mind blowing to me just how strong the urges to eat are when I’m dealing with a low.  It is like there is no stopping them.  I am in AWE of folks who can treat smartly and wait to feel better.

I’ve talked about this so many times before. Why is it such an issue for me?  Is it just me?  Logically I know that I will be fine with just a little bit of stuff (glucose tablets, juice, food, whatever).  Physically I think I am going to die in the next 3 minutes if I don’t cram more food in my mouth.  Even when my brain is screaming “NO, NO, NO!!”, it is damn near impossible to slow it down.

How many of you out there can treat smart and wait?  How many of you might be more like me, and can’t stop the urges to eat?  Please let us know, and if you are in the “treat smart & wait” crowd, what’s your secret?

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33 thoughts on “It’s Amazing Really…

  1. I treat with glucose tabs unless I know that I’ll need more because they won’t keep me up. When I’m exercising I treat with Gu.
    You know what has helped me from going overboard when I’m treating a low? I realized that I couldn’t really taste the food that well when I’m low. It’s weird. I wonder if anyone else has noticed this. It’s like my sense of taste is affected by the low or something because everything seems to taste kind of bland and not enjoyable, like it would be if my bg was normal.

  2. It happens. And, yes, it SUCKS BIG TIME.
    Roll with it, but also set up the hurdles you need to help make it happen less often.
    Things that have helped me reduce the swings:
    1) Always start to treat with glucose tabs (putting other foods in afterwards leave the most horrific tastes!)
    2) Stay out of the kitchen, particularly in the middle of the night (I keep my tabs on my bedside table, and usually a fruit or granola bar, too)
    3) Keep other sweets out of the house (this is hard, (particularly for my wife), but pretty important, actually)
    4) Hope for the best
    PS, George is funny…

  3. For lows, glucose tabs are my favourite solution. They are extremely fast acting and the number I take will depend on my reading. If I am low I will take 3 tabs and if I’m very low I’ll take 4 tabs. Also if I’m very low I’ll take 15g carbs and bolus for it. For a low you need to take something that is going to act very quickly.I guess it affects us all differently and different things suit different people. The best advise I could give is to find out what suits you best and stick with it.

  4. I’ve had so much trouble with this over the years, and the only thing that’s truly helped me with this issue is to learn how to catch and treat my lows really fast before I get those symptoms. I was always someone that tried to eat natural food, raisins, juice etc for lows, and it took me a long time to abandon that strategy in favor of tabs. For many years I basically did this: First, wait till you feel really low, so you’re sure (don’t waste strips by testing)…then eat a box of raisins while suffering mightily, then panic and end up binging. (Great.) Now I do this: I feel some tiny shadow of suspicion, test immediately, eat tabs/smarties fast and chew them well, and now often I skip most of the low symptoms and that very painful need to binge altogether. The coherence of my overall eating habits has really improved in the last few years because of this speed-up in treating lows. The OC helped me figure all this out–I never would have talked about it with my endo, as I believed that this whole problem was happening simply because I was bad.
    You sure get good discussions going on your blogs, Scott! Thanks as always.

  5. if I am low and feeling it… I almost always overtreat. I get so scared that I am still dropping… on my way lower… I eat lifesavers and don’t really like them so I dont overdo that. It is the initial treat and then the I need to eat more and I always go for the “forbidden” food that wont do me any good. Things I try to limit like candy bars or bread/sandwichs. Wendy’s… mmmm Frosty and a spicey chicken sandwich…
    yea, you certainly aren’t alone!

  6. I am so relieved to learn that I am not alone! After I first started on insulin and experienced my first low, I sat at the kitchen table and took the sugar bowl and shoveled sugar into my mouth. Then I ate cookies and whatever I could find that was sweet. I was truly panicked. It’s like swimming for the surface as fast as you can to get a breath of air, cuz you’re gonna die if you don’t get there in time. Now I know what is happening and I accept the primal need to fuel my body. I grab some glucose tabs and if I can, I just sit quietly and wait to feel human again. I eat some crackers or a South Beach Nut medley bar and wait.

  7. Lots of the time I just end up sitting on the floor in front of the fridge. If only I’d eat something sensible, but no, I go eat chicken wings and cheese and stuff that doesn’t help make me feel better quickly.
    I’ve forced myself to treat with glucose (with me all the time) and stay away from the fridge, but it’s darn hard. That one time a couple of months ago… yeah the urge is overwhelming. And it’s not even sensible – to eat stuff that will raise BG quickly! LOL
    It’s definitely a panic-hypo-food-fest that rarely makes any sense or does any good. I also think the recommendations of 15g fast acting and follow-up with long acting (sandwich or similar), no bolus, would put most people in the high range after. Totally depends on what’s happening as to what the treatment is. Sometimes just 10g glucose is perfect, sometimes not.

  8. I’ve gotten into the habit of treating lows with GU (gel). Each one is 20-25 g of carbs and so I know that it will bring me up all the way. They are very fast and easy to eat, conveniently packaged, and I can put one by my bedside so I don’t need to go to the kitchen. Or I can slip one in my pocket… They aren’t tempting to me to eat when I’m not low. They are a little on the pricey side (~$1 each), and you can’t dose smaller than 20 g easily, if you just need to nudge the BG up. You can get a discount if you order in bulk. They are also great for fueling exercise.
    I know they pack a punch so as soon as I eat one, I know I’ll be okay (as long as I’m not exercising at the time, in which case I may need to eat >1). It is best if I don’t even need to go to the kitchen/gift shop/whatever to find something to eat.

  9. Scott… it is that time of year for “My favorites things” to come to mind. A new Cereal perhaps “Velveeta Oatmeal Clusters with Ketchup flavoring.

  10. You are definitely not the only one! I really struggle with this, especially if it happens in the middle of the night and is a number less than 50 or so. Then I eat so much that I have to bolus for it and eat some tums for my now-upset stomach. Daytime lows aren’t as bad, probably because I catch them sooner. But at night, all bets are off. I’m planning to try keeping everything I need to treat a low in my bedroom to avoid cruising to the kitchen. I’m hoping that will help, but it hasn’t been tested yet. I’m not sure I’ll be able to stop myself. Good luck … it isn’t easy!

  11. I always keep some string cheese in the fridge that I can eat while I’m low. It comes apart pretty easily, but at the same time, it takes awhile to eat, so after 2 of them, I’m feeling better. It’s still calories, so it’s not the best alternative, but it doesn’t have any carbs in them so I can eat 2 and not worry about overtreating.

  12. Oooooo and it is so hard to think during these lows.
    You are downing a ton of food and trying to keep track of the carb count and to think of how many carbs will raise you so many points at the same time you are thinking how much insulin you should bolus to cover the extra carbs. Doing all of this in the middle of the night on a brain starved fog.
    Okay think I am done now

  13. I think it all depends on the type of low we are having.
    Sometimes I am low and don’t want to eat a thing (not too often). If I am at 70ish I will have one cookie and a 1/2 cup of milk especially if I know I am not going to be sitting around. I usually have the lows you are talking about in the middle of the night and it is 50 or lower and I just eat and eat to the point where I have to bolus again, but I have this I don’t give a $#i+ feeling and I am thinking Karen stop you are going to go high and you have to go back to sleep on a ton of food and a bolus combo, but like everyone said your body is in a survival mode and my endo said sometimes it is something that is uncontrolable because it is on a cellular level screaming out to feed me. She said it more scientific than that. 🙂
    So I have lows that aren’t too bad and I can pace myself, but then I have others that are in my cell starving mode.

  14. Been there, done that, plenty of times. The hypofreaked trail I leave behind sometimes amazes me. But in the moment of panic, that’s it, it’s panic. I need NEED to feel better NOW! That is all I can concentrate on. Sometimes I can control it, other times I just do what needs to be done. I hate lows, losing control. Then add on top of it the no control on eating. No fun. I don’t have any “control secrets”. After 24 years each low is still so different. I just go with the moment best I can.

  15. I call is a “clean out the fridge low” and I think I have had 1 that I know of… and it was BAD… after the fact, I couldn’t even remember what all I ate…
    Anywho… I do tabs, then somehow try to distract myself for that everlasting 15 minutes while waiting for the rise in BG. Usually it works pretty well.

  16. So this is how the forum works. I was meditation on this question all day yesterday and decided I need “a plan”–someone touched on that. I decided the very act of waiting has to be an “act of faith” and that I have to “train” myself to act without thinking, learn to tie myself to the mast, barrel or whatever anchor there is handy before the tsunami or whirlpool hits. So this panic-fear is a good thing to warn me of trouble, an alarm to act quickly. I recently heard a testimony of the survival of a small boat on the ocean who turned toward and sailed into the tsunami, riding it out to safety rather than running from it. As a newbie T2 I’m extremely impressed by all the Indiana Jones here at DD who face life and death adventures everyday! (Myself, I’m getting well enough to really hate being bored.) Thanks everybody!

  17. Lows happen and I’ve experienced what you described. I must test often enough to derail most highs and lows. I’d grab low carb foods and eat alot of it. Then I saw a podcast about treating lows and the guy made an impression on me stressing to only treat lows one way, every time. Glucose tabs or tubes, whatever, but to train yourself year to year with the same disciplined glucose tabs. Over time I’ve come to see the wisdom of glucose tabs over food. I do a spoonful of peanut butter, to slow me down, too!
    Survival comes in many forms, looking at your comments!

  18. I can correct in a controlled manner, but I never feel the hypo to begin with. So. I don;t have that panick attach to eat everything.
    You might think- wow, that is cool, but it not. The margin for error at the bottom end where I feel it is a very small window for feeling hypo and feeling really bad. Try to hold onto the panick attack-thing- you will use a lot less test strips.
    To correct in a controlled manner, its the opposite of bolusing. You put the low in your pump and enter the carb amount until it finally says you need insulin. Then eat only that amount and see what happens.

  19. same here.all the planning goes out the window.why.i dont know.maybe because the time factor is screwed up.what is only a couple of minutes seems like a lot lot what i did is not working.solution,eat more.i think its the nph /r factor also.a lot of those lows were almost all ambulance calls!!aint doing that again.

  20. Hey Scott,
    No, you are far from alone.
    If the low is not that bad, and I can still think clearly, I’m usually able to just eat the right amount of carbs and go on with life. But once I get a hypo bad enough to make me start shaking and sweating really bad, all bets are off and the entire kitchen is fair game. I think it’s just our natural reaction to a potentially life threatening situation to remedy it as fast as possible.
    One of the scariest lows I ever had was in the middle of the night. I awoke very low and went into the kitchen in a hurry to find something. Next think I know, I’m waking up on the kitchen floor in a puddle of orange juice that spilled from the gallon jug. It was really scary once I realized that I apparently must have been so low that I passed out after drinking a little juice. That little bit of juice might have saved my life.

  21. Hey Scott, no, you’re not alone in this. Usually during the day I do pretty well treating with glucose tabs. I figured out that 1 tablet normally boosts my BG about 20 points. So I count as I’m getting them out of the bottle…20,40,60,80,100. Somehow, just thinking those numbers helps me to feel more secure as I wait for them to take effect. If I still have the desire to cram food in my mouth (often), I grab a tablespoon of peanut butter. It’s fairly low carb, but gives my mouth something to do while I continue to wait. But if the low is at night or I’m really tired, or just feeling it more intensely for some reason, all bets can be off. Look out kitchen, here I come!

  22. I do this too, there is no rational cell left in my brain when a bad hypo hits. (the small ones can be managed because I’m not yet in panic mode) I don’t know what the secret is, maybe the secret is not being able to feel them. (it’s physically impossible to resist the urge to eat) Sometimes I’ll eat the fast-acting carbs and then eat pickles, carrot sticks, etc.(stuff that won’t have a glycemic effect but will still get rid of the starving-to-death feeling until the real stuff kicks in) which helps some. I hope you find something that works.

  23. It’s the waiting that kills me. I want relief now. I want to be able to think again, find where that thought was going before the low butted its ugly head into my life. One thing I found that helps is having a “gameplan” and things stashed in the “right” size already so I don’t have to think and I know to only take what I need. I use glucose tabs and Smarties (poor man’s tabs) and I also like the little juice boxes with 15g or so of carbs in them. No measuring needed, just suck it all up. I think they’re called Junior Juice boxes, targeted at preschoolers. Another trick that I can sometimes do is distract myself while waiting for the sugar to hit. Something that actually involves a lot of focus seems to work better–like a Sudoku or word game–than watching mindless TV where I am not distracted enough from the low. Anything to avoid the rollercoaster is ideal, but it doesn’t always seem to happen.

  24. I’m glad to learn that I’m not alone in not eating everything in sight. I have been known to try to fight the people who are trying to feed me if I’m low and they want to intervene. If it’s just me I’ll pop a couple of glucose tabs and carry on. I used to drink a bit of soda or juice but the highs later were annoying. The LAST thing I need after a low that needs treating is the stupid high that needs correction later on. I hope that low isn’t still causing you trouble, Scott 🙂

  25. You are definitely not alone Scott … I’ve heard this very same thing from so many pwd. I on the other hand, for some very strange reason, do not have this issue with fighting the urge to eat the entire kitchen when low. I go low, grab a can of regular soda or a glass of juice and I’m good to go. I know soda probably isn’t the most nutritious option but it works for me & doesn’t sned me soaring afterwards. I wish you luck though in trying to gain control of what your brain is trying to tell you during the lows.

  26. Velveeta sandwiches dipped in ketchup, eh?
    Well, while I’m able to avoid the primal thing MOST of the time, when it does trip me up, I could eat any combination of things, but I’ve never so far tried THAT one! 😉
    I usually wind up staring at that case of Smarties I ordered nearly a year ago, and then going for 2 or 3 rolls depending on the reading. Then I wait. Something about the fact that I ordered so many rolls of Smarties, paid for them, and it seems like I will NEVER eat them all is a motivation to take it step by step. I have Smarties stashed in all sorts of odd places – in drawers and rooms all over the house, in the trick-or-treat basket, in every car, at work, etc.
    Also, remembering that it will be such a longer, more involved process to ride and then get off the rollercoaster and to face the guilt later gives me pause. That is, IF I have enough brain cells to be that rational during the low.
    It’s not easy. Good luck, Scott!

  27. I try to go for the raisins too……but sometimes…….the cupboard sucks me in. Weird how we actually lose total control like that. I think we are all guilty of doing so, not always but ALOT.

  28. Hey Scott, I’m with you there. I can’t help myself either I will eat and eat and eat. I know I don’t need to eat as much as I do but it is such an overwelming urge that it is very difficult to control.

  29. If you were being attacked by someone wouldn’t you fight back? Wouldn’t you fight like hell to survive if they had a knife in their hand? It’s the same thing with a hypo. When it’s severe, well, you are scared to death. Don’t beat up on yourself for the method you use to get better, Scott. You know what they say about all the best intentions!
    Personally, I don’t think a calm demeanor truly means you’re having a hard core hypo. That being said, you perhaps need to look at treatments that really kick up the bg in a prompt fashion so you start feeling better sooner rather than later. Here’s one that works for me: a box of Sunmaid Raisins. You know the red boxes they sell in a pack at the store? Those are loaded with antioxidants and they work about as fast as a Coke. The thing I try and do is to not treat my lows with junky stuff. Of course, if all else fails and there’s nothing good around, I will go the route of Coke or candy. But that’s not usually the course of action most of the time.
    I’m hoping to get the Caribou group together again soon. I think we need to compare notes with each other! It’s been a long time. Take care.

  30. I think it’s a primal survival mechanism in our brains…the brain just knows it needs glucose NOW, the way we needed cold water so badly before we were dx’d. I struggle with overtreating too and I wish I had a ‘secret’ for you, but when those gate-crashing lows hit I’m a wolverine myself (:-X Hang in there!