Mad! I'll Show YOU, Too-High Blood Sugar!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

My doctor called me Monday night to tell me that my fasting blood sugar is 116. ONE HUNDRED SIXTEEN. I hung up and shook both my fists at the skies, screaming, "KHAAAAAAAAN!!!!" and then wanted to cry.

I was so hoping that my number would have gone down since I've been living a healthier lifestyle, but I have to be honest with myself - it could be healthier. I don't want to get nuts or anything with food restriction (not quantity, quality) because then everything I say is verboten becomes FORBIDDEN FRUIT and then I end up going right for those items when the poop hits the fan, and binge. So to stop bingeing, I have had to learn to be kind of permissive. When I look at a menu, I tell myself (mentally - saying this out loud gets me weird looks) "You can have WHATEVER YOU WANT, Laura! Nothing is off limits! You can have the fattiest thing if that's what you want!" and the weird thing about me is, once I think I'm okay to get whatever I want, 99% of the time I end up choosing something healthier. It seems I only want the fattier/sugary items if I am beating the crap out of myself for being fat and telling myself that I'm "Not Allowed" to have something.

Yes it's a convoluted mind-game I have to play with myself, but hey, I've been struggling with food and weight issues for 32 years, so the fact that I can even do this with myself today is huge. But I digress!!

I am not diabetic...YET. They said that diabetes is official when the fasting blood sugar is 120. I am awfully close to that. I DO NOT LIKE THIS.

I will have to walk a fine tightrope between forbidding myself to eat something out of some twisted shame and fine-tuning my food plan to ADD healthier things like dark leafy greens (not that big of a fan but there's got to be ways to make them yummy) and more whole grain stuff. It's rough because usually when things like "white flour and sugar" go on the banned list, they become so much more compelling to me.

I have to find a way to circumvent this knee-jerk reaction in me, but it's hard. The old addictive neural pathways are deeply ingrained in my brain. I'm reading this amazing book called "In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts" by Dr. Gabor Mate about addiciton - I have several. He is very compassionate and talks about the many factors that lead to addictive tendencies from childhood enviornment, personality traits, and the part that really blew my mind, the brain chemistry involved.

I've always been so FURIOUS with myself for having goals and things in place and in one second throwing everything I'm working towards away to eat things that are going to push me out of my calorie range, despite my best intentions. All this time I've believed it was a glaring character flaw or that I am a broken messed up human being loser who is beyond hope. I've bemoaned my lack of willpower. However, whatever my character flaws, brain chemistry is also involved. Dr. Mate says that when the addict is around their substance, or even thinking about it, dopamine centers light up like Christmas trees and chemicals are released that cause strong urges and drives to go get that substance ASAP -- it overwhelms the Executive Function center of the brain, so in that instant, the addict OVERVALUES the substance (drugs, alcohol, brownies, gambling, shopping sprees - whatever) and UNDERVALUES their higher goals or intentions. It's almost like the Executive Function section light bulb gets out-shined and overpowered by a Kleig light. This blew my mind, because this is exactly what happens to me. Granted, I've put down the drugs and alcohol (16.5 years!) but I still struggle with food. Food was my first love, my first escape, my first addiction. It's the oldest addiction I have.

However, it's not about me looking cute in skirts now. I want my health. It's as simple as that. I am 44 years old, 100 pounds overweight and on the verge of diabetes. This isn't what I want.

I haven't gotten to the chapter yet about how to circumvent that chemical process in the brain, but I have behavior tools I can use. I am going to have to drop the white flour and white sugar and white rice. I am going to have to work a little harder to find food that is better for me to eat when I am out and about, or I'm going to have to pack a cooler and bring it with me so I don't cave to the urges to have an ice cream cone on a normal day instead of saving it as a treat once in a while. I have post it notes posted in my car, on my desk at work, and on my fridge with inspiration quotes and things like, "I don't have diabetes...YET!" I have lists of GOOD healthy foods in my purse and I have Sparkpeople on my computer and my phone.

It's very important that I find the way to not eat certain foods but not talk to myself meanly about it - triggering that rebellious knee-jerk addict process. THIS IS NEW GROUND I'm breaking here. And it's scary! But diabetes is scarier. My Dad has it and many complications because of it. He and my mother are the same age- 69, but he appears to be much older, slower, and confused. She's at a pretty good weight and has very few health issues besides high blood pressure. I want to be like my Mom in my 60s - or even better. What I do today determines my future.

What I do today - even small things like getting up earlier and exercising which is the better choice for me (DONE), planning my meals for the day (DONE) and blogging about this (DONE) will determine my future. Consistency and small positive choices all day, every day is the way it's going to happen, and when I hit a roadblock, I'm going to talk about it, I'm going to work through it. My "good life" depends on it.

High Blood Sugar - I'm putting you on notice. YOU ARE GOING DOWN! (Literally)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • 3G1RLS4ME
    you and I are in the same boat on the brink of a tsunami but we can beat this
    2134 days ago
    You go girl!! Kick that Blood Sugar's butt!!! :) I know you can do it!
    2148 days ago
  • NEWSGIRL2177
    Your blog is awesome. Good for you for getting tougher on this. I haven't had my numbers checked in a while, but I'm guessing I'm in a similar situation. I'm trying to get my stuff together before I find out how bad it is!

    I actually like dark leafy greens, so getting them in is pretty easy. My husband didn't like them at first, so I had to hide them in stir-fry or stews. Now, I add them to eggs for frittata and to tomato-based pasta dishes. Everyone seems to like kale chips and they're simple to make. I think once you try adding them into the mix, it'll get easier.

    2149 days ago
    love this post it says it all. weight watchers have an add on the tv which shows a cup cake coming over the hill with a sign saying i come in peace.not to my house . i can creat an overwhelming craving for anything and like an alcohlic on is too many and a thousand not enough.
    i have craved my way to diabetis .i just can never get the brakes on for long enough .
    i have a vision of a strong woman at peace with her self but its a fight to see it some days.
    2149 days ago
    I can so relate to your blog and totally understand you. As you know by now, I have cut out the things you need to cut out and it wasn't easy, but it wasn't so hard either because of an important trick I learned.....I say to myself that I "DON'T" eat those foods rather than I "CAN'T". It seems impossible that just changing one word can alter the way your brain reacts, but it does. I "DON'T" is an empowering statement. Of course, like any addiction, it will always be a case of "today I won't eat these foods", day by day, but the physical need for these foods definately disappear fairly quickly...about 3 weeks. Good luck with it all hun emoticon emoticon
    2149 days ago
    LMAO Laura, you rock my socks! You know, it seems odd (to you) that you have to almost psych yourself out about food, but I do it, too. If I say "Yeah, I can eat those fries if I want".. but I know what's in them, I don't even WANT them anymore. You have a good plan in place and I know you can do it!! I believe in you, babe!! :) You are so DONE! You can beat and DO anything! I'm here if you need me! XOXO
    2149 days ago
    You sound like me talking back to diabetes. I am still screaming. But I have it. working on getting better readings. emoticon
    2149 days ago
    The first step is admitting there is a problem...DONE. you know the remaining steps and yes it is that simple. Granted (in my opinion) food addiction is the worst...because you have to eat. I am a white flour and sugar whore myself. I love my bread and my chocolate. I had to give them up completely for the first couple of months, until I got this healthy eating thing under wraps. Once you detox from them the cravings and urges go away. It is like a miracle, but it is so hard and it rules you until you rule over it.. I assure you that the cravings will go away if you abstain over a period of time. Now I have been able to have them in moderation. But I am very cautious about the moderation, because I know if I don't stay on top of it I will be back at ground zero in no time at all. Sending prayers your way! I have faith that you will succeed!
    2149 days ago

    I thought this blog post was really inspiring and touched me. I'm addicted to food. What a bugger because you kind of need it to live.

    Thank you for writing this out and being so committed to a better you. I think you're fabulous.

    2149 days ago
    "However, it's not about me looking cute in skirts now. I want my health. It's as simple as that. I am 44 years old, 100 pounds overweight and on the verge of diabetes. This isn't what I want. "

    This just shot out to me like a missile, so freaking honest and spot on to what so many others (read: me, in a nutshell) are going through as well!

    As much as I hate to use the dreaded "m" word, I do think that for folks who have spent a good part of their lives dieting, there comes a point where we reach a certain "diet maturity", where the "looking better" part (while always welcome) takes a back seat to other priorities. Health becomes a focal point, certainly -- especially if you've had a scare or near-scare -- but also challenge becomes more important.

    When you get to the point in your life where you can point out all these awesome things you've done, all these past successes and achievements, this one big (literally) fat failure can really haunt you. The thought that we could actually achieve fitness, this one blasted thing that has been so elusive throughout our lives, well, that's some major motivation. That's what's driving me now, anyway. The mentality of beating this game and reaching full potential, that's what's motivating me these days, not the little gold bikini (although, let's be real, I'll wear that, too, if I can ever get into it)!

    You were talking about addiction -- and I'm guessing we're in similar boats. Personally, I'm an awesome quitter. I can and have quit many things cold turkey, without ever looking back. If I could quit food, I'd be a freaking supermodel and live on a boat with Johnny Depp in the south of France. But we can't quit food (and Johnny Depp probably smells like patchouli and clove cigarettes, anyway).

    All I'm saying is that quitters have problems with food because we can't make it go away. Whatever emotional or physiological hold it has over us is something we can't just cut ties with and move on. We just have to sort out why it plays such a hyper-important role in our lives.

    Kudos to you for recognizing that the Kleig light exists and for trying to shut it down (or at least shift it over to a lower wattage)!
    2149 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/6/2012 10:59:35 AM
    You absolutely CAN do this!! I know you've got this cased. Making even small changes will do a world of good. THEANGRYGNOME's smoothie idea is fabulous... I'm thinking of using it myself (thanks!!). When I get the urge to eat when I'm not hungry, I just pick up my crochet or something. Maybe you can find something like that for those times. We're here for you the whole way too, so continue to use us to lean on!! You've conquered before, you can do it again.

    2149 days ago
    This has been a process for me. I wanted, and tried, to keep eating "treats"/sugary/high-fatty stuff in moderation like some others on Spark do, like an earthling. I AM NOT AN EARTHLING. I AM AN ADDICT. This for me, too, is my first addiction. Eventually I have learned that for me, I tell myself that if I have X, it makes it much harder for me to make healthy eating choices. I do myself a favor staying away from certain things. My food plan is part of my amends to myself.
    2149 days ago
    You can do this! If you're having trouble working green leafy vegetables into your diet, try making a green monster smoothie?


    I put a cup of spinach in every fruit smoothie I make. You honestly can't taste it at all. Other people use kale sometimes, which I'm told does have a strong taste, but the spinach doesn't. All you taste is the fruit you've blended in. Its an easy way to cram an extra serving of veggies into your diet.
    2149 days ago
    It's good to share these things! I believe you can do this! :)
    2149 days ago
    Thanks for sharing
    2149 days ago
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