Learning to Fuel My Body with Type 1 Diabetes.
Trying to stick to a diet of 8,000 kilojoules a day is hard work.
I know that when I do eat enough to sufficiently fuel my very active body, I don’t feel lousy, exhale air or yawn half as often as I’m used to. I have more energy, focus and enthusiasm to pour into my day. In fact, I’m so focussed on getting those kilojoules into my body that I don’t think think about chocolate or even coffee half as often (no, I am not kidding).
I also know that this 8,000 kilojoules a day business is hard work (have I said that already?). Organising meals and snacks takes time out of my day, even though I am more than capable in the kitchen. It’s been very easy for me to slip back into my old habits of existing on rabbit food until dinner time when I haven’t organised myself in the mornings.
I embarked on this new eating-to-fuel-my-body kick at the end of February, rebounded for some part of March after I got sick and the Cadbury Choc Chip Hot Cross Buns kicked in, and am only just getting back on track in the past week or so.
I first learned about eating to meet my daily energy needs after reading The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet and The CSIRO Low Carb Diet last year. Despite it all making perfect sense, putting kilojoule counting into practice on top of carb counting, checking blood sugars and all of those other diabetes tasks felt extremely overwhelming. Thankfully, the smartphone app My Fitness Pal made tracking my kilojoule intake really easy.
The biggest change since I’ve began eating more is increased insulin sensitivity. Which I guess is a good thing, right? It started with unusually easy to manage blood sugars in the evenings after dinner. I would then wake up low during the night, have a glucose tab or two, only to wake up low again a few hours later. Fun times, right?
I’ve dropped my basal rates by about 10% overall, and so far, so good. My biggest challenge is continuing to eat this way so that I can maintain the same sensitivity to insulin.
I’m not really focussed on skewing a particular way with protein, fat or carbohydrate, but do find myself eating more protein than I was before. At the moment I’m honestly just focussing on eating enough, eating well and getting a balance of everything in there.
I find myself eating more significant meals for breakfast and lunch, rather than a slice of toast or a toasted ham and cheese sandwich. Like this amazing Sunday roast of pistachio stuffed chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto that has doubled as Monday lunch.
I embarked on this way of eating for more physical reasons, but the benefits seem to have extended into my diabetes as well.
I have more energy and focus in the short term, and I’m hoping that this will only replicate further in the long run (if I can keep it up!). The increased insulin sensitivity is making blood sugar levels much easier to manage. In the past I’d correct stubborn highs with little or no effect, and override the suggested correction on my pump with a larger bolus. Now, a correction seems far more effective than before.
I get that balancing food and blood sugar levels is no easy feat, but I don’t think I ever truly appreciated just why it is so important to eat.