Tim and I have been having conversations about health, diet and blood sugars for several years and I figured I was insulin-resistant with mild blood sugar dysregulation, but never was more than interested. About two months ago after a move cross-country with the accompanying stresses, I became more acutely concerned about my metabolic damage and was in a place where I could pay attention and do something about it. At Tim’s recommendation, I read Dr.Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution and Jenny Ruhl’s Blood Sugar 101 and started monitoring my blood sugar with a glucometer. Initially, my morning readings were usually 91-94. Not too bad but not the 83-85 that is “normal” [i.e., optimal]. I started waiting till I was hungry or when I would normally eat and then take my blood sugar again. If it was 85 or below I would eat a normal meal with an awareness of the carb content and eat smaller portions of these foods. Then I would monitor my postprandial (post-meal) blood sugars about every hour and see when and how high my spike was. If it was too high (over 140 for sure, and in the 130’s probably) I would adjust the amount of carbs downward. If my blood sugar was over 86 and I wasn’t famished I would distract myself with some engaging activity and check my sugar again when I noticed I was hungry. If I became really famished but my sugar was still not under 86, I would have a no-to-low carb snack like almonds, walnuts, left-over meat or a salad. Then I’d wait till I was hungry again. After a few weeks of doing this my morning sugar was consistently 81-85. If I ate off-plan and had an occasional 94, that was fine by me. I was happy about my blood sugars, but the pleasant surprise came when I had a physical exam at my doctor’s. I had lost 20 pounds without even noticing! [She is 5 feet 5 inches tall. After losing 20 pounds her weight was 155.] I was amazed since I had tried to diet a number of times over the last 10 years and my weight just kept creeping up. This has been the most fun and healthy weight loss program I could imagine. I am hoping my carbohydrate metaboliism will eventually recover and I will again be able to eat more carbs without weight gain and metabolic damage.
I am doing something similar for a few days, too soon to tell the results. About six months ago, to help write a chapter in my self-experimentation book about diabetes, I got a glucometer and started testing myself regularly. I was displeased to find that my morning readings were about 91, like Muriel’s, and further displeased to find that eating less carbs didn’t help.
Blood sugar testing isn’t cheap, but it’s easy and painless. The glucometer I use is Abbott’s Freestyle Lite (which is free). It’s painless if you get the blood from your arm. The test strips cost about 60 cents each.