Scott's Diabetes Blog

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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. I hope to share my struggles, my successes, and everything in between.

Friday, December 31, 2004

Crisis (Danger & Opportunity)

This is the kanji symbol for crisis. It is composed of two symbols, one is "danger", the other is "opportunity". Danger & Opportunity.
This symbol & translation touch me in a certain way. Diabetes is definitely a crisis, and can be very dangerous. Some times, everything seems like a crisis. Just getting through another day of dealing with everything can be a crisis. At the same time, it is an opportunity, that when leveraged positively, can have a big positive impact on your life.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Calories, Intake & Exercise

I've gotten involved with a study at the U of M regarding Type 1 Diabetes and Weight Loss. Through this study I have been more diligent about putting into practice the common sense stuff I already knew, but had not applied consistantly to my every day life.

Weight loss is a simple thing when you think about it in terms of mathematics. You have to burn off more calories than you take in - bottom line. I don't care about the South Beach Diet, the Atkins Diet, the this or that diet. If you eat more than you burn, you will gain weight.

So, with this study, I've had to be very detail oriented and track my every move, bite & anything else that is related to diabetes, food, exercise and weight (so pretty much everything).

I've been doing very well, and am losing weight slowly and steadily. One day I got a little over ambitious with the exercise. I had my heart rate monitor, and through a variety of exercises during the day, I was able to burn off about 1000 calories. Great! I thought. The next day, I went back looking over some of the data I had collected. I looked specifically at the amount of EXTRA calories I had eaten to deal with low blood sugars. Guess what - it was about 1100!!! Those pesky calories add up fast, and it doesn't take much at all.

So, I burned off about 1000 calories, but also ate about 1100 calories. Heh - kind of funny when you think about it - I would have been better off sitting on my ass all day!

Exercise does add many extra variables to diabetes control, but nevertheless is still beneficial for overall health. It is just a little harder for me to lose weight with exercise. I have to consider many other aspects than just the exercise - as it has an impact on my blood sugar for a good 24 hours or more, depending on what it was and the intensity/duration, etc.


I have a couple small kids in the house - and anyone that spends any time with small kids knows that they never eat anything you cook for them, but will eat anything you have on YOUR plate.

We don't often have the family sit down dinners. We will often eat together, but we all kind of do our own thing. I'll cook what I want, my wife will cook something for her and the kids. I know, kind of weird, but that's the way it is most of the time.

This sometimes presents an interesting situation for me.

When I'm in a groove, and really watching my diabetes, I actually go through the painstaking steps of measuring and weighing my food, counting every little gram of carbs & calories. I don't pay too much attention to the condiments, as they don't (normally) affect my blood sugar much, but for the main foods, I measure and weigh very carefully.

I use all that information to calculate & deliver the amount of insulin I need to take to cover the meal and keep my blood sugars normal.

What will sometimes happen, is my little 2 year old daughter will climb onto my lap and start asking me for the food I'm eating. I can't refuse to give her my food - there's just something not right about refusing to share your food with a growing child.

There goes the measurements!! She's started to dig into my plate and eat the stuff I just measured and calculated.

The problem comes when you remember the fact that I've already taken my insulin, and will go low later if I don't compensate for the missing food.

But how do you quantify the amount of food your little girl nibbled off your plate and how much you've already eaten? I don't have a photographic memory, and once I'm done measuring and weighing and all that fun stuff, I just want to sit down and eat, not think about how much of my portion have I eaten and what's left on my plate...

Usually not a very big deal - just another "thing" I sometimes deal with.

Why Does Food Suck?

I sometimes hate dealing with food.

If I didn't eat anything, ever, my blood sugars would be rock solid, and stable as ever all day. I'd then die of starvation of course!!

I think that most of my troubles with food comes from the fact that I'm not honest with myself regarding the serving sizes. The serving sizes on many food items are so incredibly unrealistic! For example, grape juice. The normal serving size is 1/4 cup. Now who on earth drinks 1/4 cup of grape juice?!?!?!! Another example is chips & crackers. Cool Ranch Doritos, the normal serving size is about 1 ounce, or 12 chips. 12 CHIPS?!?! For club crackers, I think the serving size is like 4 crackers.

I don't know - maybe I'm a big fatass that eats more than everyone else in the world, but those serving sizes are terrible...

How Ironically Evil...

When my blood sugar hits or hovers around 200, I get very hungry. Sometimes even confusing it for a low blood sugar!

I think it's mostly a "mental" hunger, if that makes any sense. I don't think I actually feel physical symptoms of hunger, but have urges to snack or eat something.

I think it's very evil to make my brain crave food when my blood sugar is high. It's pure punishment. I have to make a real effort not to eat anything during those times. It seems like all my brain thinks about is satisfying some craving. I know that if I've got some insulin on board, still working, that my BG will come down to normal, and the cravings will go away - but it's SOOO HARD sometimes!!!

Now, if it is mealtime, I can compensate with some extra insulin - but most of the time it is not mealtime that I'm fighting this.