Ok so I’m day 5 into my pretty strict low-carb routine, and honestly looking at my graphs so far, I kind of feel a bit like I don’t have T1 anymore?! OK obviously I’m still an insulin-needing diabetic, but my bloods have been pretty incredible and I’ve been plodding along in range day and night without a care in the world – it’s lovely. So I thought I’d keep a little ‘food/blood sugar(BS) log’ of my day today just in case anyone’s interested in what I’m doing/eating/measuring at, and how this ‘low-carb thing’ works.
Just in advance – I’ve been working from home this past few days, meaning that I’ve been able to watch what I eat and when I eat probably a lot more than usual. I’ve also not exercised (bar walking to town to get my nails done…), and so it’s probably worth keeping in mind that although my numbers have been great this week, whether or not I’ll be able to keep this up when I’m back to real life and work, I can’t really say.
4.00am – My day started at 4.00am, as I set my alarm to check my sugars. I don’t often set alarms like this, as I do usually wake up if/when I hypo (usually in a sweaty mess, which is fun) – but as I’ve been going to sleep on numbers a lot lower than I’m used to this week (in the 6mmol/l’s), and I’m on my own at the moment (my boyfriend’s away on business), I just feel a bit uneasy about it all. Although saying that the boy literally sleeps through anything, so I’m not so sure how much help he’d be if I hypoed anyway…
BS was 3.6 mmol/l but I didn’t feel too bad, so I had a ‘gullón sugar free vanilla wafer’ (found these in Poundland, winner) just to keep me ticking over, which are 5.4g carb per biscuit.
MORNING: 7.00am* – Have just woken up with a BS of 3.2 (Libre). I don’t feel low so have double checked this with a finger prick and it says 4.3 mmol/l, which is more like it. I’m going to have an omelette muffin, so I’ll take my daily basal injection (Lantus – 34 units) but skip the NovoRapid (NR) as I don’t think the muffin will raise my bloods. Am then going to tackle last night’s washing up, jump in the shower and get on with some work.
*Note that this should have been 6.30am but I’m one of those annoying serial alarm snoozers – I’m working on it…
8.00am – BS 3.6 mmol/l (also just to say I’m not pricking my finger every hour – I’m not that good! I use the Freestyle Libre (a flash glucose monitor), so it’s much easier for me to scan my bloods more regularly). Coffee timeeee (white, 1 sweetener). Blood’s a bit on the low side but will keep an eye on it.
09.30am – BS is now sitting as 5.2mmol/l, laaaavlly.
10.30am – BS 5.2 still. Am peckish so had a handful of walnuts (pretty much no carbs).
11.05am – Still hungry/bored (hard to tell), so had a party cocktail sausage (I bought a box of these yesterday to snack on when I couldn’t find any Peparami’s hehe – no carbs).
AFTERNOON: 1.00pm – BS 5.1. Made some ‘brownies’ (more on that later), and cooked up a 2 egg omelette filllled with onion, tomatoes, tuna and cheese (although it kind of fall apart… so a semi-omelette), taking one unit of NR.
3.00pm – BS 6.9 – I think it could be slightly raised because I baked some brownies for a friend (she always makes me SUCH nice brownies so I thought it was my turn) and probably/definitely tried some of the mix in the process… Anyway 6.9mmol/l is fine for me so no worries here.
4.30pm – BS 5.5 mmol/l.
EVENING: 7.15pm – OK honestly I usually snack throughout the afternoon/pretty much all day but I haven’t really been hungry today strangely – although right now I’m feeling preeeettty shakey. My BS says 4.3mmol/l but I’m think I could be in need of some food pretty pronto. I’ve been having courgetti (spiralized courgette) with various ‘pasta’ sauces for dinner quite a bit recently, but tonight I’ve just gone for bulgur wheat (cooked in stock with some onion and tomatoes) with a peri-peri marinated chicken breast. I measured out 10g carb worth of bulgur wheat, but gave myself 2 units of NR altogether to cover the chicken and tomatoes etc. as well – although I have a feeling this could be a bit too much tonight – time will tell.
8.45pm – Apparently I was wrong and the 2 units were fine (literally a guessing game this diabetes thing sometimes, isn’t it?), as BS is now 6.7mmol/l. Am now eating some sugar free jelly – I’ve got a real sweet tooth (and honestly who doesn’t love jelly?) and so just keep a batch of this in the fridge for when I’m craving.
22.15pm – BS is now 5.9mmol/l. To be honest, I’m feeling pretty hungry, pretty tired and pretty irritable (although that could be due to the fact that I’m now trying to revise Capital Gains Tax at 10pm… exams are wayyyy too fun). I haven’t really felt great since I got the hypo shakes before dinner, but that’s nothing unusual for me when I have a bad hypo. I’m having a Ryvita dark rye crispbread with peanut butter before bed to try and tie me through the night (~7g carbs)*
* Just to add when going back to this piece the following morning – I reallllly really hypoed (wah) at 5am (Libre was just reading ‘LO’ – so going to reduce my Lantus dose today).
So there’s my low-carb, low blood-sugar day. I’ve eaten just under 20g carbohydrate in total (please note that some of my carb counts are ‘guesstimates’ – apologies if any aren’t quite right!). To be honest, this is probably a bit on the ‘low side’ for me usually (maybe around 30g carb is more typical), and I think I could have done with a bit more protein/fat this afternoon. But – on just 3 units of NR – my blood sugars have stayed below 7mmol/l all day.
The way I see it, is that it’s a bit of a trade-off. Sure, I can eat as much carbohydrate and sugar as I like, and bolus and correct and bolus and over-correct etc. etc. – my numbers will probably be alright eventually, and sometimes I might be lucky enough to get it spot-on. Or I can eat much less carb, have beautiful and (for once) predictable blood sugars… but restrict myself from loads of foods I enjoy, and have moments where, like now, I feel pretty unenergised (although again, as I felt fine until dinner, it’s hard to say whether this is due to not eating much carb, or more from the hypo).
I think the key, like with a lot of things, is just balance – don’t obsess over it and don’t beat yourself up for having a hyper-inducing donut every now and then. On the flip side – if you’re not feeling that bothered about the side of potatoes with your meal – be bold, swap them for a salad and enjoy the good BS benefits. I like my carbs – but of course, I also ‘like’/value my health, and have truly enjoyed the stability and simplicity I’ve had with my BSs from low-carbing. This last 5 days has really opened my eyes to just how important diet is, as well as insulin, for tight control of T1D – and why this isn’t stressed more by doctors and diabetic specialists, I’ll really don’t know.
So am I going to be super low-carb, strict and almost feel like a non-type 1 forever more? Realistically, no. I like pasta too much. But I am going to try and keep going with a generally lower-carb, lower blood-sugar focus, and just take it day by day – because it really does feel great. But yeh, I’ll probably have that Big Mac or Yorkshire pudding or tuna-cheese melt Subway when I want them. Beside, things would be boring if they were perfect all the time anyway, right?