Losing Weight (Part 9): To Eat or Not to Eat: The Diabetic’s Dilemma
Writing about losing weight while taking diabetic medications is one of the most difficult pieces I have done in relation to my book Eat Chew Live. Between people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and those with prediabetes, there is a combined population of over 100 million people in the United States who are concerned with eating, its relation to their weight and to their blood sugar levels, both high and low. And when you are taking medications for diabetes to control your blood sugar, the struggle not to gain weight is even harder. Here’s why:
Let me set a scene
You are in your doctor’s office listening to the dangers of having high blood sugar as in Type 2 Diabetes. “With your insulin not working properly,” the doctor says, “sugar can accumulate in your body and high blood sugar is associated with complications such as blindness, kidney damage, heart attack, amputations, stroke and dementia.” After hearing this and possibly knowing others in your family who have experienced some of these complications, you might become fearful of what blood sugar can do and resolve to avoid elevation in your body as best as you can.
Your doctor then speaks to you about the need to lose weight through diet and exercise, both of which you have practiced off and on for the past few years, without much success. But now you are ready and even eager to try medications because you realize the priority is to control your blood sugar to avoid the dreaded complications. You listen carefully to the dosage of the medication, how it works and you decide to follow the instructions as faithfully as you can. Moreover, you determine then and there to avoid complications of high blood sugar.
The doctor next talks about potential side effects of the medication(s) such as low blood sugar. Having never experienced symptoms of low blood sugar, you don’t really pay attention to or comprehend what your doctor is explaining.
However, after your first severe episode of low blood sugar, you don’t want to experience that feeling of cloudiness in thinking, shaking and palpitation ever again. The symptoms were unlike anything you had ever imagined and the fear you felt was overpowering –something you don’t’ want to be subjected to again.
Suddenly, your priority has now changed from preventing high blood sugar to that of preventing low blood sugar, at all costs. Any time you experience the inability to recall something, you fear the beginning of another episode of low blood sugar. And so, you begin automatically eating often, to avoid additional symptoms because you conclude that symptoms of low blood sugar are real and immediate.
So you begin gaining weight
Now you become more diligent in eating your meals as instructed, because your dietitian has explained the dangers of not eating meals on time when you are taking diabetic medications. You carry glucose tablets with you at all times. You may go out and buy a glucose meter to measure your blood sugar multiple times daily at your home. Whenever you travel, you make sure that you have quick access to food at short notice, even to the point of carrying some with you when you perceive that the availability of food is unreliable. Your family members and friends are only happy to remind you to eat something on time.
You are aware of gaining weight but you accept it as the price to pay to prevent another episode of low blood sugar. Even when you see your blood sugar level going up, you accept your doctor telling you to increase the medication dosage because the precise nature of complications related to high blood sugar are vague while the effects of low blood sugar are immediate and fearsome. More importantly, you feel good that not only can you control the high blood sugar level with medications, but that you have not had any major complication even after years of high blood sugar level.
Over time, you notice that you are gaining even more weight, in spite of trying hard to lose it. When your three-month blood sugar test, A1C level, is higher than what your doctor would like it to be, your medication dose is increased or a new one added, accompanied by a reminder to lose weight. Eventually, when you and doctor find that your blood sugar level is not under control, he or she recommends injections that make use of the insulin from your body, with dosages that you can adjust. Again, you are asked not to skip eating for fear of precipitating an incidence of low-blood sugar.
Meanwhile, when your doctor detects traces of protein in your urine, you are concerned but rationalize that you can still urinate and therefore your kidneys are functioning. When you feel breathless after climbing stairs, you slow down attributing the experience to your weight gain. When you can’t remember what you were searching for, you rationalize it as an elder moment.
The Choice is Yours
Finally, as your blood sugar keeps getting higher, your doctor says that type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition and this is not unexpected. He explains how easy it is to take one of twenty different types of insulin injections that can help you synchronize the medication dosage with your dietary habits. So you give in and start injections without realizing you have now less than 10 percent chance of getting off diabetic medications during the rest of your life, with no guarantee of avoiding eye, kidney, heart, leg or brain complication of type 2 diabetes. No one has told you about people who die in their sleep after a night of partying having taken their usual or even an increased dose of insulin in anticipation of eating a very good meal, only to have consumed an excess of alcohol and very little food.
I am sorry to be so honest about Type 2 diabetes, but I need to show you that the choice is yours. You can either stay on your diabetes medications, risking episodes of low blood sugar and weight gain, or you can learn to change your eating habits today, right now, as my book Eat Chew Live teaches you to do. If you want to avoid or reverse diabetes, and stop a life of medications and weight gain, then abandon eating grains and grain-flour products, and you will see your blood sugar lower and your weight decrease.
A word of caution
Be sure to let your doctor know that you are altering your diet, so he/she can lower the dose of your medication, especially insulin, in alignment with you.
If you are overweight or concerned about getting Diabetes, Eat Chew Live provides exactly the new science & inspiration you need.
Based on more than twenty years of research, Eat Chew Live offers a revolutionary new explanation of high blood sugar and Type 2 Diabetes. While traditional medicine says it is due to “insulin resistance,” Dr. Poothullil disagrees. Eat Chew Live will show you:
- How the consumption of grains causes your body to develop high blood sugar
- How you can lower your blood sugar to avoid or reverse Type 2 Diabetes without using drugs.
- How you can change your eating habits to avoid grains while still enjoying every meal
There are no special diets to follow or products to buy. Get your copy today and inform yourself.