Just so you know… for the last 11+ years I have taken great pride in obtaining and maintaining ‘truly normal blood sugars’, drug and insulin free… despite formerly being a drug and insulin dependent diabetic.
This post is about my lapse in judgement or a momentary collapse of willpower.
It was ugly. I am not happy about it, not proud of it, but it happened.
Like I have advised many people through the years, it’s time to pick myself up, dust myself off and jump back on the wagon, warrior up and warrior on!
The Ugly Truth
Over those past 11 years I’ve done a fair amount of foraging… typically for ‘wild’ greens but especially this time of year, I have enjoyed lowER carb fruit ‘finds’ including grapes, black and blue berries, rose hips, etc.
When I did eat these, I was typically not eating very many and I usually foraged for these while hiking or riding my bike. The physical activity was long and strenuous enough to make such rare indulgences inconsequential for me in regards to my blood sugar levels.
Inconsequential for my blood sugars that is … until a couple of days ago.
My Screw Up
I often brag about my willpower when it comes to eating only low carb foods … well, it finally happened. I let my guard down and BOOM! The feeding frenzy was ON!
Kelly Tee and I decided to take a drive and look at some property. We parked the car and walked around … nothing serious, not enough to call a hike. I wasn’t hungry, still fasting from previous night’s dinner.
We came up on an apple tree loaded with beautiful fruit, ripe for the picking. I thought, “I can eat just one… they are so small” and we are walking around … so it’ll be OK. I picked one of the smaller apples and took a bite.
“WOW!” It tasted so damn good… so sweet, juicy and delicious! I ate it in three bites.
We were continuing on our walk, so I told myself, “I’ll just throw a couple in my pockets … for Kelly.” The 2nd lie I told myself but not the last lie I would tell myself this day.
As we walked down the path I gobbled up two more apples, never even offering one to Kelly. We turned around and walked back, as we passed the apple tree I crammed a couple more in my pockets. I inhaled two more apples as we walked around the property… letting Kelly walk well ahead of me to hide my gorging on apples.
I told myself, “ok… I know I screwed up by eating that many apples… but at least it’s over now. I’ll walk around to burn the sugar and when we get back to the house I’ll workout long and slow to further knock down the spike”.
Only it wasn’t over, Kelly discovered a pear tree and grabbed 6-7 pears for me to take back home for family and friends. At this point as far as she knew, I’d only eaten one small apple, as she had done.
As we walked back to the car, I ‘wolfed down’ two pears. My feeding frenzy was over as I began to feel full…. thankfully. I didn’t bring a meter with me, I rarely do… I never REALLY need one. FFS!
I knew I had screwed up… but I didn’t know how bad the blood sugar spike would be.
We arrived home and by this time it had been one hour since my sugar BOMBS. I ran to take my blood sugar reading… ugh!
220 mg/dl (12.2 mmol/l).
The highest blood sugar I’ve tested in MANY MANY YEARS!! In fact, the last time I had blood sugar this high was the last time I performed an at home, Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). click here for the post.
After a few expletives I keyed in what I’d eaten into Cronometer… and I was shocked I’d eaten so many grams of carbs … and sugar!
131.9 grams of carbs with a full 90 grams of SUGAR!!! For those that may not know, an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test involves consuming 75 grams of sugar, I’d surpassed that amount.
Note: In Cronometer I entered 5 small apples and 2 small pears. At least one apple and one pear was probably medium sized. So I probably had a little more carbs and sugar than what is listed above. Not a big deal, but just saying I may have consumed EVEN more carbs and sugar.
Another round of expletives were said … to myself.
I knew what to do. I’ve done a lot of experiments on the best forms of exercise for reducing blood sugars. The best exercises are low intensity exercises. High intensity exercises will typically spike my blood sugars, so I didn’t want to do that now… with already elevated blood sugars. Here’s a post where I list the effects of exercise with different levels of intensity, “Diabetes and Exercise“.
I chose to grab Kelly’s aerobic 10 lb weights and walked around the back yard while doing curls, tricep kick backs, and over head presses. I also did some marching knee raises and light squats (I’m rehabbing my knee). Nothing intense… I wanted to burn up sugar or glucose, not generate more sugar with intense exercise.
I’d only been exercising for about 15 minutes when my alarm went off, alerting me it was time to retest my blood sugar. It had been an hour since my last reading and two hours since I’d consumed 130 grams of carbs, 90 of which had been sugar and starch.
BOOM! BAM! POW! 87 mg/dl (4.8 mmol/l) … what a welcomed sight that was!! For the past two hours, one thought kept running through my head..
This stupid lapse in judgement might end the ‘honeymoon‘.
This collapse in willpower might be the ‘event’ that caused permanent damage to my pancreas… requiring me to go back on drugs and/or insulin.
So yes, this was a HUGE relief… to say the least.
I continued with my workout, except now I increased the intensity with push ups and pull ups, working to failure minus one repetition. For example, instead of doing push ups to failure, I stopped short by an estimated one repetition.
After working out for an hour, I wanted to test one more time just to make sure the 87 mg/dl (4.8 mmol/l) was legit…. it was. Given the intense exercise a rise in my blood sugars to 95 mg/dl (5.2 mmol/l) was to be expected.
Kelly and I have been on hikes twice before where we had found apple trees bearing fruit. The first time I ate two very small apples near the start of the hike. I wasn’t concerned because of the hike ahead of us. Too, we brought many apples back with us and filled up the bowl (like the one above) and I never touched them. Didn’t want to eat one.
A second hike we discovered another apple tree and I ate zero fruit. I did not desire, want or crave the fruit … at all. I even watched Kelly eat at least one. :) This time another bowl was filled (the one in the picture above) and once again… I didn’t eat one bite. Never even thought about eating a bite.
So my ‘collapse of willpower’ caught me totally off guard. I stuffed those apples into my mouth, seemingly before I knew it. But trust me, I knew it. I knew what I was doing… I didn’t care. I was consumed by the ‘lust’ for sugar, it overwhelmed me.
And I also knew what I was doing when I stuffed two pears down my gullet.
The sugar in fruit is still sugar and will spike my blood sugars.
Just because I have had ‘rock solid’ willpower in the past, doesn’t mean I can take willpower for granted in the future.
Note: Prior to this spring I had been eating a ‘full-carnivore’ style diet for three years. I go into more detail in this post, “Diabetic Carnivore 2.0“, but I added significant plant-based foods into my diet this spring and early summer. I stopped eating plants due to ‘carb creep’, one month ago. Perhaps this lead to my ‘willpower collapse’?
Regardless, I’m back to eating only animal based foods without issue the past three days… the last DAMN thing I want is a sugary treat, even if it is fruit.
This experience shows me that after eating VERY low carb for 11 years… I am still addicted to sugar. I shall not, in fact I can not consume sugary foods. It can be, as it was before a diabetes diagnosis … like crack to me!
I must stay vigilant, I must stay strong, I must say no!!! … no highER carb foods including fruits and vegetables.
Lastly, let’s end on a positive note. What did I learn about my body?
I was relieved my body responded as it did. Yes, I’d prefer a much lower high than 220 mg/dl (12.2 mmol/l), that’s never a good thing. However, my pancreas and my body did eventually respond well to the sugar load.
In a previous Oral Glucose Tolerance Test years ago (post here), I was around 100 mg/dl after two hours… today I beat that, though the experiments were not exactly the same. The chief differences are higher carb total but also the fiber in the fruit and the initial exercising I did to reduce blood sugars.
I can’t honestly compare the two, but regardless… I was pleased with my body’s response after 11+ years of living with diabetes.
WE must always remain vigilant against the carb/sugar addiction.
WE must never let our guard down.
It can happen to the best of us … I know. 😂 ❤