Where to start?

By KJudson9 Latest Reply 2017-06-20 11:20:20 -0500
Started 2017-06-07 21:51:00 -0500

Hi all! Newly diagnosed (May 5, 2017) Type 2 Diabetic. Was previously diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes at 15 and fighting it since then (I'm 41 now). Had gestational with both kids and I knew it would come eventually. Still though, when the diagnosis came in, I felt like a failure. I still have bouts of that feeling too. I start the education classes this week and see Nutritionist this week as well.

Current treatment is taking blood sugars once a day first thing in the morning, Metformin (1000mg/twice a day), exercise, and my doctor has recommended a plant-based diet. I am a little leary on the diet. The reason being that when I was pregnent with my son (2002), I was put on the Atkins diet by my doctor/hospital diabetes nutritionist. I ended up on bedrest the last 3 months and my son had to be taken 3 weeks early and was born with jaundice and hyperglycemic. We both nearly died before they took him as well. I had ketones, etc and my kidney and liver were shutting down. My blood was toxic.

So…little bit suspicious of the latest fad diets.

But since I was diagnosed pre-diabetic a lot has changed. And there is SO MUCH info out there that I don't even know where to start. Picked up a few books from my local library and been reading them but mostly, my questions are more on how to get my A1C down right now and get my BP under control. As I said, on Metformin and will be back on Simvastatin soon. I was taken off because it gave me Restless Leg Syndrom-like symptoms so my doctor took me off to see if I will cope better after getting used to the Metformin. I already drink 2-3 liters of water a day just normally, haven't had pop in ages, cut down red meat a while back anyway, processed foods too for the most part.

My hardest right now is the carb cravings. Not like I want to eat ALL the carbs, just more of I enjoy english muffins with breakfast (switched to egg whites and found them to not be heinous). Not 100% on board with the plant based diet because I like chicken and fish. And bacon on occasion. I've seen recipes for something called cauliflower rice but it sounds kinds disgusting. Not a fan of tofu either. I like it in like spicy Chinese soups and whatnot but on its own, no. Found some rice cakes I liked for the carb/sweet cravings.

Right now, I am looking more for things that will fill me up/not make me feel like I am starving myself. Currently taking in roughly 1200-1400 calories a day. One app says it is way more than I should be, the other says I'm like 300-500 under what I should be doing. Apps are MyFitnessPal and Lifesum, respectively.

So any advice? How do I work through the feeling like a failure for not keeping the pre-diabetes in check? How do I find a diet that is going to work? How much am I supposed to be eating? Found a snack I liked (Greek yogurt with granola on it) but the MFP app says it is too high calorie to be a snack. Feeling overwhelmed still and don't want to be put on some fad diet.

My personal favorite so far has been being told that if I use Apple Cider Vinegar it will CURE my diabetes. *eye roll* No. It. Won't. But I am not very trusting of the people who say paleo diet/plant based/grapefruit diets will work either.

For the record, I am currently at 5'2" and as of yesterday weighed 152.6lbs. I am down from 200 lbs a couple of years ago. Have some loose skin that is of course around my waist. Want to try to see what I can do to work that off but right now want to get my glucose down. Diagnosed with 13.6% A1C on 5/5/17, down to 10.4 currently. Average BS in mornings has been around 224-240. Only testing mornings though so no idea after eating meals.

11 replies

Katzgar 2017-06-20 11:20:20 -0500 Report

your BS is certainly not prediabetes it is a death wish. we all react to food differently so test test test will tell you what food to eat. The chance of body damage starts to increase over 140. I was diagnosed mid december so am still learning but have met my goal of an aqverage BS under 140. Do not eat any sugar or carb as a goal knowing that doing that is pretty much not possible. I think in terms of non sugar/carb foods that approximate foods I like. Birds eye makes mashed cauliflower which I substitute for mashed potatoes and they make veggie tots which I use to make tater tot casserole but I use ground turkey. They also make a riced cauliflower so you can make Louisiana beans and rice. Make pancakes from either almond or flax flower. Plan to not eat rice, sugar, potatoes, or flour. I find trevia is a good fake sweetener but you may need to try others. Eat 5 small meals a day instead of 3 to allow your system to process food better. Drink lots of water. Blue Bunny makes a good low sugar ice cream. rye wassa bread and flackers are good non flour crackers. read labels very closely as they do play a lot of games and there are dozens of names for sugar. you learn more everyday but a BS average over 180 is a big deal.

kjvogt 2017-06-13 14:16:52 -0500 Report

Have you tried Emulin? It helps curb the carb cravings, lowers inflammation and emulates insulin in your body. It works just as good as Metformin without the side effects. I have been taking it for 2 months, with a keto diet and I'm down 20 lbs. Plus I have a ton of energy, even with my hypothyroid.

KJudson9 2017-06-11 12:53:59 -0500 Report

Two classes down and a new med added. The first Diabetes Ed class I didn't find to be all that helpful. The instructor kinda gave the impression that we were there because we made poor life choices and made ourselves this way. Not helpful IMHO. First class was on what Diabetes is and how to use meters, etc. From the class, the take away was that Diabetes Type 1 is that pancreas produces ZERO insulin, Type 2 is where it only produces some. To me, extremely simplified as there is alot more to it than just that. But the main thing was that with Type 2, you made yourself this way. So it was more "Sinner's Church of Diabetes" than "Hey, you have this, here is what you can do to get it under control and manage it."

The Nutrition class the next day was SO much more helpful. Being told differently than the Diabetes Ed that we can eat what we want, just watch portions and pay attention to what is in it as far as carbs and HOW to count them/classify them was MUCH more helpful. No judgments, could ask questions without getting chewed out (asked about heredity in the other class and got my head bitten off!), and didn't feel bad about asking about the occasional alcohol drink (not like 4 a day but like once in a while). Instructor had a sense of humor about it and didn't tell us you can't eat X, which was nice. Also was not a fan of fad diets and explained things like why we need nutrients and how a NO Carb diet isn't good. I really liked the class. Was also nice that we can contact her if we have questions and she's part of the team that is there to help me. Not just a "you are on your own" like it felt like at first with my diagnosis.

So have a personalized plan in place but also have the knowledge that if things don't go strictly to it (illness, bad food day because of schedules, etc) that I'm not a failure and so on. Which was good as the next day my kids had a big all day event where nothing went as planned. So trying to keep to that plan went out the window when the luncheon had run out of food and we had to go to get fast food, and then because of lateness and rush to get to the next event another serving for dinner. For the record, hate fast food as it is so this was rough. Knee-jerk reaction would've been I failed to keep this and I really am doing this to myself and am a bad person for it. But as the Nutritionist said, it is just a bad day/lunch/etc, not a bad life. Did the best I could for both lunch and dinner.

On a side note, I had contacted my doctor on my BG levels. Been on Metformin for a little over a month now so she has added Glipizide now. I was shocked this morning. My fasting BG was the lowest it has ever been. 208. After the bad day eating yesterday, I was stunned. I was ready for 260. I was ready for 280. I figured the new med that I had only taken for about 24 hours (1 pill/twice daily) was going to take a few weeks to load up. I have to say I about burst into tears seeing it. To me, it is some unexpected progress and makes me that much more motivated to keep it down. I am so much closer now to where I need to be.

In talking to the hubby, he had looked it up. Seems they know it works but not how. These kind of meds always interest him.

In a month's time I've made a lot of changes already. I get out to exercise more, which in Oregon can be hard with the rain and allergies. I always found an excuse before to not be as active. Sure I get in about 6-8k steps a day but I am doing more now to be active. I am feeling better and trying to keep positive. I still get down and I still feel like a failure at times. When you fight something for 20+ years and end up with it anyway it is hard not to. But I'm not doing what my mother has done and ignore it. She's actually a good reason for doing something about it. She's lost at least a toe within a year of her own diagnosis because she won't get it under control (We are estranged but I hear from my Uncle these things.). I honestly hope she stops drinking Mountain Dew and eating fast food 3 times daily and takes her meds. But her example is exactly why I am going to hit this with everything I have. I don't want to be in the 600's (yes, she is in that range and higher) and losing body parts or my sight.

So any good books out there I can add to my reading list? Working through the ADA one "What Do I Eat Now?" and looking for some good cookbooks, preferably with some crockpot recipes. I'm currently walking (sometimes with dogs, sometimes not) or using our exercise bike if it is monsoon weather outside, and I do a lot of moving around when I have meetings. I work with several youth groups. My hardest was sitting at a computer a good chunk of the day typing. I got a knockoff Fitbit kinda thing as I wanted to keep better track of my steps (working to 10k still but getting there) and wanted to watch my BP as it is high too. I am using a few apps as well to keep track of foods, my glucose, my exercise, etc. So far using MyFitnessPal, MapMyWalk, Lifesum, Samsung Health, and Diabetes:M but open to any suggestions. Liking the challenges they have for workouts on MyFitnessPal. Wanting to try Yoga next I think.

Thanks for the eyes all. I do appreciate it.

msann 2017-06-09 10:31:57 -0500 Report

i agree with the others you are not a failure every handle things different so when you go to classes and nutritionist you will learn a lot good luck keep us updated and again welcome

KJudson9 2017-06-08 22:28:22 -0500 Report

Thanks for the responses! Did my first Diabetes Education class in about 14 years (had gestational with both my children so that was the last one). First class so not a lot of new info but still good. Nutritionist is tomorrow.
Don't have any particulars as far as targets on various nutrients but maybe that changes tomorrow? Been using an app to keep track of what I eat and they have it set to a goal of 98.1 grams of carbs. Usually I run lower or like 8g over. But some days it is more like 30g over because of schedule. Two teenagers, their activities and my own volunteer work, etc. So still working to get that a little more under control. It is weird but it seems like when I eat crap food/fast food, my BG is lower than when I eat right! Told my hubby in frustration that I was about to just go on the McDonald's diet for a week to see if it lowered my BG after spiking to almost 280 fasting after having had baked halibut (salt, pepper, lemon slice on top - YUM!), and steamed veg (green beans) with a little rice pilaf.
So far, they just have me testing once a day, as soon as I wake up. My BG has been going down on average. Started at around 280s, now down to 224-239 average in the mornings. I know it is not even close to the 70-100 my doctor wants me at for fasting. Working towards it but I discovered after feeling "low" that for me, 197 gives me the shakes, confusion, etc. At least it does right now. My guess is that as I get my BG under control more that will change as my "norm" gets to a healthier range.
Anyway, thanks for the support guys. Hubby is a veterinarian so he knows the science and all (HUGE help there) and is supportive but there are some things that you can't get across unless you've done it.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-06-12 22:06:14 -0500 Report

Hey KJudson9, thanks a lot for the update. Great to hear you went to a class to update your knowledge and that you are using an app to track your eating. Sounds like you are working hard to get your BG under control. That is really good news. I am wishing you more and more success! Please keep us posted.

suecsdy 2017-06-08 18:22:01 -0500 Report

Just because your Dr recommends a plant based diet, doesn't mean you have to become a vegetarian, Just add in more veggies and some fruit. My Dr wants me off all bread. I just can't do it. I will say that I eat way less than I used to. looks like you're making good progress with your A1c. Because I started on insulin I test 4x a day, though I'm using Bydureon now. Those diets you mentioned will help, but they won't cure diabetes. If you're one of the lucky ones, you may get to a point where you can control with diet and exercise. I'm happy with my current treatment and hope it continues to work for a long time to come.

Nuts are a favorite snack of mine. (I like them unsalted best). The little protein packs they're selling now are good to; a little meat, a little cheese and some nuts or a bit of fruit, A small apple with nut butter is very satisfying and I have an excuse to indulge a little; sun butter, almond butter and my favorite, cashew butter( a bit pricey, but so worth it). I don't worry so much about calories as carbs. Carbs will get the bg UP.

I tried the acv thing and no matter how much I diluted it, it was still nasty. I'm just going to give that one a pass. Anyway, welcome to DC and take care.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-06-08 17:30:08 -0500 Report

Hey KJudson, I just wanted to say hi and welcome you to Diabetic Connect, the most supportive diabetes community on the planet. I am glad you are here. Thanks for sharing your story, I read it with interest and really appreciated your honesty. Also congratulations on that amazing weight loss you accomplished. You sound like a determined and resilient person. Support is power! I hope you will stay in touch with us.

haoleboy 2017-06-08 15:08:47 -0500 Report

you only fail when you stop trying … that you're here proves that hasn't happened.
only real way to know how what you are eating affects your blood glucose is to test right before a meal and then 2 hours after. foods/meals that cause a rise of over 40 points may need to be eliminated/modified.
we all have to find a way of eating that works for us. no one can prescribe a "diet". whatever you come up with will need to be something you can do for the rest of your life.
not sure you can classify low carb (Atkins) as a fad for controlling type 2.
it has been known since the early 1900's that reducing carbohydrate intake will improve glycemic control. I have been eating low carb (often as few as 30 grams a day) for 10 years and have kept my A1c under 6% and I am (by the numbers) in the best health of my life.
low carb eating is delicious … bacon and eggs (eat those yolks, btw) … real cream in your coffee … steaks … mayonnaise-based salad dressings … full-fat cheeses … berries in whipped cream … dark chocolate … and on and on. if you get hungry eating low carb you're doing it wrong.

❤ eat as if your life depends on it

Type1Lou 2017-06-08 14:13:04 -0500 Report

OK…first of all, you are not a failure! Diabetes strikes us for various and sundry reasons. I was dx'd at age 27 and am now 67. One priority wold be more weight loss…I know, never easy. My advice would be to become totally carbohydrate-aware. Do you know how many carb grams you are currently eating per day? If no, that's a good place to start. By reducing the carbs in your diet, you should drop some of those excess pounds which should decrease your insulin resistance. Daily exercise will also help your body to increase its sensitivity to the insulin you are still producing which will help with the BG (Blood Glucose) levels. Each one of us is very different and what works for me might be too high or too low for you. I currently limit myself to no more than 110 total carb grams per day. I usually don't count my calories since counting carbs keeps me where I want to be (I'm 5'3" tall and weight 116 lbs. My last A1c was 6.1.) Congratulations on the improved A1c…it reflects that you are moving in the right direction. Learn as much as you can about what you can do to control your diabetes. A good book that I would recommend is Dr Richard Bernstein's "Diabetes Solution" (even though I eat more carbs than recommended by hime, his book opened my eyes to the role played by carbohydrates when living with diabetes. There are many Type 2's here who I'm sure will share the approaches that worked for them. Living well with diabetes is possible, with the right knowledge, support and the determination to change those lifestyle habits that may be impeding good control. Welcome to DC!

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