Thursday, April 23, 2015

Whole30 & Type 1 Diabetes: A simple recap

About a month and a half ago my friend Jennifer and I decided to take on (or tackle) the infamous Whole30.
It was one of those things that marinated in my mind for probably too long (raise your hand if you are an over thinker). But, alas, I decided it was time to give it a go and I promptly texted Jennifer asking her to be a comrade in the endeavor.
Extreme life changes are always much more pleasant when someone else understands your craving for ice cream, no?
So, with blood sugars to tame and baby weight to lose, I sat off on this journey all fight-fist forward and glossy eyed. The glossy eyes may have been a result of having to give up cheese for 30 days.

Here is my simple recap of completing Whole30 as a Type 1 diabetic.
Just because our experience with the program might be a little different than the average person with a working pancreas.
Mind you, I am not a doctor. Just your average woman living with Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes for over 13 years now. I should also note that I wear a pump as my source for insulin.

1.) Meal prep.
I am not a fan of thinking ahead when it comes to meals. And I don't think I am a fan of slaving over a stove either. But, this will save you from turning into a hungry and angry (hangry) version of yourself during the next 30 days.

Just sit down. And write out some ideas.

I would plan out every meal for the next week. And thankfully, my husband was nice enough to play along for dinner and eat generally what I was eating with some slight modifications.

I bought actual meal planning sheets. And scoured Pinterest and blogs for all the Whole30 ideas.
I prepped some food items on Sunday evening for the week ahead. Such as cutting up my fruits and veggies and hard boiling eggs so they would be readily accessible. If I would get to a meal and not really be feeling it, I would skip ahead in my meal planning week and move some meals around.
I like flexibility but this system needs structure. For your sanity and success.

Especially if you are having a low blood sugar. Which brings me, quite smoothly, into point two.

2.) Prepare for all the low blood sugars.
Depending on what your diet looked like before starting Whole30 and how much insulin you are taking, this is important to acknowledge.

You know how when you have a low you want to eat absolutely everything in your kitchen? And the weirdest combinations? Like, I think I'll have some cheese and a bowl of cereal. Together.

Well, like my father so eloquently coined a couple years ago: "anticipate the low."
Get it. Because it is coming.

I moved all my husband's junk food into his own drawer in the kitchen. So, I would have zero reason to look in there and be tempted. This is especially helpful when you wake up in the middle of the night shaking and sweating and needing sugar.

I would recommend watching your blood sugar very closely for the first few days...even the first week. I was checking 8-11 times a day. Think pregnancy status here peeps.

You need to know how your basal rate is doing (or long acting insulin if you are on injections) and if you need to bolus for your meals. Which I got to a point where I was literally hardly ever bolusing because my sugar was so level and low.
This may mean you need to include some more fruit in your Whole30 regimen than what is recommended. But, until you can get in that sweet spot of insulin adjustments, it's a better option than passing out.

For my total 30 days I had significantly lower blood sugar overall. I had to fight through quite a few lows though. Reduced my basal rate. And reduced the amount of insulin I was taking total in a day by over half! My average 30 day blood sugar number dropped by over 40 points. That is amazing.

3.) Take in some grace.
SO, I pep talk the low blood sugar stuff because you may need to take a big gulp of grace in all this. I had an emergency low at some point during my first week and had to eat the only thing I had on hand: a granola bar of sorts.

This was discouraging  to my attitude of perfection but necessary to my well being at that moment. Don't let a set back knock you out completely. The end effect is so helpful to your overall blood sugar. Think big picture.

Also, make sure you are always carrying some fruit. Buy enough fruit. Thinking ahead about your blood sugar is the best way to stay in this. And don't get discouraged if you have a hiccup that is blood sugar related. Your body functions differently. And therefore different needs need to be met.

4.) The symptoms.
Also, be aware that if you haven't heard this before the first week is the hardest. Day 1 I thought I was the diabetic queen of Whole30. Day 2 I started my "detox" symptoms. There went my kingdom. Basically, I had a headache all day and felt extremely fatigued.

This lasted into day 3. By day 4 I was an angry, hungry diabetic. And by day 7 I was peeing (too much information?) every 30 minutes or so. I don't think everyone experiences this (I looked it up) but some people are releasing all that extra water retention from being chronically dehydrated. And this to shall pass. It does get better.

5.) The benefits.
Eventually, as my sugars began to level out, I lost the need to snack (especially in the evening). I was satisfied after every meal. My energy levels and fatigue began to balance out as well. I know a lot of diabetics (including myself) deal with that constant battle of tiredness and just feeling plain sluggish all day. I can't think of a better way to battle this then through what we are eating and how we balance out our blood sugars.

As you read above, my insulin usage and average numbers went down significantly. And yes, I did lose some weight that felt stuck. But, more so than the number on the scale I really felt like the Lord used this system and idea of self control to really stretch me into thinking about how I use food emotionally. Why do I eat the things I do when my day feels more stressful? Why do I feel a sense of entitlement to sugar every day? These are just some important questions that I believe were more emotionally rooted for me. Especially as a diabetic, its important to acknowledge how our physical well being plays so much into our emotional well being. If you are willing to ask the question, this program will definitely get you thinking.

So, how about you? Diabetic or not, have you tried Whole30? What did you learn?
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