Advice for a Newbie

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New Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/20/2006 11:10 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi All!
I went to my doctor last week and was diagnosed as being diabetic.
My fasting blood sugar was 150.  I had already stopped eating sugar and cut my carbs to very low 5 days prior to that.  That means no bread or high-carb food.  I also had been testing my blood at home.  It just happened to be running higher that day for no reason, and had been in the 120-135 range mostly.  Prior to cutting out the carbs & sugar, it had been as high as 266.  Since I've stopped eating sugar and high-carbs for over a week now, it's been running closer to normal.
Here's a few readings from the last 2 days...
101 - Before bed at 1am
 98 - At 6pm before eating
130 - After being awake an hour and not eating yet
113 - After eating cabbage soup all day (early evening)
129 - After waking up and not eating
117 - At night
124 - Late Afternoon
120 - Waking up
Are those numbers really THAT high or abnormal?  I know they may be on the high-range of normal, but MUCH MUCH better than they were before I caught the problem.  Like I said above, when I checked my blood-sugar one day after eating hotdogs for lunch, it was 266.  That's how I knew there was a problem and THAT was when I stopped eating sugar & carbs.  I literally gave away ALL my pasta, sweets, etc.
That leads me to my next question..
Since I've been keeping my carbs to a minimum, and the blood sugar is staying down for now, how many carbs can I safely consume in a day? The highest carb thing I've been eating is regular Zesta crackers with my light meals.  Is there any kind of scale to show how much a given number of carbs will raise blood glucose?
Obviously I want to keep the carbs mega-low as Im losing weight, and have a LOT to lose.  I probably weighed 380 before this.  I know Ive lost a good chunk of weight already, probably 20 lbs or so.  But its difficult to avoid them completely and have ANY kind of choice in what to eat.
For over a week now, my "diet" has consisted things such as...
Broiled Pork Steak (1 as a meal)
Beef Patty with cheese (1 as a meal)
Fresh Pinto Beans
Green Beans
Sliced Tomato (only a small one)
Fresh Cooked Greens
Cabbage Soup (look up Dolly Parton Soup in Google)
Fresh Steamed Asparagus
Salad with grilled chicken & shredded cheddar
The only Fast Food I've had was a "low carb burger" from Hardees at 420 calories and 5g Carbs.  I'm trying to watch carbs AND calories at the same time, not always easy.  Today I didnt feel like cooking anything so for lunch AND dinner I ate a small can of Potted Meat on probably 10 crackers at each meal.  Later in the evening I opened a can of black olives and munched on a few of them.  All day long I didnt even consume 1000 calories.
Give me some ideas of other menu items I can include and NOT raise the carbs & sugar.  My doctor wants me to control this disease with my diet, weight loss and daily exercise.  I have to go back in 2 months to see how I'm doing.  I have every intention of losing weight and getting this under control using the natural method if possible, and I believe it is in my case.  I LONG for the day that I'm a normal weight and my body is able to handle normal amounts of sugar & carbs again.  But for now I'll give my pancreas a rest by being "sugar-free"  :-)
I'm turning a bedroom in my home into my workout gym.  I'm buying a treadmill next week and I've been told to walk everyday (im not an outdoor person) and I've even bought an old copy of a Jane Fonda workout (used to do that EVERYDAY 'back in the day'  hehee).
Any advice you can give me on exercise and what effects it has on insulin, gluclose levels, etc, would be appreciated.  Oh, and my cholesterol was HIGH too.  It was 209, and the good part was low and the bad part was high.  LOL, so I shouldnt be eating too much meat, but I'll work on the weight loss & sugar levels first, then start on the cholesterol  tongue  

Post Edited (ChuckR) : 6/21/2006 4:03:17 AM (GMT-6)

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 6/21/2006 2:09 PM (GMT -7)   
First off, being newly diagnosed you can't really tell where you are at, not net. The weight loss is a very big item(no pun intended) The loss of weight will make a major difference in your blood glucose levels.

As far as limiting meat because of high cholesterol - I lost 70 pounts on a high protein high fat(good) diet. My cholesterol numbers came down to within normal range in 90 days. When it comes to the high fat vs low fat foods there are different approaches - select the one you like and go with it. I just got my lab tests back and my cholesterol was ok - the number that should be low was below 70 - the one that should be above 40 was 38. It came down a little from January. My exercise fell off this last coupel months.

You will learn that phrases like "My levels are within a good range," or "My diet is ok," don't really say anything. There are ranges in everything and everybody seems to have their range that they like. You might(as any of of might) think that we are in a good range when in fact we are not. You have to find the target you want to get to and do whatever has to be done to get there. Losing weight is in everybodies program - excessive weight hurts all diabetics. With extra weight comes insulin resistance. With insulin resistance comes higher blood glucose numbers and excess insulin in your system or the beta celkls in you pancreas start to die. Well, they are already doing that before you are even diagnosed. As they die so does your bodies ability to produce insulin.

Get your numbers down to below 100 fasting - as low as you can get them 2 hours after eating - being a type 2 you will not go real low just because of medications.

I don't have any eating suggestions - people take what they eat so personal and fight what I have to say, so I don't say it. I will say that things like "sugar free" does not exist. Learn what the different sugars are in products and stay away from them. Sugar Free is a technical term that does not tell you what is really in the product. Learn to read labels and especially avoid the ones that have any sugar listed and then the ones that hide the sugar by some other name.

If you are not on medications you probably should be. Don't put off medications or insulin - it is natural to be medicine free, but with diabetes it is a fact that your body is dieing a little bit every day you are out of control with high(er) than normal blood glucose levels. Lower your blood glucose leverls - lose weight - exercise - you will see a different situation in a couplt/few months.

Just one thing about your list of foods - beans are high carb items... Learn what each veggie ahs in it - there are no freebies...
type 2 - dx 12/04
metformin 500mg 3x - avandia 2mg 2x

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/21/2006 2:37 PM (GMT -7)   

Thanks for the info.

As for the Beans, I had read that fresh cooked dried beans were okay for diabetics.  I know the carbs are lower than canned ones.  I've been cooking a pot and eating on them a bit for several days.  Usually Beans, Greens and a sliced tomato for a meal.

I am not on medication and my Internal Medicine doctor doesnt think I need to be yet.  That's why he told me to...

1) Lose Weight

2) Exercise Everyday

and then will see me in mid-August for another blood workup.

I have NO DESIRE to be on medication for the disease and will do everything to avoid it.  I really feel that if I lose and extensive amount of weight and become more active through exercise, the glucose problems will probably be non-existent.

On a side note...

I'm beginning some of the Herbalife supplements next week.  about 20 years ago, when I was a teenager, I was also over-weight.  I lost over 160 pounds on Herbalife and felt great, so I'm going to do the vitamins and supplements again.  Anything to get healthy  :-)

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 6/21/2006 3:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Just a quick note. I felt the same as you do about medications. If you are a type 2 diabetic then diet and exercise will always be an issue. There is no cure, as yet. That is an important point - don't think or fall into the idea that you can be the only one to do it. I only say that because glucose problems are part of all diabetics life. You can do wonderful and powerful things if you try hard enough, as long as you keep your head in reality. That reality is we did not get to being type 1 because we are able to take care of ourselves that well. Losing wieght and controlling glucose levels does not eliminate the glucose problem, only keep it in acceptable ranges.

I know this sounds funny - but if medications become necessary do not fight it. If you are unable to contol tightly your glucose levels your beta cells are over-worked and that only means long term problems are coming. You can control at the low level of the diabetic range for years while all the time your beta cells are slowly dying on you. Not what you want. People fight medications and then fight insulin. Insulin is about as natural as it gets. Ok, I agree medications are not natural and we do avoid taking un-natural things - but your beta cells dying is not what you want either. Don't wait until your are having to fight to keep your blood glucose levels down before you start medications or insulin. By that time you are already chasing the problem and not controlling it.
type 2 - dx 12/04
metformin 500mg 3x - avandia 2mg 2x

Post Edited (desertdiabetic) : 6/21/2006 4:40:14 PM (GMT-6)

New Member

Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 6
   Posted 6/22/2006 2:15 AM (GMT -7)   
I guess I'm a bit confused being a "newbie".
Are you saying that EVERYONE that is diagnosed as Type 2 will eventually end up on meds?  No exceptions?
I firmly believe that my glucose problem is caused by my weight and lack of excercise.  Obviously the pancreas cannot keep up and that's why I'm doing something about it NOW.  I think I've caught it early as just 3 years ago my lab results were completely normal.  That's why the doctor wants me to make a drastic change NOW and that's what I'm doing.
I personally know someone who was overweight that was "diagnosed" as diabetic about 2 years ago.  His blood glucose was 350 when he had to be rushed to the hospital.  He lossed a LOT of weight really fast (he wasnt as overweight as I am and younger) and now eats normally, his blood sugar levels are fine and he's now on NO medication.
I'm NOT in denial about this, I know there's a problem and I'm dealing with it.  If the day comes when I have to be on meds, that's fine.  But I dont think the pancreas is "dying" necessarily and if I lose weight and exercise correctly I believe the problem may resolve itself as my body gets smaller and the pancreas is able to keep up.
Any professionals out there that can give some "expert" advice?

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 6/22/2006 6:48 AM (GMT -7)   
I've removed the post that you were responding to here. Your response was correct but since HealingWell is all about support and education there was no point in leaving the previous post in place.


Post Edited By Moderator (Jeannie143) : 6/22/2006 7:13:56 PM (GMT-6)

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 547
   Posted 6/22/2006 7:34 AM (GMT -7)   
Hiya, Chuck....KUDOS to you for grabbing the bull by the horns and aggressively making improvements to your lifestyle/diet! You've recognized that you have a problem (or rather potentially) but one that you have some control over changing, so good on ya for taking the right steps forward.

You're right about your numbers - they're on the high side of normal. But just look at the improvement you made over a short period of time by just cutting out the sugar/high carbs. Sugar is in EVERYTHING so understand how to read nutrition labels really well and you'll be so far ahead. Did you know the average American eats almost a pound of sugar a day? No wonder Diabetes is epidemic. The best diet is one loaded with fresh veggies (as wide a variety as possible), eaten/cooked as naturally as possible (watch what goes on them!), fresh fruit in moderation, whole grains wherever possible (watch the portions), protein, don't forget the protein, and watch the fat (there is good fat and bad fat - some may need to be added to your diet but, mostly it needs to be cut out). Stay away from packaged foods (i.e. REFINED carbs), bakery stuff (refined white flour & sugar), and watch the starches.....anything potato, corn, rice, pasta, etc. You can eat them but truly understand that a portion is pretty much 1/3 - 1/2 cup.

You are off to a good start, with your positive attitude and ammending your diet to change for the better. You could be off to an even better start with an education clas or better yet, recommeded to a dietician. Diabetes is more than just "cutting out the sugar" or "counting carbs/calories". With the proper tools and instruction, you understand why it is important NOT to skip meals/snacks, why it is important to understand what a "portion" is of any kind of food, why it is important to combine certain foods to create a balanced meal/snack, and why specifically as a Diebetic you need to have this knowledge if you ever truly want to improve your situation. Ask your doc next time for a recommendation...with your continued efforts to improve your lifestyle, they should be more than glad to assist in your positive move forward :-) A Dietician will help you put together a meal plan that includes exercise, all tailored to you personally. They can explain, based on your height/weight, activity level, other health considerations, etc. ..... what you need to eat, how much of it, how many times/day, and how to incorporate exercise into your day. You can't lose :-)

You are at a good time to make some healthy lifestyle changes to improve your sugars. Provided you keep up a healthy lifestlye you may never need to go on medication or at least not for some time yet. Understanding that many of the changes that you'll need to make are permanent changes - meaning you don't "get better" then get to go back to old ways/habits - you will always eat healthy and exercise will be part of your day as much as breathing if you hope to stop or delay the PROGRESSIVE effects of Diabetes. You have some control over that and I for one, am glad to see that you truly seem to want to understand how to do this.

We're here for ya :-)
- Phishbowl (Type 1 since Jan'05 - Levemir, NovoRapid)

"What's Not Measured Is Not Managed"

Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2005
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 6/22/2006 1:48 PM (GMT -7)   
".....Are you saying that EVERYONE that is diagnosed as Type 2 will eventually end up on meds? No exceptions?....."

No, I am not saying that. I am not sure anybody really knows that answer. I think just trying to stay off medications by doing things correctly(right food and exercise) you will have the best chance to do that. Threre really isn't any difference between trying to stay off medications and treating diabetes. The only difference I see is the attitudes one takes and the acceptabel ranges they find acceptable. If you take the standards given by the ADA and find maintaining an A1c of under 7 as okay, and under 6.0 as really good then you can expect to see the usual medications and what goes with them. Not necessarily complications though, if the over 7.0 for your A1c is accurate. There is a difference in taking that approach and not the "normal" blood glucose range. I believe that is below 5.0. If you strive to be below 5.0 and do maintain an A1c of <5.0 you will have the very best chance to stay off medications.

"....It just happened to be running higher that day for no reason, and had been in the 120-135 range mostly...."

Your blood glucose will not run high for no reason. For an unknown reason for sure, but it does not just jump up there on its own. A normal range of 120 to 135 is diabetic range(126+ actually, fasting) You mentioned that you feel that it is probably just the extra weight that is causing the insulin resistance and when you lose the weight it will go away. It is true that weight can cause insulin resistance - Just recently Joslin identified a "trigger" in obese people. Being Obese does not automatically make you type 2 diabetic. But, you did not just gain this weight and notice the increased numbers - I don't think so anyway. It is banted around a lot by researcherss that by the time a person is diagnosed type 2 they have already lost up to 50 percent of their beta cells. They start dying off long before the other symptoms show up. The strain on your beta cells is certainly not going to go away until the weight is gone. In the time between now and then they will continue to be stressed. Loss of weight is directly linked to not going on medications. One thing about drugs like Metformin is the weight loss - i lost 70 pounds very quickly(4 - months, I think I have that right)

The other thing that most of us don't bring up are the other risk factors - high cholesterol, blood pressure, high trigyercides(spelling). If they are high and you blood pressure should be high just because of the weight and will come down with the loss of the weight.

The bottom line is you will greatly benefit by losing the weitht and the different lifestyle(diet and exercise) If you are not able to avoid medications you will still be so much better off. If you do have to go on medications(I think you are being somewhat foolish not taking them now and getting your weight and numbers down quickly) you will be in much better shape than otherwise. it is a win-win situation for you no matter the outcome.
type 2 - dx 12/04
metformin 500mg 3x - avandia 2mg 2x

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 6/22/2006 6:27 PM (GMT -7)   
You have received some excellent advice here and I second everything above. You said, "I LONG for the day that I'm a normal weight and my body is able to handle normal amounts of sugar & carbs again." You most likely will not be able to process sugar or carbs normally anymore. Now that you have become diabetic you will never become 'normal' again. Your body already processes carbs differently than a 'normal'. Losing weight, watching food intake, exercise, eventually maybe meds, all these things are ways of coping with the disease but no matter what you do you will need to be vigilant for the rest of your life.

Not trying to be all 'doom and gloom' just trying to save you the problems that many of us have gone thru. It wasn't until I started having vision problems that I really paid attention to my diabetic diet and I was where you are, controlled with diet and exercise for about five years before I started meds. Diabetes is a progressive disease. All we can do is slow the progression with good choices.

See if your insurance covers a diabetes food class and you will learn a ton of great stuff about food and how to make excellent choices. By the way, welcome to HealingWell. We're all about education and support with a little humor thrown in to ease the way. Glad to make a new friend, but not for the reason.
~ Jeannie

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

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