As the owner of a gastric band who also has Type 2 diabetes I know it’s perfectly possible to lose weight just the same as everybody else – I just have to be conscious of how I manage my intake so that it doesn’t come into conflict with my diabetic condition. Because when it does, I know all about it.
Sometimes it feels as though I can’t win. I used to love vegetables but now they get stuck. I used to love fruit but the skin gets stuck, and in any case gives me heartburn now. I LIKE food that’s good for me. It’s just that in the past I had too much of it, and now I have to disguise it to get it past my band. At Checkpoint Charlie my gastric band says “they shall not pass!” Not fresh vegetables: soup. Not fresh fruit for dessert: smoothies. Not steak: minced beef.
However. Chocolate? Okeydoke. Ice Cream? No problem. Sweets? All waved through by bandit Passport Control despite flashing red lights warning you about sabotaging weight efforts. You shrug your shoulders. You’re HUNGRY. And then you arrive at Security with the Diabetic Police standing by as you go through the glucose metal detector, and the sirens start to scream…
So losing the weight with a gastric band when you’re a diabetic is more complicated and there are many lessons to learn. They’re all worth it. As you dodge your way round the food you can’t have because of the band and the forbidden foods you can’t have because of your diabetes, don’t lose sight of the advantages the gastric band gives you…
– No need for special low calorie meals;
– No need for very much willpower when you’re hungry;
– No fear of binging.
It isn’t just sweet things that your pancreas can’t cope with, but in addition fatty and fried foods. These also slide past Checkpoint Charlie without a murmur, but are at the same time high calorie and push your blood glucose up – bad on both counts.
The good news is that by helping keep your blood glucose down with your food choices, you’re also giving your body a sporting chance to lose the weight. Make the electric blender your friend, treat yourself to a smoothie machine, learn to make lower calorie sauces and gravies, and you’ll be addressing both issues at once.
Recently I tackled a dinner I had cooked which contained items my gastric band didn’t allow me to keep down. As is usual for me, I’m squeamish and what started out as a productive burp turned into something worse – consequently by bedtime there wasn’t much in my stomach. Only… I forgot, and when I did the usual measurement of my blood glucose, it registered a fairly high reading because I’d had a sweet drink – the only thing I could swallow. It fooled me into thinking I needed my usual amount of insulin. But the high reading at times like this is purely temporary, and in the night I woke up with hypoglycemia, that familiar feeling of being under water and unable to move caused by low blood sugar due to an overdose of insulin, and knew that I needed to consume sugar as soon as possible.
Although I keep glucose pills on my night table I didn’t want to disturb my partner so I willed myself upright and staggered the few short steps to the bathroom, and crunched down a couple of sugar pills (no joy there, these sorts of pills are horrible, and the last thing you want when you’ve been asleep is to have a sickly sweet taste in your mouth), and waited to feel better.
Only I didn’t. My esophagus was still inflamed from the episode at dinner, and there was no way those pills were going to stay down, and they didn’t. A few minutes later I sat on the edge of the bathtub feeling as weak as a kitten, but worse than that, frightened. Once you start feeling hypoglycemic it tends to accelerate if ignored, and I felt panic rising.
Then I remembered that in order to swallow certain pills, I’m forced to crush them and mix with honey to take away the disagreeable taste, and I was grateful that my inherent untidiness had for once come to my aid, for there on the windowsill of the bathroom (instead of in the kitchen cupboard), was the squeezy bottle of honey.
After swallowing a couple of spoonfuls I began to feel better, eventually strong enough to go back to bed and have a peaceful night’s sleep.
So that’s my excuse for keeping the honey permanently in the bathroom.
See you next time.
Lonicera The Bandit