The Slow and Steady Series: Part 3 SKIPPING BREAKFAST: THE RESULTS
In Part 1 of this series, Sure Lady, I'll Hold Your Dog, I discuss why it is so difficult to deal with weight loss on top of good diabetes management. In Part 2, Skipping Breakfast, I lay out the reasoning behind my plan to skip breakfast. This Part will delve into those results.
As I’ve mentioned in Part 1 of this series, diabetes is like juggling and trying to lose weight is like having someone throw a chainsaw into that mix.
Just when I had gotten into a groove with my diabetes, I go and change everything.
After skipping breakfast for nearly 8 weeks, I looked over my data to see if it worked and if I could maintain it.
The first change was in basal rates overnight and in the morning. They dropped by 0.5 units an hour. My 8-12 dropped by 1.2 units an hour. Then slowly the rest of my day dropped, so that my daily basal rate went down by 28.92 %.
So for the first few weeks, which I was adjusting to all of this, I went though about a hundred juice boxes. Some nights I had five lows. It was miserable.
But as I continued to make the changes, I began to feel better.
Besides the lowered basal rates and lowered boluses, my overall glucose control has improved. My average daily blood sugars over a 30-day period are down to 172 from an average of around 185 (see screenshot from One Drop App.)
My last 7 days average, at one point, even dropped down to a 135, which, for me is unheard of. Unfortunately a series of bad pump sites and long car trips has that back up a bit.
One of my biggest fears going into this was that I wouldn’t be able to focus at work before eating. I teach a room full of seventh graders, so being out of focus can be disastrous.
It only took about a week to adjust to the new eating schedule. The first three days I was for sure thinking about food a lot. But after that, I actually found myself with more energy and focus. That groggy morning feeling went away. My body was no longer bogged down while trying to digest a heavy breakfast.
Another of the problems I had, which I didn’t even consider was my thyroid levels. For years, I have had to take synthetic thyroid after nuking my thyroid to stop hyperthyroidism. I take my pill about five minutes before breakfast, which is not really how they are supposed to be taken. You will absorb about 50% less of the hormone if it’s not taken an hour before a meal.
But my system was working so I stuck with it. But now I was eating three hours later. So now I was getting 50% more of thyroid hormone. And having too much thyroid is miserable. So I have been working with my doctor to readjust those doses. Now after about six weeks, I think we have a new good level.
After doing a lot of research, I decided to pull the trigger. I thought I would see better blood sugars, and I did. But there were other affects that I could not have anticipated. What surprised me most, was that it virtually eliminated my fear of being without food.
Diabetes has a way of complicating our relationship to food. After all, it is both our medicine and our poison at the same time. After having a few lows without any food within a five minutes drive, I began to develop a fear of being caught without food.
So without really even thinking about it, I would eat a little something before leaving the house. I would always have an energy bar with me and would often eat it even when I wasn’t hungry.
After realizing that I can go without food for several waking hours without any issues, the fear faded. I began to realize the strength and intelligence my body had to take care of itself.
When we get low one of the biggest driving forces for me is the hungry clue. I know that if I am dreaming about being hungry, that I am most likely low and so will wake myself up.
If I feel really hungry during the day, I automatically test to make sure I’m not low.
In learning to manage my diabetes, I had also picked up some habits that weren’t ideal for weight management. Things that I had taught my children as they grew up, I had forsaken. Eat when you’re hungry. Stop when you’re full. Trust your body to give you the clues you need to get the right nutrients.
I had stopped listening because it is easy to get confused by the signals diabetes sends.
But the more I went without food in the morning, the more I realized that I was not going to die if I felt hungry. And that brought a lot of freedom.
It stopped my preventative eating before leaving the house. And it made me wait until I was actually hungry to eat my next meal, both of which are very healthy ways to control weight.
I also became less hungry throughout the day. The first week, I was ravenous at 9:30. But slowly that faded, as well as my appetite during the rest of the day. Which means that I was consuming fewer calories everyday, not just from the lack of breakfast, but every meal got smaller and I was snacking less.
My weight over this period has also lowered. Although it has been a bit more up and down than I would have liked (thyroid has a huge affect on weight, as do copious amounts of juice boxes) now that I have stabilized I think I will see an even bigger change.
Over the eight weeks, I have dropped two pounds, which doesn’t sound like much. But because of my thyroid and diabetes, losing anything is a great feat. At one point my weight dropped lower than this, but it was transient.
I expect that this will continue on a downward trajectory, especially since I am no longer consuming 5-600 calories in juice a day.
This was one of the easiest changes I have made for my diabetes care by giving me one less thing to do. It has become a very easy to manage habit and I will for sure continue it indefinitely.
For January, I will begin to reform a few of the weak spots in my diet, but in a new way. I will be adding instead of subtracting. At the end of January, in Part 4 of The Slow and Steady Series, I will share my results.
DATA SO FAR
Weight -2 lbs
Body Fat % - ? %
Body Measurements - ? inches
Total Daily Insulin - 28.92 %
Average Daily Blood Glucose -13 mg/dl