By: Meagan Esler
The other day, I read a post in which someone wrote that he had to take a “ton of insulin” to cover some carbs in his meal, and he disclosed the exact dose. The funny thing is, I have often taken that amount to cover my meals. Admittedly, they were higher carb meals, but I never really thought of it as being a “ton” of insulin. When you read something like this, you can’t help but wonder if you are doing something wrong on a regular basis. I suddenly felt that maybe I was out of line in taking that particular dose at a normal meal.
I quickly reminded myself not to try to compare myself to another person with diabetes. Still, these feelings prompted me to examine the way I’ve been eating lately. Am I eating too many carbs at each meal and thus taking too much insulin? Between my busy, stressful job and taking care of my kids, I don’t always take the time to plan lower-carb meals. I just grab something to eat and dose my insulin accordingly.
I really feel like I should rein in my carbohydrate intake a bit, not because I’m ashamed of my insulin usage, but because I notice less fluctuation in my blood sugar and feel better when I eat a few less carbs. I tried eating a low-carb diet once, but it didn’t last long at all. Working with different dosages to find the right one for a low-carb meal sometimes led to low blood sugars that required me to shovel in the carbs. That is definitely not the outcome I wanted. Besides, I do love carbs, and sometimes I feel ill when I restrict them too much.
I believe in consuming healthy carbs like whole grains, beans, and starchy vegetables. I know I shouldn’t go wild with highly processed sugary carbs, but really, no one should. There is a time and a place for having goodies, like birthdays or holidays. For a long time, I was eating about 20 to 30 carbohydrates per meal, and that worked pretty well for me, my weight, and my blood sugars. I have been more lax about those restrictions lately, and I’m trying to get focused again on my carb intake.
We are all different, and there is nothing wrong with that. Regardless of how many carbohydrates you choose to eat and what your nutritionist says is best for you, you should never feel defective for taking a different amount of insulin than other people with diabetes. Everyone is different. Insulin-to-carb ratios vary greatly in people with diabetes, and only your doctor can decide what works best for you. Our goal with diabetes is to have stable blood sugars, and doing what works for you to reach that goal is all that matters, not what your neighbor with diabetes is doing.