Eating & Cooking

Counting Carbs: What It’s Really Like In My Mind Sometimes – 171

“Carb counting” is a meal planning technique for managing your blood glucose levels.

As a T2 diagnosed at 31 years old, counting carbs means that I have to create filters around food where there were never any. It means that the amount of mac & cheese, cheese grits, bread pudding, beef patties and coco bread, fried plantains, ice cream, cookies, and yams that I’ve become accustom to eating (not all at once of course) for years must be reduced… significantly. When I learned about carb-counting in my diabetes education class, it seemed like it would be a challenge to eyeball the right amount of blueberries for my smoothies or learn how to cook enough rice for a single serving, but no one prepared me for the internal dialogue that I would have with myself frequently when I encounter my favorite dishes.

“That’s too much, put some back.”

“Go ahead and get the last piece, it’s okay.”

“Are you really going to ask for a doggy bag for that small portion?”

“You’re rather low, HAVE ALL THE (insert great-tasting-high-in-carb edible item here) YOU WANT.”

“Now look what you’ve done, you have over-corrected the hypo.”

“I hope my medication will counter this meal.”

“Oh God, I’m going to lose a toe behind this past week’s behavior.”

“One bad week won’t kill me, any sooner.”

The physical highs and lows that I experience (related to glucose levels) are compounded in invisible ways by the mental and emotional highs and lows I experience. There are times when I feel triumphant about maintaining a rigid diet 45g-60g of carbs per meal. There are other times I feel ashamed for having normal slice of cake and spiking my glucose levels. There are times when I celebrate an excellent A1C. There are times when I am angry that I can’t do the things I use to do before diabetes arrived. There are times when I am consumed by thinking like a pancreas.

I make mistakes. I indulge perfectly. I over indulge. I underestimate my carb-count and get hypos. I have moments when I simply can’t get enough of a junk-food item. I have moments when I don’t want to eat, but must. This complexity is part of my experience.