It’s not a diet, it’s a way of life

It’s that time of year again

I was diagnosed with low blood sugar, hypoglycemia, about five years ago. I suspected I had it for a few years before that, though. You just never wanted to mess around with me when I’d gone too long without food. It was a bad scene. I wasn’t surprised when I found out that irritability is one of the symptoms. Along with shaking, nausea and difficulty concentrating.

Anyway, the doc who diagnosed it just said something along the lines of, “Yep, you’ve got low blood sugar.” With a big, fat period behind it. He possibly muttered something about my diet, but it must have been under his breath because I don’t recall anyone suggesting that I change my eating habits.

Yes, I could indeed have read up on the condition and learned more. But I figured the key was to never let myself get overly hungry, ala the diabetic diet. Eat six smaller meals during the day rather than the three squares touted by mothers everywhere.

My reasoning appears to have been flawed. I’ve been feeling fairly crappy lately so I went to a dietician yesterday and spent over an hour learning that there’s a lot I don’t know. Even after years of reading Cooking Light, Health, Shape and countless other magazines — and years of eating whole grains, veggies, poultry and other healthy foods — I had no idea that milk, yogurt and beans don’t count as protein to someone with low blood sugar. Nope. And although I do need to eat every few hours, I have to eat a mix of carbs and protein — and the carbs have a limit.

I almost screamed when she first said that I had to “watch my carbs.” I’m anti-Atkins in a big way. I mean c’mon, people, you can NOT have all the bacon and pork rinds that you want. Use your heads. Carbs are beneficial. And they still are. I just have to whack a few of them out of my daily diet.

This isn’t news really. The culprit amid all the good stuff? All the sugary snacks. When I started keeping a food journal a month ago, I was embarrassed at how often I snuck those teeny-tiny candies that sit in a basket suspended outside of Therese’s cube (bad Therese!). I’d have seven or eight a day. Plus ice cream, mochas, tiramisu, yada yada.

I can still eat bread and all those other yummy carb things I adore. I simply have to reduce the sweets and up the protein ante. Sounds simple enough, yet this is going to be a challenge. So wish me luck, y’all.