Should Diabetics Have a Day Off From Carb Counting?

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My first response to this question would be “I wish”. It’s not an easy thing to have to calculate the carb content of every portion of food you put into your mouth whilst making decisions based on several other factors including insulin dose, blood sugar and activity levels. I often joke with my friend about how great it would be to have a day off from carb counting. You know, like on my birthday or something? I wouldn’t have to be so obsessive about calculating insulin or how I spread my carbs throughout the day, it would just happen. Whilst this is a great scenario, it would be difficult to have the full day off because we need to calculate the carbs in the meals and snacks in order to match insulin. So instead of having the day off, we can give ourselves a break from being so concerned about the amount of carbs that are in certain foods.

I’m not referring to everyone who is living with diabetes, but I’ve seen it so many times on instagram, YouTube and in real life. There is almost a fear of eating more than 30 carbs at once. Whilst I think moderation is a good thing I think restriction is bad; it leads to all sorts of weird eating habits such as binge eating and crash dieting. An example of what I mean by carb restriction would be to only eat half of a chocolate bar because you’re afraid that it has too many carbs in. This would be fine if you’re in a caloric deficit and are trying to lose weight, but if you’re not dieting then there is no problem in eating the whole thing providing you bolus for it. Furthermore, I’d also like to point out that before I was diabetic, 70-100 carbs would easily have been a typical meal for me. It wasn’t bad food either, it was stuff like rice, potatoes, lentils and beans etc. During my first year of diabetes, when I was restricting my carb intake, I almost found myself denying the carb content of certain foods unless I weighed them. However, now that my current carb intake is back up to a healthy amount of 260g I am working much better and as long as I am honest with the amount of carbs in the meal I can bolus for the carbs and avoid a hyper.

I’ve learned that it’s actually a good thing to not be so restrictive because that is how I have been able to eat the foods I like whilst learning how to calculate the insulin properly. I remember when I first went onto pump therapy, my diabetes nurse told me that I was still allowed to eat and drink what I wanted and that I shouldn’t change a thing because it will give me the chance to experiment with how to get my insulin right. She went on to tell me of a man who would not give up his Friday night takeaways and because of this he has absolutely nailed his combo bolus for it. Probably not the best example but the practice worked well for him.

I have been feeling very overworked and exhausted lately and through writing this post it has just confirmed that I need a day off. It’s my birthday soon so I may do a continuation of this blog and share all of my food and blood sugars for that day so you can see that it is ok. It might make the carb counting a bit easier for me.

Rowena x

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