There is something to giving up sugar that 10% of the American population deeply understands. This 10%, including myself, have diabetes. I’m close to completing a Whole 30: an elimination diet which, at its core, forbids sugar. It’s been three years since my last Whole 30, which is far too long.
I am not always “good” at being diabetic. My biggest pitfall is easy to identify: food. I love food. Are all of my food choices made in the name of managing my diabetes? Nope. As I am sure many understand, it sometimes becomes more about managing one’s insulin intake than managing food choices. What can I say? I like donuts.
But on the Whole 30, there are no donuts. No alcohol, either. No bread or any derivative of grain. No dairy, no sugar, no legumes, no soy. It’s been 27 days. Here is what I have noticed, as a diabetic and a human who has poor impulse control when it comes to food.
My blood sugar levels are normal. Like, waking up in the morning and seeing a number on my blood sugar meter in the 70s. I had to pull back on my long acting insulin, as it simply didn’t have to work so hard for me.
I can be cavalier about my condition. While it is true that I like donuts, I don’t eat them all the time. But I do succumb to the urge more than I should. The Whole 30 is a reminder: you don’t need that shit. My food choices are fulfilling an ideal that I rarely achieve on a consistent basis without higher doses of insulin.
I have been cooking my ass off. This is 100% a benefit to embracing the Whole 30 and the paleo lifestyle. Food prep is a big deal, because the idea is to eat real food, not something convenient and packaged.
Fortunately for me, I love to cook. Not everyone out there enjoys being in the kitchen as much as I do, but when I am on my game, I find it both rewarding and satisfying. It’s worth the effort to do something nice for your body by making good, real food.
I have been sleeping super hard. After about two weeks of eliminating the list of the forebode, my sleep patterns suddenly improved. To be fair, there are external factors that affect my slumber. For instance, I have an older dog who sometimes needs to go outside between midnight and 1:15am.
Also, my husband snores with just enough ferocity that it drives me to the couch on the regular. Don’t feel sorry for me, the couch is very comfortable. It’s so comfortable, that I am super forgiving about the snoring.
At any rate, I’ve been sleeping through the cacophony. I’ve also been dreaming vivid dreams and waking up in wonderment. My dog still has to take a leak in the middle of the night, but I am able to go back to sleep after letting her outside. I consider this a miracle.
My energy levels have greatly improved. Between the improved sleep cycle and the normalization of my blood sugar (high blood sugar induces symptoms such as headaches, exhaustion, and lack of concentration), I kind of feel like a million bucks.
I should note here that I don’t know exactly what a million bucks feels like, but I bet it’s pretty damn good. Really someone just needs to give me a million bucks so I really do understand how great that can feel.
I want to move. Listen, I wear a Fitbit just like every well-intentioned dumbass out there that thinks it will help them remember to move. Do I pay attention to it all the time… or ever? Ummm…
But suddenly, it has my attention. Even to the degree that I figured out how to track the activity I am doing by selecting it on the device. Bottom line: my Fitbit has more options than I realized.
And where did my realization strike? In a yoga class. And do I typically attend yoga classes? No. And do I want to do that now? Yes. It’s odd to want to do it. But I feel that this change in motivation is a result of all of the good choices I am making on the Whole 30.
Hey, this isn’t for everyone. My embracing the Whole 30 as an insulin-dependent diabetic is not a good idea for every diabetic. It needs to be said here as well that taking part in a Whole 30, with the intent of practicing paleo long-term, is something that I discussed with my endocrinologist. I chose a 30-day elimination diet to make change happen for me, but by no means is this the only way to positively affect one’s behavior.
Good habits can be developed with focused effort, and a timeframe that will make it stick. The creators of the Whole 30 have said that 60 days are more apt to change habits and make them stick, but that a program called Whole 60 would be too intimidating. You got that shit right. But it’s always surprising what we can achieve when we really try – don’t you think?
I keep the below piece of wisdom in mind when it comes to my own commitment to improving my day-to-day life experience. It’s a great reminder that it is entirely up to me.