…just a few weeks ago. It’s true. My annual lab results were in and amidst a lot to be grateful for, there was one number that threw me into a frenzy. Fasting glucose - 104.
I didn’t need to Google what that meant. Thanks to knowing a great deal about how the body works, and how it’s influenced by food, I knew that a fasting glucose between 100-125 is considered pre-diabetic.
I blinked a few more times, willing the number to change. It didn’t. And then it happened. My over anxious disordered eating brain kicked in…
What can I cut out? I don’t really eat sugar. Not much, anyway. And I stay away from processed carbohydrates and empty calories.
Could it be the ice cream I ate last weekend? Or the champagne I drank at the wedding before last?
Will I need to go on a low carb diet? Keto!? Oh please, no. That would be the end of everything good. My body likes carbs…or, does it!?
Is this when genetics start to take over? How unfair! I do such a great job of taking care of myself. Why is this happening?
What did I eat the night before my blood draw? Did I fast for the full 12 hours?
Who will trust me as a prediabetic nutritionist!?
Ohmygod. My life, as I know it, is over.
Like I said, things quickly spiraled out of control and into a full-blown anxiety episode, alligator tears and all. To be fair, I was totally PMSing, but I think I probably would have cried either way. Because my worst nightmare was coming true.
I never had high blood sugar when I was underweight, I thought. Maybe I just need to go back to cutting everything out.
As I continued to digress, I told my husband that I was cutting out all alcohol and treats (like the handful of dairy-free chocolate chips I enjoy a few nights each week). All of it.
He gently told me I was being ridiculous to which I responded with a monologue about how he couldn’t possibly understand. I take impeccable care of myself. I’m healthy. I have risen from the depths of disordered eating. And I finally feel at peace, having aligned my behaviors with my needs in a way that serves me. And THIS is what I get for it!
Eventually I paused to take a breath. I allowed my emotions to settle down over the days that followed and I talked it over with my primary care provider (who wasn’t at all concerned BTW). And with a clear mind, I was finally able to answer the question my loving (and very patient) husband had asked me in the middle of my aforementioned emotion explosion.
What would you do differently?, he said.
Sure, initially I thought about cutting out my few extra sips and sweets, but I knew - all along I knew - that would only serve to push me back into place of restriction, obsession and control. And that’s not healthy, not for me.
I work hard to make consistent habits of moving my body, eating veggies, prioritizing protein, choosing smart carbs, limiting simple carbs and maintaining a healthy weight. Short of pushing myself to an unhealthy extreme, what would I do differently?
Nothing. Short of continuing to listen to my body and do the best I can with what I have, there is nothing I would currently do differently.
And my doctor agreed, with a prescription for, “keep doing what you’re doing”. Numbers never paint the full picture. I shouldn’t still be surprised by this, but seeing my body fail (even if it turns out to be a false alarm) even after I’ve learned how to treat it well is somewhat of a raw spot for me. Forever a work in progress over here!
So I challenged myself to step back and look at the situation as objectively as possible. And I came up with the best plan for me based on the empirical evidence; the big picture - MY picture, not a number.
Have you ever struggled with being defined by a number? If you feel comfortable sharing with me, I’d love to hear about it.
Eat Well. Live Well. Be Well