Sweet Geek

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Exercise and Blood Sugar: or Why I Feel Like Crap Right Now

EVERYONE tells me that exercise will help lower my blood sugar. BG is a little high? Go for a walk. Want to “afford” the carbs in an apple? Lift some weights. Every piece of literature from “established” sources such as my doctor, the diabetes magazine and mainstream media tells me that I should feel better after exercising and it will give me greater control of my blood sugar. It’s all a load of BS.

You know what happens to my blood sugar when I work out? It goes up about 50-100 points (maybe from 84 – 175, god help me if I start out higher), hangs out there for maybe 2 hours then nose dives to around 45-60 for 5 hours later. Here’s a typical workout day for me:

  1. Eat a solid breakfast with quality fats and protein. Sometimes a little bit of carbs, like 10 raspberries.
  2. Drink a cup of broth to keep my sodium up. If I skip this, I often will pass out after the workout or get wicked headaches.
  3. Workout. This could be 20 minutes of low-rep high weight lifting, an hour of tennis, 45 minutes of running, etc. My blood sugar spikes immediately, with a red face like a drunk and cold, clammy limbs.
  4. Come home as fast as I can before faintness sets in.
  5. Feel like something is terribly wrong for about 2-6 hours, can’t think well, having trouble with coordination so I lie down.
  6. Zone out until I feel like I can walk and talk again.
  7. Get up and drink more water, maybe take some Advil for the inevitable fuzzy head and wonder why I waste an entire day recovering from less than an hour of “healthy” exercise…

I’ve been like this since I was a (thin) kid, though it’s only gotten worse over the years as the diabetes has progressed. I have tried varying my pre and post macronutrient ratios (more protein, carbs, etc), supplementing with magnesium, potassium and sodium, doing cardio, doing HIT, doing super-slow… So maybe I’m just a lazy fat-ass or maybe there’s more to it than “exercise helps control blood sugar” and I should feel free to kick the next person in the junk who helpfully tells me to workout regularly.

I used to go through this 5-6 times a week for about 8 years when I was an athlete. Now I “only” do this to myself 2x a week. Why? It’s sure as shit not because I get a high from exercise, feel better about myself as a person or believe that my blood sugar control is better the rest of the time. I do it because I’m a stubborn mule who at one point used to like being fit and active. Plus I tell myself that I’m preserving lean body mass. I’ll report back when I’m an old lady and let you know how worked out for me.

sigh Not sure why I’m sharing this other than hopefully some other poor diabetic will read this and not get so hard on herself when she has similar results. Okay that’s it for me, back to counting ceiling tiles!