Z is for Zero

~~~~~TRIGGER WARNING~~~~~

Food, bingeing, nutritional numbers, and suicide mentioned.

frozen barbed wire
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’re in the US, you’re probably aware that the Midwest, where I live, is currently in the deep freeze. We’ve had wind chills below zero all week and the last two days it’s been so cold schools have closed because the wind chill was thirty below (frostbite could happen within minutes of being outside.)

Now normally, I have no problem staying home. Except for today. Today I wanted to binge. I wanted chocolate, sugar, junk. Of course, anything carbohydrate (carbs)-related is supposed to be “bad” for me. I have Type II Diabetes (click here for info on Diabetes) after all. Did I care, nope. I just wanted to eat what I wanted to eat.

I did try though, not to give into that little devil on my shoulder that nattered at me to go out and get all those carby goodies. I ignored him all day. Until I couldn’t.

So I bundled up and walked to the closest store and bought a bunch of junk food. For the sake of clarity, let me tell you exactly what I ate, the nutritional facts of each item (taken from their packages), and how long it took me to eat it all…

6pm

One 12oz bottle of OJ. This is not a normal binge food for me. I drank it because I can feel a cold coming timeFlieson. Calories: 160; Fat: 0g (grams); Carbs: 37g; Protein: 2g.

One pint of Premium Ice Cream (vanilla with fudge streaks and peanut butter cups mixed in). Calories: 680; Fat: 44g; Carbs: 72g; Protein: 8g.

6:55pm

One 11oz bag of Nacho Chips. Calories: 1540g; Fat: 88g; Carbs: 176g; Protein: 22g.

One large Peanut Butter Cup. Calories: 200; Fat: 12g; Carbs: 22g; Protein: 5g.

9:20pm

Two Chocolate Cupcakes. Calories: 330; Fat: 12g; Carbs: 53g; Protein: 2g.

One large Peanut Butter Cup. Calories: 200; Fat: 12g; Carbs: 22g; Protein: 5g.

One Brownie. Calories: 500; Fat: 26g; Carbs: 66g; Protein: 5g.

11:20pm

One 6oz bag of Pizza-flavored filled Pretzel Snacks. Calories: 780; Fat: 30g; Carbs: 114g; Protein: 12g.

So our grand totals for this evening of bingeing are: Calories: 4390; Fat: 224g (46% of calories); Carbs: 562g (51% of calories); Protein: 61g (5% of calories). Yeah, I know that’s more than 100%. I’ve never been good at math.

sugar

And this isn’t even all I ate today, just what I’ve eaten since 6pm. And I may eat more, like the other things I bought on my below zero shopping trip: another brownie, a 4oz bag of chocolate covered pretzels, a large banana-nut muffin, a large cheese streusel muffin, three milk-chocolate truffles, and a 4oz bag of hard candies (chocolate flavored). I’m gonna try not to eat anything else, but there are no guarantees. Not with me anyway.

I’m assuming some of you are thinking, “Huh? What does all that mean?” To answer that question, let me tell you a bit about what I’ve been told I “should” eat…

Calories: The last time I saw a nutritionist who specialized in eating disorders, I was over 400 pounds. She told me to eat roughly 3000 calories since I was used to eating at least 4000 a day. I’m not quite so heavy now (I lost a bit when I became unemployed and couldn’t eat at fast food places all the time), so I did a web search. According to calorieking.com, I should eat between 1900-2100 calories if I want to lose weight and 2650-2850 calories to maintain it.nutritionfacts

So this binge took me over my daily allotted calories by 1390 to 2490 calories, depending on which advice you’re looking at. And that doesn’t even include the food I had earlier in the day (no binges, just regular meals.)

Fat: Because my cholesterol (believe it or not) is fine I’ve never paid much attention to how many fat grams I should or should not eat. Basically I’ve been told to get roughly 30% of my calories from fat. This binge pushed me 16% (at least) over that.

Carbs: This is the biggie. Because carbs digest into sugar first, they affect your blood sugar fastest. So with Diabetes this is the number everyone focuses on. There is no number recommended by the American Diabetes Association. They always say that the number is “individual.” However, the most common numbers I’ve been given is between 30-45g per meal and 0-15g per snack, or between 40-60% of your calories. Of course, those carbs should all be of the whole-grain-complex variety, not the simple-sugar-junk-food kind I just ate.

Looking at just the numbers, it looks like I did okay, right? 51% is right there in the middle. Yay me! Nope, not yay me. Because I know that when I eat a lot of food in a very short time, especially junk food, my blood sugars go very, very high. And the higher your blood sugars go (averaged out) the more damage you do to your body. At my last blood test my blood sugars ran, on average, twice to three times what they should be. Yeah, not good. What I should be doing is eating low-carb. Like 20-40% of my calories.

Protein: Once again, this is an area that is not focused on much when it comes to Diabetes treatment, other than to say to eat a little bit at each meal as it off-sets the carbs. So, if I was eating 30% fat, and 40-60% carbs, I should eat 10-30% of my calories in protein. This binge put me at a minimum of 5% under what I should be.

plate

Confused? So am I. And for this reason, I’m going to see a Diabetes Educator. Eventually. When I talk myself into it.

The truth of the matter is, I don’t pay as much attention to my diet as I should, even when I’m not bingeing. I may, or may not, eat the right percentages of fat, carbs, and protein. Often I eat based on what’s cheap and filling (thanks poverty!)

Now a few months ago, a friend of mine made me promise to pay more attention to my physical health. She bought me a blood glucose meter so I can test my blood sugars at home and gave me some cash so I could pay for my Diabetes meds. And I have tried. A bit. A lot of the time I “forget” to test my blood. But I have tried. I now eat more salad (my blood sugar likes those). And I do pay more attention. When I can.

However, I can’t always handle it. Like today. It was cold, I’d been stuck inside for days because of the wind chill, and I just wanted to feel something other than suicidal. And food pulls me out of that mood fastest by raising my blood sugar and putting me on a sugar-high. For those hours when my blood sugar is dangerously high, I feel—not happy, but close. I feel…well, normal.

That voice in the back of my head that tells me I’m a horrible person, that I’m the scum-of-the-earth, that I shouldn’t be alive, gets quiet. It’s easier to laugh, smile, feel anything other a crushing sense of hopelessness. On a sugar-high I feel like I might just be able to be a productive member of society. I can achieve my dreams. Maybe even be attractive.

Of course, I pay for it afterward in both long and short term ways. In the short term I get headaches, stomach-aches, and digestive problems. In the long-term, my Diabetes could cause me to lose limbs, go blind, have a heart-attack, or a stroke.

But frankly, if I’m fighting death daily, what does it matter if I die now from suicide or latter from a Diabetes-related complication. Either way, I’ve killed myself.

I am zero.

It’s just my choice to see how long before it happens.


Take care.

Bonnie

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