Friday, February 26, 2010

Listening to Our Bodies....Except When They Lie

One often hears folks interested in wellness speaking of "learning to listen to one's body".  There's a lot to it, I suspect - greater sensitivity to the feedback we get from our bodies is doubtless helpful in many ways.  As a very important example, studies have shown that many obese people such as myself lose track of what actual, physical hunger even feels like because we're so wrapped up in cues of other kinds.  I know this is true of me.

But the bodies of folks with diabetes seem to lie to them at times.  I have often read of people who are experiencing a low blood sugar or an impending low, and therefore must eat, but feel a strong aversion to eating at that moment.  At the other end, people with dangerously high sugars sometimes feel enormous hunger. 

I think the weeks after diagnosis had me in an analogous situation.  I was put on metformin, a drug commonly prescribed for Type 2s  (and some Type 1s) which acts by minimizing insulin resistant.  I was fortunate to tolerate it well, and from the very next day showed fasting readings within the target range.  However, I began feeling tremendously, ravenously, almost unsatisfiably hungry.  There's a theory that as my blood sugars dropped to desirable levels, they went way below what my body had come to "think of" as normal.  Therefore, my body was frantically trying to get me to eat my BGs back to the prediagnosis levels.

The result of this for me was near disastrous.  Although at diagnosis I was successfully losing weight through a nationally advertised program, the first few weeks following the beginning of treatment saw me gain ten to fifteen pounds.  Although I adjusted to the new blood levels in a few weeks, I want to stress that this had not been social eating, or emotional eating, or habitual eating, or giving into any of the other "false hungers" to which a person may be subject.  This was my body feeling in very real (although mistaken) need for immediate nourishment and plenty of it.  My body was lying to me.

So, for those of us with broken metabolisms, we need to learn to listen to our bodies.  Except when our bodies are wrong.

1 comment:

  1. Oh, how to know when my body is wrong....
    Almost 25 years and I've still no clue. That's sad, huh?
    Oh well.
    I had something funnier in my head but my body interrupted me, I ignored it then lost my train of thought. Hmmm.


Creative Commons License
T Minus Two by Bob Pedersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.