I Don’t Count Calories And I’m Okay With It
When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2011, my endocrinologist informed me about carb-counting, the plate method, the glycemic index, and calorie-restriction all at the same time. His focus, so he said, was to get me on a 1500-calorie diet and then move me down to 1200 calories. I remember sitting in his office being newly diagnosed and feeling confused, scared, and completely overwhelmed with an arm full of pamphlets. One brochure providing basic information about type 2 diabetes, another about the importance of exercising with diabetes, and one pamphlet for each meal plan (plate method, carb-counting, glycemic index, and calorie restriction). On top of trying to remember blood sugar numbers, insulin dosages, and my A1C, I was completely over all the numbers.
I’m a wordsmith, not a mathematician
I don’t want another number added to my day
I nodded my head like I thought a good patient should do, left his office and when I got home I cried because I didn’t know what to do or where to begin. All I knew is that I had nearly escaped a diabetic coma and needed to master the numbers to avoid a repeat experience. When I pulled myself together, I decided to rank the brochures in order of importance. Understanding diabetes was primary, then medication, diet, and exercise. When I arrived at the four diet plans, I started with the plate method and slowly introduced carb counting. The glycemic index and calorie restriction were sensory overload at the time, so I tagged them adding at a later date.
Six years later, I still don’t count calories and I still don’t know as much about the glycemic index as others, and I’m perfectly fine. I’ve lost more than 50lbs since being diagnosed and have participated in more than 30 5k races. I’m healthy and I’m in a rhythm with my diabetes management. When I think about counting calories, my automatic response is “why make my life more complicated?” I don’t want another number added to my day. I don’t want another scale (the one I weigh myself on is plenty). I don’t want to have to do another mental calculation of a food item when I read the nutrition label.
I’m checking my blood sugar roughly three times per day, I’m counting carbs, I’m exercising, I’m weighing myself, I’m taking my meds. I don’t count calories and I’m okay with it.