Hypoglycemia: Low Blood Sugar

If you don’t drink alcohol it’s not the end of the world. You won’t die. You don’t need it. You only crave it or want it because it’s there. It’s a comfort, it’s a habit. It’s a drug.

If you don’t eat, it can be the end of the world. We need to eat and drink to survive. If we don’t we die.

Above I have stated the obvious. Ten months sober and I feel I have a handle on the not drinking part of life. The benefits of being sober outweigh the hangovers and lost moments of drinking life. The abundance of time that being sober opens up is a daunting thing. I am left with myself, my sober self. I cannot take a holiday from me. I cannot take a break from me. I am stuck with me. Before in my drinking days I would have taken a break from myself by getting drunk. Today I don’t need to escape from the isle of me. Have I got my life figured out? Not by a half. However I am learning to deal with myself as I am today. I am far from perfect. I am human after all.

My body deals with sugar poorly. I have known this for most of my life. To have a banana or something sweet in my bag was not uncommon. I used to know this. I forgot. Stopping alcohol gave my eating habits a wobbly unbalance. I compensated by binging on food. A common enough side effect of quitting alcohol. Ten months into this sober pursuit and I think I can now face my relationship with food.

I have hypoglycemia. That’s a fancy word for low blood sugar. When I have low blood sugar I can feel dizzy, lose vision, sweat profusely, be clumsy, feel weak and shaky, fatigue, light-headed, have trouble talking, pale skin, diarrhoea, pass out.

I cannot eat the way I used to drink. I cannot substitute food for the way I drank. I will damage my body. If I binge on sweet foods my body has to adjust and level out. It expects more sugar later but when that doesn’t happen it panics and carries on like in the symptoms above. It used to be scary. Now I don’t panic. But I can stop this from happening altogether. I can eat smaller portions more often. I can carry something to eat with me. I didn’t do this and I was a mess a few weeks ago. Literally.

Why do we do this to ourselves? We know what is good for us and what is not. We know this. We have read about it. Most of it is commonsense. Humans are supposed to be a smarter species but I beg to differ. We have two options, the right one and the wrong one. We often choose the wrong one, even with all the information and knowledge that the wrong choice is bad. We still go for the wrong one. Is it plain stupidity? I don’t know. We cannot help ourselves until we go so far wrong that we get to the place of make or break. Humans aren’t logical. We like to think we are but we aren’t. We try to complicate our lives by doing the wrong thing over and over but keeping it simple seems too easy? I really don’t know why we do the things that we do. Stubbornness is a big reason. Why do we rebel against ourselves though?Why must we make life harder for ourselves when we know the difference between right and wrong?

Back to the sugar. I need to regulate my sugar intake. I can no longer guzzle an entire bag of licorice without suffering consequences. Because if I’m honest it isn’t just a bag of licorice. It is the desire to eat what is in reach. It is not healthy eating. It is eating for the sake of eating. It is perhaps emotional eating. It is replacement eating for alcohol that I no longer consume.

I do not drink fizzy drink or soda. I haven’t for many years. I don’t drink fruit juice either. I have a sweet tooth. I haven’t baked in a long while because I will tend to eat all of the baking within a short space of time. Why? Because it’s there. I have not taken moderation seriously with my food. I love food. I took food holidays. Visiting balsamic vinegar making factories, eating wild boar, pickled sardines, freshly fried sardines, octopus, fresh mozzarella, tiramisu. I ate my way around places. I would cook in apartments with fresh ingredients from the markets. It was a great focus to travel. I did art holidays too. I followed the footsteps of Matisse. I followed the Byzantine. Reading up before I left. It was a great way to travel.

I am forcing myself to moderate my food intake. If I regulate how much sugar I consume then I won’t become hypoglycemic. Simple. No. Not so simple. I am bucking the habits of a lifetime. I am limiting myself to five pieces of licorice a day. I read the back of the package and a single serving is 40g or five pieces. I used to look at the back for fun and then eat the entire bag. I cannot do that anymore without consequences. Wake up me. Time to get real. I have done three days of self regulation of licorice. That for me is a big step. Because with that comes better eating habits all around. Salads and salmon. Toasted muesli. Kiwifruit. Yoghurt. Almonds instead of chocolate. Whole grain toast. Smaller portions. Eating when hungry, not just for the sake of it, eating better.

This evening I will have five pieces of licorice. No more and no less.

Living in a Different Time Zone

I have not travelled recently. I do not have jet lag. I am living 6 hours behind or 18 hours ahead. I cannot sleep at a ‘normal’ time. Last night I managed to get to sleep somewhere between two and three. Last night was an early night. Lately it has been creeping up to four and five. That is my new normal. I do enjoy the quiet of the night. I stay up really late enjoying the peace. Then I toss and turn deeply sighing for an hour or more. Driving DH up the wall.

The evenings are long. I am still finding myself in this sober new world. Mini Habits are helping. Yesterday was Saturday. I made it my rest day. No need to, should, must need apply. Saturday is rest day. Sunday is my reflection and planning day.

Watched Diet Fiction last night. Excellent documentary. I am already adding more whole foods to my diet. I am on the right track. I am improving my diet, one whole food at a time. This will help me sleep better. Although I made muesli two days ago. I had it for three meals yesterday. Not sure if that was how I was supposed to eat it not. It tastes good. Will reserve it for breakfasts in the future. Remember Saturday was my rest day. Anything goes. Pyjama day all day.

Giving up alcohol was the easy part. I have gained time, health, money, freedom,… The only part I have yet to get under control is sleep. I am going back to the gym tomorrow. Exercise is a part of new old me. I started exercising before quitting alcohol and I am continuing with exercise. I have had a month break over Christmas/New Year. Time to get back to it.

Exercise, better eating should help get me back to better sleeping habits. Day 44 sober and my sleep is way out of wack, it’s on the other side of the planet. I am feeling tired when I wake up. I do not have this under control. Don’t worry it doesn’t make me want to open a bottle of wine. Or raid the drinks cabinet. I have a bottle of Noilly Prat sitting there. I have not moved the cabinet contents to the garage yet.

I haven’t mowed the lawns in a month. The weeds are high again. I don’t feel anxious about this. I don’t feel guilt. I feel an acceptance. It looks untidy but it looks free too. The birds and the bees are happy. The cats are happy. I am happy too. We have no front lawn. Living on a back section has its perks. There is no road side appeal. There is just a driveway to suggest that someone lives behind and beyond. It’s private and quiet. Just the way I like it.

Summer this year is warm and dry. The summer rains are absent. The evenings are long, breezy and cool. There is little humidity. It is pleasant. I have become a creature of the night. Summer is divine. The animals are feed and watered. I look after them better than I do myself. My passion fruit vine needs water, so do my tomatoes. My coriander/cilantro has gone to seed. My lime tree is still a baby. No limes again this year. Strawberries are a gift to the birds. The rhubarb leaves are huge. Cicadas chirp during the day and the crickets start up in the evenings.

Insomnia is with me for the summer. It hasn’t taken the hint that they are not welcome anymore. I am a good host. I have allowed Insomnia into my home. Insomnia is lying on the couch watching Netflix and reading books. Insomnia looks comfortable and settled. I would like Insomnia to leave. I have Insomnia’s bags packed and waiting by the door. Subtlety is not a trait that Insomnia has. Bluntness has little effect either. Will wait until Insomnia gets bored with me. Shouldn’t be long now, should it?

If I carry on with my life and build myself up stronger through exercise and more whole foods, vegetables and fruit ignoring Insomnia maybe one day I will wake up and she will be gone. Here’s hoping.

Care

My word is CARE. This year, 2019, the year of care. It might also be the year of the pig but that is for another post.

Care is providing and protecting what is necessary for health and welfare. Looking after, having an interest or concern for something that is important.

Care is my umbrella word for this year. It will shade me when I step too close to the sun, it will provide shelter when I leave myself out in the rain, it will protect me from side winds when gusts appear out of nowhere.

Choosing care is choosing kindness to oneself. It is making a choice to be kind. It is enveloping oneself carefully in the inclusion of the world. It is not excluding, it is not barring or deterring oneself from the world. It is opening one’s arms and embracing the world from a safe distance. That distance is up to you. It’s your world after all.

Listen for the voice of kindness deep within yourself. Ignore the obnoxious loud whining of the one you would rather dump off the edge of a cliff but its a part of you and you can’t shake it off. The whining will stop or become so quiet that you will stop noticing it. Your voice of kindness will be all that you hear. You need to listen for it. It is there. It has always been there waiting patiently for you.

I am not depriving myself of alcohol I am choosing freedom. I feel like I have another start at life. The new sober me is great to be. I am embracing this sober life. It is the right choice for me. I’ve been dreaming of this off and on for so long, it seemed unobtainable. I thought I needed willpower. Turns out I didn’t need it. I chose to stop poisoning my body, mind and soul. That is all.

38 days in and I am starting to feel stronger about my decision. Insomnia is still with me but I am not wrestling with it. I accept it is with me for now. It is summer and the nights are cool and it doesn’t really matter what time I go to bed. 4am is my new normal. This morning it was 5am. Insomnia won’t be with me forever. I have plans to shock it out of my system. But all in good time. Slowly, slowly does it. The turtle wins the race, not with speed but with consistency.

I am trying Mini Habits, the idea from Stephen Guise. Ridiculously small actions done daily to form habits.

Open my Morning Pages Journal.

The above is one of my mini habits. That is all I have to do. It doesn’t say write three pages. It doesn’t say write anything. It doesn’t even say sit down in front of your Morning Pages journal. It doesn’t even say pick up a fountain pen. It is just a ridiculously simple action to open a journal, nothing more, nothing less.

If I happen to be sitting down and open my journal and I have a fountain pen in my hand, I might feel inclined to write something. A line, a sentence, the date, three pages. There is no obligation to do anything except open a journal. It I choose to do more that is a bonus.

See how it works. The concept encourages you rather than making you feel bad if you didn’t do your mini habit. And it you don’t even manage to do your habit, it is no big deal either.

It is suggested that you don’t introduce more than 4 mini habits into your life. Anymore and you are overdoing it.

Addictive personalities, a myth if ever there was such a thing, makes one go all out or do nothing. It is all on or all off. There is no in between. The tap is either on or off, there is no low pressure there is only high pressure or off. There is no trickle, there is no moderate pressure. If one has the steering towards an addiction towards alcohol, then there is most likely a tendency to overindulge in other areas too, food, gambling,…

The first sip, the first bite, the first bet gives a thrill but how about the third or the tenth? Why is there a need for a first anything anyway?

I had my first sober pizza yesterday and that tasted better than my first drunken pizza. To be honest, I can’t remember it. Is that so surprising?

I went off on a tangent when I had no intention. Forgive me. Back to mini habits and limiting oneself to 4 habits. If you are like me you have 6 written down and you are trying to be an overachiever, pushing yourself to the limit. All for what? It’s just opening a book. The deflated feeling when you don’t meet a goal is because your goal was too vague, too big or too many, completely unmanageable. It wasn’t because you aren’t able. It’s just worded it wrong. You wanted instant gratification. You wanted it all now. Life isn’t like that. It is a journey. If you run all the way you will be exhausted. It is better to walk and rest, take things slow. What’s the rush. The journey is the process and you are meant to enjoy it.

Another of my mini habits is:

Put on your Gym Gear or Sit on the Exercycle Machine or Sit in Sauna

There is no actual exercise required. No 100 sprints, no push ups just get dressed or sit somewhere. This is an alternative mini habit. A habit with a choice. We like choices as long as there aren’t too many of them. If there are too many of them we freeze up and make no choice. Yesterday to pick up my pizza I put on my gym gear. That was me. I walked to the car. Drove to the pizza place and collected my pizza and walked quickly back to the car and home. That was my Exercise mini habit done. No shame that I didn’t go to the gym, didn’t walk so many steps, just satisfaction of doing something towards the idea of the thought of exercise. That’s half of it, isn’t it. The thinking about something. The intention is there. I checked off my Exercise as done. I don’t usually go to the gym on Saturday anyway so I don’t feel guilty.

These mini habits are so stupidly simple that there is no guilt for not doing them and no shame if you do do them. If so inclined you happen to drive to the gym and start exercising then great, that’s a bonus. If you happen to pick up and pen and write a line or a page or a few, again it’s a bonus.

The point of the mini habits is to create habits. Habits are things you do daily. They become something you do so often they are something you don’t without thinking. It’s the lazy way to form habits. I’m all for it.

The goal and the action cannot be the same. The action is a smaller part of the goal. Let’s look at my “Exercise” mini habit, my action is tiny. It involves either putting on clothes or sitting on something. Even on a bad day I think I could manage this. On a good day I could be on the treadmill for 40 minutes, followed by weights and stretching. It’s an idea. The goal is a weight goal. It is generous. As in I have given myself plenty of time to achieve my goal. A year, with my first mini goal after three months. I’m after a lifestyle change here. My “Exercise” mini habit is linked to my “Food” habit, Eat a whole food daily. Combining the two mini habits improves my diet (my eating habits) and makes me move my body more. It improves what I eat and my overall well being.

Take care of yourself. What would your mini habit be?