I’ve often talked about how consistency can be the key to good blood sugar management. As my operations professors say; variable is the enemy of good. The more variability a diabetic introduces into their blood sugar management, the harder it is to maintain happy blood sugars. During the peak of triathlon season the amount of carbohydrates I eat, length and intensity of exercise and amount of sleep are all pretty consistent. During the off season my Coach has instructed me to just have fun to recover both mentally and physically; that means training is no longer a top 3 priority, having fun with friends, focusing on my job search and enjoying my last year at Darden all take precedent.
In the past week my basal rate has jumped 1.5 units of insulin per day and my blood sugars have been much less consistent. I’m not sure why but I am still shocked by the effects exercise has on blood sugar management. For breakfast I’m now eating egg whites instead of a fruit and protein shake, I have switched from turkey sandwiches to salads for lunch and am having just chicken sausage and brown rice for dinner and am eating far fewer clif bars during the day than during the season. In all I’ve dramatically decreased my calorie and carbohydrate intake, yet my insulin needs have still increased. It’s crazy to think that reducing my exercise from about 14 hours a week to about 8 hours a week would increase my basal rate by more than 10% per day.
The off season is a necessary evil as I know my body and mind need recovery. However, I also know that when I get Coach Orton’s e-mail telling me to hit it hard again I’ll be faced with blood sugar lows instead of blood sugar highs as my basal rate is re-calibrated. Perhaps the most frustrating part of type 1 is that when a lifestyle change is introduced, all the work done to calibrate basal rates becomes inaccurate. The more I learn about blood sugar management, the more I realize how a holistic vie of all metabolic variables is essential. Maybe I’ll just skip the off season and live on a hamster wheel!