Hello my lovelies,
Well what a mad old few months it has been. One of the big reasons I needed to take a blog break over the summer months was that I had really not been feeling well at all.
I had been struggling with my health for a few months thinking I was just always under the weather but at the beginning of July, things reached a climax and I was barely able to function.
I would spend most of the day lurching from dizzy spells, heart palpitations, not being able to lift my legs up the stairs, extreme weakness, huge waves of anxiety, unexplainable sweats, serious cognitive fog, terrible headaches and extreme loss of physical and mental capability.
I have to admit – I was really scared
I thought this was it – my time is up. I was convinced it was something sinister.
I had been feeling shady as I say since the beginning of the year, but as most school mums would do, had convinced myself it was a series of nasty viruses brought back by the sproglet from school. But how many months can a virus go on for?
Eventually I thought enough was enough, and I dragged my sorry self to the doctor.
After a raft of tests, my blood sugar levels were showing up as very low and after a while, I began to notice a pattern – that I would feel all of the above symptoms after around two hours after I had eaten.
What on earth was going on?
After much digging around of the internet and some help from my step mum who used to be a practice nurse (sadly the doctors were not very helpful in giving me an initial diagnose) things started to make sense.
We pinpointed it down to reactive hypoglycemia
I had all of the symptoms after all.
Reactive hypoglycemia (postprandial hypoglycemia) refers to low blood sugar that occurs after a meal — usually within two to four hours after eating. Basically, my pancreas was going into overdrive and releasing too much glucose after eating.
Well about this – we have no idea. I am currently waiting to see an endocrinoligst who I’m very much hoping will be able to help me find out what has tipped my body into this calamity.
For now, it’s all about survival
I spent hours and hours devouring information on the internet and listening to people talk about reactive hypoglycemia on YouTube and how to manage life with it and soon realised that the name of the game to be functional with reactive hypoglycemia was to eat in a way to keep my blood sugar levels as stable as possible. I went sugar free overnight.
So that meant sticking to a low glycemic index diet and eating something every two hours – but not any old thing – a mix of complex carbohydrates, protein and fat that would sustain my body in the best way possible and help my pancreas to chill out and stop producing so much insulin. For those of you who don’t know, a glycemic index diet is an eating plan based on how foods affect your blood sugar level. The glycemic index is a system of assigning a number to carbohydrate-containing foods according to how much each food increases blood sugar.
So what has this meant?
As well as round the clock eating (i.e. little and often( from half an hour after I get up every two hours until half an hour before I go to sleep (yup, that’s a lot of eating I know!), eating before and after exercising; it also has meant giving up a lot of the things I have loved so well – alcohol, caffeine, regular chips, any cakes, biscuits and chocolate made with sugar or quick releasing carbs and so many other things.
People have balked at the above when I have told them, but the truth is…when all of the things you used to love so much start making you feel very sick, it’s easy to leave them behind….
But I’m lucky in so many ways because there are so many cheats available these days – amazing decaff coffee, stevia, agave nectar…they have all become my best friends! That and taking things slower and being kinder to myself.
Reactive hypoglycemia is me now
I have had to rethink the way I lead my life. It’s made me slow down – which is a good thing for those who know me. I’ve swapped HIIT for pilates, I have to take a nap after lunch most days because I can get really tired, and I’ve changed the way I feed myself and my family. I take a concoction of herbs and supplements to help stabilise my blood sugar levels every day, and am working hard to put the weight I have lost back on (I dropped down below 8 stone which was so scary and I’ve now managed to put 5kg back on but am still underweight). So far, so good…..
I have no idea where the next few months are going to take me, or what might be at the root of this all, but sometimes life throws you curve balls and you just have to go with it – and my goodness, this has been one mother of a curve ball!
If you’re reading this and looking for information on reactive hypoglycemia, although only I’m only just starting out on my journey, I already have so many tips and tricks to share on managing reactive hypoglycemia. Feel free to connect with me on any of my social media channels and reach out by email and I will happily share with you what has helped in getting my condition stable – email me at motherhoodtherealdeal AT gmail.com.