Trying to stop a Low Blood Sugar binge is like trying to keep your hand on a hot stove—it’s against your natural instinct. Our body’s natural instinct is to pull the hand away when we feel the heat. When blood sugar is low, our natural drive is to eat. Therefore, if your blood sugars remain low even after you eat, the brain gets hijacked.
Even when you know you have counteracted the hypoglycemic reaction (with food, a glucose tablet, or juice, for example), it’s hard to make yourself stop eating. Difficulty stopping happens because your brain is still receiving that “hungry” message. Your body and mind remain on high alert while pushing you to eat more, in the same way that the brain tells the hand to pull away from the hot stove.
At the point you feel like you are starving, you will eat just about anything regardless of the consequences. One of my more memorable binges was a few years ago – right before bed. I ended up eating myself out of house and home. It felt so good to binge that evening!
The consequences of that evening were great. I woke up with my stomach feeling woozy. I tossed and turned all night. When I woke up the next morning, my blood glucose was through the roof. My blood sugar levels bounced around all day until I eventually leveled out 24 hours later. Never again I said to myself, but I have said that many times before.
Back in 2011 at 9:00 am on one Sunday morning, I check my morning blood sugar: 39 mg/dl. “Where did I go wrong?” I said to myself and then realized I didn’t have time to figure it out. I downed 8oz of lemonade.
I proceeded to wait. But I couldn’t wait. But I knew I’d have to, or I would feel like crap the rest of the day. I was famished.
Binge or Not to Binge?
So here I am, facing that epic question again: to binge or not to binge? I poured myself another glass of lemonade and started looking for something to eat in the refrigerator.
So I found what I was looking for: pre-made tuna fish salad, nothing to make and easy to eat. I grabbed the container and a small fork, the kind one uses when you’re just starting to eat real food as a child. With this little fork, I slowly ate in small forkfuls while sipping the lemonade.
By the time my blood sugar had returned to normal, and my hunger drifted away and I only drank an additional 4 ounces of lemonade and 1/8th of a pound of tuna fish. I gave myself a small injection for the extra lemonade.
Two hours later, my blood sugar levels returned normal and my day wasn’t ruined by shifting high and low blood sugars. I consider this technique “Low Blood Sugar Binge Prevention.”
If you don’t have a mental health provider with an understanding of diabetes, I have spent years helping people living with diabetes resolve issues like this in my New York Office and Online. You can call me at (917) 272-4829, and we can set up a free consult session.
If you want more information on Diabetes-Focused Psychotherapy; check out my website: www.diabetictalks.com.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.