Crash n’ Burn: Navigating Highs and Lows of PCOS Insulin Resistance

All last week, I did a commendable job staying on my low-carb eating plan. My lunches were things like turkey breast, string cheese and crunchy persian cucumbers. I had raspberries with a drizzle of cream for dessert. I stuck to perrier and water (ok, fine, the occasional Diet Coke) and even managed to stay away from the yummy cookies at work. I could feel this eating plan working. Slowly, the “wheat belly” that I so often have, de-puffed, and I could feel my jeans getting a little looser. I was feelin’ good. Then, I got busy. Really busy. Busy enough that I didn’t notice yesterday that I had only eaten two egg whites, some chorizo, and a few persian cucumbers. It was 6:00 pm, but I knew I was heading to a party where I could eat there, so I held out on eating. I felt kind of shaky, but knew I was just hungry. I got to the party and there weren’t many low-carb options, so I had tortilla chips, a piece of chocolate cake, a few chocolate raspberry sticks. Towards the end of the party, my stomach started doing that rumbling that only makes you think “Uh-oh… I need to go home!”. Sure enough, I got home and immediately regretted my lack of planning. Not fun. But I forgave myself, went to sleep and moved on, knowing that tomorrow would be a new day to plan better.

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies — Image from TriadCouponing.com

You’d think I’d learn after all that. But apparently I didn’t, because I started my day today with scrambled eggs and bacon. A few hours passed. I kept working on freelance projects. I didn’t eat. We stopped to go to an open house, and there they were, on the table: my crack. Other than movie theater popcorn, there’s something about these disgusting, fake, sugar-y cookies that rocks my world. Before I knew what was doing, my hand was wrapped around one, and the first powdery bite was in my mouth. Mmmm. mmmm. nom nom nom. The house wasn’t a good fit for us, but that cookie felt like a sugar vacation. The texture alone was carb-tastic, enough to rock my world into a hypoglycemic rush of sugar and glucose. I felt fine, as we made the not so smart decision to get frozen yogurt. We got frozen yogurt; my favorite, coconut yogurt with dark chocolate chips. I made it through half when I started getting the heebie-jeebies. I felt nauseous, tired, warm and just GROSS. It took me a little while to figure out what was going on. I was crashing. My body has adjusted in the past week to being a lean, mean fat burning machine. Very few carbs have passed my lips. All of a sudden I went from practically carb-free to carb-overload. I can’t do this to my body anymore. I need to plan. I need to focus on being prepared for the weekends, when all bets are off, when sometimes, yep, I sleep till 11 AM and skip breakfast. My how the times have changed, when weekends used to be binge-fests. Now I’m not eating enough, and not often enough.

I think this year has been an interesting one in terms of learning why my body does what it does. A large part of that is realizing and recognizing that I have insulin resistance, a happy little side effect of PCOS. There’s a reason my doc put me on metformin; to help me process sugar the way a normal person would. If I’m eating a low carb diet, my body doesn’t have to deal with the huge blood sugar highs and lows that my usual diet causes. Now, I keep the blood sugars happily in the middle with a low or reduced carb plan. By eating the party food and cookie, I basically shocked my system. It wasn’t fun. This week, I need to take better care of myself. My deadlines and projects will only be excellent if the person working on them is also feeling excellent. Who’da thunk that a few little carbs could so drastically affect my blood sugar balance? Beyond sugar and carbs affecting the way I feel, I need to be more mindful of this, as my insulin resistance puts me on the fast track towards diabetes. While my fasting blood sugar tests are all still great, as I’ve seen this year, my body is a fickle, delicate little (or not so little) thing. I need to take better care of myself by taking better care of my food.

Do you find that when you eat really sugary things, you get either a “crash”, or feelings of hyperness? Which is it? I think I can now confirm I’m definitely the “Crash n’ burn” type of gal!