Small change, surprising outcome

I downloaded a copy of Adam Brown’s new book, Bright Spots and Landmines, last month. I’ve followed Adam’s work for the last many years at, so I’ve enjoyed his hands-on and practical approach to living with diabetes. In fact, I share his love of chia pudding and first learned of it reading a diaTribe report. I now eat chia pudding five or six times each week. It’s fast, tasty, and leads to great post-meal BGs.

Bright Spots and Landmines

I’ve read through more than half of the book the same day I downloaded it and am still in the process of finishing it. Adam shares many practical ideas in this book. I’m here to tell you about one of his ideas that has already improved my life.

Adam writes that he commits to avoid eating anything after dinner each day. He will, of course, treat a hypo, if necessary. It’s been my practice over the last few years to eat my day’s nutrition in two meals, a late breakfast and an early dinner. That rhythm has been a big help with my blood glucose numbers.

My stubborn evening snack habit

But my personal weakness has always been evening snacking. Even though I’ve tried to reduce the number of carbohydrates each day, I’ve often eaten one too many servings of nuts in the evening. It’s also a time I’m susceptible to allowing myself an occasional treat, like ice cream, and then end up eating too much. This bad habit has been the object of more than one personal resolution to knock off the night-time snacks. Each of those resolutions has been punctuated by lapses, recrimination, and eventually a new resolution. Sometimes I’m a slow learner! :unamused:

So when I read that Adam swore off evening snacking, his discipline resonated with me. I told myself that I would not eat anything more after dinner. I was motivated by more consistent blood sugar numbers, but what followed exceeded my expectations.

Great outcomes, one unexpected

My blood glucose numbers improved, a lot. I dropped over 15 mg/dL (0.83 mmol/L) in my blood glucose average while my variability improved, too. I found that I had to back off on my insulin delivery, setting less aggressive insulin sensitivity factors, and observed my Loop basal deliveries backing off their former higher levels. My total daily dose of insulin dropped from the lower 30s to the middle 20s, a drop of almost a third. What really grabbed my attention, however, is a looser fit to my jeans.

I went down to Target and bought a scale and found that I’ve lost about eight pounds in the last three weeks. I am thrilled with this outcome and have noticed that my walking energy is more powerful now as my walking muscles and cardio-vascular system carry a smaller load. I’m starting to get glimpses of my belt when sitting down!

Reminds me of my 2012 diabetes epiphany

When I first went on a lower carb diet five years ago, I went through a similar experience and lost 25 pounds or about 14% of my body weight. I kept it off fairly well but in the last couple of years, I regained about 10 of those pounds.

While my initial intention was just to eliminate the evening snacking, it took me several days to realize that what I was essentially doing constituted a daily intermittent fast. I’m fasting for about 17 hours each day, including my sleep time.

In addition to losing weight, I feel more energy and cognitive alertness. I’m hoping the weight loss trend continues as I believe my ideal body weight is 12 pounds less than where I am now.

Now I know what works for one person may not work for the next, but I wanted to share my experience with the hope that what I’m doing might resonate with someone else and kick them into motion the same way Adam Brown’s book propelled me to take the leap.


I have a copy of Adam’s book and started reading it, but I read these things slowly…

Great to hear about the big impact you found from that ‘small’ change. I don’t snack often in general these days, but occasionally find that I have something at night lately I haven’t taken a ‘count’ of how frequently that is, however. I’ve cut out evening snacks entirely in the past with good results - not sure that I’ll see the same impact today, but it might be worth a try. My eating pattern is different than yours (and different than mine,even, lately, since I’ve been forced to change my schedule dramatically for a time…), so I wouldn’t have that 17-hour ‘fast’, but we’ll see.

Good job, Terry! Can you give me a sample menu and eating schedule plus when you do exercise? I am very interested in Valter Longo’s research which deals with the benefits of fasting. He himself eats only breakfast and dinner and lifts weights. In the beginning it is hard to change the snacking habit in the evening because I guess that because of our circadian rhythms, our bodies are expecting food at that time, and we get hungry when we don’t eat. For me, it’s just a matter of dealing with some annoying hunger til my body gets used to a new pattern. for you as a type 1, your body sensed that food was becoming scarce, so it had to become more efficient with available insulin? and it was something about having that longer fast that did it? in other words, consuming the same amount of total daily calories, but eaten closer to bed time, would not lead to increased insulin sensitivity. the fasting signal is what matters. you made it stronger with a longer fast, so your body got the message that it had to become more efficient using the available insulin. do you agree?

My dietary habits need more variety as I’m easily satisfied with eating the same things day after day. I definitely need more variety. One thing at a time, however! For breakfast I often eat scrambled eggs (2) made with heavy cream, breakfast links and 1/4 of an english muffin. Dinner often consists of chia pudding made with walnuts, cinnamon, vanilla, and berries. I’ve been eating this dish for several months now and I’m not tiring of it, at all.

I walk for all my exercise. I average 3-5 miles per day and I rarely miss a day. I walked for 1.85 miles after my late breakfast today, about 30-40 minutes across rolling terrain. I use a Fitbit and have average over 100 miles per month for the last year. I like to walk after I eat as that effectively “cuts off the mountain-top” of my rising continuous glucose monitor trace. So my walking is usually in the early afternoon and early evening.

Counter to your experience, I find my current fasting does not include hunger pangs. It may have something to do with my low-carb, high-fat way of eating.

I think my body’s reaction to the fast is to make it more sensitive to the insulin that I do take. I’m speculating here and am not conversant in biochemistry. As far as timing my nutrition closer to bedtime, that would not work well for me. I have gastroparesis (slow stomach emptying) and I’ve found I need at least three hours of remaining upright before bed to help my meal settle.

My eating pattern is often labeled intermittent fasting as it does not go on for multiple days. I think the beuaty of intermittent fasting is that the body is prevented from going into starvation mode and tenaciously holding on to every energy reserve it has.

Wow- you hardly eat anything!! for breakfast i made high protein pancakes with two scoops of protein powder for 40 grams of total protein, i added 2 eggs for 12 more grams, i threw in some walnuts, had a little olive oil and baking powder in there and used sugar free syrup on top. also one coffee and cream. then for lunch i had salad with romaine, tomatoes, shrimp, celery, and walnuts and italian dressing and water. for dinner i had a protein bar with 17 carbs and 21 grams of protein, some freshly cut pineapple chunks, and V8 with14 grams of carbs. this is a ton more carbs than i usually have at once, so i’m going on the exercise bike in the basement. i stopped eating at 6:30 pm and that’s it for today. i do have weight to lose on my belly, though. i am going to try to go to 2 meals in the summer when i am on school break.