Swimming Faster than Sugar

So I am very new to all the D stuff, but just when I think I am getting a handle on it, I am thrown a curve that reminds me of just how out of control this disease can be. Don’t get me wrong, after spending a lot of time on here the last month or so, I think I am pretty lucky to be able to manage my blood sugar with some pretty standard schedules in both food and exercise.

For starters, I exercise twice daily and schedule my regimen around my meals. This works well with breakfast and dinner and I am able many time to have lower BS 1 hour postprandial that my pre-prandial numbers. That along with a low carb diet, I am usually <80 at 1 hour and then I’ll see a slightly higher rise in the second hour but well below 120. By hour 3 my BS is back in the 85-90 range. Lunch is little tougher as I don’t have time to eat and exercise so I just make sure I stay low carb and let my BS go where it may, but usually its <135 at 1 hr, 100 at 2 hr then back to normal. All in all pretty good, although Tuna fish is long in the tooth so to speak.

Exercise is pretty straight forward for me and thank god I have always been a pretty active person, with the exception of the last few years, but that’s another story. In the morning, I do 3-4 miles on a treadmill in about 45 minutes. Then in the evening I either swim (hopefully) or run out at couple more miles if the pool isn’t an option. As long as I don’t mess with too much, this system works pretty well and my numbers are stable day after day.

Now, I have noticed that when swimming, I have a tendency to go a little lower than when I run. For the most part it doesn’t worry me too much, but on a couple occasions I have checked my BS half way through my swim and have hit in the low 50’s and on one swim, I hit 45. I have also found that even with my BS in the 70’s during my swim, I run low on energy so I began tweaking my evening meal to include a few more carbs on days I go to the pool. Now this has two great benefits for me personally. First of all, I love swimming and I find it much more enjoyable than running. Since I get to carb up a bit, I also get to enjoy quite a bit more carb than run days (<25 on run days, 60-70 on swim days). For the most part I usually just eat my normal meal with the 25 carbs, then pound down a protein shake and fiber bar before I jump in the pool. But every now and then I treat myself to a sandwich, with 2 pieces of bread! And here is where I got trapped.

So last night I decided it was a sandwich night. FYI, I am a total foodie and a bread freak, which make this disease completely ironic for me. It also makes sandwich night quite the treat these days. So I go to the local sandwich shop as I was out and about and wanted to save little time on the way to my pool. I do this place quite a bit and I know the sandwich to get that keeps me in good range and lets me get the full 1 hour swim I crave. While standing in line, I get a bug up a** to try something new. So I am going through the nutritional information for the menu and find a Asian chicken sandwich that has the same amount of carbs as my regular meal. Perfect, sounds great and little change is good. Right? So I order my sandwich, gobble it down with delight and head across the street to the pool.

Its 6:00 by the time I hit the water and I figure that is perfect. I need to pick my wife up just after 7 so I can swim an hour, shower off and head straight to pick her up. Stick my finger just before I hit the water, and as expected, 99 and on the rise. Now based on prior experience, this is right where I should be and if I check again in 20 minutes, I should be around 80. As long as I crank out the laps, BS will stay below 80 until I quit swimming which will be around 1:15 postprandial, numbers will rise for another 30 minutes staying below 120 and by hour 3 I should be back in the sweet spot. At least that s what is supposed to happen, but tonight will be different.

Its now 6:45, I’ve gotten in 15 laps and some playing around and decide I better check myself. Since I have 15 minutes left if I need to do some sprints due to my meal change, I’ll have the time to get it in before I go. I get out of the pool, stick my finger and wait the magical 5 secondss and… 118!! Now I know that is really good, but never have I worked so hard and been in that range. Since I knew my BS would continue to rise, and I was concerned since this was different than the norm, I wasn’t sure how much it would rise, I figured more sprints were in order. Ok, no problem. Sprint.. sprint… lap…lap etc. Stick finger, wait 5 seconds…118..again!! ugh!

So now I’m afraid to stop swimming. But I took 5 minutes to think about what was going on.. and then I remember. The sandwich shop I go to does not list sauces in the nutritional info. Since I normally get a turkey sandwich, the carb count is correct. But in this case, the Asian sauce must be messing with me. Ok, last time I go off plan (ya right), but we can work through this. The wife hasn’t paged me yet so I’ll just swim another 45 minutes, which will put me well after 2 hours postprandial, and that will at least keep at this stupid 118 and then I should be on the downhill slide. If she calls, I’ll just explain I had water in my ears and couldn’t hear my phone. And then I’ll admit my mistake and move on.

Back in the water, swim swim swim. More laps, a few sprints. 20 laps later, I am exhausted. I can’t swim any more. I feel a little shaky so figure I must be a little low which in this case, since it’s just a little low, I’ll be thankful I worked through it and move on. I get out of the pool, stick my finger (this time my virgin pinky just for good measure)…118!!! F’in carbs!!!!! I wasn’t low, just exhausted!! (confirmed the 118 on a second meter I keep in my swim bag). By now I can’t swim any more laps, I’m late to get the wife, I’m exhausted and I figure its early enough if the BS goes too high I can just do some running when I get home an have rested a little bit. By now I have been swimming 2.5 hours and I have done all the damage I can, I’m outa here.

When I get my wife, I explain my mistake, check my BS for good measure and as expected, the BS is on the rise. 159 and still heading north. Of course I reason with myself, just to make myself feel better, that while I am 160 and going up, I was only 118 1 hr and 2 hr postprandial and that’s the important numbers right ;-). Forget the fact at hour 3 I’m seeing numbers I haven’t seen since I got my BS back into a good range.

As much as I hate these numbers, and am disappointed in my mistake, I keep it in perspective. In 3 months since dx, I have lost 40 pounds, have a daily average BS of 98 testing fasting, pre-prandial, 1 and 2 hr postprandial and night time BS every day, every meal. I’ve come a long way in a short amount of time, yet every now and then I am reminded that I have limited control (if control is the even the right word) over my D. On good days I swim faster than my blood sugar. On bad days, it catches up with me just to remind me it’s still there. Like the constant counting of carbs, of calories, or mile run and laps swam, doesn’t remind me constantly of this disease.

On the other hand, every now and then my body kicks back in and give me a small victory. After heading home and resting for about 30 minutes, I decided I better get to my run. So I can get my BS back to normal before I head to bed. Another stick of the finger…98..whew!! no run tonight!

Wow!!! I’m tired just reading this…LOL. You at least have the drive and focus to do the 2.5 hrs of swimming and running and pricking!!! You are my inspiration…keep up the blogging…I’m about to start on a “get it together” health regime - need to lose the 50 lbs I picked up 10 years ago. I don’t know if it’s the “D” or my age but I just can’t seem to get the energy to do ALL the right things…it is a job in itself…and at times I get consumed with the magnitude of it all…but one foot in front of the other…

Now I need to take a nap

Hey Deb, trust me it didn’t happen over night and i agree the energy thing may be related to the D. My first month, i focused on getting my BS back to normal primarily though Low Carb diet. I also stopped smoking so i figured between the diet and smoking, that was enough change but i set a date for month 2 to start working out. i hadn’t been very active for a couple years and i had put on about 30 pounds so i wasn’t sure if my energy level was due to that, or the weight gain was due to the lack of energy. once i got my BS in line though, the low carb diet alone i started losing weight and my energy increased. then when my target date came, it was easier to get motivated for it. then it just snowballed in the good direction.

bottom line is take as you can. set small goals and work hard to reach them. and give yourself a break if you work hard but things happen slower than you want. its a looong road were on, good or bad.

Can’t wait to hit the pool!

Swimming Rock for BS control.
I swim 6 days a week and push 3.4k-5k a day… mix in weights and you are laughing.
But really it works so well because of two key factors that you can not get from “other” cardio set ups.

  1. Water ( haha)… while you are floating… the resistance form the water cause your muscles to work hard.
  2. More Muscles… you are work almost all major muscle groups.

Kas: yes swimming can cause lows although since my meds are getting cut back, i dont have a tendancy to go too low and i do check my BS every 30 minutes when im in the pool. Obvoulsy the more meds, particualry those that stimulate the pancreas to produce insulin, or for those on insulin therepy, the higher the risk and more cation is needed.

Treharne… 5k’s of swimming would kick my ■■■ but i am working up to it. I’m looking to start introducing some core training next month and i figure i can do that in place of my morning runs 2 or 3 days a week and still get my swim in the afternoon. i love the swimming and is the best exercise both cardio and low impact.

A big key is Builds…in swimming … If you would like I can set up a program for you ( I do it for people I work with a the University). The one draw back to swimming is that you have to always be adding speed or distance to get the same workout ( effectiveness) or walk away for a a couple of weeks. Also water prof Mp3 players help a bunch…

I’d love that Trehame. i was a long time smoker, which ended the day i was diagnosed, so i am working on getting my stamina up. right now i can do 20-25 laps in about an hour because i have to take 30-60 second breaks in after a couple laps. i don’t know if its all lung/blood flow related, or low carb/diet so any suggestions on how to prepare or a plan to build up would be great.

I don’t think I could swim with an Mp3… I love the sound of the water splashing. Nobody trying to talk to me… just me, my thoughts and the clock. Wish I had an hour to swim…
Treharne- what kind of program?

After 2 straight hours of swimming yesterday, I get the need for some other form of of stimuli. The first hour is pretty zen. The sounds of the water, the sunlight and bubbles. helz ya. but during the second hour that kind of wears off and for me, i start to get into my own head. nothing wrong with that, just after about an hour, I’ve had enough of myself :wink: I don’t know if i could get used to the wires of mp3 player in the water, but i wouldn’t paddling to little Green Day!

Thanks B for the encouragement…I love to swim…since reading your blog, I’ve wanted to find a pool…I used to train body builders and train triatholete (only for myself non-competetive)…so I totally understand getting in shape…I’m stymied by diabetes - completely. What do you do if your number go up during? I usually eat a handful of almonds and that works just during a normal day…exercising? don’t have a clue…any assistance is helpful…DEB

Swimming Builds…
Hello Everyone!
Ok what is a build… the brass tax of it all is speed + endurance building. The key to making swimming as effective as possible is to speed work in with the amount distance you are setting.
Firsts things Firsts
Goggles … this is without question safety for you and the other swimmer around you.
Pool Buoy ( here is a link) ( also when I say pull it means swimming with this between your legs).
I will start with my lunch swim today. ( I am up in Canada so everything is in meters)
600 + 100 (pull) x2 = 1400m I set a pace to be done this warm-up in 22mins ish (can be slower on some days).
“Work” @ this point you set time to do our work workout… think of it like being on a program on a bike or treadmill.
Right now I am doing 100m (laps) in 1min:40sec. Giving me 5-10 seconds rest.
I will do 100x6 + 100 pull ( active rest no time) x 2 = 1400m
I will then do a cool down.
That will usually take 45mins of swimming
Now this has taken me almost two years post walking away form swimming after lifeguard for 6 years.
So it is something to keep in mind… That being said the idea is still the same.
So a great starting work-out.
The Goal should always be 1500m
500+ 100 pull
then you are going to do a swim tower…
25m (rest for 10seconds)
50m (" " " 20)
75m ( " 40)
100m ( 60)
100m (60)
100m pull
rest for 2min
2x100m with 20 seconds rest between the 100
200m cool take take your time to zone out.

Deb, with the exercise, i doubt you’ll have much issue with BS going up. The exception, as was the case with my blog on the swimming, i basically took in too much carb and in that case, sugar. the best thing to do is experiment with foods to keep in you in good range. in most cases, you’ll find your BS going lower during exercise, particularity during core training or swimming. to account for lows, i keep some a couple various types of carbs with me at the pool. i usually have a granola bar in my bag and some glucose tabs. lets say i have 20 minutes left to swim and my BS is at 75, i might have the granola bar, site for 15 minutes to let my BS go back up to say 90 then finish my swim. if i am my BS at that same time was in the high 50’s, i’ll eat a couple glucose tabs that act quicker, wait 15 minutes and adjust from there.

Treharne. You da man. so goggles…check. Just ordered the dolphin mp3 player and a lap/heart rate monitor. will order the buoy today. 45e33w2