Mom Wants A Diabetes Cure

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Tightening the Reigns....Expanding The Choices

Brendon had a checkup last Friday. It generally went well, but his Endo was concerned about his weight (his A1C is a 7.4)

In relation to his height (67th percentile), she said his weight is too high (97th percentile). To look at him, you wouldn't say he's fat. He's a solid kid and you can see the definition in his structure. I won't say he's big boned as that is the age old excuse for being too fat. I had been concerned, however, that he eats too much. He can really pack it away if he isn't limited.

Before Brendon went on the pump, we had strict guidelines for how many carbs per meal and snack he ate regardless of what his appetite dictated. I had always felt that because this was an unnatural way to eat, he'd pick up bad eating habits such as eating because of whim rather than because he was actually hungry. I had rather he eat because he was listening to his body's signals.

Since he's been on the pump, we have let him eat when he requests a snack or a meal (within reason...I wouldn't let him pig out or eat WHENEVER he wanted without taking into account how much time passed from his previous meal). He still received 3 meals and 3 snacks, but the amount depended on his appetite. If he wanted seconds, I'd usually give him more of a lean protein, fruit, or vegetable. He'd pack away a lot of food, but I didn't feel as uncomfortable giving it to him because he was eating more of the low fat, complex carb foods which I felt wouldn't give him a problem.

The Endo had suggested we cut back his total carb intake by 10-15%.

In order to keep better track of his carb intake, I've divided his meals and snacks so that for each meal he receives no more than 65 grams of carbs. For snacks it's no more than 18 grams. I still go by his appetite as in giving him food when he's hungry rather than being guided by the clock (but like I said before, I take into account when he last ate and won't give him anything else within an hour or so since he last ate).

This also means being more discriminant with what he eats. For instance, instead of serving him waffles with a tablespoon or two of maple syrup, he gets it with a serving of peanut butter divided between the two waffles.

I try to cook foods that are minimally processed (if at all) because of my family history of heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Just that alone puts him at risk for those ailments when he's older. But, because of having diabetes, it puts him at an even higher risk because of the disposition of the disease to make a person more vulnerable to cardiovascular problems.

To that end, it doesn't stop at home. I've limited what he can eat from the school menu. Instead of allowing him to eat school lunches everyday, I've chosen the days with the healthiest meals. Instead of letting him eat all of what the school is serving that day, I've been writing notes for him to follow as to which foods he can eat and which he cannot from that day's menu.

Thankfully, he respects diabetes and although I try my best to not allow him to be limited by it, there are unfortunately limitations that must be accepted because of diabetes' dynamics of making his body vulnerable to certain problems (the limitations really revolve around food rather than physical activities to which I believe there should be no limitations other than taking a bit of time to recover from a low). He knows this as I've explained in detail what certain foods do to his body and why they must be limited or even eliminated from his diet.

I also make it a point to structure the other children's diets the same way although I don't track their carb intake. Whatever he eats, they are served the same. No favorites. I feel that this will provide good HABITS for him to follow if he sees the entire family eating the same foods. I want to avoid having him feel that he's being set apart or penalized because of something he couldn't help.

Growing up, I was never allowed in the kitchen while my parents cooked. My cooking and kitchen knowledge is based on what I've read and experimented with through recipes from cookbooks and websites and watching Food Network. When I was on my own, and before I became skilled in the kitchen, I relied on fast food and take out food for meals.

I refuse to let that happen to my kids. Knowledge=freedom to make better choices.

I allow Brendon to fix himself simple meals. He'll weigh and portion out the ingredients (basically whatever goes on a sandwich). When he's older, I'll teach him more advanced cooking skills based on his ability.

Hopefully I'll set the foundation for him and my other children to eat healthy, flavorful, fresh meals. That's what I hope for...we'll see how it all turns out.

3 Comments:

  • Hey Shannon,

    I've got no good solid advice or background to stand on in terms of the plan you have in place, but I think it sounds reasonable.

    I think I would still have issues with food even if I wasn't fighting the diabetes. Do you think the doc might be concerned about his weight even if he was not balancing the diabetes?

    I do totally agree that knowledge = power in the food/nutrition arena. I feel that aspect is a real weak point in my armor, and am working to strengthen it.

    By Blogger Scott, at 12/14/2006 2:32 PM  

  • I think you have a good plan of action in place. Having him involved with it is so important and not playing favourites with the other family members is important as well.

    I think you're doing a great job :)

    By Blogger Jamie, at 12/14/2006 2:42 PM  

  • Good for you for taking action now!

    By Blogger Rachel, at 12/14/2006 9:19 PM  

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