Counting carbs

By queenbyrd Latest Reply 2011-06-13 20:14:55 -0500
Started 2011-06-10 16:11:34 -0500

My name is Tabitha..I'm a Sahm of 3. I just learned I have type 2..which wasn't really a big shock seeings I had it with both my younger children's pregnancies. So here I am on this new journey (night mare) .. My doctor hands me this pack of papers talking about 1 starch or carb =15 carbs per meal..and then a list of junk and the carbs. Let me tell you..this is what I 'm learning. I can eat AIR !!. lol
I walk 30 mins a day . I learned this is a good time to eat something if I want to treat myself. Cause really I'm a woman and God made chocolate for us.

I seriously don't get the carb counting. I need help. I have watched the videos..I kinda of get it. But it's just weird…or my mind says No sorry I like eating good tasting food and is rejecting the idea. I'm not sure..Either way I know I have to do it. If someone can make sense of it..I would so be thankful.

Bye the way…Not sure who signed me up for this club ..of living with as a diabetic..but I wish they would have asked me first.

5 replies

queenbyrd 2011-06-13 20:14:55 -0500 Report

WOW, made a lot of sense to my confusion. She has me one a 1800 cal diet and I get 3 carb exchanges for meals and I believe one for snack a day. I'm going to take a class to learn this..cause again the Math thing..YIKES !!..I do eat 4-5 times a day and way smaller portions. In fact I use the same plates I give my toddlers now..and really I'm never hungry. I'm not walking on the beach for 30 mins a day..Plus the walk to the beach from my takes me about a hour . Really thanks for the motivation.

RAYT721 2011-06-11 13:43:36 -0500 Report

First of all, welcome to our community/family. I think most of us can relate to the fears, feelings and frustrations that you're speaking of. We have all been there, are there, or will be there. You are NOT alone!!!

In short, there are three things that will hopefully successfully account for your diabetes self-care. They are diet, exercise and (when necessary) medication. Your doctors will need to discuss the medical side of the equation. You sound like you're on target with the exercise (go to 35 minutes, add weights, add stretching, etc. and do it in baby steps so you don't burn out). This leads us to discussing the food/diet side of your diabetic life.

While it is true that 1 carb/starch = 15 grams that is for counting exchanges. Some diabetics count carb grams while others count exchanges. For me that's too much like math. :)

Here's the scoop:

If you take a look at your caloric allowance (formula for calories based on whether you wish to lose, gain or maintain your weight) it will be easier to figure out how many carbs you should have per meal and/or per day. That type of information is best left between you and a Registered Dietitian.

You are not limited to 15 grams (or 1 exchange) per meal unless your diabetes is way out of control. Most of the plans that I see are based on a very liberal 45-75 grams of carbs per meal (depending on goals). Most snacks (none to 3 times daily, depending on your needs) are usually allotted to 15 grams. This liberal diet plan, too much for my tastes, allows you quite a bit of food; however, like an allowance of money once it's gone, it's gone. With that said, you are better off using your allowance of calories or carbs or fat or whatever to give you the most nutritional bang for your nutritional buck. That's why the charts showed you how quickly you can use your allowance on junk food.

There's no reason (unless told otherwise by your doctor) that you can't have an occasional (small is not the size of your car) piece of chocolate if you have such a craving. You can have more dark chocolate and it's better for you… but… we are not talking about putting you on a chocolate diet here. Let's talk nutrition!

One of the pieces of paper that may have blown away from your stack was information on portion control. Personally I eat 5-6 times a day. I don't go crazy at any one meal and usually stay below the recommended carb and calorie allowances per day. My glucose is under control and my weight (30 pounds lost) is under control. There were a few tricks and tips that I've used (see archive for discussion "Weight A Minute"). You can swap ingredients to make healthier recipes from less healthier ones. Your allowance of carbs and calories should be suitable to keep your head up off your computer desk so you need not resort to air exclusively.

My breakfasts usually consist of a 15 g carb yogurt and a breakfast bar like Atkins. My lunches are often leftovers from the previous night's dinner. Our dinners are usually planned ahead based on being lower calorie/lower carb. Snacks? I may have a scoop of ice cream, some popcorn, some low fat dairy products, or whatever. Again the key is in portion control.

Reading of the food labels (acronym: ROTFL) will help you in your search for an adequate meal plan and shopping list. It takes time to build an entourage of recipes that fit into your allowances. A balanced menu plan gives you vitamins and nutrients that will help your body function and control your glucose. It won't come overnight.

As you become familiar with food labels and carbs/exchanges, you are going to be able to know what you should and shouldn't have and in what quantities. You should be safe to stick to most meals of around 500 calories. This won't work well if you live at Domino's Pizza but can be quite adequate for pre-planned meals and snacks, adding exercise, and thinking about what you CAN have instead of trying to list what you CAN'T have. Nothing is off the menu if it fits into your allowances but you should make wiser choices to get the most vitamins, fiber, and flavor rather than fats, sodium and preservatives.

It is completely overwhelming when you begin a self-taught plan for eating without all of the pieces to the puzzle. You are not being asked to starve to death, give up enjoying some splurges within reason, or spending the rest of your life without answers. This is a temporary phase of doubt which poses the question, "what contest in hell did I win?"

Gone are the days of free-for-all food fests but you are not about to have to live on air and water alone either. You'll learn what sensible eating is to you and your glucose in time. A lot of the answer for you is planning ahead. If it fits in your allowance, go for it without guilt.

But you are not limited (or shouldn't be) limited to 15 grams of carbs per meal. You should, however, strive for the least carbs per day because carbs do affect your blood glucose. Use your test meter and common sense to work that plan and you'll find living as a diabetic is not so horrible. To be honest, the way we should be eating now is the way we should have been eating all along.

Hang in there, Kiddo!!!

queenbyrd 2011-06-10 19:15:54 -0500 Report

She has me on a 1800 cal diet…lol thats so not gonna happen ..But i'll try. but I get 7 starch(carb exchanges) a thats 105 grams of carbs a day..seems like alot.
I just had two Brats and about a cup 1/2 of help me here..brats had 2 gr carb thats only 4 carbs..I'll say thats One exchange..and cup 1/2 broc is 1 I did 2 exchanges which really was 23 carbs or dinner..I stayed under 30 …
and yes I have no health insurance so no free classes here either..You would think they would make them free seeings so many people have this. Such a sad thing. So I also am pretty much learning via the net…anyways she has me having like 2 carb exchanges or carbs..per meal & one for a snack. So it's all about making better habits.

dmax32 2011-06-10 18:14:37 -0500 Report

15 grams of carb is 1 carb and the number of carbs per meal depends on what your doctor suggest to start out with.. In the beginning it should be @45 grams per meal… I never took the education class there were not any free ones in my area! I just learned to count them on my own!

Cookie Roma
Cookie Roma 2011-06-10 17:16:39 -0500 Report

Asap call your local hospital and ask about a diabetes educator. If they don't have someone there, they'll know where you csn find such a person. It call really help you getting started.