Before and After – Food – Part 1

The Moment

There is one moment anyone fighting Diabetes or Prediabetes remembers for a long time.  A moment in which our lives change and some of what came before just dissolves and our next step is taken with a bit of fear.  It’s the moment when we are told our diagnosis.

My biggest question, and fear, after I received my diagnosis was, “What can I eat?”  I went a bit nuts trying to figure it out and looking for answers.

I knew I had to eat differently, but what in the world did that mean?  I spent hours researching books, and they all kind of said the same thing: Low carb and low fat.  Not much of a help to a person who really didn’t have a clue about carbs.

Big Reminder! I need to remind you that our bodies are chemical factories that process – metabolize – foods differently.  So, what works for me, might not work for you.  In car speak, your mileage may vary.  What?  Yeah, there is not some one-size-fits-all food program.  If anyone tells you their diet will work for anyone, please look at it with a huge dose of doubt and ask yourself, “Are they trying to sell me something?”  Part of the “adventure” of Diabetes and Prediabetes is finding out what works for YOU. You need to determine what your best weapons are to fight your War On Diabetes.

How do you do that?  You know the answer – a Food Diary/Journal.  The records you create will prove to be an invaluable source of information as you fight your War On Diabetes, or Prediabetes.

Diet Before Diagnosis

So, before my diagnosis I ate pretty much whatever I wanted.

Before Food

  • Breakfast might be eggs, bacon, potatoes, biscuits, orange juice and coffee; or, it might be two big oatmeal cookies with peanut butter – the original and high carb breakfast cookie, milk and coffee with a piece of fruit; or, it could have been a couple of pancakes with syrup, bacon and eggs..or, any number of high carb foods.
  • Lunch would consist of a large hamburger and milk shake; two large burritos and diet soda; or a foot long sandwich and diet soda; or a grilled sandwich, fires and diet soda.
  • Dinner, oh dinner was a wonderful meal that might mean three large servings of pasta, garlic bread and sweetened iced tea; meat, potatoes with butter, salad and sweetened iced tea; or several bowls of chili with about six flour tortillas.
  • Dessert?  Oh yeah – ice cream, pies, cookies – at lunch and dinner.
  • Clearly, I never met a carb I didn’t like.  Heck, I weighed about 255 when diagnosed – I had to get there somehow.

Any of that sound familiar?

Diet After Diagnosis

After diagnosis things changed immediately.  There was no take-it-slow method for me.  I knew I had to eat less and common sense dictated that I stay away from fried foods, potatoes, rice, etc.  My most important learnings were about portion sizes which I learned about from reading nutrition labels, which I still do. For me, portion size became incredibly important to be able to track what I was eating.

After Food

  • Breakfast became a portion of cereal – about 2/3 of a cup, a bit of milk, a half of a piece of fruit and coffee; or, fresh berries in a very low carb yogurt, coffee and a slice of whole grain toast.  Once or twice a week two eggs, dry rye toast, tomatoes and coffee.  Big change, huh?
  • Lunch became half a sandwich, a portion of fruit, the lowest carb yogurt I could find and unsweetened tea; or tuna on one piece of whole wheat bread and the other foods I mentioned; or, a serving of soup plus the foods I have mentioned.  I also included raw vegetables – almost as much as I wanted.
  • Dinner changed quite a bit.  I no longer had pasta.  When I had chili it was about half a bowl and two corn tortillas – no more flour; I eliminated potatoes of any kind and rice.  I emphasized fresh vegetables, meat, fish and chicken.
  • Snacks became very important. I was used to eating a lot of food and was often a bit hungry in the beginning.  I was eating on a schedule and knew that I could have a snack in two hours, and it sometimes took forever for time to pass.  Snacks were three crackers with peanut butter, low carb/high protein bars, and raw vegetables.
  • The guidelines I used for eating were about 50 – 55 carbs per meal and 15 +/- carbs per snack.  Three meals and three snacks a day.
  • And, I walked 30 minutes a day from the first day of diagnoses.

Need a simple guide to what you can eat?  Take a look here.

You know you have three weapons to fight your War: Diet, Exercise and Meds.  Use them and you can control Diabetes.

You can control Diabetes.  You can win the War; dig in and fight!

Find out what I am currently eating in Part 2 – tomorrow.

As always, thank you for reading.


I am not a doctor or health professional. I am just a guy who is working everyday to control Type 2 Diabetes. My goal is to offer hope, help and solutions for day-to-day living for the diabetic. The disease can be controlled. It can be managed. And, you can do it!

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2 comments on “Before and After – Food – Part 1
  1. beetleypete says:

    Julie is off to see the Diabetic Dietician this week. A free service, provided by the hospital, that looks at people individually, and suggests diets based on their needs. She has to write a food diary before the appointment, and it has made her think carefully about what she actually eats.
    Regards from England, Pete.

    • Pete,

      Which is one of the great functions of a food diary/journal – to make you more aware of what one is eating. I really believe the food diary is one of the best tools available for fighting Diabetes, if used in conjunction with BG numbers. You get immediate feedback on what’s working and what’s not working. Great information.

      I hope the appointment goes well.

      Please give her my best from sunny So Calif.

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