A Lesson for Me, A Lesson for You

by Hillary on February 8, 2011

I see a trend here: Running Tuesdays are are evidently becoming Rest Tuesdays. I’ve been feeling a cold creeping on since Saturday and today my energy level dwindled to the ground; I was still real close to hopping on a treadmill this evening… I know. I’m smarter than that. Though I didn’t want to have two rest days for the week [instead of the scheduled one], I need my lungs to be healthy in order to run strong.

Plus, skipping out on my allotted gym time means I have some time to blog/prolong doing my research for my Health Ed class.

* * *

My Serious Sugar Struggle: Part III

Alright, so remember way back when in December when I came clean about my serious sugar struggle? I had had enough of the constant cravings and was scared that I was ultimately harming my health. It took me a little while to decide how I wanted to deal with my “addiction”, but I finally got fed UP and created a tentative plan. Meanwhile, I had explained my concerns to my doctor and asked to have blood work done to check out my glucose levels – I know, only this nut would ask to get pricked three times by a needle.

That was the last week of December, and it wasn’t until this past Friday that I was able to talk to my doctor about the results. Can you say longest game of phone tag ever!? Grrrr.

The Results.

The results were not was I was expecting. They were in fact the opposite of what I had predicted. After a 2-hour glucose tolerance test, my results revealed that I am hypoglycemic. My fasting blood glucose level was 46 mg/dL [normal fasting range: 70-100 mg/dL] – yikes! If it falls under 30, you can become unconscious.*

* I am not a doctor. This information is from my personal doctor, academic professors, and personal research.

What is hypoglycemia?

“In healthy people, blood glucose rises after eating and then gradually falls back into the normal range. The transition occurs without notice. Should blood glucose drop below normal, a person would experience the symptoms of hypoglycemia: weakness, rapid heartbeat, sweating, anxiety, hunger, and trembling.

Hypoglycemia in healthy people is rare. Most people who experience hypoglycemia need only to adjust their diets by replacing refined carbohydrates with fiber-rich carbohydrates and ensuring an adequate protein intake. In addition, smaller meals eaten more frequently may help.”

Source: Understanding Normal & Clinical Nutrition

As I understand it, my cells are very efficient at absorbing glucose. If I eat a large dose of sugar – I can gobble up the biggest chocolate chip cookie or most decadent brownie – my cells are capable of handling the rush of glucose [unlike a diabetic], but then I crash; it’s a vicious cycle. My doctor says I can still enjoy my dark chocolate, but that when I do consume simple sugars, I should be eating them with complex carbs to prevent the high/low rollercoaster.

I love learning about the human body and how to take care of it best. That’s to say I’ve been more than conscious of my cravings and energy levels after speaking with the doc.

That’s not all… you know what else popped up on my lab results? I have high cholesterol. Say what!? Yes, I was surprised… but not entirely. Both of my parents have high cholesterol and I’m aware that blood lipid levels are highly hereditary.

My Blood Lipid Levels

Total: 209 mg/dL [recommended: <200 mg/dL]

LDL: 142 mg/dL [recommended: <100 mg/dL]

HDL: 67 mg/dL [recommended: >60 mg/dL] – good

Triglycerides: 56 mg/dL [recommended: <150 mg/dL] – very good

Tip: To help you remember, think of elevated HDL as Healthy and elevated LDL as Less healthy.

My doctor said that one should go on prescription medication if their LDL is above 150. I’m not there, but close to it. After recently reading Real Food, and from knowing my diet/physical activity better than my doctor, I’m honestly not that concerned. When she suggested I add more fiber to my diet to help lower my cholesterol, I almost laughed. I don’t think I could eat any more whole grains, raw veggies, beans and legumes without some serious intestinal issues! She also said I could try the herbal supplement, Red Yeast Rice, if I so pleased. I haven’t done my research on it, so I haven’t started popping any pills yet.

I’m really glad I found out the truth behind my battle with sugar, and got to check in on the other key functions of my body [FYI: all other levels are “beautiful”]. I am going to continue to educate myself about the current research on cholesterol, and more importantly, will be trying to steady my sugar stream. I guess I wasn’t that crazy for thinking something was up after all. Just a couple more items to add to the “novel” of my health history ;)

Hopefully you learned a thing or two from this post. Time to go digging through the library databases, sip Relaxed Mind tea, and get to bed…

Have a healthy week!



What’s one of your major health concerns?

Are you afraid of needles?

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie February 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm

hope that things start looking up for you and you have the hypoglycemia under control! god bless!


Kate (What Kate is Cooking) February 8, 2011 at 9:22 pm

I’m glad you found out what was bothering you. My dad has high cholesterol, so I know I should get some bloodwork done to make sure I don’t; but the last time I went, they mixed up my files with my sister!


Jess@atasteofconfidence February 8, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Glad you found an answer! I have high cholesterol, too, actually.


Justeen @ Blissful Baking February 8, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Thanks for sharing :) I hope you are able to figure out how to deal with your hypoglycemia in the healthiest way possible!


Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles February 8, 2011 at 9:42 pm

I’m so glad you were able to find a reason for your sugar cravings. It’s so important to know and understand your body, so you can take care if it in the right way!


Jenna @ Healthy. Happy. Well. February 9, 2011 at 12:59 am

Oh wow! It must be good to know now why you were having your cravings. Awesome triglycerides stats!


Sarah February 9, 2011 at 2:31 am

I had high cholesterol too – like well into the 200’s – and I barely ever ate meat. Then I went vegan and it went down into normal range pretty much immediately after I stopped consuming dairy. It was amazing!


Katelyn @ Chef Katelyn February 9, 2011 at 3:50 am

Awe girl, I’m so glad you found out what was eatin’ you! I hope that it gets better, especially so you can enjoy that chocolate :) I’m so glad you shared your struggle, I know there are tons of girls in the blogging world with the same issue. That’s why blogging is so awesome – all of the beautiful people you get to share your experiences with can help you out along the way! :)


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey February 9, 2011 at 4:19 am

I’m so glad you figured out what the culprit of the problem was! It can be so frustrating not knowing why your body is acting the way it is acting. I had a friend who was hypoglycemic in high school (we swam together) and I just remember her ALWAYS having food on her just in case. :)


Lauren February 9, 2011 at 4:20 am

Glad you finallyyy found an answer! I’ve given blood a few times before, but occasionally my iron is too low to donate. Last time I tried, they told me it was very low. I eat a lot of plant iron and some iron from seafood, but I’m not sure if I’m getting enough.


Nicole February 9, 2011 at 6:56 am

My dietician said I am hypoglycemic too! To fix it I just always drink a glass of milk when I eat sweets so it balances out :)


Jan Ross February 9, 2011 at 7:10 am

Make sure you research the red yeast rice carefully. I have friends who have had problems with that and also fish oil… ulcers etc…
Take care,


Dorry February 9, 2011 at 7:28 am

This is all so interesting to me! I think it’s so important to know what type of issues or deficiencies our bodies have – we all have something. I’m sure it feels great to know there was a reason behind your sugar cravings and crashes. I have an appointment coming up where I plan to have some blood work done. Knowledge is power! :)


Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) February 9, 2011 at 11:45 am

that must feel so good to have gotten some explanation and results! now you got the info and tools on how to keep them stable!


Maryann Boosalis February 9, 2011 at 12:06 pm

I can totally relate to this post, after having some health complications and getting several blood tests last year, I was told I had high cholesterol, which was a complete shocker since I exercise frequently and like to think I have a pretty healthy diet. I stopped eating animal products for a while and my cholesterol levels dropped so now I am eating them again and haven’t seen my levels rise back up yet.

I have been wanting to get tested for hypoglycemia for a while because I have so many of those symptoms! Hopefully now that you know what is causing your cravings you will be able to keep your blood sugar levels stable and avoid issues!


Lizzy February 9, 2011 at 8:49 pm

Hi Girlie!
Yay for finding out the facts, and not assuming something is wrong or right… it’s so good to get the blood work done and find out what’s really going on!
and ya ya ya for rest days to fight the winter cold!
I hope you feel better soon!


Cara February 11, 2011 at 5:00 am

So glad you found out what was going on with your body! Now you can properly fuel it to keep you going all day long. You’ve inspired me to check out my levels, something I’ve known I should do for the past year now! I’m fairly positive I am hypoglycemic as well and am getting some blood work in a few weeks to find out for sure. Great post and thanks for being so real!


thehealthyapron February 11, 2011 at 10:35 am

Cancer and heart issues run in my family! Both my uncle and grandpa had strokes, my grandma has high blood pressure, and my mom has cancer! I am extra cautious about getting check ups and making sure that my numbers are adequate! Family history is such a small part of disease! I honestly believe that proper diet can prevent all diseases, even with a strong family history! Keep it up!


Shauna February 11, 2011 at 7:47 pm

Hey Hillary,

I’m not sure if you have ever read T. Colin Campbell or any of his writings, but he believes that the high cholesterol is caused by animal products: meat, eggs, cheese. Maybe even limiting it to once a week. Wishing you continued health :-)


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