Eating with gastroparesis
Balancing diabetes and gastroparesis can be a nightmare, particularly if you’re being sick and are going hypo. Sometimes you can suck a sweet, or I’ve tried glucose gel, which works quite well. When I first got gastroparesis, I stopped eating healthier foods, because they took longer to digest. Running the risk that what I ate was going to get stuck in my tummy, I didn’t want food that was going to keep me fuller for longer!
I love vegetables and had previously had a healthy diet, but I gave up eating dark green vegetables because I’d experience a cramping in my gut. I didn’t really eat brown bread, either. Then if I did eat those sorts of things, because they were new to my system, digesting them was quite uncomfortable. For years, my diet wasn’t great.
In January 2020, a comment from the doctor who was giving me my botox made me realise I needed to lose a bit of weight and get fitter. I Googled a lot and looked at calories on packets and worked out how thing affect my system. Then, I started off slowly and gradually increased fibre and fruit in my diet.
The first 21 days were difficult. At one point I thought, ‘I just need to stop this.’ But then I told myself to keep going, that my gut would get used to these changes. And it has. It’s been really good.
It took about a month for my system to get used to it. Thanks to my botox treatment, if I have a sandwich now, I can choose brown bread over white and I eat loads more fruit and vegetables. I also try not to take it to the point where I’ve eaten too much.
I also started walking more. I do about two hours a day now. I leave early, then do a lap around the hospital where I work, which is about a mile. I often have to go to the pharmacy at the other end of the hospital, so that involves more walking. Then at lunchtime I get a 20-minute break so I then do another lap, and then I do two in the evening, which is nearly two miles. Because I’m only doing it for 20-25 minutes at a time, it feels easy. And while I found going to the gym made me have bad hypos, walking doesn’t make my sugars drop as drastically, so it’s more manageable for me.
Recently, at my annual diabetic review, I discovered my HbA1C had gone from 59mmol/mol to 54. I was so made up! I’m hoping it’ll be even lower at my next review.
Changing my eating habits – I don’t want to call it a ‘diet’ – and making lifestyle changes have made such a difference.