A Week Without SWAG-ing

I seem to have fallen off the diabetes management wagon. Hard. I feel left behind, abandoned by all the familiar habits I worked hard to adhere to just a year or so ago. My A1c’s been creeping up little by little, and I’m scared to see what the next one will be. That d-wagon is way out on the horizon, disappearing from sight, and I’m trying to muster up the energy to stand up and start chasing it.

It’s not that I’ve stopped taking insulin or testing my blood sugar or wearing my CGM — I’m doing all of those things. The difference is that, even though I’m going through the motions, I’m not really thinking about what I’m doing. I’m trying to make it up as I go along, and it’s not working.

Part of the problem is that I’m not counting carbohydrates. I mean, I know that there are 19 grams of carbohydrates in my trusty little cup of Chobani, and that a Kashi bar has 18 grams. But I’m eating all kinds of random stuff these days (a lot of it from restaurants), and even if I do my darnedest to estimate how many carbohydrates are in a medium-sized blob of chicken pad thai, I’m likely to be way off. And that shows on my CGM.

So this morning, I decided that I was going to go all week without SWAG bolusing a single time, just to see what happens. Yes, friends, I pledge to accurately count every single carbohydrate that enters my body — at least through the weekend.

I’m only four hours into my self-imposed challenge, and I’m already getting anxious. Anything I might eat for lunch or dinner today (or tomorrow, or the next day) is going to require research, weighing, reading, measuring and figuring. Of course, the easiest way to get around all of this is to eat packaged food exclusively, but that’s not fun, or particularly healthy.

I’m thinking that my first step is to find a reliable source for carbohydrate counts. I have a dusty old version of the ADA’s Fat and Carbohydrate Content, but I get frustrated trying to find things. Then there’s this thing called the Internet, but I’m not sure where to go to find the most accurate and reliable numbers. I’m eager to use my iPhone, too, but I’m not sure which app to start using.

You can be sure I’ll post the results of my little experiment on here. At the very least, I’m hoping to feel a little less guilty, and that I’ll be a few steps closer to that stupid runaway wagon.

One of the red velvet cupcakes my husband made me for Valentine's Day. My highly sophisticated method of carbohydrate calculation led me to a result of 47 grams.

16 comments on “A Week Without SWAG-ing

  1. Emma says:

    For carb. (and everything!) counts, I would highly recommend ‘MyPlate’ from Livestrong. They focus on calories, but you can get carbs accurate up to 0.01 of a gram.
    They even do a ‘MyPlate D’ where you can log your BG readings, insulin, etc, and see what sort of graphs you are getting.
    It’s free to register, and there’s an app for iPhone which people I know who use it have given me good feedback on.
    And although I know most of my counts (NOT all), MyPlate has definitely reduced my SWAG-ing when I bother to look things up, and my BG really has thanked me for it when I do.


    I hope this helps, and good luck with the SWAG-free weekend!

    • Awesome! Thanks for the recommendation, Emma!

    • Shannon G says:

      I found one iPhone app called Restaurant Nutrition. It’s pretty good for fast food and restaurants. A few of them I’ve found don’t have carbs, but most do and there are a lot of places that we frequent. You can select things that you’ve eaten and it will keep them by date. I guess later you could review your CGM or records and see how your body responded…not that I’ve done this~LOL!

  2. Jonah says:

    I have a teeny little scale that I used to carry with me if I was going to be eating something I hadn’t already measured at home.
    I also have a gazillion foods memorized from http://www.carb-counter.org/, which has way too many pop ups but lists the carb (and fiber and protein) percentages for most of the foods I eat.

    My endo and other folks have suggested calorie king but I really don’t eat much of that kind of food, so it wasn’t useful for me.

    I also sometimes have weighed foods, guessed at carbs, and then looked it up later, because the retroactive carb count still helps me check on my ratios.

  3. Kaitake says:

    For me, carb counting is the hardest and most annoying part of diabetes – the sheer amount of time it takes!! But I’ve found it has a dramatic impact when I get it going well 🙂 I add carb count and food type into my log book. And if you do find a useful iPhone carb app can you let me know, especially if it’s one you can use offline. That would be super handy!

  4. Hate being in that burn out place… Usually, I feel like I’m top of a hill and the wagon is speeding downward while I just stand there watching, not wanting to fall down myself but knowing I could never catch it… Depression that fuels itself. I’ve always slacked the most when I am not writing my numbers down. Even with technology and downloading my data, it isn’t the same and I’ve found myself letting go of attention unless I am physically writing those numbers down and can see them as I move along. Since D-Blogging regularly, I’ve tried to keep myself in line and accountable by Tweeting and posting – just to keep it fresh in my mind so as not to slack as much. Good luck!

  5. Laura says:

    I use MyFitnessPal app on my iPhone – it has, by far, the largest amount of foods available, that I’ve seen, and does include carb counts – it’s not D-specific, (like MyPlateD), but I like that it’s not diabetes-central, but still gives me info I need for diabetic purposes, when desired. And, it’s free!


  6. Elizabeth says:

    Dining out at places without a nutrition guid is always my downfall, as well. When I’me eating at a place like that, the best I’ve figured out is googling it on my iphone and then sort of “average” the various results I find for that dish at other places. (Like if I’m having crab cakes, I’ll look at the nutrition for 3 or 4 different places’ crab cakes and pick the middle range.)

    Also, when I was first diagnosed, I was ALL ABOUT the packaged foods while learning carb counting! One of my nutritionists had to really encourage me to start eating more fresh foods and bolusing based on, say, Calorie King’s listing. (I’ve since gotten a scale, which makes that easier at home.)

  7. Lorraine says:


    Looking forward to hearing the results. I remember being told we’d be able to look at plate and know the carbs like that *snap*. I couldn’t believe it at the time, and I’m surprised often by how well and how badly I can SWAG. 🙂 I love the scale.

  8. Mark says:

    I use quite a cool and easy app called “Nutrients” on my iPhone, it’s really handy especially in conjunction with a scale, but also has ml, q or cup readings for foods, so it’s great. Sometimes i dig into the CalorieKing website saved as a bookmark on my home screen. Good luck this week!

  9. Abbey says:

    I like MyPlate from livestrong.com. IT’s pretty good and you can export everything into an excel spreadsheet to use when reviewing your cgm, not that I do that or anything.

  10. Heather says:

    I have been “swagging” so much lately! I just whine about how busy I am & then I (what I like to call) “guesstimate” what I’m eating. And it’s been showing for sure, hovering around 200 every stinking time. Usually my motivation involves seeing that my dr. appointment is coming up in a couple weeks & Im going to have to explain myself if I don’t tighten up 🙂 Thanks for posting this, your a great motivator!

  11. Nicole says:

    Oh, do I hear you. Last night’s strawberry cream cake was delicious but probably not worth the 500 I earned because I drastically, drastically, drastically underestimated the carb count. But it was so good, I ate it again this morning…it’s a fruit, right?

  12. My Type 1 Grandson’s friends have nicknamed him “Swag”! Not for the reason you used the word…But I would love to know what you mean when you say “a week without swaging”!!

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