We here in the Kalita household are on “summer break time.” That’s kind of like “island time,” when there is no schedule, you nap a lot and you eat when you feel like it. We do this simply to recuperate from the hectic last weeks of school, exam season, the innumerable end-of-year events (recitals, plays and the like), and the dreaded early morning drive to school. Oh, and because we’re tired. Really, really tired.

Luckily, this only lasts for the first week of summer vacation. We do stumble into some sort of reasonable, respectable schedule by week two. While some cool moms remain on break time all summer, that’s just not going to work for this diabetic mommy on the wellness front. I’m also not that cool, and it would be wrong to bamboozle my children into thinking that prayer had finally been answered.

I’ve learned as a mom that children are just more pleasant and less prone to frustration when they have some sort of schedule to rely on; when they can predict with relative certainty what comes next. I’ve learned as a grown woman that most adults behave better under the same circumstances for the same reason. And I’ve learned as a diabetic that my health and wellness absolutely depend on it.

As I sat in the kitchen last night, having served my children dinner at 10 pm for the second night in a row, I became very aware that the baked potato side had been a very bad idea. First of all, it was way after 7 pm, when the experts say you should finish eating for the day. Second, it was a baked potato. A big one, baked with olive oil and sea salt. A truckload of carbs that I gleefully ingested, when I would have normally stuck to the chicken and tomatoes next to it.

I stared at the kitchen cleanup that awaited me, but was too tired to get up. I swear I could hear my organs screaming as they attempted to process the 10 pm carbfest. I’m pretty sure the carbs themselves were laughing at me as they quickly turned to sugar and began the “catch me if you can” race with my insulin pump.

After I managed to get up and load the dishwasher, I slowly shuffled off to bed. My sugars were 226, but no additional insulin was needed. I had dosed enough, but it was going to take a while for the insulin on board to catch up to the carbs and undo the damage I had done.

As I dozed off to sleep, my brain was too foggy to string nouns and verbs together to form coherent thoughts. This morning, however, with a banana in one hand and a fistful of nuts in the other, I reminded myself that regularly scheduled meals are critical to my health, for many reasons. One, skipping meals slows my already sluggish female metabolism. Two, eating sporadically makes me prone to bad food choices because I’m extremely hungry by the time I sit down to eat. Three, when I eat during the day, instead of late at night, I am moving around and more naturally active, which helps lower the blood sugar impact of my diet on my already-compromised system. Four, heavy carbs are not natural slenderizers (it’s a word in my world; Spanx and celery come to mind), and fitness is extremely important to well-managed diabetes.

The baked potato is not the problem in and of itself, but if I had eaten half of it at 7 pm, that would have been a much smarter move, and much kinder to my organs, which are already working overtime. Managing what I put in my mouth is critical to my overall wellness and longevity, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have some of the good stuff. I just have to temper it with timing and portion control.

We still have a few more days of summer break time left. The sleeping in will continue, but the late night dinners will cease. The baking my kids love to do will continue; my taste-testing will cease. Using the treadmill for daily exercise will resume; using the treadmill as a drying station for the pool towels will cease (unless I do a lot of swimming at the pool, of course).

So, what’s the verdict? The baked potato is not the enemy, and neither am I. We just have to learn how not to consume each other.

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