Calibrating my SWAG


If you looked at my file in my endo’s office, you’d see that I do a pretty good job at taking the right amount of insulin to cover my meals. Not “very good” or “excellent”, but pretty good. On a scale of 1 to 10, maybe I’d be a 6 or 7.

So, what would you say if I asked you which of the following statements were true?

A: Scott is good at counting carbs
B: Scott is lousy at counting carbs

If you said “A”, you made a logical choice and and you agree with my endo. But you’d be wrong. The answer is “B”; I’m really quite lousy at counting carbs.

I know this because I SWAG (scientifically wild-ass-guess) the carbs in pretty much every meal I eat.  I guess the carbs, feed them into my pump’s Bolus Wizard, and then deliver however many units of insulin the pump says I need, usually without even looking at the actual number.

There are a few exceptions, where my meal – or at least the carb part – is prepackaged with a handy-dandy Nutrition Facts label on it. When such a label is available, I bolus based on the carbs stated on the label.  And for those meals, my blood sugar goes low in a few hours. Always. Every single time.

This can only mean one thing. My insulin-to-carb ratio is wrong.

However, given my pretty-good ability to get the right amount of insulin when I’m guessing, that must mean that my carb-counting is wrong too. Fortunately, my tendency to underestimated carbs, coupled with my too-high insulin-to-carb ratio, tend to even each other out.

I suspect that, back in the day, I was embarrassed to admit how many carbs I ate — admit them to my doctors as well as myself — so I “trained” myself to count carbs a little differently. But when I derived the ratios that work with my carbs, they ended up offsetting my mis-SWAG.

In the end, that leaves me with ratios that don’t work and carb-counting skills that don’t work. But they work together. Do I dare try to fix it? That would mean admitting that I eat way too many carbs.

Also: if it ain’t broke…

Posted on March 4, 2013, in Diabetes, Personal, Type 1 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. If it ain’t broke….. 🙂


  2. Oooh. Tough freaking decision, man.

    Maybe you can come up with a one-off rule for when you eat packaged foods. Kind of like how we’re supposed to subtract fiber (does anyone actually do that?)… you could just enter 2/3 of the label or something like that.

    I seriously don’t envy your position. Other than being slightly jealous of your pretty good management mojo. 🙂



Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s