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It’s a Big Blue World Diabetes Day! November 14, 2009

Today is World Diabetes Day! Last year on this day, I had no idea what this meant. I had no idea that I had pre-diabetes at the time, and I surely did. I knew nothing. This year is so different.

Today I participated in The Big Blue Test, which consisted of diabetics the world over simultaneously testing their blood sugar at 2:00pm, then exercising for 14 minutes (because it’s November 14th!) and then re-testing. I happen to be out of town this weekend. I also happened to have left my blood testing meter at home (bad me). But this was really important to me so I slipped out of the retreat I’m attending and went home to test, exercise, test. It was about an hour after I had eaten lunch so I thought it would be pretty high. But happy surprise, it wasn’t. It was 118 at 2:00pm, which is pretty darned good. Then I jumped rope for a while, did some lunges with weights for a while, and rowed on the rowing machine, until I had totalled about 14 minutes. Tested again: 76!!!!!!!! I was floored!

This was  real eye opener for me. I know that exercise is really good and beneficial for one’s blood sugar. But I had now idea HOW effective, and how IMMEDIATE it is. I mean, wow. It made me feel really happy. And also really sheepish that I have been rather slackish about testing my blood. It’s been generally really really good, so I figured, it must always be really good.  But I’m planning on testing at least once or twice a day, promise.

The American Diabetes Association has introduced a new site called Diabetes Act Now. It’s got some great features:

·         A virtual diabetes health care professional who explains why people with diabetes need to know their ABCs (A1C – a measure of average glucose, blood pressure, cholesterol).

·         A personal dashboard where users can track their progress and select action plans.

·         A library of videos designed to help users make easy lifestyle changes to improve their diabetes numbers.

·         A new interactive widget provides users with diabetes-related content and resources that can be accessed directly on their personal desktops.

·         You can check out the PSA’s for the campaign on YouTube here:  English / Spanish

·         There’s also an official Twitter account for the campaign at http://www.twitter.com/diabetesactnow.

It’s a cool animated site designed to increase awareness and easy actions. Do YOU know what your blood pressure, cholesterol and fasting blood glucose numbers are? It’s a good idea to get them checked even if you think are super healthy. Just to be sure.

 

Give Up, or Step it Up March 12, 2009

I decided, in the interest of honesty, to adjust my weight-loss meter downward to reflect reality. It wasn’t just a temporary bump, apparently. This two pound leap has lasted more than a week so I have to call it real. However, the one pound bump from yesterday is gone. :-)

Yesterday was a real turning point for me. I have been at this point so many times before, and so often I take it as a cue to sigh heavily, (no pun intended), throw in the towel and say, “I just can’t lose weight.” It actually sort of astounds me now to think that I believed it would magically melt away with a minimum of effort. But then again, there are countless promises out there that this is exacty what will happen.

So yesterday I had the choice to either wring my hands and give up, which would lead to me gaining all the weight back, OR I could step it up. I decided to step it up. Today I went to the gym and did 45 minutes on the elliptical, including one nice hard sprint, followed by 2000 meters on the erg machine just for extra. I was GOING to go to a yoga class after that but instead decided I’d be better off going to the shoe store.

I have super flat, painful arches in my feet. The first 15-20 minutes of any workout, even plain walking or using the elliptical, is excruciating for my feet. My running shoes, which were once lovely, are now three years old and basically I might as well strap a couple of pancakes on my feet. They’re worthless, and yesterday my trainer told me very sternly that I am doing damage to myself by working out in these shoes. I got some new ones. They feel amazing. I can’t wait to work out tomorrow!

After getting my shoes, I realized I had not eaten much anything yet. I decided to take myself out to breakfast. This place across from the shoe store advertised breakfast for $6, including eggs and something mysterious called mamounia, or “middle eastern cereal.” I ordered steamed eggs with mushrooms. It came with a bagel (which I did not touch), and a little bowl of this lovely looking brown hot cereal. I thought, if it’s brown it must be healthy. (OK, are you laughing at me yet?) I gingerly took a spoonful. It was sooooooo good! Mmm, I love mamounia! Whatever it is! Finally I asked the waitress, “What is in this?” and she said, “Cream of wheat, cottage cheese, butter and brown sugar!” Ohhh. So that’s why it was so delicious. Thankfully I only had 3 spoonfuls, which was actualy quite satisfying. Saved by mindful eating. I murmured a little prayer of appreciation to the mamounia and then did not touch it again.  I noticed I was not totally wild about the eggs, but ate them anyway because they were the only thing on my plate I could eat. I ate about half. I hate throwing away money (and I was already throwing away the bagel and the mamounia) and I knew if I didn’t eat it, I would be really hungry pretty soon. So I ate half. What would mindful eaters do in this situation? Somebody tell me.

 

Exercise Motivator: Get Really Cold March 2, 2009

Today I spent about four hours standing outside in cold rain, watching my daughter’s crew race. (she was colder than I was!) When I got home, I was really chilled to the bone; my shoes had soaked through, my feet were freezing and I could not warm up. I figure I had three alternatives: crank the heat to 80 (nix that one!), take a hot bath or shower, or I could exercise! I decided to erg for 20 minutes, since I had not done this in a few days. It heated me up and quick!! I was happy to say that I brought my average time (“split”) down another five seconds, to 2:45.8. (last time was 2:50) It is so nice to see real tangible, objective progress. And I was dripping hot after those 20 minutes. Plus I had the image of all those young rowers out on the water to inspire me. All good.

This afternoon I met up with a diet buddy who has already read the Beck book and is dipping her toe in for a go at it. We both promised to write up our Motivating Reasons and email them to each other. I have read this entire book and gotten great things from it, but have not yet DONE any of the suggested exercises. So this is a start.

Also: Went to my one-week weigh in at Weight Watchers this morning, and according to them, lost 3 lbs since last week! I think this may have been a bit of a fudge since my clothes were lighter I think, but I do think I lost between 2-3 lbs. Yay. This was the shakeup I was looking for.

I also bought one of their food scales. I have never in my life weighed a speck of food, and frankly have been afraid of doing so. It has seemed like a really over-the-top thing to do. Like, REALLY? But I realized that I am actually curious about the difference in my eyeball “guestimates” and what food actually weighs/is.  So I’m going to give it a try.  Also, I’ve been looking at the recipes at Biggest Diabetic Loser’s blog and think, how on earth does she lose weight eating this stuff? Some of it just seems too… decadent. But then I think it may have to do with food amounts. She is pretty meticulous about weighing her food. So… we shall see. Something new.

 

Bad Day/Good Day February 27, 2009

Yesterday was just one of those super funky days.  Today has been a very good day. The difference? E-X-E-R-C-I-S-E.

So yesterday I got up with good intentions. I put on my workout clothes.  Drove my daughter to school.  My plan was to come back, eat breakfast, charge up my iPod, work out on the erg machine, then shower and go to work. (luckily, or unluckily, I have a VERY flexible schedule and boss)

I had been thinking that maybe I ought to add back some “good carbs” into my eating. I’ve been eating more eggs than I can count, mostly egg whites.  So I thought to change things up I’d have a little oatmeal. Now, I am not a huge fan of oatmeal. I loooove “smooth” hot cereals like Malt O Meal but not sure how it compares health wise. I remembered seeing an ad for Starbucks “Perfect Oatmeal.” I got the oatmeal and was quite charmed by the tiny little packets of brown sugar, chopped nuts and dried fruit. I passed on the sugar, and added about 1/2 packet each of the nuts and fruit. Then I ran into someone I knew and chatted for a while. MISTAKE. When I got to my car, there was a bright green $45 parking ticket. BOOOOOO.

I came home. I was upset. I added up my points for the oatmeal etc and was mad when I realized it was more than I’d anticipated/wanted. I went into a funk. I started fooling around on Twitter/Facebook and before I knew it, hours had passed. I kept saying, “I ought to go exercise” but I didn’t. Then I started feeling HUNGRY and that made me even madder. Damn that oatmeal!!

I ended up not exercising at all. I had to go somewhere and didn’t have time to exercise AND shower, and I really needed to shower. I was in a funk. For some bizarro reason I had the weirdest, strongest craving for HOT DOGS all day. Really? Hot dogs? Why crave what is basically a NON food but really a piece of garbage? I don’t know. But I could not get hot dogs out of my mind.  My brain was crawling with hot dogs.

Fortunately, I practiced some deep breathing and managed to get through the day without eating any hot dogs. I was in a big rush. I ordered Indian food takeout. I ate much much much too quickly although did not eat any naan or rice. It was good but I probably ate too much. (note to self: buy food scale next time at WW) Went out to see a friend’s performance. Bought a bottle of water at intermission. Went to bed vowing to have a better day today.

TODAY, I woke up and after driving girl to school, went straight to my trainer. He was fa-bu-lo-so. He gave me a great Biggest Loser type workout. I felt like Sione. He kept hooting and yelling, GIRL, you are really BRINGING IT! I was happy and sweaty.

I have been having some hip muscle pain for the past couple months -first the inside of my hip (groin) and then it migrated to the outside. My trainer’s bodyworker came in and he so very generously GAVE ME half of his time with her. She had just done this workshop on hips and she was eager to try out all her new tricks. I was so excited!! She worked on me for 30 mins and when I hopped off the table I felt like a million bucks. Seriously. It was sooooooooo good. (note to self: schedule more bodywork)

Then I had a pre-existing appointment to go to this chair massage place (yeah! another bodywork) with a friend. We each got mini 15-minute chair massages which was great since this one focused mostly on my neck and shoulders. YAY. Then we had lunch and I had a very satisfying/modest bean soup, Mediterranean salad and a few steamed clams. All good.

I feel sooooooooooooo much better today.  It’s like a different universe.  I have to remember this every single day. If I don’t get my dose of endorphins, I feel awful. If I do, everything is easier.

 

Three Cheers for the Torture Machine February 24, 2009

I’m only half kidding when I say that about our beloved (cough) erg machine (ie rowing machine). Both of my daughters, as I’ve mentioned before, are rowers, one on a Division I college level. I’ve watched them and their teammates erg for years. It looks like torture. But they are not kidding when they say that rowing is a full-body sport.

I just got off my third 20-minute erg session. The sweat is running in rivers down my head and body. I know I’ve gotten an amazing workout. And the cool thing is that the machine actually shows you your progress. The first time, I was averaging (“splitting”) 3 minutes and six seconds per 500 meters. (to give you some perspective, the young athletes are always trying to get a “sub-two”) The second time, I got a 2:56 (YAY! a sub-three!!) and today I got down to 2:50.4.  I was very proud of myself. If I can get into the 2:30s by this summer, I will be a happy person.

I have to thank The Biggest Loser and my daughters for even getting me to try this (my older daughter for being an example of a MONSTER rower, and my younger one for not laughing TOO hard when she tried to show me proper form). But it’s a crazy awesome HARD workout that I can do from my garage. With all my best music on my iPod.

Yay for the torture machine!!

Note to self: do NOT eat hard boiled eggs prior to erging. Burps will be very nasty.

I have to say, I’m pretty pumped full of endorphins right now.

 

 
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