Friday, March 2, 2012

Another week!

I stepped on the scale today and got a nice surprise. I'm down to 165 lbs. That means that I am down four lbs. this week and 18 lbs. overall. That's exciting progress!

On the medication front, the Byetta is getting better. I had to start it by injecting immediately before I ate for the first 3 days, followed by 15 minutes before I ate for 3 days, then 30 minutes before (that's where I am now), and finally going to 45-60 minutes before I eat. This is twice a day, but it ideally has to be about 6 hours between doses. That means breakfast and dinner. One benefit of this has been that I now eat breakfast every day. My eating habits before were inconsistent at best. Often I would have nothing to eat all day except for snacks, then have a very big dinner, followed by snacks. I'm sure my body was confused by that! I'm working very hard on having breakfast and a more reasonably-sized dinner. In between, I'm having healthy snacks, like fruits, veggies, hummus, etc.

Body-wise, I still have a lot of belly fat I need to get rid of. I'm confident that I'm on a good path, though As long as I keep heading in the right direction with exercise and diet, I know that the fat will continue to come off. Speaking of exercise, I'm starting "Jillian Michaels' 30 Day Shred" video today. I've heard lots of good things about it. From what I've read, I'll probably see more inches lost than pounds lost, but that's ok. I may supplement it with extra cardio if I can, but that may be too ambitious, as I've heard this video will kick my ass. It will be fun to see changes either way. My sister is going to get it and start it also, so I'll have someone to compare notes with.

So, what do I need to work on? Well, for one thing, I really need to work on drinking more water. I also need to work on finding more good sources of protein. I have no problem eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, but the protein is a bit harder for me.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Feeling good!

This weeks weight update is: 169. That means I'm down 2 lbs since last week and 14 lbs over all. I'm really happy! My clothes are getting looser. I need to buy a belt soon or else risk showing the world my (mostly not-so-attractive) underpants. Or I could just buy prettier underpants.

The Victoza that the Dr prescribed me really did help a lot with my appetite. Unfortunately, my insurance isn't going to cover it enough to make it affordable for me. The Dr has changed my prescription to Byetta, which should be pretty similar in its effect on my blood sugar and appetite. I just started it yesterday, so I'm interested to see how it goes. The big downer with this medication is that it's a twice-daily injection. That's twice as many injections as the last medicine. Blurgh. Oh, well.

I've been doing well with the exercising thing. I've gotten at least 2 workouts in during the last week. I was a bit thrown off by the guys (hubs and son) having a 3-day weekend. I need to just keep repeating my new mantra: "NO EXCUSES". So, I didn't get in 3 workouts like I'm aiming for. Try harder next week. My diet has been decent, as well. Lots of fruit this week! And I am not finding the low-carb thing as painful as I thought I would. There's always room for improvement, but I'm feeling pretty good about what I've done so far. Most importantly, my blood glucose level has stayed consistently low.

And although I'm trying to not focus so much on the appearance-related aspect, it has been nice. I feel lighter. I like the way I look more than I did a month ago. I'm feeling more confident. I have a little more energy. I'm even standing up straighter. As much as I hate to admit it, the changes in my appearance are the biggest motivator for me. I want to see more! I want to look better! I want to feel pretty!

In fiber-related news, I finished the pink baby hat, added three heart-shaped appliques, and gave it away to some very appreciative new parents. I can't show what I'm working on now because it's a gift, but here's the finished baby hat:

Friday, February 17, 2012

New Stuff- feeling hopeful

I forgot to write about my appointment with my cardiologist. It was over a week ago. Ooops! Basically, he was happy that I'm making so many changes. He told me that I no longer need to take 81mg of aspirin per day. I also only need to see him once a year now, rather than once every six months. I know it isn't much, but I felt good having a little hopeful medical news.

This week I went to a healthcare office that is a branch of Diabetes America. I began the visit by talking to an educator/nutritionist. She was very kind and informative. She gave me lots of good guidelines for choosing foods, as well as the permission to not always be perfect. I asked her tons of questions and she answered them all. I was really grateful to finally have someone who could give me some sense of peace about food. It's not easy feeling like food is your enemy. She also gave me a new blood sugar meter. The one I had was fine, but this new one is a brand preferred by my insurance co., which will allow me to get my test strips for much cheaper. I can't express how much of a relief that is for me. I only wish that my primary care physician would have told me that such a thing was possible. The new meter also plugs into any USB port to download my readings to my computer and generate charts and graphs and things

After that, I went to speak with one of the doctors on staff there. He looked at the results of my blood tests from last month and gave me a much clearer picture of my health issues. He explained different medications to me, as well. It turns out that the blood sugar medicine I was prescribed in January by my PCP is in a class of drugs that can actually cause people to gain weight. No good for someone who is trying to get out of the obese range. Then he told me about a different type of medicine that lowers blood sugar but has also been found to help people lose weight. It essentially slows the food you eat on it's way to your stomach. This results in a much smaller appetite. Of course I was intrigued! The downside is that it is taken by once-daily injections. Ugh. But I decided to give it a try anyway. I just need to keep reminding myself that I do things that scare me all the time. I am strong enough. The first three days that I was on the medicine, I was really nauseous. That has improved greatly yesterday and today, thank goodness. Overall, I'm hopeful that this medicine will help me stay on track with my weight loss and dietary goals.

I've done pretty good with the exercising this week. I made it through two workouts, with the hope that I can do another this weekend. I really need to get at least three in per week so I can work up to even more. I want to be strong. I want to have endurance. I don't want anyone to have to slow down for me.

I almost forgot a weight update! I'm down to 171 lbs. That means about 12 lbs. lost. I'm happy.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Set back-ish

I haven't had a change in weight this week, which I'm going to count as a positive, since I've had a few set-backs this week.

First off, there was Super Bowl. Which meant snacking more than I should on things that weren't the best for me. I was aware of what I was eating the whole time, though, and I know that I did way less damage to those bowls of chips than I would have done normally. I made jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon, so at least there weren't any carbs or sugar in those! They were really good and a hit with the other people at the party, too.

Second, on Wednesday, I went to hang out with my friend, H. She's a busy lady between her job as a veterinarian and running marathons, so when she has time to hang out with me on a day off, I jump at the chance! As much fun as it was to hang out with her, I also came across a bit of temptation at the mall we shopped at. There was a little shop selling crepes. I almost never have the opportunity to have a nice, fresh crepe, so I gave in and indulged in one covered in Nutella and sprinkled with banana slices. It was heaven, even though I felt a little guilty.

Third, I haven't been feeling well, so I haven't exercised nearly as much. Due to medication changes, I've been nauseous every day. I've also been struggling with headaches for the past week or so. I have had chronic headaches since I was in my teens, but usually they are somewhat manageable. More often than not lately, I can get rid of the headaches with a little caffeine. That's not been the case this week, though, and usually that means that I need a new pillow. Blah, I hate pillow shopping. Anyhow, I have seen enough of a change in myself already that I want to continue making progress, so hopefully I can make some adjustments in my routine. I usually feel fine in the morning, so I guess I just need to be sure that I exercise early in the day.

All of this is to say that I had an "off" week. I need to stop the cycle that's happened before when I've made attempts to get into shape, wherein I falter for a day or two or a week and then I beat myself up about it until I give up. I really am hard on myself a lot. I can give me a guilt trip from here to the moon and back. But that's not constructive. One day doesn't define me. Neither does one week. I need to adjust my attitude, adjust my schedule, and move on.

Because my blog address is "leilaniknits", my mom suggested I show what I'm currently working on during my weekly posts. This is a sweet baby hat that I just finished. It will be heading soon to my cousin, A, to use as a photo prop. She's a great photographer and takes a lot of newborn pics.
And this doesn't look like much, but it's the beginning of a crocheted baby hat for my across-the-street neighbors who just had a baby girl earlier this week. They are really nice and I'm hoping for some baby cuddle time, so this is sort of a bribe. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Check up

I have ideas for longer blog posts, but I haven't taken the time to write them. I feel the need to at least check in and record my weight, which I checked on Wednesday. I'm at 173lbs. now, which means I've officially lost 10lbs. now. I'm pretty happy about the small changes I'm seeing already. I can tell that my stomach is smaller. It may be my imagination, but I feel like my face looks thinner. I know that I need to work harder at the working out, but I also know that I have to work up to it, so I don't hurt myself. At this point, I'm doing 30-45 minutes of cardio 3 times a week. I really want to work up to 5 or 6 days a week. I really do enjoy working out and look forward to it. This week has been extra challenging, though, because some of my medication has made me nauseous the last few days. I'll be glad when it ends and I can get back to feeling "normal".

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Weighing In

I've decided that I will weigh in only once a week. I may check my weight other days, but the only day I'll record it is Wednesday. For the record, today I am at 175lbs. That is an eight pound loss for those keeping score at home.

I'm still plugging away, struggling to make the right choices. Part of the problem is that I don't know what the right choices are. My doctor told me to see a diabetic nutrition counselor, but didn't give me any guidance on where I would even find one. Living so close to the fourth largest cities in the country with one of the largest medical centers in the world, I knew that such places certainly exist within a decent distance. Luckily, one of my knitter friends happens to work in a healthcare-related job and was able to get me a recommendation for a place that looks great- Diabetes America. It looks like a fantastic place for all my diabetes-related needs and I already have an appointment for a week and a half from now. I'm also seeing my cardiologist next week.

Meanwhile, I've been trying to research what I should/shouldn't be eating online. It seems like something that would be easy, but it isn't really. After scouring the internet for a couple of weeks, I'm only marginally smarter about diabetic dietary guidelines than the average chimpanzee. I know that I'm supposed to avoid most carbs and extraneous sugar, but beyond that I'm a bit confused. I know I need to look at food labels, but what am I looking for? I'll just keep on guessing until I get to meet with the nutrition counselor, at which point I will again be able to go to the grocery store or a restaurant without freezing up or nearing tears.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

It has been about a week now since I was diagnosed and began trying to change. I've had some successes and some challenges. I've found that my mind is on diabetes and my health quite a lot of the time. I guess that's true of any major life event. I wonder if I will ever be done processing it and will be able to just live with it? I know that will eventually happen, but sometimes it doesn't feel like it.

I've started changing up meals to fit my needs. I switched from a baked potato to a sweet potato with my steak (which I had a smaller portion of than usual). I had an orange instead of chips. I switched to brown rice instead of white and whole grain bread instead of white. Even snacking is different, with fruit instead of sweets.

One of my challenges is, and probably always will be, eating out. We go out to eat on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as a meal or two of fast food most weekends. I've already determined that Jason's Deli will be a good place to go. Fast food is much trickier. It's hard to think of any fast food that isn't based on carbs. Yeah, you can get a salad at McDonald's, but if I'm going to have a salad, I'd rather make it at home.

Another challenge I'm having is on the exercise front. I can be motivated to exercise. I know I have to do it for my health. My problem is that sometimes it's hard to exercise because of pain in my abdomen from the cysts caused by my Endometriosis. Yesterday, walking on the beach, it eventually got to be too much for me and I had to cut my shelling a little short. I'll just have to do what I can, when I can.

Overall, I feel good about the direction I'm heading. I still have a lot to learn, but I'm getting advice and help from a lot of places. I just need to remember to not let this take over my life for too long!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I'm Obese

I'm trying really hard during this lifestyle change of mine to convince myself that fruit is dessert. It's going pretty well, actually. I'm feeling a bit more mindful and connected to the food I'm eating, too. Something about coring and cutting an apple is comforting, more comforting than opening up that box of cookies that I always knew I shouldn't be having.

That brings me to another interesting point. I've tried really hard to stay in denial about the "obese" label. I have been in the weight range considered obese for my height for a few years now. I've always kind of laughed it off or glossed it over. At size 14, I'm pretty much right on the national average. In a country full of obese people, I'm not so bad in comparison, right? In the right outfits, I look downright not bad. Also, the fact that I have pretty big breasts always made me feel better about my not-quite-twig-like appearance.

The problem with that kind of thinking is that it doesn't take into account what I've been putting my body through. I am sick. My body is not doing well. High blood pressure and Diabetes can absolutely be helped, if not cured, with the proper diet and exercise. There is even some evidence that Endometriosis symptoms can lessen with weight loss.

That's why I have to stop the denial: I'm obese. I am putting my health at risk because I love donuts, french bread, pasta, and pretty much anything sweet. I have to choose better foods to feel better. I have to do it for my future self, and for my current self. It's embarrassing to say, those two words. But I'll shout them from the rooftops if that's what it takes to make this change real and permanent.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Learning Curve

I'm finding it a bit challenging learning the Diabetes ropes, so to speak. All I know for sure right now is I need to avoid sugar, avoid carbs, and exercise. Cooper and I went for a bike ride today. It was about 4 miles. That doesn't seem like much, but my exercise level is pretty low right now. Due to the chronic pain in my abdomen, I've been really leery of doing much physical activity. Over Christmas, I went to Zumba with my mom and one of my sisters and I had to lay low on any moves that involved jumping or bending over too much. I just need to get over my mental block and do as much activity as my body allows. I've downloaded a couple of exercise videos, so I'll alternate biking, walking, and the videos. 

So far, I've found two good resources for Diabetic recipes and information. The first, surprisingly, is Pinterest. I'm already a Pinterest addict, but I am really happy with the results I got when I searched for Diabetic recipes. I've even found several other people with Diabetic-friendly food boards that I followed. The other resource is It is jam-packed with info and recipes. I've only just begun to explore the site and I can already tell that I'll get a lot of help from this site.

I'm hoping that these sites and others will allow me to see eating right for my health needs as a fun challenge and not as much as a frustration. I need to think about how much I CAN have instead of focusing on the stuff I CAN'T have. I also know that all of these changes will show in the way my body looks and that will likely help keep me motivated.

In crafting news, I bought a button-covering kit last week and I used it last night. So much fun! I made a bunch of pink and red ones, with the thought of combining them to make a Valentine's Day bracelet. I can't wait to make some earrings from a tie I have that is covered in pin-up images!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A rude awakening

I'm going to start this blog by "coming out" about my various health issues.
-At age 23, I was diagnosed with Hypertension, or high blood pressure. I didn't have health insurance at the time, so I really couldn't do much about it. I did quit smoking half a pack a day of cigarettes, although I continued to smoke on occasion. I've now been on medication to reduce my blood pressure for at least the last 6 years or so, and it is currently pretty well controlled, although I do get "white coat syndrome", which is a spike in BP when you're at a Dr.'s office.

-In November of 2009, I went to my doctor with severe abdominal pain. Many tests were run, and nearly a week later, I got a diagnosis of Endometriosis with multiple large ovarian cysts. In the meantime, one of my cysts had burst, causing indescribable pain. I was very relieved that the specialist I saw insisted on immediately getting me into the hospital to remove the remaining cysts and clear out any other scarring caused by my Endometriosis. The surgery itself was as successful as possible, but there is no real cure for Endometriosis. It causes infertility, as well as scarring and cysts in my entire stomach area. The surgery was done through a 12-inch incision on my stomach, which made recovery pretty painful and difficult.

-As a complication of the 2009 surgery, I also had a "heart event". After exhaustive tests, it was characterized to my as a small heart attack. A subsequent stress test, however, found minimal damage to my heart and its function. Heart attack/heart disease runs in my family pretty hardcore, so I wasn't surprised that this happened, only that it happened so young. I was only 27.

-In February of 2011, I had a second surgery to remove cysts and scar tissue once again.

-Beginning in my mid-teens, I have had bouts with depression coupled with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. I get panic attacks pretty regularly unless I'm on medication to control it. I've been on medicine for several years now and I rarely have a panic attack that's difficult to deal with any more. I have had some issues in the last year or so with anxiety attacks when I'm trying to fall asleep. I have a prescription now for another medicine to take on those rare occasions that my anxiety gets really severe. I haven't had to use them too often, though, and I think that maybe having them is a bit of a security blanket for me.

-Over the last couple of years, I've been developing acid reflux issues. I'll sometimes wake in the middle of the night with bile in my throat. When that happens, I usually get really panicked and sit up and gasp for air. Not so much fun for my husband.

-I'm currently taking medicine to relieve the symptoms I experience from Restless Legs Syndrome.

-Because of the Endometriosis and low egg levels, I'm facing infertility. My current Dr thinks that the only chance I have of having another child would be through IVF. I really wanted another child, particularly one with my husband, but I'm not willing to go through the expense of IVF when the success rate for the first time is so low. I am going to get a second opinion at some point to see if there are less drastic measures that we can take.

-Yesterday, I got the results from blood tests taken last week. I am Diabetic. This is a pretty big blow to my lifestyle and my ego. I love bread and sweets. Like I have an unnatural love for them. I'm still reeling from the news, and I am so confused at this point about what kind of dietary changes I need to make. It's only clear to me that I do need to make drastic changes. I'm only 30, so I have time to turn things around a bit, but it will take work.

-Related to the high blood pressure and Diabetes is my weight. I am currently a size 14 and firmly in the "Obese" category. For perspective, I'm 5'3". In high school, I weighed around 100-105lbs. The day I had my son in 1999, I weighed 139lbs. When I met my husband about 8 years ago, I weighed around 125lbs. I currently weigh 183lbs. I think I've been in denial for a while now about how heavy I really am. I can't keep putting off making changes. I need to start exercising very regularly and I need to change my eating habits.