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.