The Good News

This is a day I was super happy. Swinging with my nephew. (Had to cut him out of the pic, that's an internet no no.) I am almost this happy today.
This is a day I was super happy. Swinging with my nephew. (Had to cut him out of the pic, that’s an internet no no.) I am almost this happy today.

September of 2013 I was diagnosed with diabetes. I was prescribed 1750 mg of a drug called Metformin and a Victoza injection every night. That day I cried on the floor with my husband looking on helplessly. In the two years since, I have gone through so much pain and setbacks. I have quit my job, my Dad had a heart attack, I left the friends and family I love so much and moved across country. It has been a really hard two years. Between the PCOS and Endometriosis, I have been in pain, depressed, on pain pills and frankly fed the fuck up.

Slowly I have been trying to take control of my health. First, I started eating all organic about three months ago. I have learned about all the chemicals and antibiotics they put in our food, and how cruel they are to animals in industrial farming. I have wanted to vote with my money for a long time, but finally put that into fruition three to four months ago. An amazing side effect of this choice is my PCOS symptoms have lessened. It was surprising but also very motivating, and so Brad and I decided to take it further. About a month ago we went to a mostly vegetarian diet. Ninety percent to ninety five percent of our diet is meat free.

I went to my doctor’s appointment last week, at the time I found out that I had lost twenty-nine pounds in just a month and a half of my last appointment. This is really awesome, but not even close to the best part. This morning my doctor called to give me the results of my tests. I am overjoyed with the results. I now have the A1C results of a pre-diabetic, not a diabetic!!!! Hard work pays off!  I am not out of the danger zone yet. I doubt I will ever be out of the danger zone truly, but for the first time ever…my numbers are going the other way!!!!!! I am only taking one Metformin now and no Victoza. My doctor wanted me to take two but said it would be okay if I waited another three months to see what I could do in that time to get my blood sugar down.

I have three months to get my sugars down .2 points in order for my doctor to feel good with my current medicine regimen. So that is where I must start. I can do this! I am of the fake it until you make it camp so I say that a lot. However, for the first time ever, I believe it. I am so happy that the choices that I have been making are finally the right ones. I feel like I should celebrate, but I will wait. I have many more meals to plan, and miles to walk before a PLANNED celebration. That’s how I do things now. I plan my indulgences. I make good decisions. That’s me, controlling my destiny over here.

Okay, so I might be having a mini celebration in my head which is pretty powerful these days.

Cooking as Meditation?

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Lately, I think of cooking as a chore. I don’t know what has changed in my perception. What I used to love most was to get up on Sunday mornings and make my husband blueberry whole wheat pancakes, French toast, or my own special blend of omelet. There is something about the breakfast meal that my particular brand of multitasking is meant for; trying to get eggs, bacon, and hash browns all out and hot at once is a challenge that I used to enjoy. Not to mention, the look on my husband’s face -like he was the luckiest man to walk the earth- was worth a million breakfasts.
However, mornings have been kind of cloudy affairs lately. I wake up excruciatingly slow and only truly feel like myself after I have had something to eat. Thanks for that hurdle, Diabetes. So I wake up and sort of dry heave a little until I have something to eat. Even after that I feel out of sorts for about thirty minutes. Brad has been taking over breakfast, mostly because of my nausea. I don’t even cook it on the weekends. No, I am not pregnant.
Brad does the other cooking because he is applying for jobs and working from home. However, I feel like I am not contributing enough. I really do need to get back in the kitchen on the weekends in some form, even if it is just to show husband he is appreciated.
Studies also show that the best way to lose weight is prepare your food at home and control what goes into it. I just haven’t ever enjoyed cooking dinner or lunch in the same way as breakfast. It is sort of slow and boring. The chopping, standing, sweating, and with me the breaking things and burning the fingers.
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However, I just read an article in Yoga Journal called, “The Power of the Pan.” They were interviewing the brilliant Michael Pollan, who is the author of many books relating to food. He said something that really hit home with my new plan to slow down and be mindful.
“I was hasty in the kitchen, hasty chopping onions—mine were always chunky and I didn’t sauté’ them long enough to get them sweet and caramelized. Samin Nosrat, my cooking teacher, who was a serious student of yoga, was always trying to get me to slow down. She said the key to great cooking was patience, practice, and presence. And this was a very hard thing for me to learn. It involved basically paying much greater attention to what I was doing. Learning how to just be there is the hardest thing of all.”
Sing it brother! I am telling you, focusing on only one task is the hardest thing for me to do, but I want to be more mindful. I want to teach my mind to enjoy doing things fully. I want to learn to focus on the task at hand and just enjoy it, and I also want to eat healthy. That makes two birds but with one stone, yeah?
So this weekend I will be cooking a nice dinner for my lovely, long-suffering husband and I hope to knock his socks off.
Pollan enjoys cooking now, so maybe I will too. He says, “Once you do, it’s this beautiful process that absorbs all your senses in a way that checking your email or watching television does not.”
I am going to try this way of cooking and tell you how it goes. If you have experienced this sort of bliss, please share it here on the blog site. I would love to hear about it.

Time flies when you’re discombobulated

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This is me rocking the pig tails at work

My schedule has changed. For the past couple of years I have worked from 11:30 to 8:00 pm. I loved this schedule. It fit my lifestyle perfectly. I had time to sleep in but not enough that I felt disgusted with myself for wasting the day away. I also had time when I got off work to have a relaxing swim in the evening air with my honey, without those pesky little screaming children blocking my laps. I had gotten a good rhythm. I timed my meals every four hours, and then had alarms set for testing my blood sugar. Husband and I had a set a bedtime and a set wake time. Geez, I have become annoyingly boring. I didn’t used to be this so stringently scheduled, but with the sleep apnea and diabetes I have to be if I want to have be a functioning successful human.

So now I work 1:30 to 10:00 and you would think a two hour shift wouldn’t be all out chaotic, but it sure does feel like it. My internal clock is messed up and my meals are a different time and it took me a week to figure out the times I should be eating and should be testing my sugars. Husband and I still haven’t figured out when we are going to bed and when we are getting up. The first week or so, we took advantage of the sleeping in. We stayed in bed until noonish. Then we knew we were messing up because we have to fit in swimming. Well if we want to swim we have to get up at a decent time. So we are figuring that out. The good news is that we got up this morning at 10:00 am. Well, okay the alarm went off at ten, and then we sort of slowly got around. By the time we got to the pool it was about 10:50. The good news is no one was at the pool then either, so my weird schedule is actually working out in one way.

The good part about this change is lunch and dinner time are actually during the work time. So I am eating with my husband for breakfast but for lunch and dinner I am eating really healthy. Brad and I usually binged at night when we binged. So I think this will keep that from happening. No fast food and no cheap fattening meals. Everything has to be made in advance, so husband and I are eating a lot more veggies and preportioned meals for lunch and dinner. It is working out better in the end.

This change has made me realize just how regimented my life is, and how old that makes me feel. I figure a lot of us adults feel we have to be more careful as we get older, if only just to function in everyday life. I used to soak up debauchery in my schedule: eat, drink, and smoke when I wanted. I could be good to myself and instead of saying old say mature, but come on. I am complaining that I can’t eat everyday at four like I used too. This is sort of an old person problem. I long to be free, not such a fuddy duddy. My entire life is regimented; eat at this time, can’t go near cats, no smoking, must sleep this time. However, my free and easy life got me into this mess, so I guess I will just be mature.

The Search for Healthy

I have been off the wagon. I have to tell you I have been not consciously indulging. I have been just letting myself pick whatever I want and it isn’t good. I have been deliberately not paying attention to what I have been putting in my mind. On the vampire diaries, they have this thing were vampires can turn off their emotion if they want. It is when they do the most horrible things. When something hurts them badly and they don’t want to feel it, they turn off their emotions and then they do horrible things. I am sure you can imagine. I mean I am not quoting great literature here, but the metaphor is still valid.

I have been turning off my brain/emotions. I’ve not been reading about health or thinking about it. I have been taking a break and I have to be honest. It doesn’t feel good. I could tell you all the reasons that I believe this happened. I am a little off kilter. I have been adjusting to life with another person living in our house. My husband graduated and is looking for a job which may mean we have to move at a moment’s notice. With Christmas preparations, I have been very busy and this is the first time I have had to write. I think that reading and writing about my health really does help me do the right thing. It is as if I am living it.

A friend of mine started using these energy drinks and diet pills at the same time. She is a gloriously smart woman, and brilliantly beautiful. She is plus sized and that bugs her. She knew she shouldn’t have done it. She knew in the fiber of her being she was messing up her health. She is lucky she didn’t do worse damage to herself. The thing is, when she was telling me why she did it anyway, I was thinking I totally understand. A lot of people think about what they eat constantly. I know skinny women who plan their entire day. I know because for the past couple months I have been doing that, that there is some joy in that. When you are doing good, while tedious, it feels amazing to be that in control over your body and what you put in it. You feel smart, and light, and have energy. Now if you aren’t doing good watching what you eat, or you are succeeding watching what you eat and still not losing weight there is shame in that. It feels like something you shouldn’t have to do. Sometimes I have even lowered myself to be jealous of those people who don’t have to worry about food. I know women who eat when they feel hungry and don’t when they aren’t. I know women who eat small amounts of horrible food and lose weight. I mean it doesn’t do any good to be jealous or to resent your lot in life, but sometimes you can’t help it. You can’t help feeling sorry for yourself that you are addicted to food. I relate to that in a big way. I understand the idea of taking something that frees you from the constant worry of what you’re eating. To not think about food, and to only live freely, that is a dream idea. I don’t think they will ever come up with the safe drug that’ll do that. It’ll ruin your kidneys, but you won’t think of food for a month! Yeah, not so good. I know she isn’t the first one to do something so crazy, and she won’t be the last intelligent woman to do it either.

I can’t judge at all. I mean how healthy is eating yourself to death. I need to get back to the straight and narrow and I just like my friend are getting back down to business. My off the track thinking has got to stop. My first step is getting back on this blog and being accountable to you my readers. If some of my face book friends notice you haven’t heard from this blog in a while, maybe you could nudge me a bit. It probably means that I am using the ostrich method of facing my problems, and burying my dream of fitting into single digit size clothing. I made a deal with this friend to get back to journaling and weight loss. So I weigh in tomorrow to see what damage I have done and that hopefully will shock me back into losing. I will accept prayers and good wishes this holiday season. My aunt makes prime rib and is a caterer. We bought Goody’s chocolates and have a full box in the house. I am going to try and “indulge responsibly.” We also have many holiday parties to attend, including a dessert filled wedding. There are lots of battles ahead, but I will persevere.

To all those out there working on themselves in any way or just trying to get healthy, I want to say that I am hopeful that you can get through this like me. You can fall down and get back up. It is hard, because as with anything it is easier to put down the load than it is to carry it. I have hope. That is what we need hope and courage. I will be here trying with you. I think that my friend has made me realize more than ever, that we need support. Everyone needs support and encouragement and commiseration.

Everything is Beautiful, in it’s own way

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At home with friends, where I feel the most confident.

This weekend I was complimented on my confidence. I have told you before I was sort of born with it. My mom jokes I came out and said, “TADA!” In other words, I have been blissfully unaware of my place in the social order. I just assumed my place was high and went with that. I get that from my father. He was a free spirit, bless his soul, and never met a person that didn’t bend to his will or laugh at his jokes. It is sort of in my blood to relish spot lights; to sweep into a room and strategically take it over. Overbearing sometimes, I have to turn off my power (obnoxiousness) so that people get a word in edgewise. I am the proverbial puppy. I saddle up to you, jump on your lap and start licking your face from minute one. Not only that, but I have the audacity to dance like no one’s watching because most of the time I assume they aren’t. At this wedding, they apparently were, hence the compliment.

This is again just to remind you that I am sort of a confidence expert. There are two tips I would like to give anyone who wants to have more confidence in life. One, be oblivious and two, have more joy in life.  By be oblivious, I mean forget all the stuff that people think about social structure and how you should behave.  Do things that give you joy without any thought to the way people will think about you. Raise the roof in a mosh pit. Wear shorts to a formal party. Give a ridiculous speech at a function. Do what gives you joy.

If you have any doubt that this will give you confidence, think about how sexy joy is. Have you ever been to the park and seen a man in his forties who is not your type at all, but you see him playing with his child. He is making silly faces and dancing goofily and you think Wow, that is so sexy. The joy and unabashed love he has for his child is so attractive.

Here is another example: you’re at work looking at pictures from a coworker’s vacation. The normally buttoned up, starched person is wearing a swim suit, hair is wet and messy, fresh faced and slightly burnt but with the biggest most remarkable grin on their face, and for the first time you think Wow, he/she is beautiful.

Joy makes you beautiful, especially when it is unabashed and full. Shameless joy can wash away any flaws. Still not buying it? Go out onto the dance floor of any club and watch the dancers. Just watch. The people who are having the most fun- they are the ones you’ll be attracted to. The reserved person in the corner, the one who is worried about how they will look to others, or the one in the middle of the dance floor making very specific moves in order to impress- they aren’t the really sexy ones. It is the one who is dancing with abandon, arms and legs flailing, grinning to the sky, that is the one you want to hang with. That is the person who has it figured out! If you remember joy is sexy, then you can have confidence. Just concentrate on your joy.

Tiny Pellets of Death

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Okay, so it has been two weeks of no carb/low carb living… I am trying to get my blood sugars down from 210 sometimes to the necessary 120. This is the goal, this is the normal expected blood sugar. I wasn’t even close starting out. So far, the lowest I have gotten is 133. It will be a slow process from what I understand. Right now I am at defcon one when it comes to sugars. I have to be super strict about it. I want to get off this medicine. I know it won’t happen quickly but I think the feeling of urgency is helping me to stay on point.

Okay first the bad news. This change in our lifestyle is time consuming and frustrating. My husband who does the shopping and the cooking has really been trying but convenience foods have sort of been our go to for a long time, like I am sure a lot of Americans. We have relied on things you can easily microwave or picked up at a window. We sometimes sit paralyzed in the dining room trying to decide what to eat. We stand up together roam through the kitchen pantry and peak in the fridge for like twenty minutes with no ideas. I realize that it seems easy, right? It’s really not. We have to make our brains think differently. I mean I can’t have a package of popcorn. That’s my go to snack. Now, it is like, I will eat this piece of cheese and a small piece off the left over chicken. That’s just an example of something random. Things you would think are awesome are sort of off limits for now, like grapes and peaches. Which is especially heart breaking because I just got my favorite peaches from the farmers market, giant snow peaches from Kelley Orchards. I am just allowed to stare at them…maybe have a couple slices here or there.

I am having weird dreams that husband and I are buying ice cream, gallons of it, and also ice cream sandwiches. It is like God is allowing me to binge in my dreams. Also about three days into this no carb thing, Brad was making tea on the stove and the burnt burner must have had a piece of pasta on it. I was sitting there day dreaming I was eating my favorite pasta ala olio. The long strands of spaghetti sliding around on my tongue. Brad came up behind me to place my tea on the table and I meant to say thank you, but all I could say is, “Pasta.”

Husband is frustrated. It isn’t his fault. He is like me, he isn’t used to it. He sat there after one of our brainstorming sessions and said, “I hate that we have to think about food this much.” It is so true. It feels like we are three and don’t know how to feed ourselves. He feels that he can’t get mad at how hard this is, so he ends up being grouchy at other times. Finally I sat him down and had him get it all out. That took about thirty minutes, and he felt better.

The good thing about my husband is how oddly encouraging he can be. I was at work and they bought the entire center pizza and soda. I texted the husband, “Talk me out of it.” He responded, “It’s triangles of death and heart palpitations in a can.” While I was laughing at this text another came through, “The pizza maker has a nose picking habit and the soda factory lost track of where their rat poison went.” I responded, “LOL.” Then another came through, “Someone stinky licked all the pieces and the soda cans.” Needless to say I didn’t eat any pizza. I felt that much effort for motivation should be rewarded by a positive result. He also called cookies pellets of death.

Supporting each other, listening, and loving each other, that is what is going to get us through.

Almond Milk to the Rescue!!!

So I have mentioned on this blog about how I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and insulin resistance. What this means is that my body doesn’t process insulin the right way. It is a precursor to diabetes. I have to tackle this now before I am diagnosed with diabetes. Also being PCOS means that losing weight is harder for me than normal folks too. So it is a real struggle. I am really battling it, and not doing so good.
Brad and I have been swimming most days of the week. This week hasn’t been so good with the overtime and the heat. I don’t understand why but my apartment complex is keeping the pool heated in a hundred and seven degree heat. It is driving me crazy. However, we are doing this anyways. We are also trying to do Weight Watchers, which we have been off and on. I want to try everything in order to lose this weight and to feel healthy. There are so many people I know who are in bad health and don’t do anything about it. They experience chronic pain and have chronic problems and either can’t or won’t try everything they can to fix it. I don’t want to be that person. I want to be the one who tries everything possible to fix my health, and to feel better.
I want to do this the right way. I want to make a permanent change that I can live with my entire life. I don’t want to have to cut things out of my diet because I know that I am a stubborn person who will only crave them more. The minute I restrict myself, I feel depressed and usually try eating that thing twice as much as before. This is how it has been. I have been reading a lot about patients with PCOS having a lot of luck with a low carb diet. I have read these articles time and time again and thought, I can’t give up my pasta. I love my pasta.
I read an article recently that talks about a recalibration that I am trying to try.

10 Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight When You Think You’re Doing Everything Right

Foodist Recalibration

So no dairy, no carbs, no booze, and no sugar, and I am having a problem with it. I mean the booze is not a problem for me. I drink rarely. The sugar I have mostly moved to Splenda for most things. I thought for sure it would be the carbs that would kill it. I love some bread and pasta, but for two weeks I can do without. It was the dairy that was killing me.
In the morning I have three cups of coffee. They are filled with creamer and sometimes half and half. I love my coffee. I never thought that I would be so dependent on the coffee. I am. I need my coffee to get me through, nine and ten hour days. I can’t stand the powdered creamer, and all the others have dairy in them. So Brad went to the Co-op and got me soy creamer. That is the nastiest stuff. It is really gross. My coffee smelled tasted like burnt sweat socks. I went back to the creamer with my coffee.
I was really disappointed. So much I decided I wanted some ice cream. I ate a big ol’ bowl of it.
The following weekend I was relaying this to my writing group, The Frank Papers. They are all trying to be healthy people too. They have followed my struggle and are always there to give advice.
One of the Frankers actually can’t have milk. She has a grievous allergy to it. She said, “Have you tried almond milk?”
I had tried it, but not in my coffee. She got it out and put it in my coffee then and there. It was pretty good. Admittedly it didn’t have the thickness of creamer or half and half, but it provided a slight creaminess that was enough. I may be able to do this yet. First I have to get rid of the ice cream.