Exercising for diabetes control: Doing something scary

This time last year, I was dealing with pre-race jitters and preparing for my first duathlon. Tomorrow morning, I’ll complete my second duathlon and, while my preparation has been lackluster at best, I’m in a very different place than last year.

I remember being absolutely terrified that I either wouldn’t finish the event or would finish dead last. This year I have some of those same thoughts but they dissipate when I focus on what’s really important.

What’s important:

  1. My health & happiness – my blood work is amazing, my endocrinologist doesn’t want to see me again unless something changes, I’m being fitted for my permanent dentures next week because the dentist is finally satisfied that we’ve saved my remaining teeth, my life is generally filled with things that interest and energize me, and I have so much energy that even a really tough day at work doesn’t leave me wanting to bury myself in a hole and sleep for a week.
  2. My family – TCB and I have never been happier, I spend plenty of time with my mom and dad, and all five of the kids are doing well for themselves.

What’s not important:

  • The opinions of 899 women I’ve never met and who have no idea who I am, where I’ve come from, or how fabulous my life is.

So, if I have to walk more of the second running leg than I’d planned, who cares? If I’m the last person into the Transition area after the run and the last one back in after the bike, who cares? TCB and Candace will be at the finish line, waiting for me, and there will be yummy brioche French toast and Deep Stretch yoga class afterwards. It’s approximately 90 minutes of my life and I will survive – how else should a 47 year old with a full-time job, a husband, five kids, two grandkids, laundry to fold, and a house to clean look at an endurance event on a single day in the middle of an amazingly happy life?

A 3-mile morning walk – not a bad way to start my 48th year! #HappyHealthyMe

A post shared by Denise Elliott (@lottalatte) on

Happy Sunday (by the time you read this), friends!

Project Happy/Healthy Me: June Review and Goals for July/August

My goals for June (and half of July) were:

  1. Work back up to run/walk workouts three times a week – Done. I’m jogging 3/5 of a 5K three times a week and it isn’t totally awful most of the time. We’ll call that a win!
  2. Continue to concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, by myself, for 30 minutes per week – Umm, not much was accomplished on this one but then I never added the Google calendar reminder, either. (Let me take care of that right now.)
  3. Put myself on a clothing, shoes, and accessory spending freeze for the entire month of June. I did fairly well with this one, surprisingly, with only one small purchase – $15 shorts from Target when I realized that the shorts I’d already bought months earlier for my trip to Raleigh/Wilmington/Charleston/Savannah were now falling off of my hips – for the whole month. I’m now halfway through July and I’ve been trying to keep with it – only one dress from J. Crew (originally over $100, I got for $25), a souvenir tee shirt from our visit to Seattle (marked down from $80 to $25), and tops and shorts for yoga (used gift cards and rewards points).

Looking forward, my goals for 2014 have been published and they include:

  • Achieve a healthy Body Mass Index by weighing 140 or fewer pounds,
  • A waist circumference measurement of 30 inches or less,
  • Body fat between 23 and 33% (done – body fat is hovering around 26%)
  • Complete a 10K event in 75 minutes or less,
  • Park both cars in our garage at the same time

What I’ll work on for the remainder of July and the entire month of August:

  1. Take one yoga class each week. My hip flexors and hamstrings are SO tight and it’s affecting my running, Pilates, and overall happiness; hopefully yoga can help.
  2. Work in the garage for 60 minutes at a time, at least twice in the next six weeks. – I’ve put the reminders on the calendar, now let’s see how I follow through.
  3. Put myself on a modified sugar detox. All of the vacations we’ve taken recently have been wonderful and I’ve enjoyed the heck out of all of them, eating very well but not necessarily wisely. Nothing to worry about in the long term, I just need to get back to basics for a little while and focus on whole foods with as little added sugar as possible.

OK, your turn: what small things are you going to work on for the next 46 days to make your life happier and/or healthier?

Project Happy/Healthy Me: March review and goals for June

My goals for March were:

    1. Keep up the run/walk workouts three times a week – I was doing well with this one until the training rides for the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure bike event started getting longer and more intense. I found that my hip flexors were very painful when I tried to combine running with the high intensity and/or long distance biking workouts, so I chose to focus on just the biking until after the event. I was ready to start back with the wogging (walk/jogging) last week when I developed a mysterious shin pain accompanied with some really alarming, unexplained swelling, so I decided to take the week off. At this point, I’m hoping to resume walking workouts and my beloved Pilates Reformer classes for this week and see how I go before putting the wogging back into the rotation.
    2. Continue to concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, by myself, for 30 minutes per week – Oh dear, this one has really not gone well – I haven’t had a decluttering session since February. Some of the reason for the slacking was the long bike rides I was taking every Sunday for my Tour de Cure training but the root of the problem really is my reluctance to deal with the unpleasantness of sorting through all of that useless clutter. I have a bad habit of just ignoring things I don’t want to face – hence the need to lose 110 pounds! – so this is just another manifestation of the same problem. As with my physical health, the cluttered mess of my garage makes me actively unhappy and is a silent reproach each time I drive in, so this must be dealt with.

Unfortunately, I never reported in or set any goals for April or May, so we’ll just move on to what I’d like to focus on for June. My goals for 2014 have been published and they include:

  • Achieve a healthy Body Mass Index by weighing 140 or fewer pounds,
  • A waist circumference measurement of 30 inches or less,
  • Body fat between 23 and 33%,
  • Complete a 10K event in 75 minutes or less,
  • Park both cars in our garage at the same time

So, where to focus my energy for June (and possibly July)?

  1. Work back up to run/walk workouts three times a week – As I explained above, I haven’t done any wogging since March, so I’ll need to ease back into it so as not to hurt myself.
  2. Continue to concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, by myself, for 30 minutes per week – This one is proving to be very challenging, as I discussed above, but it’s simply too important not to keep trying. For June, I’m going to put my 30 minutes on our Google calendar so that I’ll get a reminder and TCB will see it as well. Once something is on the calendar with an electronic reminder, the chances that it will get done increase exponentially.
  3. Put myself on a clothing, shoes, and accessory spending freeze for the entire month of June. It’s bad, people – really, really bad – and it must be curtailed. I don’t know if any of you loved to play dress up with your dolls when you were a kid, but I did. I loved to pick out the perfect outfit, mix and match different pieces to see how they’d look, add just the right purse and shoes, then style her hair just so. For all but 18 months of my adult life I was morbidly obese and forced to make do with whatever the plus size clothing manufacturers deigned to offer in my size, so I focused my obsession on my accessories – let’s not talk about my jewelry, purse, and shoe collections! – because I had no other outlet. Now, however, I find myself blessed with my very own walking, talking fashion doll and I don’t want to stop buying her every adorable outfit that crosses my path. My side of the walk-in closet is packed in as tight as it can go even as my bank account dwindles, so this cannot continue.

OK, your turn: what small things are you going to work on for the next 30 days to make your life happier and/or healthier?

Not an athlete

I was in a Weight Watchers meeting this morning when I had one of those annoying “a-ha” moments. It wasn’t my normal, early Saturday morning meeting because I walk/jogged a 4 mile event to honor Pat Tillman, an American football player who quit the NFL to enlist in the Army after the events of September 11, 2001. I was feeling pretty good because I was down just over 5 pounds from two weeks prior when I weighed in and I gained weight the two weeks prior to that.

The meeting leader, Marie – who also leads my normal meeting, started the class off by recognizing two women who walked their first 5K event the week prior, then turned to me and asked what event I’d participated in earlier. I told her about the Tillman run and then she turned to the group and said, “I knew she’d been at an event this morning because Denise is so athletic – she even plans her vacations around different outdoor events she wants to participate in.” I couldn’t help myself: I laughed out loud.

Me, an athlete? The girl who was always picked last for every sport in Phys Ed in school? The one who has to find exceptionally flat routes to ride my bike because my legs are so weak that my bike barely moves at all when I have to go up a hill? I can’t even manage to run an entire 5K nor plank on my toes – I am hardly an athlete!

Marie saw my incredulity and said, “Why don’t you tell everyone why you’re laughing, and while you’re at it, tell them what you’ve accomplished since last February?” And I was instantly transported back 15 months in my head, to the day I started on Project: Happy/Healthy Me in earnest.

  • It was uncomfortable to walk 15 minutes on the treadmill at the gym even though my speed was so slow that I was able to read an electronic book at the same time
  • I hadn’t been on my bike in over a year
  • I drove my car everywhere and got angry with TCB if he ever dared suggest that we might walk to the nearby shopping center because I knew it was uphill from our house and I didn’t want to get sweaty

I shared a little of that with the class, then listed some of the things I’ve done since then:

  • Walk for 60 minutes most mornings, usually covering 3 miles, over a very hilly route
  • Finished a Sprint Duathlon last October, including a 12 mile bike ride sandwiched between two running sessions
  • Completed a 5K event every month, either in person or virtually
  • Started taking twice-weekly Pilates Reformer classes and progressed from being able to do approximately 25% of the moves without modification to doing about 70% as outlined by the instructor
  • Formed a walking group at work that covers 1-2 miles a day
  • Began taking the stairs at work, even when my destination is 4 floors above me
  • Choose a local shopping center to walk around every week with TCB
  • Carry reusable bags and walk to do all of our grocery shopping; we also walk to dinner every night

As I spoke I realized that, while I’ll never be at the front of the pack in any of the events I participate in, I can definitely be accurately described as a physically active person, and that feels amazing.

this is what active looks like
this is what active looks like

Project: Happy/Healthy Me 2014: January/February review and goals for March

My goals for January were:

  • Re-do the ‘running a 5K course’ that I started (then stopped) last year – Although I’d just finished Week 3 (of 8) when I published my January goals, I hit another brick wall at the start of Week 4. Something about the step up between those two weeks had my hip flexors crying out in pain, again, and I had to stop. After giving in to a really horrible bout of depression that was at least partially brought on by my seeming inability to run more than a couple of kilometers at a time (even interspersed with plenty of walking), I decided to give the running thing another go but this time on my own schedule. Miraculously, it seems to be working out better for me and I’m able to run 3/5 of a 5K (in run 1K, walk 1K repeat format) without feeling that I want to die. This, my friends, is progress!
  • Concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, both of us, for 15 minutes each weekend – While I haven’t been perfect with this goal – and TCB isn’t with the whole “let’s do this thing together” program – noticeable progress has been made. I would guess that I’ve put in 30 minutes at least half of the weeks since I posted this goal and I’ve donated several car loads to the charity shop, taken a couple of boxes of old paperwork to the secure document destruction service, and arranged home pick-up for approximately a cubic yard of e-waste, u-waste, and textiles that were too worn or yucky to be donated to charity. I’ve also started a collection of old writing instruments that I find as I go through boxes and bags of crap because we have boxes at work for donating those as well. I knew when I declared this goal that it was going to take more than one month to clear even a quarter of our garage, so I’m not at all disappointed in how much progress we’ve made – at least we’ve made progress!

You might have noticed that I didn’t set any goals for February. Since I was so late setting my January goals and because my time in late January and most of February was really tight due to work deadlines and my new college class I’m taking, I decided that the same goals would do just as well for February. I did add an additional goal, too, although I didn’t post about it here:

  • Go on a spending fast for 21 days – while I didn’t go to extreme lengths, I did refrain from buying any non-essential items from January 13th through February 3rd. I did window shop a lot and I even pinned a few items to Pinterest to go back to after the fast was over. The funny thing was that, on February 4th when I was convinced I would go absolutely crazy with binge shopping to make up for the fast, I couldn’t think of a single thing I actually wanted. I did a lot of thinking during the fast about buying fewer and better quality items – clothing, for the home, electronics – and suddenly it became much harder to justify giving over our hard-earned money. Even items that are on the most incredible sale ever, if they aren’t truly gorgeous items that I can see myself using or wearing forever or if they aren’t of the very best quality, just aren’t worth it. I have too much cheap junk in my closet, littering my home, and cluttering my garage, so the spending fast was a great way to focus on what I need vs. what I want. I’ve splurged on a few items since then but, much like my eating, there haven’t been any binge episodes and I’m pretty proud of myself for that.

Now that we’ve caught up for January and February, let’s think about what I’d like to work on for the next 30 days.

My goals for 2014 have been published and they include:

  • Achieve a healthy Body Mass Index by weighing 140 or fewer pounds,
  • A waist circumference measurement of 30 inches or less,
  • Body fat between 23 and 33%,
  • Complete a 10K event in 75 minutes or less,
  • Park both cars in our garage at the same time

So, where to focus my energy for March?

  1. Keep up the run/walk workouts three times a week – I’d like to get another solid week under my belt on the current scheme before attempting to increase the first running segment from 1k to 1.5k. If I can go slowly, I’m pretty well convinced that running a full 5K before the end of the year is possible.
  2. Continue to concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, by myself, for 30 minutes per week – In addition to the clutter-busting, I am also going to focus on cleaning the newly cleared areas of dust, debris, and grime. Yes, it’s a garage, but there’s no reason the floor has to be absolutely disgusting!

OK, your turn: what small things are you going to work on in March to make your life happier and/or healthier?

Project Me 2014: Goals for January

My goals for 2014 have been published and they include:

  • Achieve a healthy Body Mass Index by weighing 140 or fewer pounds,
  • A waist circumference measurement of 30 inches or less,
  • Body fat between 23 and 33%,
  • Complete a 10K event in 75 minutes or less,
  • Park both cars in our garage at the same time

So, will I work on for the next 16 days?

  1. Re-do the Up & Running 5K course that I started (then stopped) last year – I just started Week 3 of the (8-week) course yesterday and am optimistic that I’ll be able to finish this time. My running is faster and smoother than it was when I tried it last year, although I still have trouble with the breathing part.
  2. Concentrate on clearing out one quarter of the garage, both of us, for 15 minutes each weekend – We have lived in this house, or I have, for not quite six years now and there are still boxes packed from when we/I moved. That’s my part of this mess, along with all of my paraphernalia from my stint as a Stella & Dot stylist last year. TCB is a packrat and also incredibly messy/not detail oriented. He’s got boxes of American Legion stuff that needs to be dealt with as well as just scraps of paper, bits of plastic, etc, plus miscellaneous junk we haven’t used since he got home from Japan in 2009 and won’t ever use, no matter how much we think we might one day. His poor car can’t ever get into the garage so he has to wander like a demented nomad at night when he gets home just to find a place to park. We have a two-car garage and we will be able to park two cars in there before the end of the day on December 31st! By spending just 15 minutes each weekend between now and then, that’s nearly 13 hours for each of us to dedicate to this endeavor, hopefully without getting completely overwhelmed before we’ve started.
this is so embarrassing!
this is so embarrassing!

 

Someone please make me feel better and tell me about your own, shameful hoarding/clutter bug ways?

Project Me 2014

“I don’t recognize myself when I look in the mirror. Puffy face with wrinkles that weren’t there this time last year. A sad, resignation behind my eyes that belies the smiles I paste on my face for public consumption.

My lower back, hips, and hamstrings hurt nearly every day now – when I lie too long on one side, when I get in and out of Minnie (my Mini Cooper), when I sit too long at work (which I do nearly every day). A not-too-gentle reminder that I need to move my body more while it also making exercise painful; the irony is not lost on me.

And my blood sugar. How painful it was – after overcoming years of fear and pride to ask for a prescription for insulin – to discover that it didn’t make a damned bit of difference. It’s only a matter of time before the complications start, or perhaps just a stroke or heart attack.”

I wrote the above on January 1, 2013 when I decided to launch Project Me. As I read that entry now, I’m struck by the sadness of my words but also my determination and commitment to do things differently with the new year. I don’t know that I’d call it hope because I don’t remember having that feeling as I wrote – it was simply a desperate desire for something more, and something better.

When I think about what I accomplished last year, the word I’d use to describe it all is commitment. I committed myself to improving my health and my life for 365 days, not knowing if it was possible or not, and then put one foot in front of the other to make it happen. Every morning when I woke up last year I committed myself anew to doing what was necessary in order to achieve my goals. And I still do that now, as a lighter, leaner, and oh-so-much-happier person. Every single morning.

So, what will I do this year for Project Me? I still have some weight left to lose before I achieve a healthy Body Mass Index. Most of that weight needs to be released from my abdomen and I need to shrink my waist quite a bit in order to have a healthy waist circumference. For my competitive spirit, I want to complete several athletic events in 2014 as well. And then there’s the happiness component of it all, too. I’ve put a lot of thought into what I’d like to achieve in the next 350 days and here’s what I’ve come up with:

  • Achieve a healthy Body Mass Index by weighing 140 or fewer pounds,
  • A waist circumference measurement of 30 inches or less,
  • Body fat between 23 and 33%,
  • Complete a 10K event in 75 minutes or less,
  • Park both cars in our garage at the same time*
Patience by AuthenticAng11 via Flickr
Patience by AuthenticAng11 via Flickr

If last year was focused on commitment then this year seems to me to be all about patience. I have always been the kind of reader who can’t stand the suspense and flips to the end to see what happens. Life doesn’t work that way, though, so I need to just settle back, keep doing what’s working while adding in a few new habits to enhance my health and happiness, and enjoy the incredible life I’m blessed to be living.

What are your goals for 2014? Do you have a word that you’re focused on for the year?

(*I'll post a picture later this week of the current situation in our garage but for now I'll just say this: it isn't pretty in there.)

Project Me: December and 2013 reviewed

My only goal for December was to make an appointment with my therapist to deal with my anxiety and the binge eating, binge shopping, and horrible obsessive/compulsive behaviors that accompany it. I saw my therapist at the beginning of December and just talking to her made things inside my head a lot more calm. She asked me to keep track of my moods, particularly when I’m feeling more anxious than usual, so that we can isolate any common triggers. We also talked about letting things just be and challenging my constant need for order with the thought, “What would happen if I just left that mess over there? Will anyone be hurt? Why do I care what others think?” I’m doing more of both of those behaviors and definitely feel less anxious than I was before our appointment. I’d like to follow up with her next month but my work schedule is a little insane in January, so we’ll have to see.

This being the last day of the year, I’m also going to take this opportunity to review how I did with my goals for 2013, which were:

  • fasting blood sugar reading below 130 mg/dL – done and dusted; my fasting blood sugar readings this time last year were hovering near 200 (very dangerous) and now they are consistently below 100 and usually closer to 90. [Clinical recommendation for diabetics is fasting/pre-meal readings between 70 and 130, so I’m right in the middle.]
  • triglycerides reading less than 150 mg/dL – done; last time I had blood work done, my triglycerides were below 100 without any medication, so I’m thrilled by that. [Clinical recommendation for diabetics is triglycerides of under 100, so I’m in the clear here.]
  • body weight at or below 169 pounds (putting me into the Overweight category on BMI scale)  – as of this morning, I weigh 167 pounds with 37% body fat, for a BMI of 29.6, officially Overweight. I weighed in on February 1st of this year at 244 with 49% body fat and a BMI of 43.2, officially Morbidly Obese. [I still have 27 pounds to lose in order to be within the Normal weight range for my height.]
  • waist measurement of not more than 39 inches – this was the goal I was most concerned about. At the beginning of the month I still had 1-1/2 inches to go and that just didn’t seem achievable to me. I wrapped the tape measure around me this morning and told myself it would be OK if it wasn’t 39 inches or less. I mean, seriously, look at eveyrthing I’ve achieved this year, so if I miss on one out of five, that’s not too bad. I checked in the mirror to make sure the tape was straight, squeezed my eyes shut while I exhaled deeply, then looked down to see the tape end directly below the big “39”, and I cried – I hit it perfectly. I have lost 14 inches from my waist since February. I know it shouldn’t matter so much to me, but it does. It really, really does. So damn proud. [Clinical recommendation for a healthy woman is a waistline measurement of less than 32-1/2 inches, so I’ve got quite a way to go to get there but I am SO MUCH CLOSER than this time last year.]
  • an improved quality of life as perceived by me – this was my “wild card” goal for the year. There is no quantitative measure to show how much my life overall has improved but here are some important (to me) data points:
    • I’ve made it a point to schedule time with my parents every other month in 2013 and have already set up monthly get-togethers for the first four months of 2014. My life is better when I stay connected with my family.
    • TCB and I have taken more vacations together this year than in any previous year of our relationship. While it’s nice to be able to travel on my own, when we do things together, everything just feels more “right”. We have both scaled back on our volunteer obligations and spend more time together being active every day instead of running around like crazy people trying to fit everything and everyone else in. If it doesn’t tie back to our goal of making and maintaining a happy, healthy family then it goes to the bottom of the list. (And we’re OK when we don’t get anywhere close to the bottom of the list most weeks.) We have subscriptions to two local theater companies and have attended five live productions since October, including one last Sunday.
    • I still fight with my depression but not as much as in the past. I recognize it when it comes much faster than I used to so that I can start to deal with it, and once that’s happened it’s well on its way out.
    • I stopped ignoring my dental problems, had 15 teeth extracted (that’s half of them), and am now on a schedule of regular dental exams and cleanings.
    • I walk a 5K before breakfast, five days a week. I take Pilates Reformer classes twice a week. This year I completed a Sprint Duathlon, Couch to 5K, at least one 5K event every month, and I started a group at work that walks two miles every afternoon.
This is the face of a happy, healthy woman!
This is the face of a happy, healthy woman!

Twenty-thirteen has been an amazing year of becoming happier and growing stronger, and for the first time since 1998 I won’t start the new year with dread and the knowledge that I still need to do something about my weight. It’s funny: once I stopped worrying about the weight and put the focus on my health, everything in my life improved.

I’m going to get off of the computer very soon until next year, so I’ll share my Project Me goals for 2014 in a separate post. Tell me, though, how did you do in 2013 with your healthy living goals and what will you do more of or differently in 2014?

Project Me: October & November review and my goals for the remainder of 2013

[I somehow did not do a check-in for October nor set any goals for November. Can’t fix that now, so we’ll just review how I’ve done with my goals from October before moving on to goals for December.]

My goals for October were:

  1. Stop spending so much time reading other blogs, shopping, and being a social media fan girl and actually start writing here more often – I’ve been a bit better about this and certainly I’ve written more here since setting the goal than I did before, so we’ll call this at least a partial success.
  2. Continue working on eating after 7:00 pm – Well, if you’d asked me before Thanksgiving how I was doing with this, I’d have said that it was firmly in the “win” column, but I’ve been turning to my old way of dealing with stress and anxiety (binge eating); this is not good. It’s always late at night (after 7:00 pm) and it’s always when I’m alone. You’d think the success (so far) of Project Me would have made me more relaxed and less anxious, and to a certain extent that’s true. In some ways, though, it’s actually made me more anxious and compulsive than I was before. I’m at that point now where everyone I meet is taken aback by my slimmer appearance, and most of them remark on the difference. I don’t know how to deal with compliments, particularly not about my appearance, so it produces a lot of anxiety. I’m also obsessing about losing the last six pounds I need to drop before I reach the “Overweight” BMI designation and stop being “Obese” officially. Nothing in my health is going to change in any way from losing those six pounds – it’s just a mental/emotional thing for me and I’m blowing it out of proportion. I must deal with the underlying anxiety in order to keep tight control of my diabetes but it is also a huge source of unhappiness for me and I’m tired of it.
  3. Get my flu shot and figure out what I need to do to get a pneumonia shot – did not do this. Honestly, I never really wanted to, have never done it before, and am fairly certain I’m safe without the shots.
  4. Re-jigger my schedule so that I can fit a weekly strength training session in AND go for an outdoor bike ride -Well, I achieved something close to this – I’m now taking Pilates Reformer classes twice a week, which is great for my strength training needs (and is probably contributing to my fairly drastic drop in body fat percentage). With Pilates early on Sunday morning and Weight Watchers early on Saturday, my only real option for riding my bike is Saturday after WW and that is only possible on days when I don’t have any other engagements on Saturday. I’ve managed a total of two outdoor bike rides in all of October and November and probably two or three more indoor on the stationary bike. Oh well, I’m getting lots of activity now and I’m happy with my body, so I’m not going to sweat this one.

My goals for 2013 have been published and they include:

  • fasting blood sugar reading below 130 mg/dL – already achieved, need to maintain
  • triglycerides reading less than 150 mg/dL – already achieved, need to maintain
  • body weight at or below 169 pounds (putting me into the Overweight category on BMI scale) – 35 5 more pounds in 24.5 three weeks (not sure I’ll make this one but I’m sure going to keep trying!)
  • waist measurement of not more than 39 inches –1 more inch in 24.5 three months (side note: wow, I lost 4-1/2 inches from my waist since August 1 – must have done something right!)(not sure about the likelihood of making this one, either, but I’m going to push hard)
  • an improved quality of life as perceived by me – well on my way to achieving this!

So, will I work on for the next 25 days?

  1. Make an appointment with my therapist to deal with my anxiety and the binge eating, binge shopping, and horrible obsessive/compulsive behaviors that accompany it. Period. Yup, that’s it. While the spending and the compulsive straightening up around the house are embarrassing and dangerous for my long-term happiness, the binge eating has the real potential to not just damage my body through higher blood sugars, but also knock me right off track with Project Me. This is a big milestone deliverable and it deserves my full attention for December.

So tell me: what healthy habits are you focusing on for the rest of the year?

Happy Veterans Day & Diabetes Awareness Month

I borrowed this from the Lilly Pulitzer blog – it perfectly blends my love of all things bright and floral with my patriotic spirit!

Today I’d like to thank every member of the United States armed services for their service and sacrifice. Similarly, I would also like to acknowledge and thank the sacrifices made by the families of service members, too. (Believe me, they also serve.) Less than 1% of the families in this country have a member currently serving in the military. Less than 1%. Please take time every day to thank those in your life who put service ahead of self.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, the aim of which is to increase knowledge and understanding of this disease. Most of you know that I am diabetic, as are about 26 million other Americans. The type of diabetes that I have is called Type II – which used to be called “adult onset” until children under 18 began being diagnosed, too – and I am fortunate that my condition is currently well controlled with diet, exercise, and oral medication (Metformin). At the beginning of the year, I was injecting the maximum dose of long-acting insulin, a non-insulin injectible medication (Victoza), taking a pill to make my body produce more insulin on its own (Glipizide) plus a prescription-strength Omega-3 pill (Lovaza) and cholesterol medication (Tricor) to lower my triglycerides, AND double my current dose of Metformin – to absolutely no avail. I was a virtual walking pharmacy and none of it could get my numbers (blood sugar and triglycerides) into the recommended ranges.

I have made a lot of changes to my eating and exercise routines since then and have been fortunate to see drastic, positive changes in my health, but lifestyle changes such as the ones I’ve made this year don’t work for everyone – certainly not for Type I diabetics, who must inject insulin with every meal in order to allow their bodies to process the food that they eat – and so more must be done to spread awareness of ways to avoid diabetes as well as funding critical research to find new and better medical therapies for both Type I and Type II diabetics.

Last month, I was approached to participate in an online diabetes awareness-raising activity. The results of the project can be seen here and I’m very proud to be part of such a great group of bloggers with diabetes. Please take a moment to check it out and let me know if you have any questions about diabetes that I can help with. Knowledge is always powerful and it’s one of the best weapons against diabetes, too.