Put One Foot In Front of the Other

(from Santa Claus is Coming to Town)

I don’t know what to think. I’ve gotten so used to failure and disappointment when it comes to making good choices about my eating and exercise habits that I’m scared. Scared because it’s all coming together so seemingly easily. And I remember when it used to be easy but then one day it wasn’t any more. So I don’t want to relax and enjoy the feeling because if I stop being scared maybe it will all evaporate and I’ll be back where I started, disappointed and sad. And hopeless.

But I have hope now – I’m letting myself feel just the faintest glimmer of hope again – and that is everything.

Project Me check in: Tuesday

What I’ve done since last check-in: Lost a pound, tracked every morsel of food going into my mouth using MyFitnessPal, worked out three times for 30 minutes each time, stopped using food to self-soothe

Plan for the rest of the week: attend my Weigh 2 Eat class tonight, attend Making Peace With Food class tomorrow night, work out two more times for 33 minutes each time, read another chapter of 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food (highly recommended if you, like me, struggle with how to deal with your emotions without turning to food)

 The greatest wealth is health.  ~Virgil
The greatest wealth is health by katerha via Flickr

Random thoughts that may or may not be of interest to anyone but me:

  1. I am married to the most amazing man ever. Truly. I am half-crazed with work stress and he finds lots of little ways to help defuse my anger and frustration. He takes care of me the way that I ought to take care of myself and that is beyond the call of duty.
  2. The first Spring Training games are next Friday. Oh, how I love baseball!
  3. Shakespeare had it right: How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have a thankless child. [No further details, just had to get that out of my head and on paper.]
I need to write about Ginger.io and how much I love knowing that I’m contributing to a knowledge base of information that will help diabetics more effectively manage their disease, so expect a post about that soon. Also one about Fitbit and how much I love their devices. Neither of these companies are giving me a darned thing other than highly effective tools to help me make good choices, so this is coming from my heart (not my pockets).
OK, I’m off to my Weigh 2 Eat class, so ta-ta for now!

Project Me check in

How did I do yesterday? Pretty well, actually. I had my first Weigh 2 Eat class and committed to tracking my food via MyFitnessPal. I think it’s going to be a great group and I’m looking forward to 16 weeks of learning how to get to a healthy weight and stay there. No diet or exercise plans, just habits and best practices that have worked for successful weight losers/maintainers with a healthy dose of checking in with ourselves and the rest of the group for support.

Exfoliated in the morning. Took all of my medications. Washed my face before bed and used my eye cream and overnight moisturizer.

Plan for today: Came to work dressed to work out. Hoping to get in 30 minutes on the treadmill before grabbing a 500 calorie dinner from Rubio’s and heading to my Making Peace With Food class for the evening.

Counting Beads 2
Counting Beads 2 by the little list via Flickr

Just figured out how many calories are in the baby carrots, Cuties, and grape tomatoes I’m eating. I can’t believe I’m counting tomatoes!

What happened to January?

“If you want to make God laugh, tell Him about your plans.” Woody Allen

I had such big plans for January and then my life became completely unglued when things at work went crazy over New Year’s Day weekend and things still haven’t settled down since.

“Bicycle” by Riccardo Mottola via Flickr

Throughout January I told myself that I needed to come here to report out on my progress, as I’d promised. To put my long- and short-term goals in writing so that I could be accountable. And the thought of the “big post” I needed to do just completely exhausted me, so I stayed away.

I did so some good thinking about what I want to do in the next 333 days and I even took what I think are some good steps toward achieving my goals for the year. So, without further ado, let me share my goals for February, each of which ladders back to my bigger goals for 2013, which were

  • fasting blood sugar reading below 130 mg/dL
  • triglycerides reading less than 150 mg/dL
  • body weight at or below 220 pounds,
  • and an improved quality of life as perceived by me

Goals for February:

  1. Join gym with Mick – helps both of us get and stay healthier
  2. Work out at gym four times a week for 30-45 minutes each visit – nothing too strenuous or involved, just get in there and move; exercise is very good at helping to lower my blood sugar
  3. No snacking on junk in the afternoons at work – purchase fruit and veggies, have them prepared and ready, and eat as many of them as I like but NO junk (vending machine munchies, trail mix that a co-worker made at home and brought in, Girl Scout cooking)
  4. Eat a breakfast with healthy protein – my current obsession is a breakfast sandwich with one egg poached hard, lean ham or turkey, a slice of cheese, and a slice of whole grain bread – and skip the pastries when I get my nonfat latte in the morning
  5. Apply my anti-wrinkle eye and face treatments every night before bed after washing my face – this one goes to my fourth long-term goal to improve my quality of life: I’m tired of looking at my sad, tired, wrinkled face every day and there are things that can be done to make the wrinkles go away if only I’ll actually take the five minutes to do them consistently!

Signs of progress already:

  • Am joining gym tonight – Mick is signing me up under his account, the sweetheart
  • Purchased FitBit scale and activity monitor so that I can see how I’m doing with my weight loss and getting more activity
  • Have enrolled in “Making Peace With Food” class in conjunction with the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. It’s a six week program aimed at helping Type I and Type II diabetics manage their emotions without turning to food – what a concept! I really enjoyed the first class – it started last week – and feel that it will help me start thinking about food differently, which is a good first step toward getting my binge eating under control.
  • Have enrolled in Weigh 2 Eat behavioral weight management program. It’s a 16 week, 5 month program that uses cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to change unhealthy thinking and behavior to slowly and permanently lose weight. Can’t wait to start this week! It’s a huge commitment of time and money but I’m tired of losing and regaining the same weight over and over again, so I want to learn to re-train my brain.

So there’s the list. What do you think? I’m trying to take small, achievable steps without overwhelming myself, so not biting off too much at once. Give me your thoughts about other things I could be doing in the comments.

There is beauty in purpose

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 am a dangerously successful Project Manager at work – I make impossible, or at least highly-improbable – things happen all the time. I bring together really smart people and let them tell me how to move forward to achieve the desired result. I do this all the time, but never when it comes to my own health.

Really smart people – my endocrinologist (diabetes doctor), my dietician, my diabetes educator, even the therapist I saw a couple of times last year – have told me what I need to do to be successful and pull the project of ME out of the fire, yet I have nothing positive to report. Why is that?

How would I handle a work project that was critically important to the long-term success of the company, to the happiness of our customers, and was languishing? I’d get the smart people together, gather intelligence, write up and publish a “get well” plan to include achievable deliverables with deadlines, then hold daily project stand-ups to check in with the team and assess progress. I would also send out daily – or more frequent if necessary – communications to critical partners giving updates on progress toward project success.

Hope by dead_band on Flickr

So why not do that with the most important project of all – me? After all, what is going to make a bigger impact on my world than a significant improvement in my my health and happiness???

I have 364 days left in 2013 and nothing better to do, so look for a first draft of the charter for Project Me right here tomorrow.

I’m still here

No real progress to report on the “don’t be such a slug and eat something green and leafy every once in a while, would you?” front.

I’m too tired to care, it hurts when I go for a walk, I don’t feel like eating well or exercising – pick your favorite and I’ve used them all, over and over, for the last, well, forever. Something must change, perhaps even something small, so that I can start to move the puzzle pieces around and try to get them in the proper configuration. What to do, what to do?



QUICKSAND!!! by Mickie Quick on Flickr

I feel so STUCK.

Every evening I tell myself that tomorrow will be better, that I’ll get some exercise and eat something with good nutritional value, but I don’t do it.

I get lots of really helpful advice from real-life friends, blog friends, doctors, parents, and random folks on the street. These are well-meaning people for the most part and their advice usually has at least a kernel of usefulness, but change isn’t happening.

Today I have an appointment with my endocrinologist (diabetes doctor, for those not in the know) and I will ask him to start me on an insulin regimen to get my blood sugar into acceptable ranges; I feel like such a waste of space.

Why don’t I control my eating? Why don’t I get any exercise at all??? I haven’t even made it on my yoga mat once and my 30 Days of Curvy Yoga class ends on Saturday. What will it take for me to change???

Because I’m worth it

I haven’t been showing up much lately, not just here but in every way that matters for my emotional, mental, and physical health.

Work is going well, Junior League is going well, I keep up with the laundry (not ahead of it but at least it’s done and put away), and I haven’t missed a sewing class yet (last one is tomorrow), but I started a “30 days of yoga” program last week and have managed not even one minute of yoga thus far. Nor have I gotten in any activity above my daily minimum required to go about my life. I have time for hours of TV and web surfing every day but no time to walk for just 10 minutes at a low to moderate intensity? Really? I call baloney on that.

So I got up this morning, took care of Al the Wonder Pug, showered, and then went to a Weight Watchers meeting where I found out that I’ve gained 0.8 pounds since my last weigh in three weeks ago. Hardly surprising since I’ve done nothing positive for my health and I’m surprised the gain isn’t more.

Scale by vividBreeze on Flickr

Now I know where I’m starting – 242 pounds, in case you’d like to keep track with me – and where I want to go – 141 pounds, which is the very top of the healthy weight range for my height, so now it’s down to figuring out how best to get from here to there without becoming too obsessive and while still incorporating the parts of my current lifestyle that are serving me well.

For this week, I’m focusing on walking for 10 minutes each day which will give me one WW Activity Point per day and that translates into 1/2 of a small, nonfat, sugar free vanilla latte. (Yes, I work best with the rewards system!) I’ll report in on my progress as I’m able and will definitely be here this time next week for a full update on the week.

For those that have busy lives and lots of people depending on you, can you share how you make time for yourself and for your health on a daily basis? Any suggestions for how to fit 10 minutes of activity into a day?

Eating well for diabetics: Six things NOT to eat

Just as there are guidelines about how to eat for diabetics, there are also recommendations about what not to eat if you’re diabetic. (I’d like to point out that non-diabetics probably wouldn’t be hurt by following these “don’t eat” commandments, too.) I found these from Everyday Health:

  1. Donuts.Whether glazed or jelly-filled, these little gems are full of saturated fat, tons of sugar, and not a single positive nutritional contribution to your diet. Just say no! Substitute a piece of low-glycemic fruit
    My nemesis (from EverydayHealth.com)

    (apple slices, half a banana) with organic peanut butter.

  2. Cheese. Oh man, this one kills me! I love cheese so much that it hurts, but it’s just chock-full of saturated fat and we already know that’s a no-no. I don’t know of a really good substitute but the article mentions Greek yogurt which might work if you like Greek yogurt (it’s not a favorite of mine yet but I’m still trying).
  3. Anything breaded and fried, including chicken fingers and fish sticks. Not only are these saturated fat bombs, they generally have way too much salt, too, which can contribute to high blood pressure. Substitute an ounce of nuts, just be careful to portion it out because if you’re anything like me, nuts can lead to overindulging.
  4. Potato chips, crackers, and tortilla/corn chips. Wow, this is another tough one. I love chips and salsa SO MUCH. These nutritional miscreants not only raise your bad cholesterol and add too many calories to your diet, they are also a “gateway” to high fat dips or other enhancers. Le sigh. Substitute baked whole-grain crackers with salsa instead.
  5. Packaged baked goods, like cookies. High in sugar, fat, and calories, they also fall into the bucket of carbohydrate sources that are quickly converted to sugar because they have absolutely no fiber to slow digestion. Good substitutes include baked whole grain crackers or fruit. I sometimes find that a hot cup of tea with non-fat milk and sugar substitute will satiate my craving for sweet junk food, too!
  6. Processed cereals. I am lucky that I don’t like, and never eat, sugary cereals. As a matter of fact, I rarely eat cereal of any kind. These diet demons are packed so full of sugar that there’s no room for any fiber – a bad combination. A better option for breakfast would be non-fat Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and just a light sprinkling of a cereal that has whole grain listed as the first ingredient.

There are a few of my all-time favorites on that list, so I’d better get to the store tonight to stock up on some alternate snack ideas. I know what to do, now it’s time to actually do it.

What are some of your “no-no” food items and what strategies do you employ to avoid them? Or do you include them in your daily life in moderation? Do tell!

Five tips for better diabetic eating

I had an appointment with my endocrinologist (diabetes specialist) on Friday. We discussed several different options in terms of changing my medications to try to get a better handle on my diabetes, but ultimately the best thing I can do is eat less, of better quality foods. I wish this was something that came easily to me.

Image by Atila Yumusakkaya on Flickr

The basic rules for healthy eating when you are diabetic are not really so different from those that apply to everyone. In a nutshell, here are the top five tips for better diabetic eating (with help from the American Diabetes Association’s website):

  1. Eat a good variety of foods. Include vegetables, fruit, whole grains, non-fat dairy products, healthy fats, and lean meats. Notice that candy, cookies, and white rice are not on the list? <Deep sigh.> The variety of food you eat is important not only because it keeps you from being bored with your meals but also so that you can get most of your necessary vitamins and minerals from what you eat instead of having to take a supplement.
  2. Don’t eat too much at one sitting or too much of any one type of food. For instance, binging on Girl Scout cookies is discouraged. Smaller portions are important because your body won’t have to work as hard if it only has to digest a small amount of food at a sitting rather than an enormous meal.
  3. Space your meals out throughout the day and don’t skip meals. Ideally you would eat reasonably sized meals every four hours so that your blood sugar never gets low. (Low blood sugar can make you ravenously hungry and less apt to make good food choices. See the bit about not binging on GS cookies in point #2 above.)
  4. Eat fish with your meals 2-3 times per week. Why does everyone keep talking about eating fish? It’s a lean protein option, with very little saturated fat. It’s also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which help lower cholesterol and triglycerides and might even lower your risk of certain types of cancer.
  5. Get your five daily servings of fruit and vegetables. For best glycemic control (defined as the measurement of how well your blood sugar is being managed), limit the amount of starchy vegetables – like potatoes, corn, peas, and winter squash, and choose fruit with lower glycemic index values like cantaloupe, apples, apricots, and plums. Again, a good variety of fruit and vegetable choices is important to make sure you’re getting the best nutritional bang for your (grocery) buck.

Of course, it’s one thing to know what to do and another thing entirely to make sure that you do it. I asked my endocrinologist for a referral to a nutritionist for help in putting together simple yet inviting meal plans for my whole family so that I can – gasp! – start eating mostly at home. While it’s certainly possible to eat well while eating out, it’s sure a lot easier when you prepare everything yourself so you know what’s going in the pot!

How do you make sure that you and your family are eating well and getting the nutrition you need? Any time and/or money saving tips you’d like to share?