Monday, September 19, 2011

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Lately, I am all about trouble! Trouble tracking my blood sugar, trouble tracking my food, trouble getting myself off the couch and exercising, trouble writing my blog, trouble, trouble, trouble.

The big question is how do I get out of the trouble I’m in? I’m not sure, I was doing well and feeling even better so why the change in attitude? Is it just the standard ups and downs of life or something deeper? I have been examining my feelings and I think it is just standard ups and downs, or maybe something deeper. OK, so I can’t figure it out, but I am struggling and I can’t seem to get it going.

One problem I face is being overwhelmed. I lose weight, feel great and then look at the how far I still have to go and I get discouraged. I know, I know…I should look at how far I have come instead, but easier said than done! I have read that 95% of people who reach their ideal weight gain it back. 95%!! That alone makes me want to just throw in the towel. I don’t want to work that hard only to end up right back where I started from. Well, I may have found an answer.

I went to a 50th birthday party for an old friend and he looks fabulous! He’s lost weight and has an air of good health about him. Well, I had to know where this wellspring lies! It lies in raw food! Who would a thought? He has gone to a raw food diet and it has improved his health in a major way. Then I talked to another friend whose father went from controlling his type 2 diabetes with insulin injections to managing with diet only. How? He went vegan. I have talked to others who have an aunt, brother, cousin or friend who have done the same. I must get to the bottom of this.

After some internet research, this is what I learned. Vegetarian diets have been beneficial to people with rheumatoid arthritis, depression, hypertension, type 2 diabetes and many other health issues. It is also lowers cholesterol and improves weight loss efforts. Vegitarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower rate of heart disease and it can even improve body odor and make your nails stronger! The American Dietetic Association and Dietitians of Canada have stated "that at all stages of life, a properly planned vegetarian diet is healthful, nutritionally adequate, and provides health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases".

My initial concern was nutritional. Then I had to laugh at myself because I didn’t think much about nutrition when I went on any one of the multitude of fad diets I went on in the past! Nutrition didn’t cross my mind when I was drinking my meals and going to bed at night with terrible headaches nor did it cross my mind when I was taking Phentermine and hardly eating at all! So why the concern now? It seems that my concerns are unfounded. A variety of fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds and grains pretty much take care of it all and a daily multivitamin is probably a good idea no matter how you eat.

I have decided to throw my hat in the ring! I don’t know if I can go totally raw or vegan but am going to go as far as I can. I don’t want to be one of those militant vegetarians who scoff at carnivores so I am going to be one who eats mostly a “plant based diet”.

These last few days have been about 80% raw and it was do-able, easy in fact. I have included whole grains along with lots of veggies and fruits and nothing with a face. I have to say, I feel really good! but…I am hungry ALL THE TIME! I am told this is normal and my body will adjust. In the meantime, I try to keep lots of snacks on hand. If anyone is looking to invest some money, try celery and Fuji apples. There will be a noticeable increase in consumption.

Here are a few sites I liked:

http://www.nursingdegree.net/blog/19/57-health-benefits-of-going-vegan

http://www.vrg.org/


Some interesting stuff, no?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just Make a New Plan, Stan

I am happy to report that my latest doctor's appointment was very good! I have lost 12 pounds, my cholesterol is down and my blood sugar is too! I am still on cholesterol medication but I avoided diabetes medication and my intention is to keep it that way.

Now for the new plan. I had my first diabetes nutrition class and I have to learn how to eat all over again. I am now counting carbs instead of calories. I really didn't pay attention to carbs before. It's not like the old-time Atkins plan with bacon, eggs and steak on the menu with pork rinds to snack on, but lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and veggies to the max! The real bottom line is portion control which has always been my hardest battle. I can go to town on the non-starchy veggies, but measuring is the name of the game for everything else. One trick I learned from a t.o.p.s. member is to keep a basket on the counter with measuring spoons and cups so they are always right there and there will be no excuse not to measure servings. A great idea that I haven’t incorporated into my kitchen d├ęcor yet, but I think about it every time I dig in my drawer for a measuring spoon or cup!

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about food and how it affects my body. I have reached a point in my health where I am looking at food more as medicine than sustenance. I think this is working for me. It really gives me a boost when I am able to say “no thanks” to foods that are not on my plan. I don’t feel deprived and I feel like I have done myself justice. I know that I can pretty much eat anything I want as long as I stay within my limits and that is a huge psychological help. I find that when I say “I can’t eat that” it makes me feel sorry for myself. I have had enough of that! but when I tell myself ‘yes, I can eat that if I want’, I find it easier to say no. Everyday I feel a bit more freedom.

Exercise is also a big help when dealing with blood glucose. On days when I exercise I have much better numbers than when I don't. The hardest part about exercise is doing it!! Once you get going it's all good, but sometimes dragging my butt off the couch is the hardest part of the workout. I recently read that the first ten minutes are the worst. Once you get past that, you feel good and can make it to the end and it is true. I have been riding my bike and I forgot just how much I enjoy it.

I know it has been awhile since I posted a blog and I the only excuse I have is that I have been feeling good! I find I have more to say when I am depressed or frustrated. I plan on staying on top of it. It helps me so much and I hope I can give others some encouragement too.

I want to share a recipe that we have been making almost every weekend! The hubby and I like to eat at La Azteca in Redwood City but we are pretty far away! I have found this recipe for Chile Verde and when I make it my kitchen smells just like La Azteca! I make nachos with homemade whole wheat tortilla chips (just cut and bake til crispy)and it is yummy! Try it and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Breaking Up is Hard To Do

I’m sorry chocolate and French fries, I can’t see you anymore. No, no…it’s not you, it’s me. It’s for the best, you will find someone else whose blood sugar and cholesterol you can alter. But, I will always have a special place in my heart for you.

I didn’t truly comprehend the size of the mountain I would have to climb. Do I have a plan? Sort of…I know what I need to do, but I still drunk dial my former lover on occasion. The most recent was at my daughter’s birthday. I was good with everything until the decadent, chocolate, strawberry shortcake was uncovered! It was too much for me and I caved. I just had a small piece, followed by another small piece (that I ate while no one was looking). With the exception of the sneak piece (or kiss, if you will), I have been managing my addiction pretty well. I can say that with some certainty because I have been exercising, losing weight and my blood sugar levels have been where they belong. I am getting stronger, I will survive.

It’s funny because I always went about weight loss in a formal manner. I had a plan, a food journal, and an exercise log and strict rules that I beat myself up over if I broke one. I am following most of the rules for healthy eating. I am not keeping a food journal. I know that is a great help when controlling calories and carbs and whatever else you need to keep track of, and it has been a great help to me in the past, but I am just not that into it. I may be rebelling. I am not too concerned because I have been at this for many years and I know what the right choices are and I kind of like being a rebel. I know that eventually I will need to start keeping track because it is very easy to fall back into the arms of your old lover.

The reality of addiction is that you are held captive by it. It forces you to do things you don't really want to do. I no longer feel imprisoned. I have let go and allowed myself to accept it and I don't feel like a slave to my addiction! When I received my diagnosis my daughter said "mom! this is probably the best thing that could happen" I was a bit surprised and not too sure how I felt about that revelation. She cleared it up by saying "you are going to be so healthy now!" Ahh! now I understand and it was good to look at it from that perspective. Actually, it was freeing! I feel like I can actually walk through the bakery and be o.k. even if there is a chocolate strawberry shortcake because I learned from that experience and I am stronger for it. This is the beginning of learning the 50 ways to leave your lover.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

12 Stepping it up

Now that I have realized I am an addict, I have been trying to learn about the recovery process. I know a bit about the 12 Step program but does it apply to a food addiction? According to Overeaters Anonymous it does but I wonder. What exactly are the steps?

1. We admitted we were powerless over food — that our lives had become unmanageable.
That is an easy one. Yes, I am powerless over my addiction. Unmanageable? That is a very strong word. To me that means my addiction has made me unable to work, bathe myself or even get out of bed. Yes, I have health problems relating to my addiction but can I consider my life as being unmanageable? Certainly the potential is there and at times I have felt out of control but I don't think I am at the unmanageable stage just yet...or maybe I can't admit it.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
This would imply that I have been insane for much of my adult life. Was I? Am I still? Coming from someone who knows insanity, I would have to say I am not, nor have I ever been insane and I am a bit offended by this step. Maybe I am taking it too literally or I haven't taken this step yet.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him. I've done that but you know the old adage...God helps those who help themselves. Besides if all it took to have a healthy body is turning our lives over to God, or your own particular Higher Power, we would all be healthy! We still have considerable work to do.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. I'm not sure how to do this. I have morals but aren't morals subjective? I'm sure the average mobster, has a different set of morals than I do. I'll have to go back to this step once I have figured it out.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. Yes, admission complete. I am addicted to food.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. See #2! I just don't think it is that easy. I don't think I'll wake up tomorrow defect free. That is a process that may take years.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings. Isn't this the same as #6? I think so.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all. Who has been harmed by my addiction? The proverbial starving children of China? I don't think so. I certainly have as my health has been effected. I think my daughter has probably been hurt the most. She had gone through her childhood with a fat mommy and, though she has never said anything, I'm sure there were some schoolyard insults. How do I make amends to that? I can become a healthy mommy but that can never change the feelings she had when the insults were hurled at her.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. I am certainly trying to do that by becoming healthy so I can be a mommy for a long time to come but just how? I'm still thinking about that one.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. OK, I can do that.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. OK, I can do that too.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive overeaters and to practice these principles in all our affairs. I did not have a "spiritual awakening" as the result of these steps. Does that mean I have to start all over again? I have a message to compulsive overeaters and I hope I can help too. But I am re-thinking the 12 step program for this particular issue.

All in all...Does the 12 step plan work? I'm sure it probably does for some. I know many a drinker that has achieved success in their sobriety by following these steps. I am guessing there are quite a number of folks who are successful in their food addiction as well, but for me I am thinking...not so much. I think group support is helpful and I get that support from a group that does not follow a 12 step. I think it is important to educate myself in a healthy lifestyle and learn to identify and control the behaviors that put me in this position. So, in conclusion, 12 stepping is not going to be my plan of action.

**My week in review:

*Tracking 1 - did not track at all. I gave myself 1 because I thought about it!
*Exercise 9 - I walked most days but I think I need to incorporate a little more activity in my days
*Eating - 8 - I am doing much better at thinking before I eat.

*lost 1.25 pounds (this is actually a 2 week period, but still good!)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

What is Eating Me?

I am getting tired of watching the shows that deal with weight loss. They go on low calorie diets that are prepared for them, there is no other food available to tempt them, they workout several hours a day and lose huge amounts of weight every week. That is not real life and as I am often inspired by their stories, I also get discouraged because when I see those types of results it makes me feel inadequate when I lose 1 or 2 pounds a week. I am watching the show Addicted to Food on the Oprah Winfrey Network and it is very emotional. It is not an exercise show, they don't have trainers or are they taught how to eat. It is dealing with the addiction. The interesting part of this show is that there are not only overweight people but thin people that are anorexic/bulimic because they are addicted too. Food has become a symptom of the underlying disease. The basic belief is; it is not what you’re eating, but what’s eating you.

These last weeks I have been coming to terms with my addiction and the resulting health problems. I have often had controversial feelings in believing that addiction is a disease. Don't get me wrong, I am not minimizing addiction in any way. I have seen my share of friends and family members destroy their lives with addiction and I have watched many go through the difficult and painful process of overcoming them. It is no walk in the park. I have always felt that a disease is something you caught or developed like cancer or chicken pox. I have faced my own nicotine addiction and after several attempts I managed to conquer it but it didn't feel like a disease to me. Now that I am coming to terms with my food addiction I am re-thinking the disease factor.

I think it is more of a disease like Bipolar Disorder or OCD. It is in the mind not the body. There are feelings that come over me when I am eating for other reasons than hunger. I think it is the same feeling that "cutters" get when they cut themselves. An oblivion. An escape.

What are the attributes of one who self-mutilates? They are not generally trying to end their life but harming themselves as a coping mechanism to relieve emotional pain or discomfort. There is self-loathing and disassociation.

OMG! you could replace "self-injury" with "eating", follow it up with guilt and that is me in a nutshell! So is this the first step? Admitting I am helpless over my addiction? I think I have taken this step before but it didn't make a difference. This time it is. From what I have gathered by watching shows that deal with addiction, the addict doesn't want help until they reach a point where their addiction has caused big problems in their life, such as loss of job, home, legal problems and damaged relationships. Why would they? Up until that point, they are having a good time. That is when they realize what they have done to their lives and decide they need help. Well, that is exactly what happened to me! All this time I have been feeding my addiction and it was when a serious health problem surfaced that I realized I needed help. My name is Jamie and I am an addict. So, now what?

My doctor has sent me to a nutritionist to learn a whole new way to eat. Normally I would count calories and get more exercise, but now I have a diabetes wrench thrown in the mix. I have to, not only, be aware of calories I have to be aware of the foods that spike my blood sugar. Not to mention testing my blood, and logging the results along with logging what I eat and my exercise.

But what about the mental part? I go to t.o.p.s. which is a support group and that helps and pouring my thoughts out on this blog does too. I am learning to slow down and think about my food choices and I find that I enjoy my meals much more. I still have a long road ahead but I think I am finally seeing the big picture. Boy! it sure is going to be a lot of work to get healthy.

**My week in review:

*Tracking 6 - getting better!
*Exercise 9 - I walked most days but I think I need to incorporate a little more activity in my days
*Eating - 5 - I was good with the things I ate but I feel I still need to work on portion control

*lost .25 pound

Monday, April 18, 2011

Thank you Mr. Zuckerberg

I went on a weekend trip to San Francisco with my girlfriends and had a wonderful time. We have been friends since high school and I really love them and I am so grateful to be able to spend time together. I thank Mark Zuckerberg for this. If not for his social network I would not have reconnected with my friends and we would not have been back in each others lives. We still communicated though not as often, and definitely thought of each other but did not see each other on a regular basis and now we do. It is great and my hat is off to you Mr. Zuckerberg.

I learned two very valuable lessons on that weekend trip. 1) I can go on a vacation or go out for a special meal and make conscious and wise decisions and 2) If you drink really good liquor you don’t get a hangover. I didn’t do great with my food choices, but I was conscious of my decisions and I wasn’t horrible. We went to Ghirardelli Square and instead of the huge sundae that I would have normally ordered; I just had one scoop of ice cream which I completely enjoyed. Oh yeah, I had chocolate syrup on it too. Though their idea of a scoop and my idea of a scoop…2 entirely different ideas. I didn’t order the most healthful of meals, but like I said, I was conscious of my decisions and it was a special weekend and I went right back on track. We walked around a lot and I have been walking daily on my lunch hour. It paid off because I went back to t.o.p.s. with a 1 pound loss.

It was a major breakthrough for me. In the past I would have thrown caution to the wind and ate anything and everything and told myself that this was a “free day”. The problem with that is that the free day ends up being a free weekend, week, month or even year! I think I’m getting it! It is a lifestyle not a diet or weight loss program. When you go on a diet, it implies that you will go off the diet at some point which is exactly what I have done in the past. I want to change my habits and have a healthier life. I want to be able to have a taste of something that was always considered “bad” or “not on my diet”. Since I am no longer on a diet, I can eat everything I want! Well, not really. But the point is if I eat a healthy, well balanced diet all the time I can have a scoop of ice cream once in a while. I have to learn that ice cream, (or pizza or whatever) will always be there. It will never go away and I will be able to have another scoop sometime. That has been a problem for me. I seemed to eat like I would never get that yummy thing again. The vacation weekend was successful and I am going to go forward with that success under my belt in hopes that it will help me with future situations.


**My week in review:

*Tracking 0 - still sucking on that!
*Exercise 8 - I walked most days but I think I need to incorporate a little more activity in my days
*Eating - 8

*lost 1 pound

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blindsided by the Light

I'm sorry I am a little behind. I will try to stay on top of it.

Another blow to my emotions! I met with my doctor to go over my lab results. It appears my cholesterol is not so good either and my doc told me that having diabetes, I have to be treated like a person that has already had a heart attack. I don't know what worries me more... blood sugar or the cholesterol!

Now that I have double motivation, you would think that I would be kicking proverbial butt, but the fact is that I am somewhat overwhelmed. I have so many emotions flowing right now it is hard to organize my thoughts. I have 3 months to get my sh*t together or I will have to take medication.

I am coming to terms with the hand I have been dealt. I have had to completely change my thought processes. I am not all the way there but I have made great strides. It used to be that when I was going to eat something that I shouldn't I just told myself "it's ok, just be good the rest of the day" or something to that effect. Now, that is no longer the case. Now when I want something not on the plan, I think about amputated limbs, blindness and being a burden to my daughter. It really does the trick.

I will say that not eating the processed junk and bad carbs has made a difference in my satisfaction level. I feel pretty good and I don't feel like snacking between meals. I have also joined the lunchtime walking club at work. We walk a mile around the building. The weather is good right now, but when summer comes...I don't think I'll be so agreeable.

One thing that I miss...French Fries. I just love 'em. Sweet potatoes make good fries but I found an even yummier swap. This recipe is from Hungry Girl that uses Butternut Squash and it really hits the spot.

Click here for the recipe. You will not be sorry.


**My week on a scale of 1-10:

*Tracking 5 - I start the day right but I fizzle out as the day goes on. Still gotta work on that
*Exercise 8 - I walked most days but I think I need to incorporate a little more activity in my days
*Eating - 10

*lost 1.75 pounds