Monday, December 6, 2010

Things I Learned (or had reinforced) This Week

1. You really can eat anything if you watch your portion sizes.

2. Diana and I both get full on a lot less food than we use to.

3. As long as you are eating better than you would have in the past, you are accomplishing something. (In other words, don't beat yourself up when you aren't perfect!)

4. You really can't compare the weight gain and loss patterns of two people. Each person is truly an individual in terms of metabolism patterns, water retention patterns, and the effects of various foods (or lack of foods) on their body.

5. Because of what I said in number 4, you really have to take all nutrition advice, even advice given by the results of carefully executed studies, a grain of salt.

6. Sometimes it sucks being a person who doesn't overeat, especially during the holidays.

7. I can make feasts and desserts for my family and still not overeat.

8. Shoveling snow seems to be a completely ineffective method of increasing the pace of my weight loss.

9. It is best to never hurry and never wait.

10. Frequent solitude is essential to my well being.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Living Healthy with Diabetes: Join the Minority (or Is It Majority?)

It is always interesting how things come together in my life. A few days ago I read this blog post by Single Dad Laughing. Several of my unschooling friends had posted it to Facebook, and after reading it myself, I shared it personally with a few of those who I am close to. Then today, I was thinking about diabetes. Particularly, I was thinking about how few people with type 2 diabetes do the things that are necessary to control their blood glucose levels so that they can enjoy long healthy lives.

I understand why they don't. It is because, in general, doctors expect patients to fail. When consulting with Diana's team after she was diagnosed with diabetes, we were told repeatly by different health professionals that we could try this or that dietary method, but in the end, Diana needed to take a lot of meds and was facing a future filled with diabetes related complications.

When we attended a series of diabetes education classes, the nurse and nutritionist who taught them repeatedly comments that everyone's diabetes is going to get worse and that it wasn't anyone's fault. They also said repeatedly that all diabetics were going to binge and eat too many carbs and that the best you can probably do is to consider insulin therapy in the long run.

The statistics aren't promising. I won't spout off the numbers here because that isn't the purpose of this post, but I will say that if you have type 2 diabetes and you don't figure out a way to achieve tight blood glucose control, the odds are that you will die of heart disease or a stroke long before you hit the age of average life expectancy, and on the way there you will experience vision loss or kidney failure or lower limb amputation or all of the above. I will also say that at this point in time very few type 2 diabetics achieve tight blood glucose control.

Where am I going with this? In spite of those risks, which I think most people would want to avoid, most people don't control there blood glucose levels. Why? This is partly due to poor education. This is partly due to the wishy-washy type advice given by health care professionals. I think that it is mostly due to a diabetes patient's sense of hopelessness. They see the statistics, they hear the doubt in the voices of those who care for them, and they just think their situation is hopeless.

Guess what. I am not better than any other diabetes patient. Neither is Diana. We do know that some diabetics do manage to do a good job controlling their blood glucose levels. We do know that there are several different methods of doing this; the key is consistency. We are plugging away knowing that everyday won't be perfect (for nothing is) but that we can be in the minority. Perhaps I should follow Single Dad Laughing's methodology and say that we will be in the majority, the majority of those with good blood glucose control who don't have diabetic complications and do live long, healthy lives.

I have not been posting in this blog for awhile. Other things have been calling me. I do know that through this blog I can perhaps help others who have diabetes and aren't sure what to do next. (Maybe they aren't even sure they have diabetes. Wishy-washy diagnosing seems to be rampant too in spite of clear diagnostic criteria.)

I am not making any promises, but if my spirit leads me, I will update more frequently with health tips, nutrition news, and loving yourself ideas that just might help my readers to realize that they to can join my majority and look forward to a long, healthy life.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Goals!

I forgot to include our goals for November first in my last post. I have decided that we do need to bring the blood glucose meter and the scale and to track our food when we are gone as best as we can without regular internet access.

Goals for November 1, 2010

Me: weight 239, bg less than 100
Diana: weight 182, bg less than 100

Autumn, the Time of Busy-ness

While some of the members of the animal kingdom are using autumn to prepare for winter, it seems that our family spends autumn ramping up our activity level. Right now, I am at a point in my life when I want less activity of the social variety so this has not been a very smooth transition this year on my part. It also has been less than optimal for our diet. We have been eating on the go a lot more and that removes a level of planning and mindfulness from the equation. The results are present in our totals as October starts.

Our goals for this month were:

Me: weight 240, bg less than 100
Diana: weight 184, bg less than 100

Our results were:

Me: weight 245.6, bg 122
Diana: weight 188.4, bg 107

This is the first time that my blood glucose was over Diana's. I did have around 1.5 cups of white rice last night, and both of us have eaten more carbs than we have in a long time this past week. This just tells me to ramp up our control a bit more this next month! I am up for the challenge. :D

It will be a challenge too! This month we have a birthday party at my sister's house, a champagne brunch in Utica, and of course, we will be on the road to ARGH on the 30th, and then at ARGH celebrating Halloween on the 31st! There are probably other things that I am not thinking of too. I am tempted to bring our pocket scale everywhere and to weigh every bite that we put in our mouth!!!

Last month wasn't a complete wash out. I still lost one pound, and Diana lost two. Diana's blood sugar is still exceptionally good although I'd really like to see her with a number under 100. I am sure it will happen eventually! On with the show...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Yay for Summer!!!

Well this summer has not been a time for a lot of blogging, but it has been a time for a lot of fun and growing! Here it is September, and we have officially survived the summer of 2010! Wheeeeeee!!!

OK so our goals for the month of August were:

Me: weight 244, bg less than 100
Diana: weight 189, bg less than 100

Here is how we did:

Me: weight 246.6, bg 88
Diana: weight 190.4, bg 104

Neither of us completely made our weight loss goal. I had a mountain on my chart when Diana and the kids went to her mom's for a few days leaving me to clean. I have made a comeback, but it has been slow going. Diana was down to 189 but has popped up just a little bit the last two days. That is not too bad a thing because she has been losing fairly quickly the last couple of weeks.

Onto the blood glucose, I am so happy to see that 88! I have been worried that I would never return to the normal range no matter how much weight I lost or how careful I was! On top of that, I am so hungry this morning! Lower blood glucose equals hunger! What do you know!

Diana's 104 is the lowest fasting blood glucose that she has had since she was first diagnosed with diabetes years ago. I think she is eager to see the below 100 numbers too, but you have to be patient I think. I am sure that the work and perseverance she is giving her eating plan will pay off in the end, and for now, I am really celebrating that 104!

Our goals for September:

Me: weight 240, bg less than 100
Diana: weight 184, bg less than 100

I can't wait to see how we do!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Goal Post

Goals for this month were:

Me: weight - 252, bg less than 100
Diana: weight - 196, bg less than 100

Results:

Me: weight 250.0, bg 107
Diana: weight 195.6, bg 115

We didn't make our bg goals, but we are doing great! Seeing Diana with the 115 makes me feel, so, so, so, so, so, so good! :D

Goals for next month:

Me: weight 244, bg less than 100
Diana: weight 189, bg less than 100

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Diana Met a Goal!

Today Diana weighed 198.6 lbs. She had a hard goal to weigh under 200 lbs. by her 40th birthday, July 22. It has not been easy for her to reach this goal! I am so proud of her!

I have to admit, for those who are organized and like keeping track of things on the computer, I highly recommend the program Diet Power. I was initially reluctant to invest in a paid program for something that is so similar to things that are available for free online. There are just enough extra useful features in Diet Power to make it well worth the money. (I like the fact that it adjusts your calories allowed per day based on your progress and that it has a calorie bank were you can accumulate calories for special occasions or treats.) Also, once you pay for something, there is an extra urge to use it.

Diana's total lost since she started on March 1, 2010 is 29.8 lbs. Way to go Diana!

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Benefits of Weight Loss

Since I both started using the Diet Power program to record my food and decide my calorie levels, and started keeping my carb intake under 150 carbs a day, on February 1 of this year, I have lost 67 lbs. I thought I would record some of the changes that I attribute to both the dietary change and the weight loss.

1. I have more stamina! I don't feel like an invalid.

2. I sleep more comfortably in my bed.

3. I have a better center of balance.

4. I handle my FM symptoms better.

5. I handle stress better.

6. I can think more clearly and have more energy to delegate to both physical and mental activities.

7. I am less easily overwhelmed.

8. I look better in clothing. It is easier to find clothes that fit correctly.

9. I have less digestive upsets.

10. I have fewer "time of day" related moodiness spells.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Records

July 1

Me: weight - 258.4, bg 106
Diana: weight - 202.4, bg 107

Goals

Me: weight - 252, bg less than 100
Diana: weight - 196, bg less than 100

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Busy-ness

I have been very busy this week getting ready to go to a conference next week. I have also been eating extra healthy. I have noticed a correlation. When I am busy, I just don't have time to overeat. It also helps that I tend to have a lot of healthy food just sitting around (including plenty of leftovers at the moment that I want to use up before we leave!)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Walking

I took a three week break from my "speed" walks. It started when I acquired a particularly bad bout of poison ivy rash that incapacitated me. Then I got busy with birthday and anniversary celebrations, Memorial picnics, and planning for the conference that we will soon be attending. Today I was back on track. Although I had taken this three week break, I was hopeful that I would still do well. I have been losing weight, and in many ways, I feel healthier than I ever have!

I was a little bit disappointed. I completed the 1.4 miles in 29 minutes. Of course, this is actually quite good since I was stuck at 32 minutes for so long! Also I had no aches or pains, and I only found myself getting tired on the two especially steep uphill parts of the route. (I am proud to say that I didn't slow my pace on those stretches.) I definitely love my Soft Star shoes, and I'd say that I have adjusted to walking in them 100%.

Now, onto daily walks, I am seeing a long walk in my future, and I can't wait!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Nutrition

I am going to be adding a few new foods to my diet. The first is low sodium V8 juice. I have never liked low sodium V8 juice, but since I am lowering my sodium in general, it may be more palatable now. It is the best way to improve my potassium intake without similarly raising my sodium intake. I am also adding Greek yogurt. I have not been a big yogurt fan in the past, but I don't hate it. I am going to first try some of the sweetened varieties that are not too high in carbs, and then work down to the plain. The third food fits in there. I need to eat more fiber. (Low carb sucks in the fiber department.) I am hoping to add some all bran type cereal without raising my carbs too much and without it tasting too bad. I was thinking the plain Greek yogurt, some high fiber cereal, and some berries might make a good lunch. If I can't get use to the yogurt, I could add a packet of aspartame based sweetener to take the edge off.

Hopefully these changes will increase both my potassium levels and my fiber levels!

A Long Walk

I don't think that I have written about it here in this blog before, but I have an idea that I would like to take some long walks. By long walks, I don't mean an hour or two, I mean walks that could last possibly months. I like the idea of walking in the woods in near solitude, but I also like the idea of long road walks through small towns seeing what there is too see. Traveling by foot is very appealing to me!

It is funny, but I never saw my speed walks and the goals associated with them as having anything to do with my "long walk" ideas. It just recently hit me though that if I felt in good enough shape I could take some shorter walks to lead up to a really long one. Maybe just an overnight walk or a weekend walk or even just a whole day walk but with some real distance to travel. The thought is exciting to me. It could possibly happen this fall or even next summer is cool! Diana has also requested that I walk with her 30 minutes today. If I manage a 30 minute walk each day with Diana and my 30 minute speed walk 4 or 5 times a week, I should make some real progress towards me goal! (The weight loss helps too. Just losing weight makes walking easier even if I don't exercise. There is nothing like lugging around 300+ pounds to make a quick walk a real workout!)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Records

June First

Me - 265.4 lbs. 97 bg
Diana - 209 lbs. 122 bg

Goals for July First

Me - 259 lbs. >100 bg
Diana - 203 lbs. >122 bg

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nutrition Goals

I am proud of the progress I have made in improving my nutrition.  Although my saturated fat and cholesterol intake are still on the high side, I have lowered them significantly, and perhaps more importantly, I have improved my saturated fat/polyunsaturated fat ratio.  I have also significantly lowered my sodium intake although it is still high.  Quite honestly, on the type of low carb diet I am eating, I am not sure if I can do any better in these areas that I have already done so I am just going to continue with my present program to keep the levels where they are.

My next concern is potassium.  I consistently only get about half the recommended daily allowance.  This is especially bad since I routinely get twice as much sodium as I should.  Potassium blunts sodium's ability to raise your blood pressure.  The problem is that even though most plant based foods (including coffee) include potassium, and salmon which I typically eat once a week, you need to eat a lot of plant based food to add up to enough.  Bananas are known for being high in potassium, but it would take 10 a day to reach my recommended allowance.  A vegetarian would be able to do this more easily.

I have been spending some time today researching good sources of potassium and thinking about solutions to this problem.  I don't think that we should take a supplement.  We are trying to limit supplements in favor of food.  This is timely research also because as we lose weight, we are finding that we have to cut out calories back more, and the easiest way to do that is to substitute veggies (and to a lesser extent fruit) for some of the meat and dairy products that we have been eating.  I want to target those veggies and fruits to be ones that are high in potassium.

Here are the things that I intend to add in greater quantities to our diet - low-sodium V-8 juice,  avocados, brussel sprouts (we already eat a lot of these), and spinach.  I also want to look into the possibility of eating Greek style yogurt which is high in potassium.  It has fewer carbs than other yogurts, and I may like it with the frozen berries that we have been eating off and on this winter.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Books

A while back, I wrote about books that had a big influence on my life.  There was one that I couldn't remember the exact title of or find anywhere online at that point (although my memories of it were vivid!)  I have since found it and wanted to mention it here.

The book was called Single Again, and it was by Mildred Hope Witkin.  In the crowd of books directed at people who have divorced or become widowed or separated from a longterm relationship, it really stood out!  The book was written with the intended audience of women over 50 who had divorced or become widowed, but I think this book would be excellent for anyone who is at a place in their life where they are feeling a little lost or not quite sure where to go, or anyone who finds themselves on a road that was not the one they originally planned on being on.  The book is about forgetting about your original life plan and your long held dreams, and finding out who you really are and what you really want.  It is about not giving up when things aren't going exactly where you want to go.

Although I was not over 50, and I still had young children at home, I was able to use the exercises in this book to my benefit.  In many ways, I still use the activities and lessons that it taught me in both my day to day life and my plans for the future.  If you're looking for a reason to keep on living, check this one out regardless of your situation.  I do not think that you will be disappointed!

I never posted this on the first due to poison ivy so here it is now!

Here it is the first day of a new month, and I am always so excited to look at my progress. Our goals for this month were:


Me - to weigh under 280 and to keep my fasting bg under 100
Diana - to weigh under 214 and to get her bg under 120

How did we do? Well, I weighed in at 277, three pounds under goal. My fasting blood glucose this morning was 104 though! I was a little upset. I went back over my nutrition profile. Last month, I averaged 117 grams of carbs a day, and this month, I averaged 118 grams of carbs a day. That is not a significant difference. A lot of things could account for the higher blood glucose reading. It could be a normal variation (although normal variations tend to be limited to a 5 mg difference, and mine is up 6 mg from 98 last month). It could be the stress of having a cold. (I don't have enough experience tracking my blood glucose to know if this is a factor with me.) It could be that last month's reading was an anomaly, and I am still running in the pre-diabetic range.

My action plan is to keep losing weight, and as an extra precaution, spend a day tracking my blood glucose to check for abnormal highs. If I have other abnormal highs, I may decide to be more careful with my diet.  (Edit: I did spend a day tracking, and my numbers were all within the normal non-diabetic range so I am not worried.  I may have my A1C tested at some point in the future for more data though.)

Diana weighed in this morning at 213. Way to go Diana! I was especially proud of her reaching this goal this month because she has really been struggling with sticking to her calorie goals and correspondingly losing weight this month. In the end, she stuck with it and came through! Diana's blood glucose we 123. Not quite reaching the goal I wrote, but I still think that it is really, really good! She has finally entered the pre-diabetic range. I don't plan on changing anything in Diana's program. I believe that with continued weight loss she will continue to reduce her bg levels until she sees normal. Next month, she will have her A1C tested to see how her overall blood glucose is improving.

Now for this month's goals!

Me - to weigh under 271 and to get my fasting bg back under 100
Diana - to weigh under 208 and to get her fasting bg under 120

Random data for my records:

This month - calories 2018, carb 117

concerns - saturated fat 169, cholesterol 146, sodium 230, potassium 49, fiber 59, iron 84, magnesium 90

Last month - calories 1917, carb 118

concerns - saturated fat 180 (yay is down), polyunsaturated fat 78 (yay is up to target), cholesterol 155 (yay is down), sodium 279 (yay is down), potassium 53 (boo is down), fiber 65 (boo is down), iron 78 (yay is up), magnesium was fine this month (I know why it is down and how to fix it)

(Edit: I will be writing about some of my extended nutrition goals here soon!)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exercise Triumph

Last week, I only made it out on my 1.4 mile "increase my speed" walk twice. I was a bit sad about this, but not too much, because it is not one of my hard and fast goals. It is just something to motivate me to do cardiovascular exercise by thinking of how nice it would be to be able to keep up with people of normal weight and normal leg length on uphill hikes.

Early this week, Diana hinted that perhaps I should go for my walk before it got dark. Actually she just asked, "Are you going to go for a walk now before it gets dark.?" She may not have meant anything by it, but it felt really weird to me and definitely unmotivated me. I have been sick and sticking to the diet, recording the food, and attempting to make strides in the direction of a clean house are the first priorities. If it gets too dark to go for a walk before I am done with the other things, then I just don't do it that day. So far it has worked for me. I do not want any encouragement from anyone to walk more. I am hard enough on myself.

Anyways, yesterday was my first walk day this week and once again it took 31 minutes. I was really starting to feel like I would never do better than that! I was wrong. I walked again today and hit 29 minutes!!! I only need to improve by one more minute to move on to a longer walk all the way to the cemetery. :D


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Walking

Today I took my walk much later than usual. It was nearly dark by the time that I got home.

On my walk, I saw a pick up truck with two saplings in the back, lots of healthy evergreens (I am envious 'cause ours are all dying and I don't know why), children playing with a remote controlled car, a girl riding a scooter & a man riding an ATV, a pile of rocks by the side of the road that I had never noticed before but I am sure it must have been there for a long time, and lots and lots of daffodils in bloom!

On my walk, I heard the elusive veery that I hope to see someday, lots of dogs barking, a handful of kids playing, some very noisy vehicles, and a variety of birds singing in the twilight.

On my walk, I smelled BBQ's making me hungry, sawdust & woodchips, and fresh cut grass.

On my walk, I felt cold air making my fingers tingly and my lungs sting by the time I was done.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pet Peeve

I hate it when cars honk their horns at me when I am out for my exercise walk. I walk in a rural area without sidewalks. I walk on the left side facing traffic, and when cars are coming, I stay about three feet past the white line on the shoulder. No one need honk their horn at me! The really annoying part if when cars coming behind me in the other lane honk their horns at me! Are they afraid that I am suddenly out of the blue going to dart across the street?

Please, do not honk your horns at innocent pedestrians who are walking safely, following all of the rules of the road. It is quite startling, and I have nearly fallen in the ditch on occasion when I jumped in alarm.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Exercise

Today I managed my usual mostly uphill 1.4 mile walk. It took 32 minutes and that was with a delay when traffic got bad at one point. I hope to hit 28 minutes soon! Unfortunately, I only managed two walks this week (Monday & Saturday). It should be easy to top that with three this upcoming week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Nutrition Progress

I have been having some success with improving my nutrition. My saturated fat/polyunsaturated fat ratio is slowly improving. My cholesterol intake is dropping. (I only had 137 mg today!) My sodium intake is also dropping although I believe that this is one of the hardest things to reduce. I already don't salt my food before eating it, and I use very little salt in cooking, and I am still taking in over 3000 mg a day. This is down from around 4500 mg when I started, but still more than twice the amount that I would like to have.

One difficulty is eating out. In the past, we have not eaten out a lot, but lately, it seems that we are eating out all the time, and we have two eating out occasions scheduled in the next week! I really don't know how to decrease the sodium on these occasions. My best hope at the moment is to even it out by having even less at home. I am going to try some sodium free seasonings to improve the flavor of food for all of us. I tend to only use salt in recipes when I think that the rest of my family is going to miss it.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Exercise Update

Exercising every day or nearly every day (I'd be happy with 5 or 6 days a week) still remains a challenge. My walk takes me between 31 and 34 minutes at this point. You would think I could consistently find that much time to spend walking during daylight hours, but I don't. I still must not be making it a real priority. Improving my walking speed is very important to me so I need to make these excursions a priority too!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Random Recipe

In our quest for healthy, low carb meals, we eat a lot of stir fries. This was my creation tonight.

String Bean and Shrimp Stir-fry
1 16 oz. bag Prince Edward Island Blend Vegetables (green beans, wax beans, & carrots)
1 12 oz. bag fully cooked shrimp
1 onion coarsely chopped
3 4 oz. cans of sliced mushrooms, drained
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. black pepper

Heat the oil in a large, heavy sauté pan over medium heat. Add the vegetables and the onion. Cook stirring occasionally until the onion is soft and starting to brown. While the vegetables are cooking, run the shrimp under warm water to defrost and remove the tails. When the vegetables are ready add the mushrooms, the shrimp, and the salt and pepper. Continue cooking until it is hot through (about three more minutes).


Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dealing with Denial

Radically changing your diet isn't easy even if it is done with a lot of logic, by baby steps, and in the name of being healthier, feeling better, and having a longer life. There are those times when you are going to have a part of you screaming for those very things you really don't want to put in your body. There are times when you are going to be resentful of not being able to eat the way that you did in the past or that you perceive that others are eating around you. There are going to be times when you are hungry and your choices are limited or none. There are going to be times when you mourn what was with an intensity that may bring tears to your eyes.

How do I feel about all of this? This morning, I am having a not easy time. I woke up with my stomach growling and the desire to eat a lot of whatever I could get. I didn't do that though. I did the things that were necessary to help my girlfriend get off to a craft show, and I rested a bit. Then I decided to start the laundry and shower keeping to my usual morning routine. I took care of the baby. (Our grandson Benji is visiting.) Then I made myself a cup of coffee and heated up some mini quiche. I have been eating Luna bars for breakfast most mornings, but I knew that today I wanted something warm and rich so the quiche it was. I have finished and still feel a hungry, gnawing emptiness inside. I am not going to eat though. I know that I am not really hungry.

I am becoming a person who doesn't overeat. I am becoming a person who watches my carbs. To a certain extent, the action part of this "becoming" happened overnight. The inside change is far more slow though. Throughout it all is a mourning process. I think it is similar to the stages of grief that psychologists use to talk about mourning the loss of a loved one.

I have had the denial. In my case, it was very short lived. Diana has diabetes. I had had "pre-denial" with her. There is a feeling that maybe the test results are wrong. There is a feeling that maybe it isn't really so bad. I still look for research supporting a "do nothing-high blood glucose is not so bad" theory. It just isn't there. Seeing the results of poorly controlled diabetes in both Diana's stepfather and her father really keep me from returning to denial too often.

I have had anger. Again, perhaps I am lucky, because any anger related to my situation was very short lived because I had done it all before with Diana. Why does Diana have to watch what she eats? Why does she have to have a horrible disease? It isn't fair! The truth is that lots of other people have worse problems. Those thoughts keep me from returning to anger for too long. I would rather have diabetes than not be able to walk. I would rather have diabetes than have unpredictable seizures. I would rather have diabetes than have one of my children die. I would rather have diabetes than be horribly disfigured. There are others who may have any one of those negative life situation that I mentioned who very well may say, I'd rather have be me than have diabetes, but I am sure that you can see my point. Everyone is different, and no one has everything easy.

I have had bargaining. Maybe I can just switch to whole grains, and everything will be OK. Maybe if I lose weight then I will be able to pig out. Maybe if I am a very good girl, all of this will fade into the background and being healthy will become easy again. The fact is that I will have to watch what I eat for the rest of my life. I will not be able to over eat. I will not be able to eat a lot of carbs. If I lose weight, I may be able to eat more carbs and have more treats on occasion than I do now, but I will never be able to go back to being a person who overeats or a person who doesn't watch their carb intake on some level. Not like I was before.

I have had depression. Matter of fact, I have had some this morning when I am overtired, and the not overeating and the carb watching, just seem to be extra things that I don't want to have to deal with. I am sad. I am so glad that I have spent a lot of time this past year studying mindfulness and positivity though. Without those, I am sure that I would have given up on this diet change before the first week was up. When the depression creeps up, I need to work harder on the mindfulness. I need to find the positive in the moment. I need to know that life is worth it even when it is hard. I think of the joy of climbing a mountain, intimacy with my partner, playing with my grandson, being a helper and support person for my children, just standing on my own two feet in the sunshine not feeling too unhealthy to enjoy the moment. Those things are what keep me out of depression. I have depressive tendencies, so this will be the most difficult "stage" for me to leave behind.

Do I have acceptance? I like to think so. I have moments of acceptance. It is not a steady journey though. There is a lot of bouncing around. I believe that the moments of acceptance will grow and grow until I truly am that person who doesn't overeat and who watches their carbs both inside and out. I am already a person with diabetes. I am determined to be a person with diabetes who lives a long and healthy life with no complications. In order to do that, I need to keep my blood glucose levels under tight control. That is my goal.




Thursday, April 8, 2010

Nutrition Goals Revisited

I have been fairly successful raising my polyunsaturated fat intake and lowering my saturated fat intake. Today I had walnuts.

After analyzing my diet yesterday, I came to the conclusion that the only way that I could lower my intake of cholesterol would be to not have meat, dairy, or eggs at every single meal and snack. Of course, I am not going to be full enough if I only have fruits or veggies or the small portion of whole grains that I can have and still keep my total carbs down so I am going to be using nuts and nut butters to round out my snack times. These are calorie rich items, but I do find that just 1/4 cup will keep me from getting hungry for a couple of hours. Today I was able to keep my cholesterol intake under 300, and that included having a mac snack wrap at McDonald's this afternoon, around 5 ounces of turkey for lunch, and a chicken breast for dinner as well as cream in my coffee. Lowering my cholesterol intake may be easier than I had originally thought.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Improving Nutrition Part 2

Today I had a can of tuna for my afternoon snack. I had light tuna even though it has less omega 3's than albacore because it has also has less mercury and feels safer to me. (Not to mention the fact that it is also cheaper.)

The next "fail" in my nutrition profile is cholesterol. I have managed to bring my cholesterol intake down from an average of around 500 mg a day to an average of around 400 mg a day, but it is recommended that one have no more than 300 mg a day. The biggest sources of cholesterol in my diet have been eggs (which I actually eat very rarely), turkey and ham (which I get from the deli and have for lunch about half the time), cream (which I have in my coffee), chicken, shrimp, cheddar, and butter, all of which I often have as part of my dinner (although I have cut the amount of butter that I have way down.)

I don't have any specific ideas for further lowering the amount of cholesterol that I eat. Because I need to maintain a low carb diet to keep my blood glucose levels normal, I think that I will have to just be aware of those foods that are high in cholesterol and see what I can do slowly over time to improve this number.


Monday, April 5, 2010

Improving My Diet

I have been using the Diet Power program for over two months now to record and evaluate my diet. I have made changes based on what the program tells me and what I know about good nutrition. The changes that I have made so far are eating less (I eat about 2000 calories a day and I was probably eating around 3000 before), eating less carbs (I eat around 150 grams a day now and I was probably eating around 300 grams a day before), supplementing with a calcium/Vitamin D/magnesium/zinc/copper/manganese supplement twice a day, supplementing with 400 i.u. of Vitamin E everyday, and greatly reducing the amount of added salt in the foods I eat.

There are some other areas of my diet that are not so great that I would like to improve on. The first is the ratio of saturated fat to polyunsaturated fat in my diet. Although I am not big on cutting one's saturated fats way down (which would be very difficult on a low carb diet anyways), I would like to see a better ratio in my own diet. A lot of research points to a correlation between replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats and a reduction in the risk of heart disease. How do I intend to accomplish this? Well I am working on replacing most of the butter that I use in cooking (mostly sauteing) with canola oil. Canola oil is high in monosaturated fats as opposed to polyunsaturated fats, but it is still a good choice. Then I intend to increase the amount of fatty fish I eat to boost my omega 3 levels. In the past we have supplemented with fish oil, but we really like fish, and I think for now it might be better for our budget to concentrate on the fish. My goals are to eat salmon for dinner (2 pieces) at least once a week, to have another variety of fish a second night each week, and to have canned tuna for lunch three times a week. On the other two days, I will have 1/4 cup of walnuts to mix things up.

Tomorrow I will talk about some of my other nutrition goals. I am working on building healthy habits one baby step at a time!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Goals Extended

I had been hoping to find some time these past couple of days to look at Diana's and my nutrition profiles to think about things that we can work at doing better on, but it really has been too busy! I will keep trying.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A New Month

Diana and I were very successful last month and happy to see the results today! My fasting blood sugar was 98, and Diana's was 130. My weight was 286, and Diana's was 220.

Our goals for this month are:

Me - to weigh under 280 and to keep my fasting bg under 100
Diana - to weigh under 214 and to get her bg under 120

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tomorrow!!!

Tomorrow is a "goal" day so Diana and I will be taking our fasting blood glucose levels. I think we will be happy with the results! :D

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Busy

I have several entries that I want to make here, but it seems my days are so full I am lucky if I can squeeze out a few words or a link! Things are going good here though. Maybe my time for some peace will be coming up soon...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Diet Power Update

Things are going well here at Faerie Gardens. I am still successfully tracking all of the food that both I and Diana eat. It is not always easy, but I believe that it is worth it.

I am still only getting in 4 or 5 days a week of my exercise walk. I want to do better, but we have so many other things that we need to do that it is very hard to find the time.

I am looking forward to April 1 when I will see how well we have met our goals.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Should you supplement with Vitamin D?

According to the results of two new studies it may be a good idea to at least have your levels tested.
The researchers found that patients who boosted their vitamin D levels to 43 nanograms per milliliter of blood or higher reduced their rates of diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, high blood pressure and heart disease. They were also less likely to die during the study period.

Check out the link for the full story as reported by HealthDay News!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Learning to Walk: The Barefoot Movement

I have long had a problem with shoes. I remember well the joy of summers as a kid when my feet were only forced into shoes on weekly trips to town and most of my time was spent running free in my bare feet. When summer would come to an end, my shoes would be long outgrown, and a trip to the store to purchase a new pair or two for school would be called for.

Oh, how I hated those trips! Shoes never fit me right. They were uncomfortable. My feet were too wide and fat and short. I hated arch supports. They were so uncomfortable, and it seemed that all of the shoes but the cheapest would have them, and the cheapest shoes were so unfashionable, and in my school, people with the wrong shoes were teased mercilessly.

Fast forward to my adult years. With weight gain and stretched connective tissue from six pregnancies, my feet were harder to find shoes for than ever. Add to that, the fact that I am a pedestrian at heart, and you can start to see where my problem with footwear comes from. Dress shoes are impossible to find. For ages, I have been wearing white or black sneakers with my dresses on fancy occasions. Even wide width sandals aren't wide enough for my feet, and although I have been able to find some sneakers that I can wear, they have never been comfortable.

A couple of years ago, something happened that changed the way I viewed footwear. My girlfriend offered me the chance to wear her slightly too large slip on shoes one day at the beach when I didn't have my shoes with me. They were slightly too narrow although a couple of sizes too big, but stretchy enough that I could get my feet into them. Wow! They were comfortable. They had extremely flexible soles, and it was almost like I wasn't wearing shoes.

Unfortunately those shoes wore out, and I couldn't find anything similar. In my search for perfection, I wandered into the men's section and found some size 9 black slip on's that would have to do. They didn't have flexible soles, and they felt rather like I was wearing a cardboard box on my foot, but they were large enough that I had enough width and a couple of inches past my toes to get that barefoot feel. This spring they were wearing out, and I knew I needed something new, but I couldn't bear to buy another pair of those "cardboard boxes."

Enter Soft Star Shoes. My very generous girlfriend purchased a pair of adult ramblers for me. Wow! They are unlike any shoes that I have ever worn before. I will be doing a more detailed review in another entry, but I just want to say that wearing them is awfully close to going barefoot with the protection and grip of a rubber sole.

Since getting the soft star shoes, I have been doing a little research and have found that it is now known that shoes basically make you walk wrong, even high tech running shoes (especially high tech running shoes.) If you want to know more, check out this link!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Exercise

I am still holding steady at completing my walk in 32 minutes. I find it very frustrating that I can't go faster.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Exercise Goals Revisited

As I stated before, I have a rather informal goal to be able to walk 4 miles in one hour by the first day of autumn. I have broken that up into smaller goals.

Right now, I am walking 1.4 miles as many days a week as I can fit in (usually 4 but I hope to increase), over half uphill, some rather steep. My best time is 32 minutes, but usually I make it in 33. When I can do it in 28 minutes, I am going to increase my daily walk to 2.1 miles. (I am using interesting landmarks and places to go to make this more fun for me.) Those are my short term goals.

Inspirational Reads

In 1999, I found myself a recently separated woman with four very young children and a precocious 11 year old in low income housing in the center of a declining mid-size northeastern city trying to live each day with positivity but often struggling inside myself to be OK. One of my greatest pleasures was my every other week trip to the downtown library sans kids while they visited their father. The library has a browse-about section where the books are group by genres or topics, and I, being who I am, felt it necessary (and enjoyable) to browse every single section every single time I was there. One of those sections was devoted to self-help books, and occasionally a book there would catch my eye and find its way home with me.

Most of those books couldn't hold my attention. A few I read but found not so much of the material applicable to me. A couple stood out. I thought I would share those today.

The first is A Gift of A Year by Mira Kirshenbaum. The premise of this book is that we can each improve our lives by choosing to devote a small amount of time on a regular basis to an activity or goal for a year. For example, you may choose to take weekly piano lessons and practice each day for an hour if you have always wanted to play the piano. Your gift need not be so simple or so obvious though. One example in the book is of someone who has owns a restaurant and spends a lot of time running it. Her gift to herself was to dedicate a certain amount of time each week to properly training others to take over many of her responsibilities ultimately giving herself more free time.

Although I did not exactly follow the plan presented in this book, I did incorporate many of the ideas presented into my life, and when I feel stuck, I often think about this book wondering if there is a gift that I need to give myself. I highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to those of you who feel stuck in some way and may need a plan or even permission to give yourself a gift that can increase your pleasure this year.

The second is Wishcraft by Barbara Sher. Barbara Sher has written a host of excellent self help books, and this is her first, and in my opinion her best. This is not because it is the most polished or even has the best advice, but because it is written so soon after her own struggle to find her niche and to create a happy life (which included finding her own career calling - being a career coach). The book just vibrates with realism, and is optimistic and positive without becoming too fake or flakey. Working through many of the exercises in this book helped me cement goals, drop goals, and achieve goals. I can't recommend it enough!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Diabetes and Coffee Consumption

Several studies have shown a correlation between drinking coffee and having a reduced risk for type 2 diabetes. The first study of this type was done in Finland, and the results were published in 2004. This particular study kept track of how much coffee people drank and controlled the groups for body mass index, age, blood pressure, alcohol consumption, tea consumption, education, occupation, and amount of physical activity. Even after controlling for all those factors, there was a graduated correlation between coffee consumption and decrease in the rate of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes during the 12 years that the study took place. This means that not only were coffee drinkers less likely to develop type 2 diabetes, the more coffee they drank, the less likely they were to develop it. Those who drank 10 or more cups a day had the smallest risk.

No one had a reason for this outcome. It didn't seem to be related to caffeine intake because it didn't matter if the coffee was caffeinated or not!

As a follow-up, there was a look at the data from the Nurses' Health Study and Health Professionals' Follow-up study. These were huge studies with well over 50,000 people involved mainly through validated questionnaires over an 18 year period. When that data was looked at the results were the same as the Finnish study. That is that coffee drinking correlated with a decreased risk in type 2 diabetes, and the more coffee the subjects drank the less the risk. Because of the large number of people in this study, they were better able to look at those who drank only decaffeinated coffee too. Although those people also had a decreased risk, it was not as great as for those who drank regular coffee with caffeine. Also looked at was caffeine intake in general. This showed a graduated decrease in risk too with those taking in the most caffeine on a regular basis showing the greatest decrease in risk.

There are two theories surrounding this phenomenon and both may be part of the reason that we see this decrease. The first is that regularly drinking coffee correlates with other things that are also decreasing the diabetes risk. Those who drink caffeinated coffee are likely to fidget and do other small types of physical activity that would not show up on physical activity level charts. Also if you are drinking coffee, you are less likely to be drinking high carb beverages that might be worse for you. Coffee acts as an appetite suppressant, and those who drink it may have better control over their food choices also. The second theory is that the quinines in coffee are providing this effect. Quinines have been shown to increase insulin sensitivity in rats so that the rats do not need as much insulin to process blood glucose properly.

Either way, should everyone drink a lot of coffee to reduce their risk of diabetes? Well at this point, I do not recommend it. I think each individual should eat and drink the things that make him or her feel the healthiest. If you already have a coffee habit, and it doesn't cause any problems in your life, go ahead and enjoy knowing that you just might be doing yourself some good.

I personally drink between 12 oz. and 32 oz. of caffeinated coffee each day just because I like it.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Type 2 Diabetes: Is it for life or can you recover?

This is a tricky question. There are people who are diagnosed with with type 2 diabetes who lose a lot of weight or significantly change their diet and then no longer meet the criteria for the diagnosis of diabetes. If one of those people was to go to a new doctor with no history of their past, the doctor would not say that they had diabetes.

My previous stance had been that these people no longer had diabetes. I have changed my stance though. After much thought, research, and experience with those who have type 2 diabetes, I think once you have hit the fasting BG of 120 or higher point, you have diabetes for life. The thing is, you may be controlling your diabetes by keeping your weight down or by eating less carbs, but if you go back to your prior weight or eating habits, your blood glucose will go back up again.

This is useful information too. It is important that those health care professionals that you come in contact with know that you have had a problem with high blood glucose in the past and that you are controlling it with whatever methods you are using. For one thing, when your blood glucose was out of control, you could have developed the beginning stages of complications that your doctor will be able to diagnose more easily with this information. Also, if you are admitted to a hospital (even for something totally unrelated like a broken leg), you will want to make sure that those taking care of you understand how important it is to maintain your chosen diet.

Having said all that, I do think that is it is possible for most type 2 diabetics to control their blood glucose through a carefully chosen diet and exercise alone. I also think that with weight loss their symptoms might diminish to the point that they don't have to worry so much about the level of carbs that they are eating. That doesn't mean that you don't have diabetes anymore. It just means that you are successful at controlling it through keeping your weight down.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Supplements Revisited

Using an analysis of what we are eating and current research on the benefits and possible side effects of various supplements, Diana and I are currently taking a 600 mg calcium plus 400 IU vitamin D supplement morning and night, and 400 IU of vitamin E each morning. We may add fish oil for both of us and iron for Diana in the future.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

To Nap or Not to Nap

I hate naps! It doesn't matter how tired I am or how much I am falling asleep while I try to do other things, I resist naps as hard as I can. Not only do I hate spending some of my daytime sleeping, I always feel horrible when I wake up from a nap. I am the crankiest that I ever am! It just feels like everything in the world is wrong! So I am opposed to naps for me.

On the other hand, lots of research shows that naps are good for people. They are suppose to refresh you and give you extra energy in the second part of the day. Regular nappers are smarter, quicker, and more alert. All I can say to this is that perhaps we are just not all the same.

So if naps make you feel better, go ahead and take them, but if you are like me, don't feel guilty about getting all of your sleep at night even if you sometimes get tired during the day.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Exercise

If you hang around so called weight loss experts, nutritionists, and various exercise specialists long enough, you will hear a lot of conflicting information about the benefits of exercise. I find it extremely frustrating that so many people spout information as if it is fact, when at the best it is an educated guess and at worst it is completely false. So I am going to list some of the benefits of exercise, and then discuss the available data that supports or doesn't support these benefits as well as exactly what sorts of exercise really will lead to a specific benefit.

1. Exercise reduces levels of depression. There have been a lot of studies that show that when someone who is depressed begins a regular exercise regimen, their depression lessens. The major problem with these studies is that they often do not include a control group, and that those depressed patients who choose to follow an exercise regimen are possibly at the point where they were about to move out of depression anyways and that those who choose not to are not.

After reviewing the available research, I conclude that longitudinal studies show that those who participate in regular aerobic exercise (defined as 3 periods per week of exercise in which the heart rate is elevated to at least 60% of one's maximum heart rate for at least 30 minutes) are less likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, or the effects of stress. This is not quite the same as saying that exercise cures those who are already depressed. I certainly don't think it can hurt though!

2. Exercise causes weight loss. Everyone knows that exercise leads to weight loss, right? Burn more calories than you have been, and you are bound to lose weight! The truth is that it is not quite so simple. Our bodies are complicated, and many variables are involved in how our metabolism works and how we digest and use our food. The real stickler is that exercise makes you hungry! The results of several studies the have been published in the last couple of years have shown that not only is there no correlation between exercise and weight loss, people who exercise more consistently eat more also.

Before writing this article, I was aware of some of this research from Diana's diabetes training, but I have gone and read a lot more today, and the results of these studies are shocking! In one study, approximately 500 overweight women were randomly assigned to four groups. Three of the groups worked out with a personal trainer for varying times each week. The fourth group was a control group. All of the groups filled out food diaries (although they were not told to change their eating patterns) and had their weights regularly monitored. The study lasted 6 months. All four groups lost some weight, but there was no significant difference between the groups. Basically you could say that simply filling out the food diaries and having weights monitored were the causes of the weight loss. Those in the various exercise groups ate more than the non-exercisers and those exercising less.

In another study, children who went to three different elementary schools with different intensities of physical education programs wore a special monitor for one month showing their overall activity levels. They wore the monitor during all of their waking hours. This study lasted a month. At the end of the month, it was found that the actual activity levels of all of the students were the same. Although those students with a longer and more intense physical education program were more active during the school day, they were far less likely to be active in the after school hours, than those students with less physical activity during the day. It seems that not only does an organized exercise program make us more hungry, we are also less likely to be normally active at other times to make up for it!

Those were just the tip of the iceberg. It surprises me that we don't hear more about this in the media. Now, how do I feel? It does seem that people who are normally active people are more likely to lose weight than those who tend more towards sedentary activities. So although you don't need a hard and vigorous exercise program to lose weight, it is a good idea to choose active play on occasion over sedentary play.

3. Exercise helps maintain an ideal weight. Although exercise may not help you lose weight, several longitudinal studies show that those who are the best at maintaining a weight loss are those who exercise for at least 60 minutes everyday. Note that this exercise did not seem to need to be aerobic nor did it need to involve weight training. Simply brisk walking was good enough. This correlation is a good enough reason for me to recommend that everyone try to be active for at least one hour a day.

4. Exercise reduces the risk of heart disease. Another thing that everyone knows is that exercise reduces your risk of heart disease. The most common recommendation is to perform aerobic exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes at a time at least five times a week. This recommendation is supported by research. Note that there needs to be aerobic intensity for the actual cardiovascular benefit to occur. Those who exercise longer and harder up to 90 minutes a day, 6 days a week have even more improvement in their cardiovascular health, and adding 30 minutes a week of strength training decreases the risk of heart disease even more.

My feeling are that for the general population 90 minutes devoted to cardiovascular exercise most days is an unrealistic goal and could even lead to an overall decreased quality of life. I do think that regular aerobic exercise at least five times a week for at least 30 minutes is a good idea especially if you have other risk factors for heart disease.

*****
There are other purported benefits to exercise such as increased energy levels, better sleep, and an improved sex life, but I think that I covered the main four above. As you can see, advice can be conflicting, and it can be difficult to know what is the right path to take. I really think each individual needs to assess their own situation and think about what is best for them. Be aware of yourself, and how you respond to exercise. Choose activity over inactivity, but before choosing a more formal program, weigh the pros and cons allowing yourself to make the decision that is best for you!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy and an Interesting Article Link

My life seems to have taken a busy turn, and writing here everyday has not been doable lately. I have continued using the Diet Power nutrition program to track my food and exercise, and that of my partner. We are both showing modest weight loss, and I have shown a blood glucose reduction. Next month, we will know how my partner is doing in that area.

I saw an interesting article today. The results of yet another weight reduction study have been released.

I quote:

MONDAY, March 1 (HealthDay News) -- Three years after going on a diet, obese men and women on low-carbohydrate "Atkins"-type plans had gained back nearly all their weight, while those on low-fat diets continued to lose, new research finds.

Neither group ended up model-thin, however: Three years out, the low-carb dieters were a mere five pounds thinner and the low-fat group about 10 pounds slimmer than when they began.

The study is published in the March 2 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.


The complete article can be accessed at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_95861.html . The thing that interests me the most about this article is that both groups lost less than 10 lbs. in a three year period. All of the articles that I am finding about this study are emphasizing the fact that the low fat diet beat out the low carbohydrate diet! My point is, should anyone be following either of these rather extreme diets in the hope that they might lose 5 or 10 lbs. in three years?

I also want to note that those in the low carb diet were encouraged to follow a very strict low carb regimen (less than 30 carbs a day.) This is extremely difficult to do in our society. Most people with type 2 diabetes can control it with a much more moderate low carb diet (75-150 carbs a day.) This is a more realistic solution in the face of a deadly disease with complications that can greatly lower your quality of life.

I would like to see more studies that focus on comparing diets in relation to factual health markers (blood glucose, serum cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney function) as opposed to weight loss. Our society's obsession with weight loss has blinded us to the things that truly matter.



Thursday, March 4, 2010

Goals

I am still getting in the habit of helping Diana with her food and tracking it on the Diet Power program. That takes up quite a bit of my time, and I find myself with not as much time to write here. I also have started walking more regularly. (The spring weather is calling to me.) That takes up another 30 - 45 minutes. While I was out walking yesterday, I started thinking about goals.

I don't think I wrote my goals for this month here yet. By April 1, I would like to be under 288 lbs. (I weighed 292.4 this morning.) Also I would like my fasting blood sugar to be under 110. Those are modest goals I think. Especially since I have been cutting my carbs way back this month to match up with Diana.

I was also thinking about an exercise goal. I am not yet up to a point where I want to think that I will be walking any distance at any speed any particular day. (I am a great walker for endurance, but with my short legs and extra pounds, my default speed is only 2 mph. It can be worse if I am going up a lot of hills.) I would like to see myself able to walk 4 miles in an hour. That would be pretty speedy with my short legs. I am thinking in my head that it might also be an attainable goal by the end of the summer. Maybe before the autumnal equinox. This is not a definite goal, with consequences, that I am really holding onto, but just something that I think I will be working on.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Yesterday was the first day that I used Diet Power to keep track of Diana's food intake. It was a bit of work, but I feel like I am more getting the hang of it and learning to flow today. We had challenges both days. Yesterday we got up far earlier than either of us usually do and went to get our car inspected and then grocery shopped. Today we had company for an impromptu birthday party for dinner. I don't mind the challenges because this is how the real world works, and any nutrition plan that doesn't work in the real world doesn't work period!

Diana is working hard at keeping her carb total under 85 grams everyday. It is not easy yet, but she has seen success and even had a weight loss her first day to encourage her to continue. We have also exercised together both days. It makes me feel great to get moving even when aches and pains occur. I just feel so alive to be outside in the early spring with my heart rate rising, and the sun shining on my head as the wind stings my cheeks.

I saw more weight loss today with a morning weight of 291.2 lbs. I think it is surprising that I am losing so much weight so easily. I am for the most part still eating over 2000 calories per day. I am not sure if it is the slight calorie reduction or the low carbs that have helped, but I am so glad for whatever it is!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Yay!!!

Today I weighed 294, and my blood sugar was 117. I call that a success!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Random Weigh-In

Today I weighed 293.6. This is the lowest that I have weighed in at least 2 years.

Then I proceeded to have the fourth day of my extra busy extra long weekend, so I don't have any more to write here! Tomorrow is the last day of my super busy extra long weekend. It is also the day that Diana starts diet power, and that I do my progress check. I am excited to see how I have done!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Two Days, No Post

This is a very busy extended weekend, and I have been going full speed since Thursday! I am not sure how much I can write today, but I will try to write something.

Here it is 7:00 p.m., and I am writing something. Today I attended a surprise birthday party for my mom, and it was fun and included a lot of tasty food although some of it was slanted in a healthy direction. Now that all is said and done though, my calories are pretty high at 2253, and I think I am going to have some warm strawberries for dessert so I think they will be just a little bit higher for the day.

It would be easy to beat myself up for eating too much, but I am not going to because the truth is that in the past I would have eaten a LOT more. I also limited carb rich foods to 1/2 a cup of macaroni and cheese, and 1/2 a piece of cake. I would have had a whole piece of cake in the past and maybe a second whole piece, and probably seconds on the macaroni and cheese, and definitely bread too!

After I have my strawberries (and maybe a calcium pill if I have need), I will put a summary here!

Summary

Calories - 2326
Fat - 138 grams
Carbs - 144 grams
Protein - 133 grams

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Weekly Summary - Third Week

Average

Calories - 2122
Fat - 112 grams
Carbs - 157 grams
Protein - 133 grams

Need more - mono-unsaturated fats, potassium, fiber, iron, Vitamin E, and probably protein if I am going to stay at the higher calorie level

Need less - cholesterol and sodium (these two goals seem nearly impossible at this point though!)

Ending Weight - 294.6 lbs.

Next week I will be testing my sugar! Wish me luck!

Daily Summary

8:45 Breakfast - 3.6 oz. ham cooked in 1 tsp. butter, 1.1 oz. pepper relish chips, 1/2 navel orange, 12 oz. coffee with 1 tbsp. heavy cream & 1 packet aspartame

11:45 Beverage - 12 oz. coffee with 1 tbsp. heavy cream & 1 packet aspartame

3:15 Lunch - 6 inch turkey sub at Subway on honey oat bread with tomatoes, onion, green peppers, cucumbers, pickles, a little lettuce, and sweet onion sauce; 20 oz. diet cola

6:00 Snack - 1.1 oz. turkey nuggets (dried turkey like beef jerky), .8 oz. pork rinds, 12 oz. Diet Dr. Thunder

8:00 Dinner - 2 biscuits, 6.3 oz. turkey salad (turkey & miracle whip), .7 oz. carrot sticks, 12 oz. diet birch beer

Exercise - 14 minutes light snow shoveling (although it was heavy wet snow so it may be more than *light*; I call it light if I am not moving fast; all snow shoveling is aerobic for me)

I also walked over a mile hanging out while waiting for our van to get a new windshield. I am not counting it as extra exercise though because I didn't really pay attention to how long it took or how fast I went. I did reach an aerobic level at some points though.

Summary

Calories - 2053
Fat - 98.1 grams
Carbs - 171 grams
Protein - 124 grams

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Low Carb

Yesterday I talked a little bit about my partner Diana and her dietary needs. Diana is using a low carb diet to control her diabetes. Eighty-five carbs a day is a moderate low carb diet. Some people need to drop to a 50 carb a day (10-20-20) diet or even a 30 carb a day (6-12-12) diet to control their type 2 diabetes without the help of medication. These diets are not the "typical American diet" and can be very difficult to maintain without commitment to good health.

How does a low carb diet look? Well at 85 carbs (10-40-15-20), here is a typical day's food that Diana might consume:

Breakfast - an omelet consisting of 2 eggs (0), 6 sliced mushrooms (3), 2 tbsp. chopped onion (2), & 2 oz. cheddar (1) cooked in 1 tsp. butter (0), 2 oz. ham on the side (0), 12 oz. coffee (0) with 2 tbsp. heavy cream (1), 1 tbsp. sugar-free chocolate syrup (3), & 1 tsp. Splenda (0)

Lunch - sandwich consisting of 2 slices of multi-grain "light" bread (18), 3 oz. smoked turkey (0), 1 oz. smoked cheddar (0), lettuce (1), tomatoes (1), & 1 tbsp. Miracle Whip (4); 8 baby carrots (9) with 1 tbsp. ranch dressing (1); 8 black olives (4) & 8 green olives (0); 1 oz. beef jerky (1); 16 oz. ice tea (1)

Snack - 2 oz. assorted cheeses (3), 4 pistachio crisps (4), 1/2 orange (8)

Dinner - 6 oz. salmon (0) sauteed in 1 tbsp. butter (0); 1 c. brussel sprouts (13) with 1 tsp. butter (0); salad of 3 oz. salad mix (4) & 1/8 of a tomato (1), with 2 tbsp. ranch dressing (2)

In comparison, a typical healthy American diet will contains about 300 grams of carbohydrate. I have been averaging about 155 carbs a day since I have switched my eating, just about half of what I would normally be eating.

What if Diana is not able to meet her health needs with the 85 carbs a day diet? Is there any other option than cutting back carbs further or taking medication? Yes, there is! She could commit to more exercise. She could choose to stick to the 85 carbs but to select only from those with a low hypo-glycemic load. She could even decide to switch to the ADA recommended diet with its strict calorie limitations in the hope that a rapid weight loss would fix everything (and there is a good chance it could.) It is always good to be aware of your options when you are dealing with health problems. It is good to know that you are not a slave to your illness, and if you keep looking and working towards a solution, you are eventually going to find the one that is right for you!

Now back to me! Here is my summary for the day.

Summary

9:15 Breakfast - 2 slices of very thin whole wheat bread (1 oz.) with 2 tsp. butter; 2 large eggs with 1 slice American cheese food (3/4 oz.); 1 maple heat & serve sausage patty (1.6 oz.); 12 oz. coffee with 1 tbsp. heavy cream & 1 packet aspartame

11:00 Beverage - 12 oz. Candy Cane Lane tea (decaf green tea with peppermint & vanilla)

1:30 Snack - 12 oz. Candy Cane Lane tea, 1/4 c. mixed nuts (1.3 oz.)

2:00 Lunch - 12.3 oz. turkey gumbo, 12 oz. water

4:00 Snack - 1.1 oz. pepper relish potato chips

7:00 Dinner - 2 small pieces salmon (8.3 oz.) sauteed in 2 tsp. butter, 1 bowl mixed veggies (8.4 oz.) 1/2 navel orange, 3 small pieces chocolate candy (1.7 oz.), & 12 oz. diet birch beer

Calories - 1929
Fat - 121 grams
Carbs - 123 grams
Protein - 101 grams



Monday, February 22, 2010

Sharing

Here is an article about a research study that found a correlation between happiness and expression of positive emotions, and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_95393.html

One thing of particular interest to me was that those with a general positive outlook who regularly expressed happiness, joy, contentment, and enthusiasm still had the decrease in cardiovascular problems even if they also exhibited some symptoms of depression. (I would fall into this group.)

Diana

Diana is my partner, and she was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in November 2007. She has tried many methods of controlling her blood glucose levels, but nothing has been very successful. We both feel that it is time to take stronger action to get her blood glucose levels under control. We have seen first hand the devastation that uncontrolled diabetes can cause, and it is time to do better now that we might have a better future.

This month has been my time to work on those things that I need to work on and to take my own demons firmly in hand. Starting next month, I will be adding Diana to the Diet Power program and be helping her with hers. I have some concerns, but I am her partner, and we can work it out together. I think we both know that it is time. Diana will be aiming for 85 carbs per day with no more than 10 at breakfast, 40 at lunch, 15 at afternoon snack, and 20 at dinner with carbs carrying over to the next meal but not carrying over to the next day (because that is just not how diabetes works.)

Summary

9:45 Breakfast - 4.8 oz. whole wheat rotini with 1.9 oz. tomato paste, 1.7 oz. pizza sauce, 1.2 oz. mozzarella, and 1 t. parmesan; 12 oz. coffee with 1 tbsp. heavy cream and 1 packet aspartame

12:00 Snack - 7.2 oz. turkey, 12 oz. coffee with 1 tbsp. heavy cream and 1 packet aspartame

2:00 Snack - .7 oz. deluxe mixed nuts (the kind without peanuts), 12 oz. Diet Dr. Thunder (store brand Dr. Pepper)

4:45 Snack - 2 Golden Double Stuf Oreos & 1 oz. Pepper Relish Potato Chips

8:45 Dinner - veggie bowl (8.2 oz. brussel sprouts, 6.8 oz. corn, 1 tsp. butter), 2 slices very thin whole wheat toast (1.7 oz.) with 2 tsp. butter, 3.2 oz. ham, 2.2 oz. tomato, 12 oz. Diet Dr. Thunder, 5.5 oz. V8 Juice

Calories - 1898
Fat - 79. 4 grams
Carbs - 186 grams
Protein - 129 grams

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What's Different?

One thing I have been meaning to talk about is just what things have changed in my diet. I don't know exactly both because I don't have a "before" record to look at and because I am not the type of person to eat the same thing day after day.

I estimate that I am eating about 1000 fewer calories per day than I did before and that I have cut my carbs in half. That is a lot, but I am not sure it is enough. I would like to see myself getting in more regular exercise. (I am so hoping for an early spring!) Of course, I would like to see a reduction in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. Right now though, I am happy with the reduction in calories and carbs. I feel it is all I can do without really stressing myself out. I will see how my totals look at the end of the month and go from there.

Summary

Calories - 1972
Fat - 120 grams
Carbs - 134 grams
Protein - 103 grams

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weight and stuff...

It feels like it is a day to get back on track, but with the girls away and Benji here, I am not sure where the track is!

My computer was free this morning, and I did not start the day off with my housework as usual but checked a few things online. (Usually Es is on my computer in the early mornings.) I know that I am partially delaying my housework because somehow or other, my kitchen has gotten very messy! (I don't know how this happens in less than a day!) I got distracted and am now having breakfast at 8:45. It is a Lemon Zest Luna Bar and 12 oz. water. I will make coffee in a few minutes.

A word about weight. When I started this better choice program at the beginning of the month, I did not have access to a working scale that I could weigh myself on. The last time I had weighed myself had been a few months earlier and my weight had been bouncing up and down between 306 and 316. When I started using the Diet Power program, I chose to use 320 as my starting weight because I was quite sure that didn't weigh more than that, and I was also quite sure that my weight was closer to 316 than to 306 (and perhaps a little bit higher) because I had really eaten a lot of calories during the holiday season, and my exercise had been minimal. Diet Power uses your daily weight to constantly adjust your calorie budget to meet your weight loss goal. I have my programmed weight loss goal to be 164 by 2/1/2012. (That would require a weight loss of 1.5 lbs. a week from 320 on 2/1/2010.)

To begin with, I was entering 320 as my weight every day so Diet Power was dropping my calorie allowance each day which was quite annoying. Now the opposite is happening. Today I only weighed 295, and my calorie allowance has jumped to 4045. In addition to that, any calories that you have left over go into your "calorie bank" at the end of the day so that you can use them on special occasion. I now have 8105. I do not intend to eat this much ever! I thought it may be interesting to others who are planning on using Diet Power to see how it works though. I think you really need to use the calorie suggestions with a grain of salt and instead gauge your food intake on your own personal hunger. I do not think I would continue losing weight if I ate 4045 calories a day, but I do know that if I listed weight gains Diet Power would quickly lower my calorie budget to a more reasonable level. It is also important to note that a one day loss or gain doesn't change much, there has to be a clear pattern.

I plan on adjusting my weight loss goal to more accurately reflect my weight and progress at the beginning of each month until I am happy with it.

At 10:00, I have 12 oz. water. I am very dry feeling although not exactly thirsty. It is probably due to still having a cold.

At 11:00, I have what I consider my "morning snack." It consists of 7.4 oz. leftover beef and broccoli and a 12 oz. mug of coffee with 1 tbsp. heavy cream and 1 packet aspartame based sweetener. I am slow drinking my coffee, and it gets cold so I freshen it up with another 6 oz. at noon.

We take Benji and Ant to the Chinese Buffet for lunch just sliding in before 2:00 when the price doubles! I am so careful with my choices but still include some "luxury items." I have two plates. The first plate includes a small mound of that surimi stuff they have at Chinese buffets where it is mixed with cream cheese and onions and maybe some other tasty things and baked, three pieces of three different types of chicken (each just a mouthful), 1/4 c. each of cauliflower, broccoli, and green beens, 1/2 c. of small shrimp with no sauce, 3 small stuffed mushrooms, 1 crab rangoon, and 1 fried cheese stick. My second plate contained one piece of pork teriyaki on a stick and a salad I like to make with a little iceberg lettuce on the bottom, a little rotini on that, a little tomato-cucumber salad on that, and a bit more crab salad on that. Yum! I ate a lot of calories, but definitely fewer and with more nutrition than I would usually eat at the Chinese buffet.

I am still so dry and not well so at 6:00, I have a cup of hot tea.

And then I get distracted and busy, and do eat dinner of course, but don't have time or energy to write about it tonight! Rest assured, it has all been entered into Diet Power, and I will be back tomorrow!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Busier and Busier!

I was up at about 6:00 today. I can never sleep well when I have a cold. I had a Lemon Zest Luna bar, a calcium/Vitamin D supplement, and 12 oz. coffee with 2 tbsp. cream and a packet of aspartame based sweetener. I accidentally put in the second tablespoon of cream, but I decided to go with it. It has been quite awhile since I had really creamy coffee.

At about 10:30, I have another cup of coffee (only 1 tbsp. cream this time) and another Luna bar. It is almost time to go, and I don't have time for anything more substantial. I really feel good when I eat the Luna bars though. They have a good balance of fat, carbs, and protein, the carbs are low on the hypoglycemic index, and they are enriched with things that I actually don't usually get enough of (namely iron and Vitamin E). Eating two of them along with two calcium pills practically takes care of my nutrition needs for the day!

Then we head out and about, and things get even busier! At about noon, I have a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper. Then I don't eat again until around 4:30 or so when I have 1 plain hard taco and 1 plain soft taco at Taco Bell in the mall for a very late lunch. I wasn't 100% sure which was better for me, but I was leaning towards the hard (thinking whole grain and the shell is smaller than the soft wheat tortilla). I was right! The hard taco has 40 fewer calories, 8 fewer carbs, and exactly the same amount of fat as the soft taco.

We were exhausted heading home. (We had stopped at a lot of locations and been out with a 6 month old baby for about 6 hours.) We had thought that we might stop and have dinner at the Chinese buffet. We had been hoping to treat Ant this weekend because all of his sisters are at a weekend slumber party. Also with our big family, it is cheaper to eat out if some people are doing something else fun. Benji wasn't happy on the way home though, and we weren't sure if he was up for a restaurant so we decided to postpone that until tomorrow.

For dinner, I made myself a quick "deli plate" at home with 1.3 oz. whole wheat bread, 2 tsp. butter, .75 oz. American cheese food, 1.7 oz. tomato, 1.6 oz. havarti, .9 oz. smoked cheddar, 1 t. mayo, 1 oz. ham, 1 oz. roast beef, .9 oz. green olives, 4.1 oz. slices apple heated in the microwave and sprinkled with 1/4 tsp. cinnamon and 1 packet of aspartame based sweetener. I also had a mug of Candy Cane Lane tea.

Summary

Calories - 1848
Fat - 101 grams
Carbs - 140 grams
Protein - 107 grams

Now for bed!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Still Sick

I haven't been writing here today. I still have a cold. I am still staying very active, but it is hard when you are sick to do a lot of things and stay with it. Today this blog was went by the wayside although I did put all of my food into the Diet Power program.

I also shoveled snow for over half an hour, did tons of laundry, cooked, and washed dishes. Oh! I can't forget to mention the shopping trip that involved stopping at three stores and writing the list for that shopping trip.

Anyways, hopefully tomorrow it will be back to the regularly scheduled programming (although tomorrow is going to be quite busy too!)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Still Sick

I still have a cold. OK, I know colds usually last more than one day.

In brief, I had breakfast at about 8:00. I had a piece of leftover Valentine's pizza and my usual coffee with 1 tbsp. cream and 1 packet aspartame based sweetener.

At 11:30, I have 3.2 oz. turkey and another cup of coffee prepared the same way.

At 1:45, I have 1 c. spaghetti sauce soup (13 oz.), 1 oz. potato chips, and 12 oz. water.

In the afternoon, I go out and shovel snow for 40 minutes. I decide to go out even though I have a cold because it has been snowing heavy all day, and the parts that the kids shoveled in the morning need to be re-shoveled! JoAnn goes out with me, and we get the job done. I am glad I went because the cold air is always good for me when I have a cold and a bit of exercise too. It was fun in spite of the sleet.

When I come inside at about 4:00, I have about 6 oz. of turkey and 12 oz. of hot candy cane lane tea.

At 7:00, I have another cup of that tea. Tea is good when you have a cold.

At 8:00, I have dinner of 4 Chicken Bundles (pieces of chicken seasoned and wrapped in bacon then baked). I have 12 oz. water with that.

At 9:45, I finish up my day with a cup of coconut thai tea. (Yes, we collect a lot of teas!)

Summary

Calories - 2153
Fat - 103 grams
Carbs - 118 grams
Protein - 194 grams

Exercise - 40 minutes of light snow shoveling

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Today

Sorry about the no official post yesterday! It was such a long "out and about" sort of day, and then after I entered all of my foods into Diet Power (and it was after midnight) writing much of anything here seemed just too much!

Today I got up at 7:15 and ate breakfast at about 8:30. I had 3.4 oz. shrimp (leftover from make your own pizza night and a red pear (8 oz.). I also had 12 oz. of coffee with 1 tbsp. heavy cream and 1 packet aspartame based sweetener in it.

At 11:30, I had a snack of 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce soup (5.2 oz.) and 12 oz. water and my calcium/Vitamin D supplement.

Lunch at 1:00 is a leftover piece of my Valentine's pizza (instead of eating the whole thing on Valentine's Day I only ate 1/4) and 5.6 oz. of leftover brussel sprouts. We have a lot of leftovers! I also have a cup of sugar cookie sleigh ride herbal tea.

At 4:45, I have a snack of 1/2 c. spaghetti sauce soup (5.8 oz.), 12 oz. water, and 12 oz. candy cane lane tea.

I make gumbo for dinner, but I am not really hungry because I have a cold! I make myself a cup of roibos tea. It is a new kind with vanilla. I mostly don't like vanilla teas, but I thought I would try this one. It is not good enough to drink straight, but it is OK with a packet of aspartame sweetener in it.

At 9:00, I have 2 c. of turkey gumbo (19.9 oz.) and 12 oz. diet green apple soda.

Summary

Calories - 1424
Fat - 66 grams
Carbs - 143 grams
Protein - 84.6 grams

Today...or should I say yesterday?

It has been a very busy day, and although I have updated Diet Power I really don't have time for a detailed update here tonight! Tomorrow it will be back to my regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekly Summary - Second Week

Averages -

Calories - 2011
Fat - 118 grams
Carbs - 142 grams
Protein - 111 grams

Nutrition Score - 80 (B)

Things I should get less of: saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.

Thing I should get more of: potassium, fiber, iron, Vitamin E, thiamin, folate, and magnesium.

Way to go to me for reaching my goal for less sugar (achieved by sometimes just saying no to dessert). Way to go to me for getting enough calcium and Vitamin D (first through milk, then through supplements).

Things to think about this week: possibly supplementing with Vitamin E and get more fiber with more whole grain and more veggies! Also make exercise more of a priority!

Exercise

Days - 1
Minutes - 15
Calories Burned - 42 (probably actually more because Diet Power does not take weight into consideration)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Supplements

I forgot to include my supplements yesterday. We have gotten some tax return money in the mail, and I am back on the Calcium/Vitamin D supplements again. I am very excited to have this option, and I don't have to worry so much about trying to get milk anymore. (It is odd that we *just* bought the 1% milk though. I almost feel guilty, but if I don't use it the rest of the family will.)

I have one worry about the supplement though. I use a supplement that gives me adequate calcium for PMDD and enough Vitamin D to make sure that it is utilized well (and since inadequate Vitamin D has now been linked to other health problems that is even better.) The problem is that the particular supplement I have been using also contains some other minerals. I never really thought much about it before. I assumed that they were minerals that most people didn't get enough of. The truth is that I have seen from my diet program that I usually get 200% of the USRDA for manganese every day, and my daily dose of pills contains another 180%. Now, I can somewhat understand why manganese is in the supplement. Manganese is important for proper bone development, and the primary reason people take calcium supplements is worry about osteoporosis. That is not why I take it though! Also lots of people do not get enough diversity of fruits and vegetables in their diets. I do though (on average).

This has led me to do some research on manganese (especially since the Diet Power program keeps warning me that I am getting too much!) The first thing I found out was that some people can experience the symptoms of a manganese overdose at as low as 400% the USRDA. I have not reached that, but I have approached it. The symptoms of too much manganese include laughing, slurred speech, hand tremors, and an immobile facial expression. I do have hand tremors on occasion so these symptoms worried me. Then I did more indepth research.

I find out that the USRDA for this mineral is a very new thing! It is also is on the shaky side of just how accurate it is. I also find out that the needs for manganese for perimenopausal women (like myself) tends to be greater than other parts of the population with the exception of pregnant women and women who are trying to get pregnant. Manganese supplementation in perimenopausal women has been associated with decreased tiredness, decreased irritability, improvements in memory, and improvements in muscle reflex speed. These are all very good things. So for now, I am going to continue with the supplement that I have used in the past, but I will be watching for those symptoms of overdose just to be safe!

This morning, I weighed 297.2 lbs. I was so excited to be under the 300 lbs. mark. Now I am just hoping the my blood sugar is also going down. I will be testing it first thing in the morning on March 1. Since this plan seems to be working in other ways, I am so hoping that it will also lower my blood sugar.

I didn't get myself breakfast until 10:15, and I had 4.8 oz. strawberries, 3.1 oz. banana, .9 oz gouda, .3 oz. bacon, 1.8 oz. tomato, .8 oz. swiss, and 2.6 oz. turkey. I had 12 oz. coffee to drink with 1 tbsp. heavy cream and 1 packet of aspartame based sweetener, and I had 1 calcium/Vitamin D supplement.

At 11:45, I am thirsty, and I drink 12 oz. water.

At 1:00, I am not hungry for lunch yet, but I am still thirsty so I drink another 12 oz. water.

At 3:15, I am hungry! For lunch, I have 13.3 oz. of leftover spaghetti sauce soup and a 5.5 oz. can of V8 juice. I also have another 12 oz. water.

Then a little more than an hour later at 4:30, I realized I was still pretty hungry, and it would still be a long time until dinner so I had 1/2 of a roast beef sandwich with some gouda and some tomato on it all on just one slice of thin whole wheat bread. It had a little Miracle Whip type salad dressing on it too.

Before dinner, I had another couple of 12 oz. mugs of water.

Dinner was at about 8:30, and I had 1/4 of a medium size pizza with pepperoni, and a lot of broccoli and red peppers on it. I also had a piece of dessert pizza. This was our Valentine's feast.

Summary

Calories 2288
Fat 122 grams
Carbs 204 grams
Protein 111 grams

Exercise - none dedicated

I am tired with no time to proofread tonight!