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