A Farewell to Carbs

A 30-something navigating the world of Type 2 Diabetes while remaining fun, fashionable and fabulous.

Fueling the machine 02/29/2012


Going along with yesterday’s post about changing my outlook on working out, I wanted to talk about what happens AFTER the work out.

After a workout I am ravenous. I don’t think I’m alone in this. And most of that hunger is in my head. I didn’t run a long-distance marathon. I didn’t climb a mountain. I just completed 45 minutes at the gym. I should not feel like I want to butcher and eat an entire cow.

This problem is made worse by the voice inside my head that rationalizes the fact that I am considering eating an entire half-gallon of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with a soup spoon. I worked out, right? I can totally afford 14 200-calorie servings of ice cream (that’s a total of 2,800 calories, for those playing along at home).

I'm glad they don't sell this in half-gallons.

Doing this is, of course, counterproductive. I do not need to replenish the 300-odd calories I burned on the Bitch (what I call the elliptical machine for new readers out there). In fact, burning those 300 calories is THE WHOLE FREAKING POINT.

I found this article from SparkPeople.com in my in-box recently and thought it was a fairly rational approach to refueling after a workout. I already subscribe to the carb-and-protein together philosophy of snacking. So I might try to follow the article’s advice and reserve 150 or so calories for a healthy, rational snack after my work out.

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Faster, stronger 02/28/2012

Filed under: Working out — Diabetic Diva @ 9:37 am
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Last week, I decided that I need to stop moaning about how I never go to the gym and instead … go to the gym. I know, I know. It’s a novel approach to health and weight loss.

I don’t know why I’ve had such a hard time strapping on my running shoes and spending some time on the elliptical. Once I’m actually at the gym, I’m fine. I do my workout with a minimum of internal debate. I revel in feeling sweaty and strong. I look forward to getting fitter so I can lift more, walk longer, go faster.

But getting to the gym is an entirely different matter. It makes the most sense to go to the gym in the morning, since I’m not expected at work until mid-morning or early afternoon. Then I can come home, shower and change and head in to work.

The problem is I’m not a morning person. I like to wake up slowly, spend a little time reading before I hit the shower. I am the kind of person for whom the concept of “breakfast in bed” is made. And with winter upon us, my bedroom is so cozy and warm.

So. I haven’t been going to the gym in the morning. No matter. My gym is open 24 hours. So I can go no matter how late I get done with work. By the time I’m done, though, I have all these excuses not to go. It’s late. I’m hungry. I’m tired. I’ll go in the morning, and I don’t want to go twice so close together (this is my FAVORITE! Because, um, yeah. It has already been established that I’m not going in the morning.)

Last week, I decided I needed to change my outlook on this whole getting healthy thing. Part of that was committing to going to go to the gym every night after work. I looked at it as a way to clear my head after a day at the office. A way to tune out, where it’s just me and some good music on the headphones.

Because about 10 minutes into a workout in an almost-empty gym late at night, I get into a meditative state. All my thoughts about how my day went and what I need to accomplish tomorrow just fade into the background. I start thinking about my breathing. I start focusing on my pace, on the way my muscles feel. Everything gets quiet (except for my workout mix. That I like pretty loud.

I’ve decided to think of my time at the gym as a little mini-vacation from the stresses of the day, instead of thinking about working out as some horrible chore hanging over my head all day long. And maybe soon, getting a workout in will be as habitual as breathing.

 

Moment of truth: week seven

Filed under: Successes — Diabetic Diva @ 9:31 am
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I am happy to report that I lost 5.6 pounds last week. Turns out working out and eating right really does work.

 

Coming to terms 02/27/2012


I took a little break from blogging last week because I was struggling so much with staying on track. I didn’t feel like I could sit here and write about what I was doing if I wasn’t actually doing it. Besides, I felt horrible about myself for being weak enough to stop focusing on what I was eating and skipping the gym at the slightest provocation.

Most frustrating for me is that I continued to break promises I’ve made to myself. I wasn’t spending 210 minutes a week at the gym. I wasn’t writing down what I was eating. I wasn’t taking time out to enjoy my meals. I was making my regular rounds of the region’s fast food establishments. Basically, I was right back to where I had started — unhappy and unhealthy and at the end of my rope.

I am the kind of person who goes out of her way to keep promises to others. I hate breaking my word. I have kept plans with friends even when I can’t exactly afford to do so. I have stayed late at work to complete work I promised to my boss.

When it comes to keeping my word to myself, I can rationalize any bad decision. I’ll go to the gym tomorrow. I’ll eat better next week. This is the last time I will eat a triple cheeseburger from Wendy’s.

Here’s the thing: It’s never the last time. Tomorrow will never come. And I have to come to terms with the fact that I am an addict.

I’m not trying to be all dramatic here. And I don’t mean to belittle alcoholics and drug addicts. But I’m addicted to food. I’m addicted to being unhealthy.

It’s killing me, and I don’t care.

But unlike an addiction to alcohol or drugs, how do you avoid food? Even if I can walk right on past the candy aisle at the grocery store, the vending machine at work is calling to me. I buy a bag of almond M&Ms and think … I’ll just eat a couple. I can handle this.

Clearly, I cannot handle it. Even the spectre of kidney dialysis and a possible heart attack hasn’t slowed me down. It’s given me pause. It’s inspired me to eat a little better for a week or two, to make a show of hitting the gym. And then I’m right back to giving in to my addiction.

Apparently, I don’t value myself or my health enough to get serious about getting better. The worst part is that I feel lost and fat and ugly for not doing what seems to come so easily to everyone else. I feel out of control when I have a cabinet full of junk food.

So Tuesday, after another disappointing morning on the Weight Watchers scale, I decided that I need to get serious. I am stronger than food. I value myself enough to want to make the changes I need to make.

I have committed to writing everything I eat down, to sticking to my eating plans and burning some calories at the gym every day. I have committed to focusing on the promised I made myself in January and earlier this month.

It’s too soon to tell whether my work over the past week has paid off. And I can’t guarantee that I won’t head back to all the bad decisions that have gotten me here.

However, I’m trying hard to remember that I need to value myself as much as I value my work and my friends. Otherwise, I won’t be around to keep any promises to anyone.

 

What’s cooking: Red curry 02/26/2012

Filed under: cooking — Diabetic Diva @ 2:42 pm
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We’re lucky to have three really good thai restaurants in town. But no matter which we end up at, I never even look at the menu. Hey — when I find something I really like, I stick with it. I’m very loyal that way.

Eggplant, red bell pepper and basil will soon swim in red curry sauce

Red curry is the perfect mix of creamy and spicy. I love the crisp tender vegetables swimming in the sauce, the thin slivers of chicken hiding toward the bottom of the bowl, and the flavorful, earthy leaves of thai basil.

But I don’t know how many calories are in that heaping plate of curry from the thai place down the street, and I always eat way too much rice to soak up that delicious sauce. So I took to my kitchen, armed with a bottle of Trader Joe’s red curry sauce and a dream — to eat delicious thai food all week without shelling out $15 a night.

Hint: The bottled sauce I used is relatively low in calories and carbs, but if I did it all over again, I think I’d pour the quarter-cup serving of sauce warmed in the microwave over each portion of chicken, veggies and rice. That would give me a little more control on exactly how much sauce I was getting.

You’ll need:

Two boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 2-3 ounces, cooked, per serving)

Small eggplant, chopped (I peel mine because I don’t like the skin)

2 small red bell peppers, chopped into large chunks

8 basil leaves

1 bag frozen green beans

1 T olive oil or coconut oil

1 jar red curry sauce

brown rice (I use Minute Rice), prepared according to directions without added fat or salt

Oh, yeah. That's what I'm talking about

Slice chicken thinly and add to large wok with a generous hit of cooking spray. Stir until browned on all sides. Remove from pan.

Add 1 T oil to wok and add eggplant and bell pepper. Cook about 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add green beans. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Add cooked chicken and basil leaves to wok. Pour 1 cup of sauce over top, stir to coat.

Serve over 1/2 cup of hot rice.

Serves 4.

Nutrition information depends on the sauce used. I calculated my meal as about 10 Weight Watchers points plus per serving. To calculate exact nutrition information, plug the ingredients into http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

 

Taking a break 02/21/2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Diabetic Diva @ 2:14 pm
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I’m taking a week or so off from blogging to get my head on straight. I’ve been really struggling with dieting and exercise. So right now, I don’t have a lot of advice to offer. I’ll be back in a little while, hopefully with a lot more enthusiasm.

 

Human Guinea Pig: Blood orange-flavored Greek yogurt 02/16/2012


An occasional feature wherein Diabetic Diva reviews products that purport to help with a healthy lifestyle. She receives no compensation or sponsorship for these reviews. Curious about a product? Leave suggestions in the comments section or e-mail diabetic.diva79@gmail.com.

My brief relationship with a nutritionist back when I was first diagnosed with diabetes left me with a few take-away points. In addition to suggesting a carbohydrate maximum for each meal and snack, she told me to try and combine a carb and a protein for each snack I had. Great advice. She also turned me on to Greek yogurt.

Now, I was raised on Yoplait Light. Greek yogurt was pretty much a mystery to me. But my nutritionist gave me some coupons for Chobani brand yogurt that made it pretty much free. So I gave it a shot.

The first few flavors I tried were … not so great. The fruit-on-the-bottom kind of weirded me out because the texture was weird. There was a tang to the Greek yogurt that Yoplait didn’t have.

But fat-free Greek yogurt is creamy. It’s substantial. It feels like you are eating something decadent. So I bid farewell to ordinary yogurt and stuck to the honey flavor for years.

I eventually branched out into lemon and pineapple (which is a 2 percent Greek yogurt, so it’s creamy like WHOA! as the cool kids were recently saying). A friend had mentioned Chobani having a cinnamon-apple flavor but I’d never seen it, so I was treating it like an urban legend.  I also tried and rejected several flavors, including mango, strawberry-banana and pomegranate.

The other day, I saw my boss eating a cup of Chobani that looked a little like the pomegranate. Because I’m nosy, I asked her what flavor it was. She told me it was blood orange and that it was delicious. I was intrigued, though I stopped short of asking her for a bite.

My new BFF, blood orange

And when I made a brief trip to the fancy grocery store to get fancy tea, I walked past a display that had blood orange Chobani front and center.

I bought two. I packed the first one in my lunch Tuesday, along with some sliced strawberries and a handful of Kashi cinnamon GoLean crunch, planning to make a parfait of sorts.

Let me tell you, readers. Blood orange Chobani is AWESOME. It’s all citrusy and sweet and creamy and oh wow. I need a moment. I might have found a new favorite treat. Together with the strawberries, it was ah-may-zing. It’s worth a separate trip to the fancy grocery store once a week, and perhaps a letter-writing campaign to the corporate headquaters of my not-so-fancy normal grocery store.

Fat-free Greek yogurt has become the dieter’s darling because it has double the protein of regular yogurt, which makes you feel more satisfied and keeps you from getting hungry so quickly.

Each 6-ounce cup of the blood orange flavor has 140 calories, 0 grams of fat, 21 grams of carbs and 14 grams of protein. It’s a little too many calories to stand in for a snack, but I usually eat one as part of my lunch or as a quickie breakfast.

Rating: Four stars (out of possible four)

Cost: $1 per cup, which carries one serving

Availability/more information: http://www.chobani.com/products/where/