A Farewell to Carbs

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

A tangled mess 02/15/2012


I am trying to break myself of the horrible habit of snacking mindlessly in front of the TV.

I don’t have any television channels. Instead, I have a Netflix subscription and watch episode after episode of T.V. shows without commercials. Right now, I’m watching the first season of Boardwalk Empire. Before that, I plowed through BBC’s Luther. I’m anxiously awaiting A Game of Thrones to come out. And I’m kind of addicted to Big Bang Theory after watching the first two seasons in the space of a week. (I am not proud of this).

My T.V. habits mean I can spend several hours on the couch (time I should be spending on a treadmill at the gym), polishing off bags of Cool Ranch Doritos and pints of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food with abandon. It’s not a coincidence that my best-laid diet plans usually fall apart around 11 p.m., when I get home from work exhausted and in need of mindless entertainment.

So to keep my hands busy, I’ve embarked on some craft projects. I have been designing greeting cards using stencils and colored pencils. And I bought some embroidery thread and tried a project I saw on Pinterest.( On it? Follow me!)

Pretty cool, huh?

My headphone cord usually ends up in a snarled tangle of wires (are there evil little elves who do this in the middle of the night?). So the Pinterest project I found had you cover the wires with embroidery thread like a friendship bracelet. You can’t really tell from the photo, but my first attempt was not perfect. I ran out of thread about halfway down the first part of cord, so I had to tie more in, which left a big knot in the middle. The second piece of cord (attaching the left ear to the part that plugs in) went much better. I finished the ends with a liberal coating of clear nail polish to prevent fraying. And if I ever actually go to the gym, I’ll bet I get a few comments on them.

So far, my craft projects are working. Not only have I made gifts for friends’ birthdays for the next several months, I am keeping my hands busy. I can’t eat if I’m occupied. I’m hoping I can retrain my brain not to automatically want to reach for the chips and ice cream when I sit down on the couch. Either that, or start an Etsy account to feed my craft habit.

Your turn: Do you snack in front of the television? What are some strategies you use to curb that habit?

 

My love life 02/14/2012

Filed under: inspiration — Diabetic Diva @ 8:16 am

I haven’t had much luck in the realm of dating for …. oh, about six years now. My mother is convinced that if I just got down to a “normal size,” I’d find a nice boy and settle down for good.

When I’m laying awake in bed in the middle of the night, worried I’m going to die alone, it’s hard not seize on that theory. This doesn’t soothe me at all. In fact, it makes me feel worse. The only thing standing between me and true love (or at least some mediocre sex) is about 75 pounds.

I’m outgoing and well-read. I have good taste in music, and I can cook. I think I’m funny. I have an interesting job and I have interesting friends. But all of that fades away when I’m face-to-face with a guy I like. I get tongue-tied and shy. I definitely don’t want to get intimate, lest he discover all my rolls of fat (because he totally can’t see them underneath the clothes, right?).  I won’t even get into the disaster that was online dating. And the few times I have gone out on dates (or quasi-dates), I’ve felt so uncomfortable in my own skin that I’ve completely squashed any chance that he’ll like my personality.

On my really bad days, I wonder why wearing cute clothes and worrying about my hair and those zits on my chin are even really worth it. Most guys only see me as the really fat girl. I might as well duct tape a Glad trashbag around myself and sell my hairbrush.

Strangely, this doesn’t really motivate me to break up with the junk food and end my intimate relationship with the couch. In fact, sometimes I decide to chuck the diet and the exercise out of spite. If no guy wants to look beyond the weight, screw ’em.

This is not the answer, I know. But it’s a hell of a lot easier than putting in the work to change.

 

Confession time! 02/13/2012

Filed under: Failing,Goals — Diabetic Diva @ 8:46 am
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I haven’t been to the gym in two weeks.

There is no excuse for this. Ihave lots of excuses. None of them are good ones. “My work schedule is crazy.” “I’m too tired to go after work.” “I don’t like getting up early to go before work.” “I’ll just watch my calories today.” “It’s cold.” “It’s raining.” “I don’t have a hair tie.” “My foot hurts.” “I parked really far away from the house.”

This is true.

It seems I’m not the only one who struggles to find motivation for exercise. This blogger I follow wrote a post about it just last week. And she’s way busier than I am.

A lot of what’s keeping her from working out are problems I have to. It’s hard. I’m fat. Everyone at the gym seems like they’re faster and fitter than I am. I’d really rather curl up with a book and have some time to relax.

But working out is one side of the fitness coin. The other side, of course, is eating right. At this point, I’m not really doing either. Six years ago, when I lost 75 pounds in a year on Weight Watchers, I was working out A LOT. Which means I could slip up a little and the exercise would cover my butt (pun intended).

And if I was adhering to my points value for the day on Weight Watchers, I’d probably still see a loss at the scale every week. But I’m going beyond my numbers every day and not racking up much exercise-wise.

The worst part is that when I live this way, I don’t feel good. The excess carbs make me sleepy and woozy. I feel out of control, like every fast food joint and every convenience store is a land of temptation just waiting to be explored mouth-first.

I feel better when I work out regularly. I sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed. Sweating for 45 minutes clears my head of all the work stress. After a hard workout, I feel powerful and strong and sexy.

I need to get the wheels back on the cart and start over, again. Because deep down, I don’t want to be the fat girl who will never find a decent boyfriend, who feels ugly no matter what she’s wearing or how cute her hair is (all of which I feel on a 24-hour basis). I’m not that girl inside. And I need to start changing myself on the outside to let that shine through.

I wish it wasn’t so damn hard.

Your turn: What do you do to get yourself motivated for exercise? What are your favorite ways to burn calories?

 

 

What’s cooking: Rainbow in a bowl 02/12/2012


I know, I know. It’s a weird title. Let me explain.

As you know, I’m trying to cut back on the amount of carbs I eat. Back before I was diagnosed as a diabetic, I ate a lot of pasta. Whole wheat pasta! I thought I was being virtuous. Turns out, not so much.

I’ve written often about my unsettling love for tomato sauce. For me, nothing beats a big bowl of fusilli pasta and homemade meat sauce. I could eat that for the rest of my life and not get tired of it ever. But pasta is high-carb, so after I got over my denial of being a diabetic, I began looking for ways to cut carbs but still indulge in a bowl of hearty meat sauce.

Then I remembered this wacky thing my mom used to do when I was a teen. My mom is a terrific cook, but not very adventurous in the kitchen. But one day when we all sat down together for dinner, she plopped a half a squash down in front of me and then covered it in tomato sauce. I wasn’t even sure what to think at first. It was delicious!

It only looks scary, I promise!

Spaghetti squash, as it is called, is a pretty amazing thing. It has the same general shape as a watermelon, but a little more oblong. Inside, it’s sort of looks like butternut squash — it has some seeds in the center you have to scrape out after cutting the thing in half lengthwise. Then you put the squash cut-side down in a glass pan with a little water in the bottom into an oven heated to about 350 degrees. After about an hour, take it out, flip it cut-side up and run a fork through the flesh. You’ll get strands that look somewhat like angel-hair pasta.

Pour some sauce over it and you have a pretty hearty dinner without the carbohydrate bomb in a heaping bowl of pasta. Per cup of spaghetti squash (prepared with no added salt or fat), there’s only 42 calories, 10 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber. I usually split each half of the spaghetti squash into two servings, so there are 4 servings per squash.

I find spaghetti squash to be a little on the sweet side. Not butternut squash sweet, but definitely partway there. To counterbalance the sweetness, I make my sauce pretty spicy by adding ground cumin and chili powder.

Now — where’s the rainbow part of all of this, you ask? I added sautéed spinach, shredded carrot and some zucchini to my sauce to bulk up the veggies. So that gives you red, orange and green. Add the squash and you have most of the colors of the rainbow. Studies show you should be eating a variety of colors of veggies and fruits every day. This dish definitely adheres to that rule.

I also added very lean ground beef to my sauce to add some protein. This would also be good with sausage or meatballs, though.

I don’t have an exact count on calories, fat, carbs, fiber or protein. For Weight Watchers, I added up the points from the plain tomato sauce and for 2 oz of lean ground beef (which I mixed into each cup of sauce to make sure it was completely accurate). All the veggies are “free,” and I added about 2 cups of uncooked spinach, which cooks way down when sautéed in cooking spray, and about a half-cup each of shredded carrot and zucchini rounds. I counted the spaghetti sauce’s points because I used a jarred sauce as a base and the nutrition facts were on it. If you make tomato sauce from scratch and only use tomatoes and spices, it would be “free” too on the WW plan. All together, I calculated my meal as being 7 WW points.

I found a nifty little recipe calculator online that you can use to calculate recipes by entering the amount of ingredients you use and then dividing by the number of servings. Share your favorite tomato sauce recipe in the comments and let me know if you use the calculator to get nutrition info per serving.

So there you have it, a veggie-centric spaghetti and meat sauce that takes most of the carbs out of the equation. Enjoy!

Your turn: What exotic veggie or fruit have you tried and loved? How do you prepare it?

 

Gym angst 02/09/2012

Filed under: Failing,Working out — Diabetic Diva @ 8:05 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

I have been having a really hard time motivating myself to go to the gym. I just don’t want to go. Maybe it’s the weather. I don’t know.

Anyhow. I came across this comic about what different types of people are thinking about other people working out around them at the gym. It’s hilarious and I thought I’d share. It’s from one of my favorite web comics artist, The Oatmeal. Just a warning. There’s some language that some would consider suggestive, though I don’t think it’s too bad: http://theoatmeal.com/comics/gym

Your turn: How do you summon the motivation to exercise?

 

Hobbies 02/08/2012

Filed under: Successes — Diabetic Diva @ 8:52 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

This post is more or less off-topic, but I hope you enjoy it anyway.

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One of my all-time favorite hobbies is taking photos. I like seeing things in a new way, finding beauty in the every day.
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Having a smartphone has made this hobby both easier and harder. I can snap a photo wherever I am.

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But having a camera phone with me has also kept me from bringing a “real camera” with me. And I have all these pretty photos on my phone, but I have trouble thinking of them as “wall-worthy.”

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(All photos taken with a Droid Incredible 2)

Your turn: What are some of your hobbies?

 

Human Guinea Pig: Pop Chips 02/07/2012


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 comments in the suggestions or e-mail diabetic.diva79@gmail.com.

If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you can probably infer that I like snacks. In fact, snacking is largely to blame for how heavy I am today. I eat pretty healthy meals, lots of veggies and lean protein.

But snacks. Snacks kill me every time. I like coming home from work, plopping on the couch and stuffing my face. I especially love chips — that satisfying crunch and the fact they come in giant bags that last me a 45-minute television show on DVD.

Of course, curbing my snack habits is key to really getting serious about losing weight. It’s also important in my quest to lower my blood sugar and avoid being sentenced to insulin.

So what’s a fat girl to do? Well, I was in the chip aisle of the grocery store, staring longingly at a bag of Herr’s Cheese Puffs when I saw the bag of Popchips sitting forlornly with the “natural snacks.”

Nom nom nom

The nutrition info wasn’t bad at all — about 120 calories, 4 grams of fat and 18 grams of carbs per 1 ounce serving of the original potato kind. The fiber and protein are comparable to the average bag of chips — 1 gram of fiber and 2 grams of protein.

These are a little on the expensive side, about $3.50 for a 3 ounce bag, which comes out to more than a buck a serving. And despite my vow to get them home and immediately portion the chips out into 1 ounce servings so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat the whole bag in one sitting … Yep. You got it. I got distracted, stuck them in the carbohydrate cabinet (why yes, I do have an entire cabinet for snacks. Thanks for asking.)

And one night, when I was desperately hungry, I came across the bag again, opened it up and promptly ate the whole bag. For those keeping score at home, that’s a total of 360 calories, 12 grams of fat and (oh God, don’t make me look!) 54 grams of carbs.

I’d like to take a moment to say that, although I shouldn’t have eaten the whole bag in one sitting, it could be worse. Thank God there’s only 3 ounces in the whole bag, so there’s some built in damage control.

The chips were delicious, really light and super-crunchy with a pleasant amount of salt. I don’t like baked chips because I find them a little like munching on sand patties. These aren’t baked, according to the package, and they weren’t like eating the Saraha with a spade.

So, to review. They tasted good and they were fairly low in carbs, calories and fat. They gave me that hit of salt I like in a snack without being overpowering or dry. But they were expensive for the size of the package, and I didn’t have enough willpower not to eat the whole bag.

Rating: 2 and 1/2 out of 4 stars

Availability: Most grocery stores

Price: $3.50

More information: http://www.popchips.com/