A Farewell to Carbs

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

Goals for March 03/01/2012

Filed under: Goals — Diabetic Diva @ 8:09 am
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It’s a new month, which means new goals.

For new readers, I decided in late December that instead of making a big blanket New Year’s resolution that I’d never, ever follow through on, I’d make one or two easily-reachable goals each month. Each goal remains in place, though, so I add to my new healthy habits each month.

The reality is …. well, it hasn’t worked out as planned. My January goals were to exercise for 210 minutes each week. That hasn’t exactly happened consistently. I also resolved to stop eating fast food and, even though I’ve realized it tastes gross, I still hit the drive-thru once a week or so as a “reward” for a tough day.

February goals were a mixed bag. I have not been very good about taking time out to eat meals and really enjoy them. But I have followed my goal of exercising once a week outside of the gym, mostly thanks to a great group of friends who will get together with me for a walk or an exercise class once a week.

So, in addition to focusing on meeting these four goals each day, I’m adding one more. The first is one I’m excited about — I’ve decided to stop eating after 9 p.m.

This is a relatively arbitrary time of day, and it’s intended to solve a problem I’ve been struggling with for years.

I make good food choices in the morning and afternoons. I can fend off early hunger pangs at work by focusing on another task. I am rarely tempted to go off the beaten path when it comes to my meal plans for breakfast, lunch and a snack.

It's almost 9 p.m.Do you know where your snacks are?

But once I get home from work, a switch flips in my brain. I put my stuff down and do the dishes from lunch. Then I open the fridge and unhinge my jaw. Every commercial break, I’ll get up and find something else to snack on. And even after I’m full, I keep eating. I completely blow my daily calorie limit in the space of three or four hours. And, as embarassing as it is to admit, if I don’t have tantalizing snacks in the house, I’ll go out and buy some.

I have a problem. I know this. And yet I can’t stop. I know I’m screwing up. I’ve tried curbing it by putting the mindful eating goal last month. It didn’t work.

I’m hoping that by instituting an eating ban after 9 p.m., I can rewire my brain to not expect a calorie explosion late at night.

I have a few strategies to help me accomplish this goal. I’ve started exercising at the gym at night after work, which means there’s a 45 minute period where I can’t eat. (Well, I could but I’d hate to think of the judgement I’d get if I ate a pan of brownies while walking on a treadmill.)

When I get home from the gym, I am hungry. But it’s more habit than actual hunger, and I’ve just spent 45 minutes sweating and panting (and not in a good way). So why would I want to then ruin all that by stuffing my face?

I’d like to eventually lift this ban in favor of a more sane approach to snacking, so I can have a small treat or an extra serving of veggies before bed. For now, though, going cold-turkey seems like the only way to really stop the sabotage.

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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?

 

 

February goals 02/01/2012

Filed under: Goals — Diabetic Diva @ 7:07 am
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Instead of coming up with some vague New Years resolution this year that I’d stick to for all of three weeks, I decided instead to set two goals per month in an effort to develop healthy habits. My goals for the month of January were to exercise for 210 minutes per week and to cut out fast food.

You don't want to disappoint Journey, do you?

I can’t say I stuck to either goal perfectly. Not that I’m expecting perfection. In fact, “good enough” is good enough for me. But I didn’t get in 210 minutes of exercise for two of the four past weeks. This is unacceptable, since it is a completely reachable goal.

The fast food ban was a little easier to adhere to. I grabbed a burger and fries only a handful of times in the last month. But when I did, I refrained to ordering the giant-size calorie bomb with a side of bacon and opted instead for a more modest order of a small burger, which I ate with only the bottom half of the bun, and small fries.

Even so, I’d be forced to declare the month a total wash if I was measuring it on formal goals alone. But I also made some other strides, specifically in joining Weight Watchers after admitting to myself that “trying to avoid most carb-laden junk food” as a diet plan wasn’t really working. And despite the struggles I had in sticking to the WW plan last week, I’m not ready to give up on WW altogether.

My New Years resolution plan all along was to build on, instead of replace, each month’s goals. So I’ll continue to strive to getting in 210 minutes of exercise each week and to avoid fast food restaurants. I’m adding two goals for February: Eating meals mindfully and getting some exercise outside of the gym at least once a week.

One of my biggest bad habits is eating meals and snacks in front of the television, while curled up with a book, on the computer or while driving. I think some of this is psychological: I don’t feel I deserve to enjoy my food, or if I’m not concentrating on eating “bad food,” it doesn’t count.  It’s also situational: I’m often pretty busy and it saves time to eat lunch at my desk while answering e-mails or in my car while driving to a meeting.

But it also makes food less satisfying and causes me to eat more than I need to to feel satisfied. By really focusing on the taste and texture of what I’m eating, I’ll likely feel more full. It will also force me to think twice before shoving junk food in my mouth.

Getting out and trying new forms exercise — whether it’s enjoying a walk outside, trying a Zumba class or finding an indoor tennis court — will help me continue to enjoy working out instead of seeing it as a chore. Going along with this goal is a plan to start asking friends to meet up for a hike or an aerobics class instead of for lunch or dinner. I socialize a lot with friends over food, which is bad for my diet and my wallet.

Despite the setbacks and failures I’ve had over the past month, I have to say that I feel hopeful about making the changes I know I need to make. I have a long journey ahead of me, but I feel like I can continue walking down the path. Thanks to everyone who has visited this blog over the past month. I’ve had more than 500 views in the past 30 days, and I’m so happy to have a group of readers who are supportive and understanding.

Let’s make it a great February!

Your turn: What’s your goal for February? What are your strategies to accomplish it?

 

Rethinking, replanning 01/28/2012

Filed under: Goals — Diabetic Diva @ 8:06 am
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I have had a weird week. And because of that, I have completely fallen off the healthy-eating, regular-exercise wagon.

It is frustrating to see how tenuous a grasp I have on my motivation. Because there are going to be weird weeks. And that doesn’t mean I can just kick my diet out of bed until things get un-weird. I am a writer, after all. Weird is my thing.

I have not been to the gym since Monday. This is becoming a familiar refrain. I have no excuse. Both Thursday and Friday, I had hours of free time and decided to lay around in my pajamas instead. I kind of hate myself, actually. I am trying not to, but all I feel is disgust.

Going along with that is my inability to follow a calorie-reduction plan. While I start each day swearing that I will stick to my eating plan, I often lose that willpower by lunch.

One thing I noticed this week, though, is that I didn’t really have a plan for breakfast or lunch. I found myself foraging through the fridge and pantry for snacks that were not satisfying AT ALL instead of making a meal. Maybe I have forgotten how to perform this basic human survival skill.

Regardless, a loosely grouped selection of snacks is not the way to lose weight. It leaves me feeling hungry and a little desperate, ready to drive to the nearest fast food place and order something that feels more like a meal.

So, my goal for February is to plan three meals a day, every day, and to eat those meals mindfully. My other goal is to make exercising a habit instead of an extra.

 

More Paula Deen musings 01/21/2012


All week, I’ve been reading a lot about Paula Deen’s big reveal. I came across this Friday afternoon on SparkPeople.com and I think it made a lot of good points.

To quote from the article: “f you consume high-fat, high-calorie and high-sodium foods and snacks often, you increase your risks of heart disease and diabetes. This is true whether you are enjoying Paula Deen’s Southern cooking, frequently selecting fast-food burgers, or snacking on bags of chips.”

Too true. The article also has a lot of good tips for diabetics who are newly diagnosed or (like me) haven’t been taking the diagnosis very seriously. I know my A1C number isn’t great, but I didn’t know what the number is that I should be shooting for. (For the record, it’s anything under 7). There might be some of you out there that don’t know what an A1C number is.

 

 

Tackling breakfast 01/18/2012

Filed under: cooking,Goals — Diabetic Diva @ 9:06 am
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I am not a morning person. I prefer to stay up late and get up late. Luckily, I’m in a job that allows me to do this most days.

The drawback of keeping much the same schedule since my college days is that eating a healthy breakfast is a challenge. When I don’t get up and about until 10 a.m., it seems easier to wait an hour and just have an early lunch instead.

I also find myself rushing in the morning, so I don’t have time to cook breakfast. Most of the “grab and go” breakfast foods on the market are full of carbs and sugar, and I feel like I crave sugary stuff all day if I eat something really sweet in the morning.

I have a couple of breakfasts I enjoy, including Hungry Girl’s Egg Mug recipes (check ’em out, they’re terrific), and a double serving of trail mix (remember to watch those carbs). To stave off boredom, though, I thought I’d go on a hunt to see what else is out there. This is one of the recipes I found at Better Homes and Gardens.

A few notes: This serves two. I modify the recipe to cook it for one and use one large egg and 1/4 cup of egg substitute or egg white (I like Egg Beaters). By using only half the cheese and canadian bacon the recipe calls for, it ends up about the same totals for nutrition facts. I also add in some mushrooms, spinach or tomato to get at least a partial serving of veggies, which does change the calories and carb content a little.

Your turn: What do you usually eat for breakfast?

What you’ll need:

1 egg

2 egg whites

1 and 1/2 oz Canadian-style bacon, finely chopped

4 and 1/2 teaspoons of water

1 tablespoon fresh chives

pinch of salt

cooking spray

1 large pita round

1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1. In a small bowl, beat together egg, egg whites, Canadian bacon, water, chives and salt.

2. Lightly coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Over medium heat, add egg mixture to skillet. Cook without stirring until eggs begin to set on the bottom and around the edge. Using a spatula or large spoon, lift and fold the partially cooked eggs so the uncooked portion flows underneath. Continue cooking 2 minutes or until eggs are cooked through but glossy and moist. Remove from heat.

3. Cut pita bread in half crosswise. Fill pita halves with egg mixture. Sprinkle with cheese.

Servings: 2

Nutrition per serving

Calories: 233

Fat: 9 g

Carbs: 18

Dietary fiber: 1 g

Protein: 18 g

 

Working it out 01/17/2012

Filed under: Goals,Working out — Diabetic Diva @ 9:57 am
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At this point, you know what I listen to when I hit the gym, but you don’t know what I’m actually doing at the gym. I’m going to fill you in.

Before I start off, I just want to reiterate that what I do at the gym might not be the best plan for you. Please consult a doctor or trainer before starting or changing a workout plan.

My biggest problem when it comes to exercise is my lack of stamina. I’m also uncoordinated and a little uncomfortable throwing my weight around in an aerobics room, so at this point I’m sticking to solo exercise.

When I get to the gym, I usually start out on the elliptical machine (which I call The Bitch)  on the random program, level 5. I start to fade after about 15 minutes (I know, it’s embarrassing), but it’s a pretty intense 15 minutes with a lot of hills. I can usually cover a mile in about 11 minutes (Quick! Someone call the folks at the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge!). At the 14 minute mark, people working out on machines near me are shooting me looks of alarm, so I give it my all for the last minute and then climb off.

After wiping down the machine (always practice good gym etiquette, folks), I get on the recumbent bike for 15 minutes (I know! I know! Pathetic). I try to keep my speed above 13 miles an hour and pick a program with a lot of hills and a difficulty level of 5.

After that, I go to the weight machines and do either an arms and upper torso circuit (working the triceps, biceps, shoulders and chest for about 15 minutes or so total, doing 6 machines, 3 sets of 12 reps on 30-70 pounds each depending on the machine) or a legs and lower torso circuit (working hamstrings, quads, abs,  calves and glutes for about 15 minutes or so, doing 6 machines, 3 sets of 12 reps each on 30-70 pounds depending on the machine).

Then, I do some cardio to cool down (which is very important for type II diabetics!). I either do 15 minutes on the recumbent bike, same settings as before but keeping my speed to 10 or 11 mph, or 15 minutes on the treadmill with an incline of 3 and a speed of about 3.4 mph. That gives me a solid 60 minute workout. Probably the only nice thing about being fat is that it take a lot of energy to haul all that extra baggage around, thus you burn more calories. This workout burns about 400 calories for someone hauling around as much as I am.

A couple of notes: On Fridays, I skip the weights. On Saturday, I try to do cardio outside for an hour; it’s not as strenuous as the gym but I make up for it by adding twice as much. Sunday, I usually take the day off or do a makeup day if I missed a day during the week.

And that’s about it, for now. My goal is to work up to 30 minutes on The Bitch, which burns a lot more calories than the treadmill or the bike.

Your turn: What’s your go-to exercise routine?