A Farewell to Carbs

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

Sweatin’ to the oldies 03/05/2012

Filed under: Uncategorized,Working out — Diabetic Diva @ 11:15 am
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Back in college, I took an advertising class where the teacher said that to market something to a particular age-group, use music they listened to in high school.

For me, that would be 90s alternative and rap. There’s just something about Coolio’s “Rollin’ With My Homies” that takes me right back to the parking lot of my high school, cranking the volume on that cute senior boy’s family Dodge before heading to a diner to eat french fries and smoke clove cigarettes. Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Everclear evoke memories of the all-day music festival I went to with a boy the summer before my junior year (and him rescuing me from a mosh pit that formed around me spontaneously).

Remember these? Neither do I ....

So when I read a story online last week about the ultimate 90s workout mix, I thought it was high time to make a new mix. Here’s what’s on my list:

1. Prodigy — Firestarter

2. Everclear — Santa Monica

3. Blind Melon — No Rain

4. Spin Doctors — Jimmy Olsen Blues

5. Garbage — Only Happy When it Rains

6. Coolio — Rollin’ With My Homies

7. Lit — My Own Worst Enemy

8. Harvey Danger — Flagpole Sitta

9. Toadies — Possum Kingdom

10. Reel Big Fish — Sell Out

11. No Doubt — Just a Girl

12. Nate Dogg — Regulate


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.


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.


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?


Gym angst 02/09/2012

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


Dance your a$$ off 02/03/2012

Filed under: Working out — Diabetic Diva @ 7:11 am
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Last fall, as I flirted with getting healthy, I gathered a group of friends and formed a walking club. Every Saturday for about two months, we got together and walked on a trail or a track somewhere in our neighborhoods.

The group more or less went on hiatus as it got colder. But a few weeks ago, I floated the idea of trying a Zumba class. Four of the ladies were really enthusiastic so I found myself in a small studio on Sunday at an unbelieveably early hour (10 a.m.! Dear God!), wholly unprepared for what I was about to encounter.

Zumba is an aerobics class that combines dance moves with hip-hop infused Latin music. It’s all the rage right now across the East Coast, with a lot of people saying it feels more like dancing than working out.

One of my friends, who I will refer to as Zumba Veteran hereafter, talked us into the Sunday morning class because the instructor was a little less of a drill sergeant than the other two instructors. Zumba Veteran also told us to bring water but neglected to mention packing a towel, which would have been helpful since I basically had to wring out my shirt afterward. The moisture was a mix of sweat and tears, I think.

I’m kidding! I will say, though, that the class drove home the fact that I am about as coordinated as an elephant with three legs. I will immediately cease and desist any attempt to dance at bars. I had NO IDEA how silly I look.

I didn’t do quite as many jumping jacks as the instructor did, and I often found myself cha-cha-ing while the rest of the class was shimmying. But I enjoyed trying to follow the routine. It was a nice change from the grind of the elliptical machine and my competitive streak forced me to remain moving until class was over. I was standing pretty far from the door, so I couldn’t duck out.

And even though I wasn’t quite as energetic as the instructor (or most of the class) and got tripped up on steps pretty often, the muscles in my thighs and upper arms were sore starting later the same day — a sure sign that I burned some calories and built some muscle.

After the class, I joked with my friends about maybe going again sometime NEXT year. But I’m actually already planning another trip to Zumba class, maybe sometime this month.

Your turn: What’s your favorite workout? What do you do when you get stuck in an exercise rut?


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?


Item: Paul Deen has Type II Diabetes? 01/13/2012

At least three times last week, I did cardio while watching Paula Deen pour heavy cream over brown-sugar oatmeal or add cream cheese and sugar to fruit salad. It was a weird kind of inspiration — and I’ll save the fact that my gym has a TV tuned 24-7 to the food network for another post.

So when I stumbled onto this today, I was intrigued: http://www.healthnewsreview.org/2012/01/burger-bacon-fried-egg-donut-diabetes-new-drug-company-endorsement/

Hmmmmm…… does she or doesn’t she?


Battling self-doubt

I’ve had a bad week.

I have set foot in a gym exactly once in the last six days, meaning I’ve completely blown my goal of fitting in 210 minutes of exercise for the week. I haven’t been keeping track of what I’m eating (meaning I am shoveling unspeakable amounts junk food into my mouth at all hours of the day and night). I completely gave up any facade of trying Thursday and grabbed takeout for lunch and dinner instead of sticking with my eating plan.

All that healthy food I bought over the weekend is just sitting in the fridge, slowly going bad. My sneakers and my iPod have been sitting in my bedroom, gathering dust.

I hate myself for not honoring my commitments. It’s the second full week of the month and I’m already spiraling back into all my old habits. I’m a complete failure.

I’ve been in this place before, too many times to count.  It’s a dark place to be — full of long hallways of self-loathing and entire rooms of guilt. I can’t do anything right. I don’t deserve to be thin and healthy. I’m going to die young (and alone!). I can’t stick with anything.

The worst part, I think, is that I feel crappy this week because I’m not going to the gym and making good food choices. I feel tired, sluggish and heavy.

Last week, though, I felt great. I was energetic, happy, ready to take on whatever life threw at me. After a workout, I felt sexy and fit.

Why do junk food and inertia have such power over me? How do I find the motivation to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle when it’s so much easier to wave the white flag from the couch while stuffing fistfuls of gummy bears into my mouth?

So far, the ability to stick to a diet and exercise plan has largely escaped me. What will it take for me to make these changes?

I don’t have the answers to those questions yet. Maybe I won’t ever. But I want to keep fighting, because the alternative will mean being unable to find anything other than a Hefty bag (OK, several Hefty bags with duct tape trim) to wear when the firemen are forced to bust me out the house because I’m too fat to fit through the front door.

So today I’m going to track what I eat. And I’m going to strap on my sneakers and clip on my iPod for a long workout at the gym. Maybe I’ll find my misplaced motivation there.

Your turn: What motivates you to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle?


Little victories 01/08/2012

Filed under: strategies,Working out — Diabetic Diva @ 12:07 am
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After an hour-long walk this morning, I’m happy to report that I logged 220 minutes of exercise this week. There was a few moments that I thought I wouldn’t hit the goal this week because I didn’t get a chance to hit the gym Wednesday or Thursday.

But instead of letting the two days of inactivity derail me, I dug deep and got up early on Friday for a workout. Today was so nice, weather-wise, that taking a walk was a pleasure.

One constant for me, regardless of whether I was huffing and puffing on The Bitch or stumbling through a routine on Just Dance 3 on my Wii, is that music makes the workout. The right song can keep me going for another five minutes or pump me up for a gym session that I wasn’t really feeling at first.

My taste in music usually runs to indie rock, with some electronic and some throwback tunes thrown in. So I combed through my music library and selected songs that got me pumped to sweat. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about — and maybe inspire you to get moving for 45 minutes — here’s a mix I made for you:   http://open.spotify.com/user/121869103/playlist/1UNq38YaDbeImd08SphA5c 

(Don’t have spotify? It’s free for a month, so check it out. I like it because I can make my own mixes and play them through my smartphone. And I’m not getting paid to plug spotify.)

Your turn: What’s your favorite workout? What are your favorite workout tunes?