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.


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?


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?



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?


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.


Human Guinea Pig: These shoes are made for walking…. 01/25/2012

* 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 nissley79@gmail.com.

This isn’t quite a typical Human Guinea Pig post — if there can be such a thing as typical when we’re only comparing it to two previous posts.

I haven’t really tried any new products recently. But I did want to write a post about sneakers, specifically the sneakers that have made exercising a pleasure (almost) for me.

For years, I bought whatever exercise sneaker was on sale. I did no research before going to the store and picking out a new pair.

Meanwhile, I noticed that my arches hurt if I walked for a long time (like, more than 20 minutes. That’s a long time for me, OK?). Also, I seemed to sprain an ankle every couple of months, especially the left one. I broke that ankle in 2004 and it never healed quite right.

One day, I was flipping through the newspaper and ran across a column that talked about how to pick out the right kind of shoe for the type of exercise you’re doing and to solve specific foot problems. The article (which of course I can’t find, because it was at least three years ago) mentioned a couple of things that sounded like what I was having trouble with.

I think now is a good time to put in the standard “Please talk to your doctor or a podiatrist if you believe you have either of these problems or any other foot problems. For that matter, talk to a doctor before starting an exercise program.”

Based on that article, I began to suspect that I was an overpronator and had flat feet, possibly caused by the fact that I was doing high-impact exercise and needed to lose 75+ pounds. I started researching shoes that were designed for people with these problems. I found running shoes by Saucony called ProGrid Stabil CS, and let me tell you, they felt like heaven.

Aaah ... like running on clouds.

Now, I can’t get into all the fancy specifics of why the shoe feels good on my foot. The description of the shoe talks about “superior motion control” and stuff. Here’s what I can say: I’ve tried a couple of different brands and Saucony doesn’t hurt my arch. I also haven’t twisted or sprained my ankle since I started wearing these shoes.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s a clunky looking shoe. It has a lot of sole, and not in the “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag” kind of way (see what I did there? Ahahaha). It doesn’t have a defined arch, so it looks kind of like a marshmallow on your foot. But looks are not as important as finishing an hour of medium-intensity cardio or spending the day walking around New York City without wanting to surgically remove my feet. These shoes fit the bill.

I had a hard time finding another pair of ProGrid Stabil CS in my size a few weeks ago, so I bought the ProGrid Stabil CS 2 and hoped for the best. It does not look as much like a big-ass marshmallow on your foot, and I was worried they would hurt my arches. But so far, so good. They’re a little lighter, a little sleeker but it feels just as good.

So the Saucony ProGrid Stabil shoe works well for me. To find a shoe that works for you, think about what kind of foot pain you’re having and talk to a podiatrist or your doctor about what kind of shoe might be better for you.

Rating: 4 stars out of a possible 4

Cost: From $75 to $120

Available online or at running stores. Visit http://www.saucony.com/store/SiteController/saucony/home for more information.