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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Battling self-doubt 01/13/2012


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?

 

Smart snacking 01/10/2012


Right now, I’m sitting at the computer trying to make it another 45 minutes before putting something in my mouth. I really, really want chocolate or maybe a cupcake (OK, OK, I want both). I’ll probably end up having some carrot sticks and hummus, since I’m committed to this getting healthy thing.

Visions of red velvet cupcakes dancing through my head got me thinking about the whole emotionally-fraught world of  snacking. And I remembered that I found this quiz to ascertain whether you are a “smart snacker.” The quiz, from the very useful site SparkPeople.com (which some big important magazine once called “Facebook for dieters”), is interesting but not because it actually gives you useful information on whether you are, in fact, a smart snacker. I think anyone taking the quiz probably already knows the answer to that — and that the answer is not “Yes.”

What’s interesting to me about this quiz is that it is so freakin’ obvious what the RIGHT answer is and just as obvious what your ACTUAL answer is. Here’s a sample:

When you crave something sweet, what do you usually do?

0 Nothing. I don’t eat sugary foods.

0 Go for a piece of fresh fruit.

0 Chew on a piece of fruity, sugar-free gum

0 Search for candy, cookies, chocolate — anything to satisfy my sweet tooth!

Ummmm, yeah. If your answer is the first one, go away. You don’t belong here. You’re not human! (Kidding. Good for you if it’s the first answer. But I will need to cut you to see if you bleed.) The correct answer, if you want to be a smart snacker, is the second or third option. But the fourth option is pretty much my answer, up until a few days ago.

It’s hard to choose the right answer when you’re smack in the middle of a craving for cake slathered in cream-cheese frosting. Making bad food choices is a habit. It’s something I’m used to doing. And that habit has gotten me to where I am today — more than 75 pounds overweight and diabetic.

Habits can be replaced, of course. And that’s what I’m trying to do by setting two goals a month. Slowly putting in place new habits, good habits to replace the old, unhealthy ones.

Your turn: Are you a smart snacker? What are your stumbling blocks and what strategies can you put in place to change your bad habits into good ones?

 

Avoiding temptation 01/04/2012


Earlier today, I was minding my own business, making phone calls at work when I suddenly became aware of a plate of fudge sitting on a filing cabinet, directly in my line of sight.

I tried to ignore it. Every time I looked up, there it was, seeming to whisper sweet, loving nothings in my ear. “It’s only one piece, Diva. You have been working so hard, and I am so chocolately and full of walnuts and marshmallow fluff. Just give in.”

If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ve probably had a similar scenario. So what do you do? Complain about the sugary treats in the office and you’ll be branded a killjoy. Give in and you could wreck your resolve for the whole day. And all those rationalizations about working it off at the gym aren’t really very rational at all. Depending on how much you weigh, a 300-calorie treat could take 40 minutes on the stairmaster to burn off. (Though I don’t know how accurate it is, I found this calculator online that tells you how much exercise it would take to work off certain treats.) Vowing to skip a meal isn’t very healthy, and that plan almost always backfires, doesn’t it?

So how do I resist the fudge’s siren call? Well, I looked up the calorie content of similar treats as a scare tactic. I did a quick analysis of whether the desire I felt for the treat was one caused by actual hunger or thirst. It wasn’t, but if it was, I would have broken out a healthy snack (like a cheese stick or a handful of homemade, low-carb, high-protein trail mix) or gotten a water or a diet soda from the vending machine.

I ended up taking a quick walk (very quick — it was about 10 degrees outside) as a way to redirect my focus. For me, that was enough to resist the fudge today. I’m not sure that I’ll always be able to resist the treats that sometimes appear in the office. After all, I’m still in the honeymoon stage of the getting healthy kick.

I’ve struggled most of my adult life with cravings and the aftermath of giving into cravings. When I “mess up” and eat something full of sugar and fat, I tend to consider the whole day a lost cause. All of a sudden, eating a piece of fudge or a handful of fun-size candy bars gives me license to buy the biggest sack of french fries the local fast food place carries and see how many I can cram in my mouth at once. And since I can’t seem to eat like a normal human being, I might as well skip the gym and resign myself to dying fat and alone.

What a ridiculous way of thinking. So I caved to the cookie plate. I should get back up, dust myself off and re-commit to all of the principles I’d been following. It’s a couple hundred calories. A blip, if you will, in a lifetime of healthy eating. People make mistakes.

So if you find yourself diving head-first into the cardboard box of doughnuts some well-meaning but misguided coworker has brought in, don’t despair. Get right back on the healthy bandwagon. And as revenge, bring in some carrot sticks for the whole office to enjoy tomorrow.

Your turn: What are some sugary treats that magically appear in your office? What are your strategies to resist them?

 

Inspiration 01/03/2012

Filed under: inspiration,strategies,Working out — Diabetic Diva @ 2:36 pm
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As I freed my car from a glaze of ice and snow this morning, the wind cutting through my work-out pants, I started thinking about inspiration. Getting down to the nitty-gritty, I’m probably not the best person to be giving getting fit advice. After all, I’ve been trying to get in shape and lose weight for the better part of a decade with little success.

Try enough diets and you’ll pick up enough of the basics to know what you should be eating versus what you want to be eating. Because it all comes down to this simple truth — eat less, move more. And this girl has that figured out and in the process lost 140 pounds. You should check out her tumblr post on how she did it (caution — some might think the language is questionable).

And I also found this on my travels around the Internet this morning. While this is not an endorsement of Weight Watchers (although I did lose 75 pounds in a year on that program and made several lasting friendships), this post has some SMART (you’ll get it when you read the post) advice for people making and trying to keep New Years resolutions.

And finally, here’s a recipe I absolutely love from the Mayo clinic. I think I’ll make it next week.