A Farewell to Carbs

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

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?


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?