It won’t be long now…

Something cool occurred to me the other day. I now weigh 12lbs less than the formerly flattering lie I have on my most current driver’s license. I was around 300lbs or so when I listed my weight as 250 back in 2005. How sad is it that “250” was meant to save me some embarrassment? Yeesh. Now, I just have to get down to 190, so I can finally be the weight I had dishonestly listed myself as back in 1992, when I weighed closer to 270! Sorry DMV, I’m a weight fibber like that.

I just got off Skype with my friend Louie. He lives in Palau now, and he keeps pleading with me to come visit him there. I am so not a tropical island weather kind of gal. I’m also not a flying in an airplane anywhere for any reason kind of gal. It did dawn on me that I could now fit rather comfortably in a coach class airplane seat, and no longer require a seat-belt extension thingy, though. I don’t think that would do much to alleviate the heart-exploding anxiety attack I would still endure on a flight to Hawaii and then on to Guam, but hey, it’s a nice thought anyway. Maybe some other time, Lou-Lou. ;)

Kale. I love it.  Sauteed with minced garlic in some olive oil. Fucking phenomenal. Oh! I found bread. BREAD! Diabeetus-friendly bread! Mahler’s California Lifestyle Flax and Soy bread. 6g of carbs per slice, 10g of protein! And it’s not made with a bunch of bizarre crap that gives mice cancer or anything like that, either. All of the ingredients are hippie-approved. Unless you’re scared of wheat gluten because you think gluten is bad because someone else you know thinks gluten is bad for no apparent reason. That happens more often than you’d think. Anyway, having two pieces of bread for an actual sandwich is this rather awesome novelty and I have been enjoying the experience immensely.

Now, for the current numbers:

I am currently 238lbs, which gives me a total loss of  95lbs!! I am so close to 100lbs lost, I can scarcely believe it. I think my last weight update had me at 82lbs lost, and that was close to 2 months ago. My losses are slowing down a bit now, and some of that is intentional, and some of it isn’t. I’ve lessened my daily caloric deficit to around -750 (1.5lbs per week) instead of -1000 (2lbs per week). I felt I was losing too quickly, and while that was sort of the idea initially, in order to get my diabetes under control as soon as possible, I feel like I can now reign things in a bit and try to focus more on overall fitness.

It’s pretty weird to think that I only have around 45lbs to lose now. That seems like a drop in the bucket. I don’t know that I can even remember only being 45lbs overweight before. Maybe when I was like.. 12 years old? What a trip!

13 more pounds until my next progress photo!

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Happy New Year…

It’s the last day of 2012, and I just wanted to say, it’s been a pretty remarkable year. This time last year I was 333lbs, in constant chronic pain from my undiagnosed diabetes, generally miserable, and in the deepest depression I’ve ever endured. I simply did not want to go on.

Now, I’m 85lbs lighter, stronger, healthier, happier, wiser, and looking forward to each day as it comes.

I am thankful to have been able to rely so fully on the people closest to me during a very transformative and somewhat tumultuous period in my life.

My mom — she is rarely mentioned in my blog, but she has made everything possible for me this year (and for many years). She has provided me with the opportunity to focus solely on my health by giving me much-needed financial support during this period, as well as prior to my diabetes diagnosis, when I was so depressed and physically debilitated that I could not function in the real world. She’ll never read this, but I just wanted the world to know how much I appreciate all she has done for me. I hope this year will permit me to return that favor, financially speaking.

My brother Jason — thank you for always being interested in how I’m doing, and for letting me in on what goes on in your life, despite the vast physical distance. You have been a great support to me, and you say exactly the kinds of encouraging words that I have needed to hear. I hope the changes you are making in your own life right now make you the happiest yet. I hope to see you soon. (“like he’s some kinda hotshot!”)

Dawn — thank you for enduring my endless babbling about weight loss, permitting me to brag about my accomplishments, and for tolerating my sometimes asshole behavior. You’re like a sister. Please don’t ever give up on me.

Last but not least — Dan. God, what can I say? I couldn’t get through any of this without you. Your patience, understanding, and steadying force have been the very backbone of my successes this year. Your constant unconditional love is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, and I am so fortunate to know what that kind of love feels like.

Everyone that has ever given me support, a “like”, a suggestion, a pat on the back — thank you. Knowing that I have your support goes a long way towards fueling my determination and confidence. Two things I’ve never had in great abundance. Until now.

I’m making a commitment to myself right now to lose another 70lbs. It’s alright if it doesn’t happen within this coming year. I’ve got no timeline in mind. Just ultimately, 70lbs. I’m also committing to taking and posting another progress photo after my next 25lb loss. Again, no time-frame constraints — when it happens, it happens.

Happy New Year, everyone!

The results are in…

I had my second appointment with my new doctor today. We discussed my recent lab test results (cholesterol panel, A1c, fasting blood glucose, etc.), and I had some high hopes, mostly concerning the status of my A1c. For those of you that have no idea what A1c is, it is basically a test that measures a person’s average blood glucose level over the past 2 to 3 months. It is a good indicator of how well your diabetes is being managed over a long period of time, as opposed to a single random blood glucose test.

My first A1c test back in February was 7%. That put me, unsurprisingly, squarely in the “diabetic” category. My second A1c in June was 6.5%. An improvement, but still within the realm of full-on diabetes, and I remember being somewhat disappointed with that result. This time, however, I am very happy to report that my A1c is at 5.3%!! This is a normal level for people without diabetes (normal range for non-diabetics is between 4% and 5.7%). Didja hear that? Normal! Obviously, this doesn’t mean that I am no longer diabetic. I am. I always will be, in the sense that I will always have an issue with insulin resistance. But, it also means that I have made a huge amount of progress towards reducing many of the health risks associated with consistent high blood glucose. Speaking of blood glucose, my fasting BG was 96, which is well within the normal range for a non-diabetic. Double yay.

Unfortunately, my cholesterol panel was a bit wonky. But, it was kind of askew back in February, too. My “bad” cholesterol this time around was slightly elevated (110), and my “good” cholesterol was too low (I never caught that number, unfortunately). Same story as in February. I’ve been trying so hard to employ healthy fats and omega-rich foods into my diet for the sole purpose of thwarting the cholesterol issue. I guess I’ll need to take extra measures. I was given the option of medication, or a bit of a “try harder” time window of a few months. I chose try harder. If my levels are still off in 3 months, it looks like I’ll be taking another pill. I was pretty bummed that those numbers were basically the same still. I really thought the clean eating and exercise were going to rectify that issue somewhat easily. Oh well. Did I mention my A1c is normal? :)

Another oddity was my blood pressure. It was 109/74, which is quite low, but still just in the normal range. I’m still puzzled as to why, but at least I am now 100% certain that I don’t need blood pressure medication.

Oh, another slight problem is that I was hoping to get a big pat on the back for my weight loss progress since I’d last seen my doctor, but she wasn’t handing out any of those. She told me they weren’t so much focused on the weight in terms of scale numbers, but more so on my waist measurement. Gulp. Yeah, apparently my waist circumference needs to be half or less than half of my height in inches. So, since I’m 71 inches tall, she’s looking for me to attain a waist of 35.5 inches or less… HAHAHAHAHAHA. Don’t hold your breath, doc. I’m just not built that way. None of the women in my family are. I’d weigh 150lbs or less before I’d ever have a 35 inch waist, and that is far, FAR too thin for my liking. Maybe the miracle of heavy weight lifting will prove me wrong there. I’m not saying I won’t try, I’m just saying HAHAHAHA.

Have I mentioned that my doctor is pretty effing awesome, despite waist measurement delusions? She is. I fought constantly with my previous quack doc about getting a referral to endocrinology to see about my adrenal gland growths (they were detected 2 years ago during a kidney CT scan, this is a huge deal to me), but all she did was try and obstruct me (inexplicably) from doing so. Hence, she is now no longer my physician. I spent about 3 minutes explaining to my new doctor about my wish to see an endo and why, and she said, “Sure, I can refer you if you want, but you’ll likely be waiting many months!”. I said hey, no problem, I’ve already been waiting 2 years, what’s a few more months. I could scarcely believe how easy it was. Score.

As for my weight, it’s all good news from here. I’ve lost 9lbs since my last post a little over a month ago, which brings me to 82lbs lost so far. The silliest part is that I lost 4 of those pounds overnight about 3 nights ago. For no good reason. It drives me to the point of ultimate breakdown and worry about no progress, and then kapows me with a 4lb drop in a matter of 24 hours. My body is a bastard sometimes.

In closing, I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that supported me and left me kind words for my photo progress post. It turned my shame into pride, and it felt wonderful.

Thank you again.

My daily food log..

When I first started this blog, I had some fancy ideas about including a lot of food-related content, as well as weight loss updates and general info. Clearly, I set the food aspect of this task aside in favor of my weight loss documentation. However, lately I’ve had a lot of questions from people on Calorie Count about what I’m eating and how I manage my blood glucose. So, I thought I would address those questions in an entry here.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I basically flipped out about food. I instantly formed a fear of carbohydrates of any kind. This was before I started counting calories, and before I was legitimately counting carbs. I was basically winging it, and because I knew so little at the time, I generally avoided as many carbs as possible, without a second thought about what it might do to my energy or general feeling of well-being.

The funny part, is, that I was still eating more carbs per day back then than I am right now, and back then, I seriously thought I was close to being carb free. I realized the reality as soon as I started logging my food on CC. As I educated myself about diabetes, and became more aware of the carb content of many foods, I ended up finding great low Glycemic Index food alternatives for many of my preferred higher carb foods. I traded white potatoes for sweet potatoes. I use french fried onions in my salads instead of croutons. I eat strawberries instead of bananas. I learned that eating a high fiber food, such as broccoli, when I’m having a starch, like sweet potato, will slow down the digestion process of the starchy food, and thus, avoid blood glucose spikes. I also learned about the importance of eating plenty of good fats. Since my carbs are limited, fats are now my main energy nutrient, and it has been liberating to shed that old “fat makes you fat” mindset. It’s simply not true!

I try to limit my daily carb intake to approximately 100 grams, because that seems to be the happy place in terms of how my blood glucose reacts over time. And also, as a side note, I don’t go in for that whole “Net Carbs” thing. If there’s a carb, I count it, whether it comes from a fiber source or not.

Breakfast is always my lightest meal of the day, contrary to popular recommendations. I’m just not a morning eater, never have been. My meals get incrementally more caloric as the day progresses, and that works for me.

Breakfast

Fruit and yogurt:
170g container of plain 0% fat greek yogurt
50-85g fresh or frozen strawberries, quartered
1 packet of Stevia-based sweetener (I’m liking Truvia at the moment)

120 calories, 14 – 18 carbs, depending on amount of strawberries used.

and/or

Cheese omelet:
1 whole egg + 1 egg white
1/2 to 1oz shredded cheddar cheese
(sometimes a bit of broccoli thrown in for good measure, but only if I feel like finding room for the carbs by omitting something else later in the day)

207 calories, 0 carbs
Combined total of 327 calories, and 14 – 18 carbs on days when I eat both.

Lunch

Tuna Sandwich:
2 oz “very low sodium” Starkist tuna (1/2 can)
1 TB mayonnaise
1 tsp sweet relish
1 whole wheat pita pocket (1/2 of the pita “round”)

250 calories, 20 carbs

Salad:
2  cups of lettuce
4 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/4 avocado, cubed
5 low sodium black olives, roughly chopped
2 TB french fried onions (for texture)
Vinaigrette:
1 TB extra virgin olive oil
1 TB balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard

308 calories, 16 carbs
Total of sandwich and salad combined – 558 calories, 36 carbs

Dinner

7-9oz boneless, skinless chicken breast (baked)
150-200g sweet potato (baked/microwaved)
125-140g broccoli (steamed)
1-2 tsp butter
(Sometimes I’ll sprinkle 2 tsp of grated parmesan cheese on broccoli and sweet potato instead of using butter)
1/2 TB mayonnaise (I mix herbs and/or spices with mayo and spread it on the chicken breast before baking. It adds flavor, and keeps the chicken moist. I know it sounds very scarily like something Paula Deen would do, but it really is a must for me)
1 slice of havarti or swiss cheese (I add this to the top of my chicken after it is cooked and still warm.. because.. well.. it’s delicious, dammit)

Approx 700-750 calories, depending on size of the chicken and sweet potato.
Approx 50 carbs, again depending primarily on the size of the sweet potato.

Daily totals using the highest numbers: 1635 calories, 104 carbs.

This daily caloric intake permits me to maintain a -1000 daily caloric deficit, which equals out to 2lbs lost per week. This is based on my personal BMR number, and obviously may need some altering for someone that isn’t my physical doppelganger. At my current weight, it is still safe for me to lose at this rate, but, as I lose more weight, I will need to make my deficit smaller in order to lose in the healthiest possible way.

The Time Has Come…

Yes, it’s time. Time to keep to my word and post my Before and Current photos. I have had a huge amount of anxiety over this moment, and I hope that once I do this, I can shake it off and move on.

I think I mentioned before that I felt it was important for me to post these photos because I believed it would be helpful in terms of dealing with some of the self-loathing issues I seem to have concerning my appearance. I’ve always felt this way about myself, which is pretty terrible to admit, but not at all surprising to anyone that knows me very well. It is at the root of a lot of my failings in life, which are many, and has been the deal-breaker in many failed relationships.

My before photo is rather sad. I instantly feel exactly how I felt at that moment whenever I look at it. I was still utterly saturated with the symptoms of my recently diagnosed diabetes, and you can see it very much in my face. My skin and hair were dull and dry, and every part of me was swollen and uncomfortable. Not to mention about 70lbs fatter.

So, without further ado —

Image

There. Now I just have to keep breathing and maybe I’ll get through this.

I was approximately 315lbs in the Before photo. I started off at 333lbs, so yes, it was actually even a little bit worse than that initially, if you can imagine. Granted, I realize now that the first 15-20lbs lost were likely just comprised of water, and not actual fat. But there it is. I am currently 260lbs, with a goal weight of 193. However, my goal weight is basically just a number I’ve chosen arbitrarily, simply because it is less than 200lbs (and also because it makes it an even 140lbs lost). I’m close to 6′ tall, and my “ideal weight” is supposedly between 165-180. When I get to 193, I will choose how much further I want to go based on how I feel. I won’t know until I get there, and I’m fine with not knowing with any certainty where I’ll end up. Wherever it is, it will be an improvement from where I was, and where I’m at right now. But, for what it’s worth in light of that, I am halfway to my goal: 73lbs down, 67 to go.

I wish I could say that this has been difficult so far. In all honesty, it hasn’t been. Not that I don’t have days when I want to eat things “normal people” eat, or have days when I just don’t want to work out. I do. I totally want a huge pizza all to myself almost all the time. I would love some coffee ice cream. I just can’t do that to myself, though. That feeling I had when I was in the midst of the diabetes symptoms is not a feeling I want to revisit. Ever. I think I feel this has been easy because I’d had such a terrible preconception of what weight loss entailed before I started all of this. I thought it was going to be agony. I thought I was going to burn out and give up because it was so hard. But, I haven’t, and I won’t, because I’ve actually enjoyed all of it so far. I’ve learned so much along the way, and I just want to keep learning and finding new ways of eating and living in a healthy way.

I have a new doctor, by the way. A bright, soft-spoken woman that made me feel at ease right away. I told her about my recent weight loss, and she told me I was well on my way to reversing my diabetes. Reversing!! If only that could be true. I hope it can be. She lowered my Metformin meds by half, ordered new labs to see where I’m at, and set me up for another appointment next month. Hopefully, I’ll have more good news to share with you by then.

Thanks to everyone that has supported me so far. It has meant the world to me, and I appreciate it more than I can say. :)

Checking in…

Oh hi!

It’s the end of the month, so time for my requisite blab-fest.   Thank you for taking the time to read me. :)

First I just wanted to say Happy Birthday!!! (again) to my dear friend Dawn. It was yesterday, but she’s so cool that we’ve decided she gets at least an extra day to revel in her well-deserved glory. You are an amazing lady, Mrs. Cooper. I’m so fortunate to have you as my friend. Thank you for putting up with me for so long. Also, a huge congratulations to you for losing over 17lbs over the last month or two!! Your quiet determination inspires me to keep on trucking, myself.

And speaking of trucking right along, I have also had a very successful month in terms of weight loss. After I was stuck last month for so long, I decided to cut my carbs to 100 grams a day, from a previous 120-150g. Not so much because I think a low-carb diet helps you lose weight faster, but because it is kinder to my blood glucose, and a change in diet always seems to be helpful in budging a plateau.

Along with my carb changes, I also made a concerted effort to eat ALL of my calories every day, and tried to create smaller deficits than usual. As soon as I made both of those changes, I lost about 5 lbs over the course of 9 days. For reallies.

Remember last time I posted, I was complaining about how I should be at 60-65lbs lost by now, and wasn’t? Well.. I can shush about that. I lost 10 pounds this month (!!!), bringing me to a total of 63lbs lost. I now have 5lbs to go before I take a current photo to post alongside my Before photo.  If I reach that goal before the end of next month, I will post it before then.

I am super excited because I have a box containing a 40lb adjustable dumbbell set waiting for me to open it in my living room right now. I can’t wait to get started with a lifting routine. 20lbs per dumbbell isn’t a huge amount, but it is a good place to start, and I need to work on things like good form and flexibility before I ought to be worrying about heavier weights, anyway. I would eventually like to incorporate a barbell, also, but that’s still a bit of a ways off. Baby steps. (I hate baby steps!)

Oh, I also dumped my doctor.  She was the most incompetent mofo I’ve ever dealt with. I am an easy patient to work with — pretty passive, pretty patient, compliant within reason, but not a complete dipshit.  She, however, managed to exhaust my passivity and my patience with her endless foolery, so we totally broke up. It was explosive and dramatic, and if I could do it again, it would be full of way more zingers that I only thought of saying after the fact (ain’t it always the way?). On the hunt for a different clinic now, and hopefully, better health care.

See you in 5lbs!!

I like graphs…

Oh, hello. It seems I’ve now resorted to keeping things at a monthly check-in. Ah, long gone are the days of my exuberant daily blogs. Sigh. Sweet youth.

Dramatics aside, yet probably also forthcoming, I am still here chugging right along, still maintaining my diet and exercise regime, still slowly taking off the pounds. Very, very slowly.  :|

My body seems to enjoy holding on to every single ounce for weeks, and then giving me a large surprise weight drop out of the blue. This is nice and all, I mean, I appreciate the excitement factor, but it’s the stress and worrying in between that really irritates the shit out of me. If my body was it’s own separate entity, it would definitely check the “Spontaneous” box if it were filling out a personality quiz, whereas my brain would say it’s more of a planner/predictable sort. Not exactly compatible, but, we’re stuck with each other, so there it is.

My weight also likes to fluctuate to a point where I wonder how I’ll ever truly know what my actual weight is. I’ll be up 5lbs one day, down 3 the next, up 2, down 6.. it’s pretty ridiculous. But, I guess what’s important is that the overall trend is DOWN, and I should just be happy with that. Oh, here, I have a great visual aid for this issue, actually:

Image

That’s my weight graph from the time I began using Calorie Count. It starts off like a nice kiddyland rollercoaster, but as you can see down in the lower right, it has become more like a worrisome EKG reading. Of course, I have been logging my weight more often, almost daily, so it is showing more of the ups and downs that occur during the week. But it still makes me laugh. It looks like my stock is totally crashing. By the way, the green dotted line is my “Trending” weight loss, which means it is my weight loss after it has factored in and averaged-out my daily fluctuations. Downward is good. I’m not sure what happens now that I’ve crossed the streams down there for the first time, but it can’t be good. I’ll let you know how that pans out.

So I suppose I’ll get to the good stuff. I’ve lost 5 pounds since my last post, which brings me to a total of 53 pounds lost. Yay! Despite my complaints about slow weight loss, I am still really happy about 53lbs being gone. Yes, I thought I’d be closer to 60 or 65 right about now, but I’ll get there when I get there.

This now means I am 15lbs away from making good on my promise of posting my “Before” photo alongside a current photo of my progress. This milestone will mark my approximate halfway point in my weight loss journey.  At that time I will also be discussing my starting weight, current weight, and goal weight numbers.

I’ve blabbed enough for one post, but next time maybe I’ll talk about how I’m having weird ideas about getting into weight lifting and building muscle once I’ve gotten closer to my goal weight. I’m probably just crazy, especially since all I’ve lifted so far is a 10lb kettlebell, (HA!) but I like seeing the muscles in my legs and arms. We shall see.