Photo Update Number 2…

I won’t bore you guys with a bunch of blathering this time around, as I think I babbled enough for 2 month’s worth in my last post.

Just wanted to share my most recent photo with you all, holding myself to my promise to post again when I hit 225lbs.  Here it is, alongside the previous two photos for comparison’s sake:

SidebySidebySide
(click photo to enlarge)

I apologize for the wonky photo editing action going on up there. I’m not getting taller, I just suck at recreating my previous photo.

At any rate, I’ve noticed I’m looking older now that my face is getting thinner. That’s okay, though. Taking the sweet with the sour is nothing new to this kid. Also, the shirt I’m wearing in that photo is so big on me now, that I had to bunch it up in a big ball in the back and stuff it down the back of my jeans for the picture. Good times.

I am currently 222lbs, which gives me a total loss of 111lbs! I’ve got a ways to go yet, but it doesn’t appear that my progress is going to slow down any time soon, despite my efforts to curtail my rate of loss. I’ll keep adjusting my calorie intake and try to figure that out.

Friends — thanks for reading me and for all of the support you’ve given me during this process. I appreciate it more than words can say.

I ate ice cream and lived to tell the tale..

Well, I’ve had far too much coffee, and I know I should wait a few more days to eke out another pound for the monthly tally, but screw it. I want to get my babble on, and babble I shall.

As the title suggests, I ate ice cream for the first time in.. well.. nearly a year. Clearly, I survived it. In fact, I relished the experience and plan on doing it again in the near future. I realize how silly this must sound to most folks, or even worrisome, making a big to-do out of eating some ice cream, but for me, it was a way to let myself understand that I can and will be able to handle it, and that I don’t have to live a life of deprivation.

I have been living a rather irrational carb-fearing existence since The Reckoning. Yes, I could have just doubled-up on some broccoli at dinner, but where’s the fun in that? I wanted to push my boundaries a bit, because I do intend on living a “normal” life once my weight is in a healthy range, and I do intend to eat good things, in moderation, for the rest of my existence.

I’m also learning that it isn’t the carbs I need to be worrying about anymore. Yes, lowering them helped me get my blood glucose under control, and yes, as a diabetic, I will have to always be mindful of my glucose levels. But I’m maintaining a very healthy BG level at all times, and most of that has to do with…

Exercise. I was stuck at 238 for a while, longer than I would have liked. I was getting frustrated, and knew something, somewhere, needed to change. I had gotten into the habit of 30 minutes of stationary cycling 4 or 5 days a week. I was breathing hard, my heart was pumping, I was sweaty and pink-faced at the end. However, what I didn’t realize is that I could do more, and that I should be doing more. So, I did. I increased my time to 45 minutes, and within 3 days of doing so, I dropped 2 pounds. Unstuck.

On a crappier note, my knees suck. I was doing weighted squats the other day, and kept hearing and feeling a rather disconcerting crunching noise/sensation coming from my left knee. It didn’t hurt, but it certainly didn’t seem too reassuring. I have a history of patellar subluxation, which is a fancy way of saying my knees like to dislocate. It hasn’t happened since I was in my early 20s, and I really don’t ever want it to happen again. In fact, thinking about it happening makes me go all fetal and feel faint. So, I have now opted to cut squats out of my routine. This is a bummer, because I love squats, and they have helped me form something reminiscent of an actual ass. Nothing too spectacular, but I’ve got more going on back there now than I used to. Anyway, I’m looking into some ass-enhancing alternatives to remedy that issue. No, I won’t be purchasing the padded booty underwear. That’s cheating.

Now for the numbers.
I am currently 231lbs, which gives me a 7lb loss since my last post. This also brings me to 102lbs lost. Wait, wait. That’s not right. What I meant to say was

I’VE LOST A HUNDRED AND TWO POUNDS YOU GUYYYSSS!!!

There, that’s better.

Pretty cool, right? In 6 more pounds, I’ll be posting a new photo. I can really tell the difference in a lot of ways, and I’m excited to see how I compare with my previous photo. You’re probably wondering why I didn’t choose to take a photo at 100lbs lost, and I’m wondering that, as well. I just thought 225lbs sounded like a nice number to memorialize, so I went with it. I’m just gonna stick with that, since I’m trying to be about sticking with things these days. ;)

Thanks for taking the time to read me. Sorry I was a little long-winded and poorly formatted. My paragraphs are atrocious. It’s the coffee. For reallies.

See you in 6 pounds. :)

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!

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. :)

Eat more to lose more…

I just keep learning more and more about effective and healthy weight-loss, and I am kind of loving it. Finally, I think I actually might understand it.  I have chipped away at that fossilized 1980s fad diet mentality, and I think I might now see scientifically-sound daylight.

If you don’t know about eating at your BMR or under your TDEE, and you are interested in losing weight, please continue reading. If you are totally hip to all this, or are a lucky bastard with no weight to lose, just skip to the bottom and cheer for my weight loss. :)

The most important thing I’ve learned is to always eat at, or above, your BMR. Your BMR is your Basal Metabolic Rate. Go on, click it. Calculate your BMR. It’s kinda fun. It’s almost like checking your horoscope, only less full of shit.

Okay. Got it? Now, never eat fewer calories than the top number on that calculator. Why? Because your BMR is the rate at which your particular body burns calories every day just by being alive. If you were bedridden in a comatose state, your BMR represents the minimum number of calories it takes to keep all of your internal organs functioning during a single day. Eating below this number is risking sending a “famine” alert to your metabolism, and thus setting weight loss in slow motion.

Another important number to keep in mind is your TDEE, or, Total Daily Energy Expenditure. If you use the calculator I linked above, you should also have the means to calculate your TDEE (the bottom number). It is based on your typical daily activity level. This number is the total number of calories you burn on an average day doing your average activities. If you work out every day, factor it in. Every other day? There’s a way to adjust it. Hours spent sleeping, standing, walking — factor all of it in.

For weight loss, some folks like to subtract 15-20% from their TDEE number and eat that many calories per day. Some folks like to eat at their BMR number (like me). Some slightly above it.  The key is to never eat under your BMR, and to not eat over your TDEE. If you are looking to maintain your weight, you eat at your TDEE number.

As you lose weight, your BMR number lowers, as well. So, you need to go back and recalculate your BMR every 15-20lbs lost or so. When you start a diet by eating at your BMR, this allows you to have steady, healthy weight loss every week, with a much smaller chance of plateauing as you begin to encroach on your goal weight. You are eating well the whole time, and hunger really stops being an enemy. It’s kind of extra-awesome.

Weight Watchers’ Points Plus system is based on the BMR/TDEE method. They just came up with a convenient way to allocate calories by using the points. They are the only weight loss system I know of that actually sets people up for healthy, steady weight loss.

Okay. I’m done lecturing and being a boring assface.

I lost 4 more pounds since my last post.  But, I’m not getting excited, because I’ve had a terrible food and exercise week. Felt quite under the weather for most of it (thanks uterus!), and I half-way expect to gain something. We’ll see. In any case, as it stands, I am 5lbs away from a big personal milestone. It can’t get here soon enough.