Mindfulness vs. Obsession

Somewhere along the way, my mindfulness about food, weight, health, diabetes, and “doing it right” became an obsession.  This has only occurred to me within the last month or so. It probably occurred to everyone else around me much sooner than that. I have been doing a lot of internal work, introspection, questioning of myself where my weight loss and food relationships are concerned, and I do not like what things have become. It has all crystallized into a very distinct understanding that I am currently dealing with disordered thoughts and behaviors regarding food, health, and weight loss.

It all started innocently enough — scared shitless of dying an early death due to being diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes at age 37, my health “rock bottom”, if you will. I immediately began purging my world of all the “bad” things and behaviors that brought me to that state — an over-abundance of carbs, an utter lack of exercise, over-eating in general, and complete and total apathy — all in a panicked attempt to undo what I had done to myself. And I did. I fixed myself. But, in the process, I have developed some legitimately worrisome fears and control issues regarding food.

I am constantly worried about bringing back my diabetes symptoms. I constantly monitor my carb intake (which is currently, by all accounts, a very reasonable one, coming in around 175 grams per day), yet the time I spend devoted to my carb intake, my food choices, and my caloric intake on a daily basis has become problematic. Correction: it has been problematic for a very, very long time, and I’m only now just realizing how much it is affecting my daily life and the quality thereof. I am also extremely focused on my blood glucose levels. I test myself multiple times a day, even though my blood sugar has been stable for a long time now. This isn’t right.

I thought I was being mindful. I thought this was how people managed to maintain their healthy lifestyle, their weight, and all of the other happyfunshinythings that go along with that. I thought mindfulness was how you Did It Right. And, it is.. the thing is, my mindfulness became obsession, and I couldn’t discern one from the other, because I’d never been mindful before, and I’d certainly never been obsessed with my health before, nor did I think it was possible. I didn’t know where to draw the line. I was in new territory with this whole caring about my health thing. I thought devoting most of my waking moments to thinking about it was how it was done, and even when I thought it might not be right to do so, I figured that this is why so many people fail at maintaining their new-found health and weight loss. I thought it was right because it was so hard.

I was wrong.

I have been debating on writing a blog entry about this for a few weeks, because I had hoped I would find a way to snap myself out of this, and then be able to write about it in a very relieved “Whew! That was a close one!” hindsight sort of way, but, it does not appear that this is going to be so easy. The other night, when I referred to a loaf of white bread in my kitchen as “unacceptable to me” whilst discussing how I had nothing “appropriate” to eat in the house, I knew this was going to be a long process. After I caught myself saying that, I made myself go make a sandwich out of said unacceptable white bread. It was an act that sort of forced myself to understand that I will no longer tolerate being a crazy food weirdo. 

What I am doing about it: I am participating in a Facebook support group called Eating The Food, founded by one of my favorite bloggers, Go Kaleo. It has been immensely enlightening. It has helped me to identify what my issues are — in the sense that some things are, in fact, issues, and some things are normal and healthy. Being able to tell the difference has been difficult for me for a long time now. That, in itself, is an issue. I am dealing with it. I will work through this, and I will be better for having had the experience.

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!

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.

Privacy please…

I ordered my new recumbent bicycle yesterday, and I’m excited for it to arrive. The one area I have really been slacking off in is the realm of exercise.  I actually love to exercise, and I love how I feel afterwards, but it really is all about just taking that one first step to propel me into motion. I am so full of excuses!

For instance, I could have been making the wise decision to walk every day already. So why don’t I? Because my neighborhood doesn’t have sidewalks. Yeah, that’s really my excuse, and yes, I am a total flake for letting it work so far. My “logic” is that it would be dangerous to walk so near the traffic (my street is residential, but it can be busy at times), and I also don’t like being so conspicuous. In other words people will SEE me!!! Gasp. Horror. This is actually the same reason I won’t join a gym. I am far too self-conscious to exercise in full view of just anybody. I’m a freak, I know.

So, I did some looking around, and found a really affordable and sturdy recumbent bike to use in the privacy of my home. It should be here in a week or so, and I am looking forward to starting a real exercise regime.  I will also try to get my starting photos and weight recorded around this time, so that I can begin documenting my progress in the blog. I feel like I have lost a bit of weight already, but I’m not officially keeping count until the exercising begins.

I cooked another curry recently, by the way. A beef and chickpea Vindaloo. It was perhaps the spiciest, hottest thing I have ever put into my mouth. It was delicious, but far too painful. I also used too many chickpeas. They spiked my blood sugar to 133, which is still within normal range, but I’m averaging around 105-115 postprandial (2 hours after eating), and would like to keep it that way.  I will have to adjust the recipe before I can actually recommend it. It has promise, though. :)

Spicing it up…

Today I start upping my medication, as per my doctor’s orders. My blood sugar has been hovering in the normal range without fail ever since I began testing myself over a week ago, so I’m not sure why I need to increase my meds, but whatever. I’m doing what I’ve been told because I just don’t want any more delays in treatment, and I don’t want to give anyone any reason to think I’m not taking this seriously.

When I lapse into a hypoglycemic coma, I’ll know who to blame. ;)

On an entirely different, more awesome note, my boyfriend is simply the greatest human to have ever lived. Seriously, I don’t know what I would do without him. Granted, he’s in Texas and I’m in California, but hey, details.

He is an even more ardent foodie than I am, and he is responsible for exposing me to a huge amount of foodie goodness that I never would have known about otherwise. He is always making sure that I am able to procure good yummy things to eat from time to time, and is incapable of allowing me to subsist on ramen and other bottom-feeding items when I am particularly impoverished.

He sends me delicious care packages sometimes, and this week, he really sent me a doozy: a box filled with 8 different, wonderful, amazing, high quality spice blends for cooking my favorite things on earth — curries! Sweet curry, hot curry, Vindaloo, Rogan Josh, Balti, Garam masala, something called Northwood’s Seasoning (not curry related, but still apparently awesome for chicken and fish), and Chili 9000, which is a special blend for making chili (and with a name like that, how can it not be bad ass?).  He ordered them from this great spice company called Penzeys. He has been very concerned that my limited diet will drive me up a clock tower with a rifle, so he thought it would be prudent to give me the ability to really cook some flavorful dishes for myself. Is that sweet or what?!

I cooked a Rogan Josh curry last night, and for my first attempt at a curry, I have to say, it was super delicious. I did my best to add minimal salt (maybe 1/8 tsp), used olive oil instead of butter (or ghee), and non-fat Greek yogurt. So, I’m sure, in more ideal circumstances,  it could be better. But hey, it was diabetic friendly and tasted like heaven to me. Nothing but 10s across the board as far as I’m concerned.

Thank you Dan. :)