What I Can Do..

I’ve learned a lot over the last 14 months.  Where I began seems a lifetime away from where I am right now. I hope in another 14 months I will have learned just as much more.

In a way, I am still doing exactly what I set out to do, which is improve my health and defeat my insulin resistance issues. The difference now, is, that I am more focused on building a body that is capable. I want to be able-bodied in the most straight-forward sense. I want to do things.

Initially, rather naively, I thought losing weight alone would achieve that for me, and in some ways, it has. I no longer carry around the burden of 115 extra pounds. This is good. But, somewhere along the way, I have discovered that losing weight does not equal being healthy or able-bodied. I realized that not only did I want to be less fat, but I wanted to be stronger.

I’ve mentioned many times before that I don’t really have much in the way of equipment for strength training. I use body weight exercises and have a set of adjustable dumbbells with a total of 40lbs at my disposal. I have to say, it is pretty amazing what one can achieve with such a limited arsenal.

I am very close to being able to do a proper, full-on, no-fucking-around push-up. This is a goal I have set for myself and it will be a great moment when I achieve it. Right now, I still use the arm of the sofa to do push-ups. Not quite horizontal, but getting there. I started out doing them standing up, hands against a wall, so I’ve definitely made some progress.

Earlier this month, we had to have one of our beloved dogs, Heidi, put to sleep. She was 12 years old, and had a health emergency that escalated very quickly. Nothing could be done. The very tough decision was made to bring an end to her suffering. By the time we reached the emergency clinic, she was unable to walk, so I had to lift her up from the ground and carry her inside. She’s a 70lb Australian Cattle Dog.  I wasn’t sure I could do it until I did it, and when I did, it seemed effortless. I was able to keep my dog comfortable and deliver her to assistance with the least amount of pain, trauma and anxiety possible. It meant a lot to me that I was able to do that for her. For the first time, I was able to apply my strength to a real life situation, and it made all of the days pushing around a couple of dumbbells and doing squats worth it.

This is why I want to continue in this vein with my health and fitness goals.

Being strong is more than just flexing a muscle in the mirror.  It’s not a “look”, it’s a state of being. I want to apply it to my life. I want to be able-bodied and useful. I want to know that I can handle life’s unexpected situations where physicality is required. That I can help others that aren’t able to help themselves. That I can help you move your sofa into your new 4th floor apartment without an elevator.

My last weight loss update was in March. I’ve lost 7lbs since then, bringing me to 215lbs. I am 1lb shy of being out of the “obese” range of the BMI chart, and into merely “overweight”. I never thought I’d feel so relieved and flattered to be called overweight. I am 22lbs away from my initial goal weight of 193, but that has really lost a lot of importance for me at this point. I’ll still mention it, just for the sake of perspective, though.

Lots going on for me in July, and hopefully a few photos to share, too.

Thanks for reading me and for the support!

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In limbo..

I had a bit of a breakdown moment at the beginning of April. I wanted to eat everything. All the time. I didn’t, but I really wanted to. It scared me, because I felt like I’d been eating well/enough and not really struggling with hunger much this entire time, and then suddenly, the Hunger Within took over.  I didn’t want to undo my progress. I didn’t want to bring back the diabetes symptoms. I was pretty worried, and then I became worried about being so worried.

I went looking for answers to my new dilemma, and a few trusted weight loss veterans told me I should simmer down and try eating at maintenance level for a little while. That, essentially, I should take a break from dieting. So, I did. Because of this, I’m only 2lbs less than I was over a month ago, but that’s okay. I feel better now, and I feel like I can pick up where I left off without any major issues.

I’m still a little off-balance where my anxiety about losing weight is concerned, so I’ve really been trying to focus my attention on building strength instead of the number on the scale. The problem is, I have a very limited set of equipment with which to accomplish that — a set of adjustable dumbbells with a total weight of 40lbs, and my own body weight. I’ve been looking into joining the YMCA and applying for the po’ folk discount they offer, as well as considering a few other options.  We’ll see what I can come up with.

The main realization I’ve had is that I now know that I want to start lifting heavy weights. Often. I want to be strong, and I want to find out what my now much lighter body can really do.  I’m borderline obsessing about it, which is actually a good thing, because that means I won’t likely give up on trying to make it happen any time soon.

I’ve been following a couple great fitness blogs written by science-loving skeptical reasonable people who are very into keeping shit real. One of which is gokaleo.com. She’s a badass, and when I grow up, I want to be just like her. She is also one of the people that has inspired me to want to lift heavy.

So, this is where I’m at… in this odd sort of holding pattern situation, with very little to report, but a whole lot to say, anyway. Thanks for listening.

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. :)

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. :)

Diets: My Long History

I was a fat kid. In fact, I was a fat baby. 9lbs, 10oz. I even got stuck during labor, and had to be removed with the salad tongs..  um, forceps.  I don’t really know what it’s like to be “thin”, “skinny”, or even “average” weight. I’ve always had the chub, and I always knew it. My mom was heavy, my aunt was heavy, and my maternal grandmother was heavy. My older brother was heavy, too.  Fortunately, my aunt, mother and brother were all able to have gastric bypass surgery and lose the weight.

I am the last surviving fatty in my immediate family.

My mother, in an attempt to lose her own weight as well as help my brother and I slim down, had us on various diets from the age of 9 onward. Nowadays people would cringe at that, but back then, I don’t think it was frowned upon as much. I remember my first Weight Watchers meeting, and along with my brother, being the youngest people there. It was a very adult environment, and my kid brain wasn’t able to embrace any potentially useful information, mostly because it felt like I was being made to go to school at night, too. I now realize it was probably just easier for my mom to take us with her than to hire a babysitter. But at the time, it sucked.

We fell off the Weight Watchers wagon multiple times, mostly because my mother would bring home junk food in a moment of weakness. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to shoulder my mother with a lot of blame for my weight issues, but the fact is, I was a kid and had no say in the grocery shopping habits of my household. I ate what I was given, and I snacked on what was there, and there were rarely ever any fresh veggies or fruit, but always a big selection of ice cream, chips, soda, cookies, and candy. Make of that what you will. Needless to say, Weight Watchers, the 1980s version, anyway, was not a success for me or my family. I hear lots of great things about it these days, but I’m afraid my bias is too deeply embedded to permit me to have another go at this point.

When I was 14, we all started on Jenny Craig. I liked this program because it forced us to purge our entire kitchen of anything non-dietetic. Our cupboards and fridge were filled with Jenny Craig products, and everything else was reduced fat/calories/sugar free.  We picked up our weekly bags of Jenny Craig food, and had our (sometimes dreaded) weekly weigh-in, and stuck to the program for quite a few months. I lost close to 40lbs on Jenny Craig.

Gradually, however, we started rewarding our weigh-in successes with stops at the fast food joint on the way home. At my last weigh-in, I had gained 10lbs. Eventually, my mom decided that Jenny Craig was simply too expensive to continue with (read: she had some HäagenDazs in the freezer with her name on it, and I was standing by with a spoon of my own), so that is where it ends. I am still disappointed with that failure, because I was quite content on that program, and had I been able to afford it myself, I would have continued on it. Such is life.

I have tried many diets since, all with varying amounts of success. Obviously, any weight loss I did have was gained back twofold. Atkins was interesting, but I never felt healthy despite having lost weight on it. I also grew bored very quickly on that diet, and this is coming from someone who thinks bacon should be canonized. I realized a while ago that what I must do is quite simple: change my eating habits, my lifestyle, and my attitude towards healthy food. Simple, yes, but the motivation was lacking.

Type 2 Diabetes is one hell of a motivator.

So, there is my dieting history, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The effects it has had on my brain and my food attitudes are still working against me to this day. I am in learning mode now, though, and my desire to change those attitudes is stronger than ever.  I feel that I have already taken some huge strides towards permanently changing my food perceptions, but I still have so many miles ahead of me. One step at a time, right?

In the beginning…

Hi there.  My name is Erin, I’m 37 years old, and I’ve just been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.  I can’t say I’m hugely surprised by this medical revelation, but I can say I am utterly heartbroken by it. You see, I’m a “foodie”. And no, it’s not just a convenient word to latch on to because I like to eat. I seriously love food.  I love learning about it, watching people cook, cooking for myself, and trying new things. So, when I was diagnosed with T2 Diabetes last week, I felt like my love affair was about to end. It felt momentarily Romeo and Juliet-esque. Yes, I’m all dramatic like that. But seriously, it did!

Surprisingly, over this past week or so, I have slowly begun to realize that my world is not coming to a screeching halt. This diagnosis has put the “fear of god” into me, and for an atheist, that is a pretty big deal.  It scared me, and it scared me a lot, so, I immediately went home and began eating differently.  I will NOT be an apathetic diabetic! I do not want dialysis, missing limbs, blindness… all of those horrific issues of poorly-managed diabetes. I’m too young, too smart, and too determined to reverse this disease as completely and permanently as I can. Am I being unrealistic? Maybe. But god dammit, I am going to try. I have to.

So here is where it all begins, and I hope to maintain this blog as I dedicate my efforts towards reversing my illness, and making huge strides towards improving my health, losing weight, and finding new, delicious things to eat along the way.  I just sort of freaked myself out with my level of optimism in this last paragraph, but I’m gonna shrug that off and keep going… wish me luck, non-existent blog readers/internet ether.