Baby Steps

Last last summer, I decided that I absolutely had to begin looking at this journey in terms of baby steps.  I’ve long known this is the key, but making it happen hasn’t been as easy as KNOWING what to do.  If it were, I would have reached my goal seven years ago.

So late last August, I finally took the first of several baby steps.  This was a big one.  I gave up diet coke–and all other soda-type beverages.  No more chemical drinks.  Now, I only drink water or flavored waters or occasionally a light/diet lemonade.  For 30 weeks I have been diet coke free.  You would think the craving would be totally eradicated, but it’s not.  Just this past week, while my family was on vacation for spring break I found myself craving a diet coke in the worst way.  And in the past, if I were to give in to temptation it would have been while traveling.  I have survived two major trips now and not broken.  Last November my husband finally took me to Las Vegas for the first time (he’s been many times) and I didn’t drink any soda/diet soda there either.

I feel like this is major progress for me.  And now it’s time to take the next baby step in this process.  No more processed carbs.  Specifically (and especially) I will stear clear of any kind of restaurant bread/grain/chips.  If I can give up diet coke (a serious addiction for me that it has taken multiple attempts to break loose from) I can and will give up processed carbs.  The only exception will be whole grains when I know for certain what the nutrition content is in them.

So, yesterday at Buffalo wild wings I had a grilled chicken salad for lunch and told them to go light (half of what they usually do) on the cheese.  Then at dinner the husband wanted to eat out at a local italian place for “kids night” and our daughter’s birthday dinner so she could get a free dessert.  I didn’t eat any of the bread and herbed oil.  I swear I could taste it though.  That was so hard to ignore.  I ordered the spinach and grilled chicken salad which came with feta cheese, strawberry slices, a few pecan crumbles and a light strawberry vinagrette.  However, I suffered a moment of weakness when I caved in to have a couple of bites of my daughter’s cheesecake but I’m still counting it a win.

My husband loves to eat out–and this is probably one of the biggest–if not THE biggest–obsticle I face in this process of trying to lose weight and get healthy.  Once again, today at lunch, the husband wanted to go to a local burger joint. I told him no thanks, because I knew there were NO good choices to be made at that place.  Shredded iceburg lettuce drenched in ranch dressing is not a good salad.  So he changed his selection to Wendy’s because he knew that was one of the few places I can get what I need and I got my full sized apple pecan chicken salad that I so love.  I can’t wait until strawberries are in season and they bring back the berry salad at wendy’s as well as the one at Panera Bread!

I’ve always loved bread to the point of claiming a carb-addiction.  But I was seriously addicted to diet coke too–so, I figure that if I can give up soda/diet coke for the past 30 weeks, surely I can give up processed carbs. The hardest part is the detox.  Hopefully, giving up processed carbs will be what does the trick and boosts my weightloss into gear and keeps me from backsliding or staying in the same 5-10 pound range I have been in for the past 4-5 months (285-295).  The cut down on carbs will also help me maintain blood sugar levels and head off that diabetic diagnosis I’ve been tumbling towards for a while–and hopefully it will translate to my husband’s eating habits as well, because he’s been backsliding way too much in the past year and his numbers are out of control.

I know that the carbs (specifically processed/refined!) are the key here–as well as making a stronger effort to make 30-60 minutes of real cardio and strength training a daily habit.  My kids are the motivation I need to make that daily appointment.  They need the activity just as much as I do and we are working together to make that happen.

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Rough Month and Half

I haven’t checked in on sparkpeople–or done much of anything else regarding my health–for almost two months now. It’s been a rough couple of months.

My father-in-law passed away suddenly. He had just turned 62 year old.

Six years ago, my husband and I passed through the hell of the worst week of my life when my dad died suddenly. Senselessly.

We went through it again with his dad’s death. The cause of death has finally come back–it was something that could have been taken care of if he had only seen a doctor. Something that could have been managed with medication. But my father-in-law was too afraid of going to the doctor, of being told he’d have to take pills, or have an operation. He was afraid of growing old. He was a very unhappy man.

It’s been rough on my husband and my in-laws.

In the course of this ordeal we found out that diabetes runs in my husband’s father’s family. I have suspected for about a year now that he was diabetic. Turns out he had even said he probably was, but refused to go to the doctor and get checked out. He refused to change his eating habits too. It’s why he was always so grouchy and didn’t feel good all the time. His blood sugar had to have been constantly spiking and dropping with the way he ate.

It’s stupid really. If he had just been willing to make some changes in his lifestyle–like my husband has–he would have felt better, and probably been a happier man. And his health would have improved as well. Maybe if he’d been willing to make those changes he would have also managed to take better care of his heart as well.

Ah, the “maybes” and “if onlys” get you every time. Just like when my dad died, we are going through them again–only with the hard earned lessons learned from my own father’s death. By the way, in case its not totally obvious, this has brought back to the surface many of the issues I faced with my dad’s passing six years ago. The grief isn’t as raw, but it’s there, and I’m hurting for my husband and his sisters (one of whom has been my best friend since 9th grade) and his mother.

As I’ve always done, I’ve gone off the rails with my eating. I haven’t been tracking my food. I haven’t been making an effort to eat homemade meals. I have been drinking diet coke to get me through the day. I haven’t gotten a lot of sleep–because my husband has been having difficulty sleeping–so I’m up late too. Then I am up to take the kids to school and get ready for work while he sleeps in.

That means no energy to exercise. No focus to eat right.

I’ve managed to stay in the 280s. So at least I haven’t gained all of the weight back that I’ve lost this year. But here I am again, looking for the bright side, saying “at least I didn’t” do whatever it is that I didn’t do THIS time. I need to stop doing it all. Period. I need to find a way to manage stress and emotions and lack of sleep without giving up on taking care of myself.

The other morning I had a fasting blood sugar of 127. That puts me firmly in the diabetic range. Forget pre-diabetes. I’m diabetic. No denying it anymore.

Damn it.

I know that lack of sleep and stress affect the insulin levels too, so maybe that’s part of the problem with where my blood sugar is–but I know it’s also the food choices. I’ve made a few too many trips to McDonalds for breakfast the past month and half. I’ve also gotten into the bad habit of picking up icecream or frozen custard in the middle of the afternoon whenever I’m out running errands. I’m self-medicating with food again. WHY DO I DO THAT? I know that I shouldn’t. I know that I’m doing it when I do it. I know that my triggers are stress and fatigue and diet coke.

Yet, here I am again. When do I conquer this? When do I reach the point where I have the will power, the strength, the determination, the resolve or whatever it is that it takes–that says, “No. I’m done. I won’t self-medicate anymore. I won’t abuse myself anymore. I deserve to take care of myself. I deserve good health and I’m going to make sure I get it–no matter what.” And then DO it?

When does that happen for me? What’s it going to take?

Self-diagnosed Pre-diabetic

I’ve made no progress, these past many months. Still sitting at 290ish. And now, I’m prediabetic.

How do I know?

Earlier this year, my husband was diagnosed with diabetes after he had started feeling sick nearly every day. His vision was blurring and in the evenings he was feeling woozy and sick to his stomach–as if he had motion sickness. His eye doctor spotted the signs first and advised a blood sugar test. At first he was in denial–we both were. But it kept happening, and finally he went into the doctor. Sure enough, his fasting sugar was high. Too high.

We have no medical insurance, so now he’s got a label and no insurance. Since the beginning of this year, and his diagnosis in February, he’s managed to get his eating under control, and has lost over 30 lbs. He’s brought his A1C blood test numbers out of the 8s and down to the low 6s, a range his doctor is very happy with. He’s done it without medication.

Meanwhile, I had lost 30 lbs at the beginning of the year and gained it back again. And now, I’m showing symptoms. We’ve used my husband’s testing kit to check my fasting blood sugar in the morning and its in the healthy range but in the evenings I’m not. I just had my husband check my sugar and it was sitting at 134. This weekend I spiked a 202. This isn’t good.

I have to get this under control, now before I’m full blown. How many chances is it going to take? How many warnings do I get before I don’t get anymore?

It has to stop now. I have to change my life.

It’s not just fat, it’s a disease

I went off course for 2 months. A combination of factors figured in this detour. First, I weighed in at my local YMCA’s biggest loser challenge and just missed making my goal for the month. I let that get into my head and took a break that was originally only supposed to last a weekend….then a week…which led to a month…which led to nearly 2 whole months. 

I gained about ten pounds back. So. Not. Cool. 

I have to learn that while its okay to take a little bit of a break, I must get right back on track and I absolutely cannot allow myself to be sucked back into a cycle of drinking diet cokes at every opportunity. It leads to binge eating and uncontrollable cravings for sweets and refined carbs. 

Today, I’m choosing to get back on track. No pop. A healthy breakfast and lots of water to start the day and after I take my son to preschool, I went to the YMCA this morning and worked out for an hour.  It felt good to get back into exercising.

My husband seems to finally be adjusting some to the Diabetes. He’s not as resentful about it–or at least not as vocal about the resentment and I finally feel like I can get back to healthy choices without his griping about every one of them and how much they suck and how he wishes he could eat what he wants AND that I’m lucky because I can eat what I want–HA!–because I’m not a diabetic and he can never ever have anything he likes ever again. 

But I can’t eat whatever I want, as I’ve pointed out to him over and over. Not if I want to be healthy. If I continue with bad habits and poor eating choices my obesity will kill me just as surely as his diabetes will kill him if he doesn’t make healthy choices. 

Obesity is a disease too. I absolutely must start treating it as a disease every bit as serious as his diabetes–and so must he.