February 7, 2013 § 6 Comments
A short visit to my trusty M.D. spun me right around, straightened this girl out, and sent her back into the world with a clearer plan for a healthier day-to-day existence.
1. Too much stress is physically bad for the body.
i.e. Stress causes cortisol to raise, which can result in lovely cystic-like (face and neck) acne that five-year-olds can be trained to extract (though they won’t always coöperate when asked).
2. Too much coffee is helpful as an appetite suppressant, except that it has a short half-life, and if you’re already in an anxiety ridden state, added caffeine can increase said anxiety, which leads to impulsivity (of the bingy sort in my case, the liquid sort for alcoholics, etc.).
i.e. Afternoon Starbuck’s trips are fun, but polishing off three boxes of Girl Scout cookies in exactly two after-school afternoons is not. Afternoon coffee and impulsiveness must stop.
3. There is no pill in he world that will tell you that you are full, make you stop eating, or cause you to view sugary icing with repulsion.
i.e. Just don’t go near the “Make Your Own Box” of cookies located next to the salad bar at Whole Foods. In fact, avoid the grocery store altogether, but for once a week. Remember to always go with a list, and when you do go, adhere to the list at all costs.
4. Do the things you know that work, no matter how much you feel like ignoring them.
i.e. Move your body every day. i.e. Hug a kid instead of eating a pound of sugar. i.e. Count your calories. i.e. Use your brain.
5. Set boundaries with people who don’t care about your well-being.
i.e. Say, “No.” i.e. Don’t listen to the meanies.
6. Do what feels good as long as it doesn’t hurt anybody.
i.e. Blog the hell out the blog. Facebook ’til the cows come home. Be a budding social media rock star. It’s yours. Don’t let anyone take away what you love.
7. Come back in six weeks.
i.e. You can do this mama.
When was the last time you had someone spin you around and set you straight?
December 27, 2012 § 9 Comments
I’ve been so consumed with life’s all-consumingness that I actually forgot I’m pre-diabetic.
Beginning two full days before Christmas (during our first round of celebrations) Santa’s cookies were lovingly decorated with colorful frosting (code: sugar) and then eaten like popcorn; popped into my mouth one after another after another.
Four days of chocolate cream pie, real whipped cream, chocolate and peanut-butter Santas, chocloate-covered marshmallow Santas, gold coins, too many cake pops (that cake pop maker was a bad idea) and way too much of Sam’s lemon cake later, last night I went to bed feeling the internal zigging shake that happens when blood sugar goes awry (too high). I’d forgotten how scary that can be. Still unaware (or unwilling to accept) that I’d caused this reaction in my body, I even tweeted a message that said, “Sugar buzzed. Make it stop!”
It wasn’t until this morning, though, following a night of constant trips to the bathroom (night-time peeing is a sign of uncontrolled diabetes) that I realized how the excessive sugar was affecting me and my health.
It’s been ages since I tested my blood. A few months after my diabetic diagnosis I began marathon training, which allowed me to stop all medications (exercise is great at controlling diabetes).
After the marathon (almost a full year ago, now) I tried to keep up the high levels of running, but suffered injuries that made it tough. Recently, the most I’ve run is two or three times a week and never for more that three or four miles at a time. For months I’ve been complaining about the added pounds from the limited exercise; neglecting the blood sugar issues that propelled me into high mileage running in the first place.
For people with diabetes, controlling their sugars is imperative. More worrisome than a few added pounds from too much Christmas cheer, uncontrolled blood sugar can create major problems like kidney failure, nerve damage, heart failure, and diabetic glaucoma.
My online re-education into diabetes research this morning has reminded me, too, of sugar’s habit of raising serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin, the brain chemical (that when balanced creates a mellow mood and feeling of wellness) is often lacking in people who are sugar-sensitive. Could this be the explanation for my mad dash toward sugar in times of mounting stress?
Interesting, as well, is what I learned about the brain chemical beta-endorphin and how it is affected by sugar. Beta-endorphins act like pain-killers in the brain, and sugar causes their release. When too much sugar is consumed, the initial feeling can be giddiness or silliness (similar to the effects of too much alcohol). Once the beta-endorphins drop, however, emotions are difficult to manage and craving more sugar is a common result.
For now, the girls are with their dad and I’m back in my bed. A headache is raging, for which I’ve take some Advil. When I wake (if I sleep) I’ll get dressed for a run (or a walk, whatever it turns out to be) and know that the movement of blood through my system will level out the sugars and ultimately make me feel better.
The saying goes, “If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.”
Reclaiming my health is empowering; doing it to be healthy (and well) and not for superficial reasons like fitting into smaller jeans, makes it feel less like a chore and more like an adventure.
Do you have diabetes or know anyone who does?
April 12, 2012 § 9 Comments
When my name was called at the pediatric dentist I walked through the mystery door to find my girls in a tiki hut being watched over by a bevy of beauties in bright pink scrubs. To my right with his hand extended was Doctor Kevin.
This was not your ordinary dentist.
Dr. Kevin was actually Adorable Doctor Kevin. His friendly smile was the invitation to stare at his dark tousled hair and almond skin. Young. Enthusiastic. A dreamy kind of guy who had visited the girls pre-school a week before.
My little stinkers knew exactly who was waiting for them, which explains the skip hop that happened as they were ushered to the back. While I was silently praying for a visit sans tantrum, they were on the other side playing and being cute under the watchful eyes of their first doctor crush.
When we left they had (not only) new toothbrushes, but enough stickers to cover the front and back of a shirt and three-inch plastic fairies, the kind you find at the Target checkout.
My own visit to the doctor yesterday was not nearly as splendid. I wasn’t sent home with toys or stickers. Just a good arm prick from the blood suckers and advice that I already knew before being told.
“Isn’t there something you can give me for my weight?” I asked.
“Well actually, Miss Martha, there is a new drug that suppresses appetite. The FDA pulled it back, though. And besides. It’s not safe.”
His wry smile told me he wouldn’t prescribe it even if it was on the market.
After a good long discussion about my running and the fact that I’ve gained a whopping twenty pounds since the last time I saw him three months ago (a teensy bit of it muscle), we decided that I must figure out how to handle the eating while running factor in a way that keeps me strong and healthy, lighter and with more energy for day-to-day tasks.
The good news is that since I’m continuing to run as much as I do the need for Metformin has been quelled. Fewer drugs are good. I know this, despite the fact that I’d pop a pill to make me less hungry in half a second.
He wasn’t sure about my training plan, but suggested that I run four miles per day (five, ugh, days a week) with a long run on the weekend. My good doctor will check with a marathoning endocrinologist friend of his to see what he thinks of this plan. The goal is to keep my blood sugars balanced, while also addressing the hunger that comes with running much higher mileage.
It’s tricky, but it is imperative if I am going to meet the goal of overall health and hapiness (one cannot be happy without health I don’t think).
Being healthy and happy encompasses a lot.
Not only does the athlete in me make me want to run faster, the mother in me knows that my food choices (good and bad) are being passed down to my children. The patient in me thinks she’s happy that the doctor didn’t throw meds at the situation and the fighter in me is determined to make long-lasting changes to my diet that will keep gall stones and adrenal failure at bay (finding ones birth family also means finding ones genetic history).
My journey toward total overall health has left me with this one last obstacle. Without much fore-thought, I hopped in the Sequoia and found myself in the parking lot in front of Jenny Craig.
I had done Jenny Craig in 1989. I was a 150 pound eighteen year old whose boyfriend told her she’d be so much prettier if she lost a little weight. I did, as a matter of fact lose the weight and thankfully the boyfriend, too, though the pain of that loss stuck around much longer than the ugly twenty five pounds that eventually crept back on.
This time I’d be doing it for me.
I left the Jenny office with three bags of food and a plan for every meal to be eaten over the next week.
Not being required to make food choices for a while is a relief. My friend Joanna at Poppy’s Style wrote an amazing post about her own struggle with weight and her experience with Jenny Craig. It was her piece that gives me the courage to write about this today (thanks Joanna!).
She replied to an email I sent her yesterday telling her about my day.
“It’s like hitting the reset button!” she said.
“Utter brilliance,” I say. This is exactly how it should be viewed.
Surely over the next few weeks the numbers on the scale will go down and the clothes in my closet will button and zip more easily.
Strangely enough, though, despite better fitting clothes and blood sugars that stay put, the best part for me may be the PR that I see in my future.
Some girls put pictures of skinny models on their refrigerators as motivation for weight loss.
I’m creating an imaginary splits list. My times will go lower as each mile is marked (negative splits) and I will finish my half marathon in under 2 hours and fifteen minutes (ten minutes faster than my fastest half yet).
A goal to look toward that seems within reach.
Reset button being pushed, ready, set, go!