Tuesday, December 13, 2011

GrowingUp: Last Christmas I Gave You My Rant...

Ok, so as last Christmas approached I was a little bit on the crazy reflective side. I knew it would be the last Christmas that our oldest daughter was still living at home and apparently I was a little nervous about the prospects of her leaving. Here is a glimpse...
 "This Holiday season has contradictorily been the same as most years and entirely different. In actuality, nothing has changed. We have baked gingerbread, attended the Nutcracker, decorated the tree, made new ornaments, wrapped gifts, sang carols and enjoyed the lights and the general festiveness of the pre-holiday season. The difference is that in the back of my mind I know it will never be like this again. You see, this is the last year that our oldest will be living at home full time. Don't get me wrong. I look forward to this time of her exploration and finding her grown-up self. Going off to college, meeting new people, seeing new things. Independence. But as the mom? Nope. Not so much. As the mom I think maybe she should just stay home forever; singing to me and writing songs and stories in front of the fire until we both grow old. Sound good? Yeah, I know. I just thought I would have more time.

When she was born, 18 years seemed like such a long time. It was quite a long time before she learned to crawl and then walk and then talk. Potty training? Forget it! That took an eternity. The first day of kindergarten seemed as if it would never come. But it came. And went. In the blink of an eye. Then weeks started flying by. And then months and years and now here we are. I hope she is ready. That is really my job as a mother. To prepare each of them them to leave. What a sucky job! Feeding and clothing and guiding and nurturing. Pouring your whole heart and soul into this little person; acting excited on the first day of school when all you want to do is wrap them in a blanket and rock them in a chair. Resisting the urge to run away from home the first time they tell you they hate you. Smiling and taking pictures the first time they drive away in the car without you, even though you would rather take out your own appendix with a butter knife because it seems less risky. All that just to have them pack their bags and leave? What the heck!? I change my mind. No kids for me. Yeah, I know... That shipped has long sailed. I just know that those days and weeks and years that are flying by will soon turn into decades.

I truly do look forward to seeing what each of my children becomes. The photographer/musician, the astronaut, the architect and the ballerina/baker. They are amazing little people. I can only imagine that they will be even more amazing big people. Who will hopefully bring some new big people into our lives and then make some new little people. (Oh c'mon...all moms hope that is what will happen!) But the selfish part of me just wants to freeze time. To scream, "Wait, I am not ready!"

When our oldest was around 5 or 6, we visited a small amusement park. She reluctantly decided to ride The Dragon, a kiddy roller coaster. Wide-eyed and pale she made the first circle clearly holding back the urge to let out a terrified scream. Her horror was obvious even to the teenage ride operator who stopped the coaster to let her off. When she got off she told us that it was both the most horrendous and most thrilling thing that she had ever experienced. That is me. Right now. Holding back the scream and yet somehow thrilling at the ride. I am not one for roller coasters ya know and I am not sure how I was even talked into getting on. But I can say for sure...What a ride!" (December 2010 K is for Kids)
Well, a year has passed since that post, and Number One Daughter has been off to college for  a few months now. We do miss her, and we are looking forward to having her home this next few weeks, but all in all, it has been a joy to witness her adventures. Yes, it is quiet as she is the only one of my children who ever really makes noise. We miss her noise. Her pounding of the piano and guitar. Her lovely voice belting out Bob Dylan. The way she can talk for 10 minutes without a breath. But this is her time to make her way in the world, and her absence really does make her return sweeter.

Quote of the Day: "It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge." ~Phyllis Diller

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

FessUp: Hey! What's the Solution?

If you have not been reading the saga of posts prior to this one, no biggy. The gist of it is that I successfully broke myself of a sugar addiction and stayed clean for over a year. I guess I then decided that I missed the extra weight, the foggy brain, the bloating, irregularity and mood swings that accompany insulin resistance, because I went back to eating carbs.

Now, just to be clear. I do not advocate low carb or no carb diets. I think that carbohydrates are an important part of our diet. The problem (for me at least) is the amount of carbs that I have at any one time. Blah blah blah spike in blood sugar, blah blah blah crash an hour later. If you want details about how insulin resistance or hypoglycemia work, it is easy info to find on the internet.

But let's talk about real solutions. It really is easy. The solution is food. And like I said in a previous post, frequent small meals that include protein, fat and a small amount of carbs. Both protein and fat help slow the absorption of sugars into the bloodstream, keeping our insulin levels steady, and helping us to feel and stay satisfied until our next meal. But to immediately address those 5 things that we talked about last time, I have some helpful hints. Obviously each of us need to identify our own 5 triggers and address those. These are mine...

  • {Sweet Cravings} When I get too hungry or my blood sugar drops too low, I tend to binge on whatever I can get my hands on. Because of the low blood sugar the craving will be for carbs which are a quick pick me up. This becomes a vicious roller coaster of highs and lows. When I eat right I do not crave sweets or empty carbs. This means I have to make sure that I always have a healthy snack with me. Usually nuts. I love several brands of cocoa covered almonds for an extra special snack!

  • {Snacking between scheduled meals and snacks} With 5-6 doctor ordered meals, you think I could refrain from extra snacking, but sometimes emotional triggers kick in. My solution has been to find drinks that I love that can be sipped slowly but do not undo my good eating. For me this is club soda with sliced lime (my favorite drink in the world). Super yummy and keeps my mouth busy without any calories or carbs. When it is cold I go for a warm cup of Pero instead. This is a hot barley drink with almost no carbs and very low calories. 

  • {Weekends} Going of my eating schedule on the weekends is a killer. It can undo a whole week in one day! The key to this is really just being mindful of sticking to a schedule even when the weekend schedule is a little more "relaxed" and "varied". 

  • {Sunday treats} I am trying to be more diligent about making this evening treat something a little more healthy. The kids ask for cookies or brownies, but I am trying to steer that in another direction. We love homemade popcorn or whole wheat muffins with blueberries or bananas. We also love protein smoothies or cut apples with peanut butter. We need an evening tummy filler because of our Sunday schedule, but it can be a quick healthy snack.

  • {Family Night Treats} This is simple. If I am doing the right things all the rest of the week I can totally have any kind of junkie, sugary indulgent treat I want one night a week and not suffer any real side affects. I can try to keep the portion under control, but honestly, I don't want to. I just eat it and enjoy it and then go back on schedule the next morning.
There you have it. These are the things that I have found work for me. How about you guys? Any specific issues that you have found specific solutions for? So, as of yesterday I am back on schedule. I am going to blog about it a bit over the next two weeks, probably until everyone is sick of it, but accountability is a big part of it, so help keep me on track if you wouldn't mind...

Quote of the Day: "I generally avoid temptation, unless I can't resist it." --Mae West

Friday, December 2, 2011

UpDate: Hey! What's The Problem?

So, now that I have spilled my guts about the struggle. I am here to offer and ask for some solutions. I know what makes me feel healthy, but I am not always good at following through with it on a daily...no hourly, basis. I had my check up with Dr. V this summer and told him that I was struggling again. He asked me to write down 5 things that challenge me when it comes to eating and then come up with 5 solutions to those challenges. Here is what I noticed that I struggle with.

  • I love sweets. I do not seem to be able or willing to give up sweets when I am really craving them. Period. I deserve it. The problem is I feel like poop after I eat them, especially if I am indulging on a regular basis.
  • I know that I need to eat a regular intervals, about every 2-3 hours. This keeps my blood sugar level and ensures that I do not get too hungry which leads to some serious binging on anything and everything I can get my hands on...usually empty calories. But let's face it, snacking in between my SIX scheduled meals is probably not necessary!
  • Monday is our Family Home Evening night. This is a night for a gospel lesson, scripture reading, fun and games, and of course TREATS! I never pass up the Monday treat...duh.
  • Sunday we are in church from 11-2 which means that we eat dinner around 3pm. This means that by 7 o'clock everyone is in want of a little treaty treat which would not be such a problem if we did not follow the Sunday treat with the Monday treat.
  • The fifth problem is the weekends in general. Even after a week of mindful eating (more about this later) I sometimes am prone to a bit of mindless "grabbing and going" on the weekends. Dr. V kindly informed me that one day of poor eating takes two weeks to recover from. Ugh!
So, there you have it. My problem areas. Anyone else share these or have others they would like to share with us? Next step is the solutions. I have come up with my own, but I would like us to exchange ideas. If you are willing to do some posts on this subject as well, that would be great. Leave a comment with the link. If I can figure out how to do a link up maybe we will head there at some point. I have some more ideas and some hopeful things up my sleeve too. Stay tuned!

Quote of the Day: "Eating rice cakes is like chewing on a foam coffee cup, only less filling."--
--Dave Barry super funny guy

Thursday, December 1, 2011

UpDate: The Rest Of The Story...

Weighty Matters Part I and II precede this post and tell the delightful story of a somewhat cranky broad and her search for answers in a seemingly uncaring and uninformed medical community...

Dr. V was amazing. He explained all of the issues that I was having and that I had likely been suffering from Insulin Resistance from before that first IR test, but that smaller framed people who are only slightly overweight usually test within the normal range, even when they are not. Five years! I could have had this diagnosis 5 years ago if I had known to ask the right questions or if the testers had known the right answers! I was a bit peeved. But whatever, let's just figure this out. Why would someone who eats a fairly heathy diet and exercises regularly deal with this issue? I mean, isn't this an obese issue? A sedentary issue? Turns out, not necessarily. According to Dr. V my active, healthier lifestyle had been both a blessing and a curse. If I hadn't been doing those things, I would have likely been 75-100 pounds overweight. But if I had been that heavy, I would have been diagnosed years ago. Again...What the crap!?

Over the next 6 weeks I had to watch everything that went into my mouth. I had to keep a journal of all of it. The goal here was to keep my insulin levels even through out the day, instead of this constant up and down that was killing me. Quite literally. He asked me to eat at least 5 times a day at two to three hour intervals. Three meals and 2-3 snacks. I could eat anything I wanted as long as I ate only 30 grams of carbs at each meal and no more than 15g for each snack. My initial appointment with Dr. V was the week before Christmas 2009.  I did not eat any of the Christmas goodies that came to the door. Or that were baked in my kitchen. That I freaking LOVE. I was determined.

The first two weeks were H--E-- double hockey sticks. Detox is no picnic my friends. I used Dr. V's name as a swear word on multiple occasions. But after two weeks I found I did not even crave sweets or breads anymore. I found that I was actually eating MORE food than before, just different food. Mind you I had always been trying to eat healthy carbs. Whole wheat everything, not a ton of sugar. But this was different. If I ate empty calories, I knew I would be hungry and therefore sorry after just a short while. I would be miserable for the next 2 1/2 hours until I could eat again. So I learned to eat good fat and protein with each and every bite, so I would stay full and satisfied until the next meal. IR is a tricky game and balance takes diligence. I found balance though. I did not change my exercise habits one bit, but I lost 15 pounds in 6 weeks. I went from 147 at my first appointment to about 132 at the 6 week check up. I was a different person when I stepped back into that office. I lost another 5 after that for about a total of 20 pounds (down about 30 from my absolute highest). I am sure my body fat percentage went down too, but I did not even bother to have it checked. I felt good, I looked good and I bought myself some size 6 jeans for my 40th birthday a couple of weeks later. That summer I rode my first century bike ride. I really felt like a normal human and I was seriously back in the game of life! Don't read this wrong, because it was not all about the weight. Yes, it was nice to feel fit and trim again, but really the other symptoms of IR are far worse than a little extra weight. I found I could stay awake all day and feel good. I did not need naps. I could read a book and understand what I was reading. I could even have a conversation with a people and not feel confused about what was going on or like I was blacking out. Yes, my symptoms had been that bad.

I wish that I could say that the story ended there, but it doesn't. I know now that this story will not ever really end. This is something that I will deal with for the rest of my life. At my 6 month check up in the fall of 2010 I had successfully maintained a healthy weight for all that time and I was feeling good. Then came the holidays again. I indulged. Like nobody's business. I got cocky. "I am cured!" I told myself. "Go ahead just eat what you want." I gained 10 pounds by January. Some of the symptoms started creeping back but I just put it to the back of my mind. I should have nipped it in the bud and gone right back to being diligent, but quite frankly being indulgent is so much more fun. That is, until you are fighting headaches, constipation, bloating and cravings you can't control and they find you curled up on the couch in a sugar comma with the empty chocolate chip bag still clutched in your fist. You know...just as an example.

So that brings us to now. I do not want to have to hit rock bottom again before I regain control of this thing. I thought perhaps if I got this out in the open and started a dialogue that might get rid of the shame of this Insulin Resistance. I am ashamed. Ashamed that I did this to my body. I honestly believe that that low-fat/high-sugar craze of the 90's and 2000's sent many of us into this spiral. Am I alone in this? I know what I have to do to feel good and to live a long and healthy life, so I am going to start reporting to whomever is listening, even if only for me to have some accountability. I hope though that others will take this journey with me.

Thanks again for listening. Let's get going.