Feb 17, 2010

I Will Follow the Ink

I got a tattoo during the blizzard.  Actually, during a 6-hour break in the blizzard, on the afternoon of February 9th.  As soon as our street was plowed I hauled ass to the Baltimore Tattoo Museum.  I'd been thinking about getting some ink for years but couldn't decide what, couldn't decide where, couldn't decide if I really should.  It is, after all, a permanent thing.  And I hate most permanent things.

So I gave it some thought--because thinking is what I do most in life--and finally settled on something that I knew I'd appreciate forever, even after menopause. 

There's a quote by Eleanor Roosevelt: "You gain strength, courage and confidence every time you stop to truly look fear in the face.  You must do the thing you think you cannot do."  It's a message upon which I have leaned and relied for over a dozen years.  Every time I recite the last line in my head, it makes my heart stop racing and helps me bypass the endless parade of excuses I make whenever I want to avoid something that's hard or confrontational.  That line actually gives me courage.  So I had it inked onto my back, behind my heart, along with wings of flame for energy of the body and a pentacle that connects it all to my spirit.

And what does this have to do with my diabetes, or my weight loss struggle? 

Simply this: since I got it, I haven't lived a single day by the tattoo's message. 

I thought that if I got it inked onto me--into me--then the message would become a permanent part of me, too.  But skin peels, sunlight fades ink, and nothing becomes a part of you without time and effort.  It's easy to be courageous about things that don't frighten you.  But real courage is when you do that thing you honestly, truly, to your core believe that you can't.  And I don't yet believe that I can lose this weight.

I can write a thousand times that I won't let the excuses drag me down anymore, that I'll do the right thing from now on, that I will persevere and meet my goal of 50 Pounds Down in Five Months (just came up with that name), but none of it matters if I don't have the strength, the courage, to see it through.

Eleanor, I wish I'd known you.  In the meantime, I can only listen and hope that the artist's needle reached my bones.  At least I'm still writing about it.  For better or worse, I will continue that.

* * *


Out of Bed: 104 (Probably due to the mac and cheese I ate the night before.)
Green Lemonade
2 slices of Ezekiel bread with unsalted organic butter
Raw salad (spring mix, green pepper, tomato) with light ranch dressing
Organic dark chocolate with almonds
Pistacios (unfortunately salted, but they were cheap at Sam's club)

Feb 5, 2010

It's All About the B.S.

I've been doing the raw thing pretty well.  Having my Green Lemonade every morning and whatnot.  But my period hit me on Tuesday and along with it came the usual truckload of raging emotions and the desire to eat everything that even resembles food.  (Pictures of food will sometimes do in a pinch.)

So I cheated by going to McDonald's.  Now let me tell you, the golden arches used to be the treat place when I was a kid, the best place to get a burger and great fries.  I was really looking forward to those fries.  Too bad they sucked righteous asshole.  Never again.  I'll stick to Chik Fil A.

But here's the kicker.  I ate McDonald's for dinner and my blood sugar the next morning was 95.


Not 170, not even 100...ninety-five.  Which begged the question, what exactly is affecting my b.s.? 

So I'm doing an experiment.  I'm making sure to test my b.s. two hours after every meal and logging what the number is and what I ate.  I'm curious, you see, what I can get away with.  I'm just being honest.  Because let's face it, if something I love can be on the list of acceptable food, you can damn well bet I'll be more likely to survive this whole ordeal. 

For instance, I had a wonderful lunch of chicken breast and risotto at Circa at Dupont yesterday and two hours later my b.s. was 146.  That's awesome.  Chicken and risotto, here I come!  And it was damn good risotto, too.  However, my b.s. was sky-high after a breakfast of raw fruit.  After a breakfast of only Green Lemonade this morning, it was perfect.  Than after a bagel with cream cheese it was 161.  (Safe to say, bagels with cream cheese are out.)

So that's my goal for the next week.  To track the relationship between food and b.s.  Maybe I don't have to do an all-raw diet, or a low-carb diet, or any freaking diet.  Maybe I can just watch what I eat and be careful.  It all sounds so much better that way, doesn't it?

* * *


Out of Bed: 101
2 small whole wheat burritos with Amy's organic chili and sour cream
Green Lemonade
Filet and rice from Moby Dicks: 157
10 chicken McNuggets, 1/2 large french fries


Out of Bed: 95
3 bananas: 170
Chicken and risotto with carrots: 146
No dinner


Out of Bed: 97
Green Lemonade: 103
Bagel with cream cheese: 161

Feb 2, 2010

Is It About Weight, Or About Health?

Last night was HARD.  Really hard.  The kind of hard that makes me want to fill a whole line with nothing but curse words.  THAT kind of hard.  Jesus effing Christ.

My old nemesis, Stress, paid a visit.  That silly bitch is always bugging me, mostly because she lives with me and has since childhood.  Whenever I'm really on track with something, ducking and dodging the usual bullets of lack of time, lack of money, or lack of energy, along comes Stress who, with a single pluck of her twisted Tales from the Crypt bow, can send me reeling backwards in time to a place where the pursuit of health, wealth and success can be summed up in two words: "Fuck it."

But I didn't give in.  Goddamn it, I didn't give in.  Fuck you, Stress.  Hateful bitch.  No, no, I love you.  You help me get things done.  But sometimes you go too far.  You need to learn boundaries.

I was so proud of myself.  And then I woke up this morning and checked my blood sugar.

Time out.

A Note For Those Lucky Enough To Not Have To Track Their Blood Sugar 

Here's how it goes.  You're supposed to track it several times a day.  Once before you eat anything or move around a lot (we call it "Out of Bed"), and then again two hours after meals.  Your doctor or your health condition with determine if it has to be checked after every meal or just one.  For me, I have to check it at least twice a day; out of bed and after one of my meals, preferably dinner because that's my hardest meal of the day to choose the right foods. 

Out of Bed, my sugar should be between 80-90, no higher than 100.  After meals, it should be below 140.

Time in.

I got up and checked my blood sugar.  Before embarking on this more strict food regimen, my levels had consistently been between 85-95 every morning.  That's very good.  In fact, the only time it had popped above 100 was the morning after I'd eaten candy, actual candy, two pieces I think.

This morning's out of bed reading was 105.  And all I could think was, What the ever-loving fuck??  I didn't even have chocolate last night!

Then I got on the scale.  (Do you really want to read this?  Stop now, I'm serious.)  It hadn't budged.  Not a pound.  Not a half pound. 

Al's right.  This is hell.

On the way to the train station this morning, I asked Al, "Is it about weight, or about health?" to which she responded sanely, "You know the answer to that."  She's right, I do.  Or at least I thought I did.  But is it so wrong to want both?  I want to be rewarded, damn it.  If I'm giving up my mashed potatoes (and Patrick says I can't even cheat once a week yet, so my Saturday mornings are looking grim) and mac and cheese, and substituting soft Wonder for crunchy Ezekiel, and dragging my comatose butt to Lynn Brick's Gym at 5:30 a.m., then I want to get something out of it that I can see and touch.  Is that too much to ask?  Where the hell is the carrot at the end of the stick?  Did some other health nut eat it?

I couldn't help remembering that just the other day I'd said to Allison that if I had to choose between being 195 pounds and healthy or 120 pounds and a walking heart attack, I'd choose to be a curvier me.  I guess the Universe heard me, but the message didn't apparently come through all the way because otherwise my blood sugar would be down, not up.  If the scale must hold the numbers 1-9-5 in a death grip, so be it, but could my freaking glucometer please show me something that will make all of this worthwhile? 

Machines will either save us or kill us.  There will be no half-measures.

So.  The saga continues.  And mine isn't the only one.  There's a link to the right somewhere that will take you to Allison's blog where you'll be able to read about her goal to stop smoking.  Nicotine, sugar, heroin--it's all the same, trust me.  And somewhere out there (specifically, 5 blocks from me at the moment), Patrick has agreed to write 1,000 words a day for the entire month of February.  They're doing it to help themselves, but it started as a way to support me.  For every day that I don't cheat, he writes and Al doesn't smoke.  Can you believe that?  I'm the luckiest girl ever to have you all love me so much. 

Maybe this isn't hell after all.


Green Lemonade (kale instead of spinach makes it a little...chewy, so I'm sticking to spinach once the kale runs out)
Fruit for breakfast
Leftover whole wheat spaghetti and marinara
2 pieces of Ezekiel and unsalted organic butter
Handful of almonds and pistacios
Baked pasta parm (whole wheat pasta, marinara, browned ground beef, topped with fresh mozzerella)

30 minutes weights (biceps, triceps)
25 minutes cardio

Blood sugar:
Out of bed, before gym or food: 115
After lunch or dinner: you know I forgot again


Green Lemonade
Fruit (bananas fill me better than most anything, but watermelon really helps quench my constant thirst.  And grapes are just fun.)
Herbal tea (Fruta Bomba and Apple Something Pomegranate from Teavana)

30 minutes weights (legs. ouch.)
30 minutes cardio (broke a real sweat; need to find a way to get in a full 30 minutes every day)

Blood sugar:
Out of bed: 105
After lunch: 109 (YES!)
After dinner: (I've set my phone alarm and will come back and fill this in later)