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4th-Mar-2009 06:25 pm - So, I freaked out today.
save the tigers
So, yeah. Today was a REALLY horrible food day.

To start, I had to go to the doctor for tests today. I've been having Ear Problems -- lots of messed-up pressure in my ear, the kind where I hear myself and have to sniffle back very hard to restore equilibrium -- and then that is lost the second I swallow. I've also been having bouts of dizziness. I managed to make a 9am appointment (getting coverage for my 3rd period class and 4th period duty wasn't that hard) and was told NOT to eat a large breakfast. These tests were for my dizziness, so I figured they were going to INDUCE dizziness for whatever reason doctors induce symptoms. (For anyone who cares, I am almost always dizzy first thing in the morning, often in the early afternoon, and often at intermittent times in the day. Not enough to really mess with my life, but enough that I notice and worry, especially since my mom went suddenly part deaf after a long bout of dizzy spells.)

Anyway, to get back on topic, I skipped breakfast, since I normally eat at 8:30 anyway. The testing didn't make me lastingly dizzy, although it did make me horribly nauseous for a time. I had enough time to hit Panera and pick up a to-go chicken salad and make it back to my 5th period class. I ate half the salad for lunch, was full, and put the rest back. I ate half the bread, too. At rehearsal, I had a baby-sized slim jim.

Then, around 5, I hit a bout of horrible depression. I get these mini-depressions from time to time -- I am practically catatonic with sadness for several hours, and I mean that literally. I don't want to eat, I don't want to exercise (what I planned to do with my afternoon). I don't want to watch TV, knit, read, surf the web. Given the choice, I will usually stare at the wall, maybe cry a bit, until I shake myself to the point where I MAKE myself go do something. It doesn't help the depression, much, but there's only so long you can stare at the wall. This depression will last a few hours, or until I go to bed. Today, I picked back up a little bit after dinner.

And I realized WHY I got depressed -- I'd been up for 12 hours, and had eaten a whopping 300 calories!

So I indulged in one of my favorite old-time comfort foods -- pasta with nothing but butter and salt. Yes, yes, low carb diet -- I had Dreamfields, which is a type of pasta that claims that each serving has only 5g of "active" carbs -- not sure if that's really effective for low-carb, but it's REALLY effective for my sugar -- my sugar actually went DOWN a few hours after eating, instead of skyrocketing!

A few hours after that, I flipped out. It's the only way to describe it. I walked to 7-11 and bought (and ate) an entire mini-bag of Reeses Peanut Butter Cups. I'm not really angry at myself; I've just realized what it's going to take to keep me on a low-carb diet.... actually eating!

Even after the pasta, I'd had only 900 calories -- 1/3 of what I should be eating, even for weightloss! (Even the guys at Ballys Gym told me to eat around 2100 cals/day, since I burn 2400 just by breathing)

So. Lesson learned. EAT. Eat breakfast. Eat lunch. Eat a "theatre time" snack. Eat dinner. Maybe have a slice of cheese here or there as hunger dictates. I cannot let myself get hungry. Of course, due to the mini-depression, I didn't even FEEL the hunger -- I knew my tummy was growling, but the idea of food made me feel sick.

As for the rest, my sugar is a little high, but not alarmingly so. It's all good :)

Edited to add: Even WITH the Reeses, I only hit 1600 cals for the day. Acceptable.
2nd-Mar-2009 09:53 pm(no subject)
save the tigers

So I've made the decision to go very low-carb. I've been doing a LOT of reading lately, from all sides I can find, and it seems like the best way to go.The evidence that low-carb is good for you is mounting, and the evidence that low-fat/high-carb is good for you is severely lacking. I've ordered a book by Gary Taubes that is supposed to be an all-science book about the human body -- the kind of book I've been looking for -- specifically designed to discuss the endocrine system. How fat is made, what causes it, and what, exactly, our bodies do with specific types of food. This book has a 70 page bibliography :P

I've been reading on diabetic forums since Day 1 that low-carb is the best for diabetics. In the beginning, the only thing I understood was that eating low carb means less insulin use. As I read more, I started understanding the logic: Everything -- blood sugar monitors AND food labels -- are allowed to be off by up to 20%.  Now, let's say that I eat something that has 60 grams of carbs. I take 10 units of insulin for it, since my insulin to carb ratio is 1:6. Technically, that food I eat can contain anything from 48 to 72 grams of carbs. If it's 48, then I took 2.2 units of insulin too much.... that's enough to drop me an extra 20-40 points, enough to push me into a sugar low, which is dangerous. If it's 72, I took too little and my sugar will wind up high -- enough highs, and I develope all those nasty complications diabetics worry about.

Now, let's say that I try to eat 20g or less for each meal. Technically, that 20g can be anything from, well, 16 to 24 carbs. Now, for that 20g, it's only 3.3 units of insulin in my pump. Even if I'm off, and it's 16, I only overshoot by .7 units of insulin, which is an extra 10-15 points down -- not really enough to affect me, maybe enough to make me need one 4g sugar tablet.

Dr. Bernstein calls this "The Rule of Small Numbers" -- the fewer carbs you eat, the less insulin you take, and the fewer chances for you to fuck up.

Then, I REALLY started listening to the forum.

I listened to how insulin converts carbs to fat. I listened to how high levels of insulin causes all sorts of poblems. I listened to how it is high levels of insulin,not diabetes itself, that causes the cardiovascular problems found in diabetics. I listened to the stories of people on the boards sounding like infomercials -- losing weight effortlessly, losing carb cravings, lowering their insulin intake, lowering their a1cs, and, oddly enough, lowering their triglycerides, cholesterol, blood pressure, and several other problems.

After all I've read, I will be damned if I allow myself to be controlled by a food my body is not designed (or, from a kinder perspective, no longer equipped to handle). Will I occassionally lose my mind and have some sugar? Probably -- but the days of pasta, bread, and candy are OVER.

From what I've been reading, it is ONLY carbs (sugar) that can be made into body fat, because it is insulin that does the converting, and insulin only interacts with blood sugar. And it is carbs that raise the blood sugar -- that evil evil blood sugar. It is, therefore, carbs that are at the root of every diabetic complication that I'm afraid of, since it is yeas of being clogged with sugar that causes the organ failure, and the foot ulcers.

The only info I can't seem to find is that, although insulin only works on blood sugar, what happens to excess protien and fat? If all I'm going to be eating (for the most part) is those two, I don't know if the excess calories will do real damage or not. Some souces say no, some say yes. I guess I'll have to swing this :) At least until I can find more info.

FYI, for anyone interested, the best article I found (if you have half an hour) is here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/2008-10-01/Dietary-Fat-Health-Weight.aspx
8th-Jan-2009 11:11 pm - The Final Humiliation
save the tigers
So our finances have exploded recently. December and August catch us short all the time.  I'm 28 years old and for the first time in YEARS I thought about turning to my parents or Jay's, just for enough money to get groceries without having to use the credit cards.  Jay's mom, however, is deep in the middle of a severe anxiety disorder -- she's been to the hospital twice in the last two weeks for panic attacks and, since money and her children are her two biggest triggers, admitting to them that we're sinking would set her off.

And my parents.... My parents are the most easy-going people in the world. They're always trying to help in little ways -- picking up an extra huge thing of paper towels at Sam's Club, insisting we take home food or extra stuff they have. And, in the past, when J and I really were stuck, they would give us a few hundred if we needed it.

Unfortunately, my parents are now in a worse situation than we are. My mom isn't well enough to work full-time and their debt, including the mortgage, is extreme. They've been cutting back in a lot of big ways... cutting groceries, no more eating out, etc. But now they've started  cutting the things that really bring them happiness -- namely, the cable and mom's bi-monthly nail appointment. We've had cable, even the movie channels, during most of our lives, even during the 80's recession when dad was working retail and I wore hand-me-downs. Dad's a night owl and Mom goes to bed early, so he spends a LOT of time in front of the TV at 2am. It's one of the joys of his life, and it makes me sad that my parents, who should be thinking about retirement, are drowning.

We spent a little bit of time today all discussing this.... and on the way out, Dad gave me a $20 bill so I could pay the co-pay on my doctor's visit because I had left my credit cards at home and couldn't afford it otherwise :(

Thankfully, my antibiotics only cost $5, but I felt so.... sad. I'm not really humiliated, despite my tag line, because nothing in my relationship with my parents could make me feel that way, but the fact that we're both low, and I'm so desperately broke  that I accepted money from my even worse-off parents. I know it was for a doctor visit, and that it probably made them feel good to be able to help me, even a little, but still.....

(PS -- the main reason I say my parents are worse off is because they have SO much more to lose. The house, for one thing, and their ability to retire anytime in the future. To be honest, the worst that could happen to me and J is we have to go back and live with his parents.)
4th-Jan-2009 04:52 pm - R-E-S-P-E-C-T!
save the tigers

You know, I skimmed over my goals again today, and realized that #10, the one I just threw in there to have a round number, should have been #1 -- for month and year. Why is treating myself with respect an afterthought? These past two weeks I've done absolutely nothing of value. And while I was exhausted after dealing with directing the play, regular work, and three grad classes, I think I gave myself an extreme disservice. The work I had to do is still there and is going to make starting my routine a bit sticky. So, by thinking I was giving myself what I needed at the moment, I forgot what I was going to need in the future.

I wouldn't dream of treating anyone else the way I sometimes treat myself. I wouldn't utter to a soul the horrible things I say about myself (mostly about my weight). I'm no saint; I am capable of saying some nasty things about other people, but rarely more than once. But I say horrible things about myself daily. How is that respecting myself?

I ate a shit ton of candy over these two weeks. Bad enough for a "normal" person, but for a diabetic? If I were watching someone else with a known condition willingly indulging in something that would hurt them, I wouldn't think highly of their self-respect. Should I have a treat occasionally? Of course! But a treat should be all-around. Going out to dinner with my husband and having half a slice of pie (since I know Jay would eat the other half :)). A single scoop of ice cream. I think that's finding a good balance between treating my body with respect and treating my soul and desires with respect.

I read once (and I've wrote about before) the idea of treating your body the way you would treat a small child; a toddler perhaps. Would you tell a toddler, over and over, that they were fat? Would you feed a toddler two bags of candy? Would you starve a child? Would you make a child exercise until s/he nearly passed out? Deny that child every single thing they wanted in favor of having a beautiful figure? Treating the body with respect is acknowledging that the body is what you make it. It's knowing that every single choice you make has an impact on your physical body. It's knowing that moderation, above all else, is respect for your body. Enough -- not too much, not too little. Enough sleep, enough food, enough physical activity....

For me, I think that "enough" is, to begin, about food. I eat too much, and too often. The idea of "meals" is kind of a new one to me. When I was growing up, both of my parents worked a lot. I tended to graze on whatever was around until "dinner", which was whatever we had in the house eaten in front of the TV whenever we got around to eating it. Both of my parents were always anti-exercise -- my mom vehemently, my dad because he was always too busy.

With trying to save money, J and I are working on not buying food we don't intend to eat. We have this horrible habit of buying things like fresh meat and fruit and then being too lazy to eat it. Now, we live within walking distance of 3 big food stores, and a quick drive from 2 others. So, Friday mornings when the new circulars come out, I'm going to spend half an hour perusing them online. All 5 stores have this great option where you can browse a circular and add items to a virtual list, then print it up. Bingo! We're going to pick the 2-3 stores that have the most important or discounted stuff and do our weekly shopping that way. Our menus will be created Friday night based on what the circulars have for us. And I need to learn about things like "lunch" and "dinner" and "a snack".

The time of binging is nigh. Eating until I feel sick has to stop. If I weren't diabetic, I'd work on trusting my body, but my body thus far has betrayed me utterly. So I need to work on understanding what actual hunger is, and how to respond to it responsibly. And THAT, ladies and gents, is my real full goal for January.

1st-Jan-2009 04:45 pm - Starting Off Point
save the tigers

Weight as of 1/1/09 - 190
Finances: Abominable (I had to transfer savings so we could make it to the next paycheck)

My goals for this year are going to be focusing on my health -- physical and mental. In my mental health, I need to work on getting things done and my finances. If my finances were in better shape, and I had very little left to the last minute, I think my emotional stability would be better. As for my health... well, that's standard. And a LOT of the health goals go along with financial goals! I also don't like looking at yearly goals, so I prefer to do monthly.

Major goals for 2009
1. Lose all my excess weight -- approx 50 pounds. Definately doable. I want to accomplish 75% of this by my Cali vacation in August!
2. Improve my finances.  -- don't know much more than this; part of Jan is going to be getting routines in place.

Goals for January 2009
1. No eating out, except on days I go to Queens. (physical and financial)
2. Check out online grocery circulars on Fridays -- plan weekly menu based on what's on sale. (physical and financial)
3. Focus on carbs -- less than 40 per meal, and 20 per snack.
4. Begin a cardio routine -- walking/jogging 3-4 days a week, and something mild (exercise bike or yoga, etc) 2-3 days/week.
(I'll work up to weights by Feb).
5. Begin the routine on http://www.hundredpushups.com/. This may have to wait a week; I think I pinched a nerve in my shoulder.
6. Lose 7-10 pounds -- hopefully, working on diet and beginning exercise will cover this :)
7. Begin using a price book for groceries.
8. Start tracking income and expenses.
9. Finish Craig's hat and 1 other 2009 Christmas gift. Oh, and my own wrist warmers.
10. (Since I like things being on round numbers, I went up to 10) -- Treat myself with respect.

Whew! I think that's enough to think about for awhile.
7th-Dec-2008 09:25 pm - Actually lucky?
save the tigers
I used to believe (especially in my more depressed moments) that the gods were laughing at us. While many of my classmates had rocketed on to high-powered careers (I have a world-famous tenor, policitcal speech-writer, and a NASA engineer out of my graduating class -- and those are only the ones I KNOW about), have been living on their own for years, own homes, and just seem to be gliding through life, I seem perpetually stuck in debt, light-years away from home-ownership. I'm stuck heavy, with a chronic disease, a puking dog, a rabbit who strews hay all over the place.... Too much stuff, not enough space. Too many dreams that will likely never come true. I'll never have fashion sense, or know how to successfully redecorate a room. Everything I have is thrown-together patchwork that only partially works.

I watch a lot of HGTV, which helps teach me the interior design stuff, as well as the process of buying a home. I was watching it tonight, looking at all the glorious houses that sell for 25% what they would cost around here. I spent a little time on mlsli.com, the house listing site for my area, and only total slum houses run under 250K. When J and I got totally fed up living with his parents, we were in NO condition to buy a home. We considered buying a condo, but we couldn't with a dog. So we're renting. I've got my teaching job, which is great, except for the high stress levels. But J and I dreamed of owning a bookstore. I've always dreamed of travel; packing my shit in my car and just driving -- finding new places and experiences.

But as I'm looking around a bit, I wonder if the gods have been watching over us -- the financial things that have seemed like curses are actually blessings. If we'd bought that condo with no down payment, we'd have gotten stuck in one of those ARM thingies and probably have lost our home. Instead, we're living in a nice apartment a short walk from the water that let us not only keep our dog but adopt a fluffy bunny. The bookstore we wanted to open would have been a fantasy/roleplaying based store -- a specialty, niche store that would be dying a horribly painful death in today's economy, losing us everything. Without my high-stress teaching job, the cost of being diabetic (a condition which my genes declared inevitable) would have killed us without my insurance.

And my condition in general -- it's been proven that diabetics who look after themselves are HEALTHIER than the average American. All I have to do is grasp the lion by the jaws (as the Strength card would tell me) and do the work required. Instead of being allowed to let my bad habits let me become morbidly obese, I'm being forced to think of my health first, and everything else second. I'm discovering all sorts of cool things at my disposal -- 100-cal packs are my friends, especially for sweet fixes.

I know the whole "crisis/opportunity" thing, and I try very hard to use my dad's family's philosophy of looking for solutions first, but sometimes it is SO FUCKING HARD. I'm trying -- but I do recognize we're in a much better place now than we could have been.
3rd-Dec-2008 10:58 pm - SO not happy....
save the tigers
I lost 40 pounds earlier this year. Granted, it was due to disease and not any hard work, discipline, or exercise on my part -- but it made me really happy. For the first time in my life, I shopped for clothes based on how GOOD they looked on me, not just on what didn't make me look like a cow.

Well, I'm gaining it back again. It's scary. I spend large parts of my non-eating life trying to plan how to stop this, and then I binge. Horribly -- especially with my diabetes, I'm behaving horribly. I take enough insulin to cover what I eat, so I don't get sick that way, but excess insulin helps your body get fat.

Two of my new skirts don't fit me comfortably anymore.

I think I really need to go low-ish carb. I'm a total carb addict -- if there's candy, I MUST have it. Unfortunately, we have to keep candy around for my Low Sugar Days -- it'd be negligent not to. Or maybe that's something I tell myself so I can have candy around guilt-free. Maybe I should stock up on juice, since I hate it anyway. The only problem with that is I get very irritable and child-like when my sugar is low, and while I might be in a right-enough mind to just drink the damn juice, I might also take it into my head to drive to the store for sweets. It's a dangerous line.

Right now, there's not much I can do except stop the excessive snacking. Between the play and my classes, I'm fucking swamped and really have no time to care about what I'm eating. In one week -- just one -- all this will be over. J and I agreed that during the winter break (TWO WEEKS OFF! PAID! YAY! TOO BAD I HAVE NO MONEY TO GO ON A REAL VACATION! YAY!) we would concentrate on cleansing -- cleaning the crap out of the apartment, and workingon our diet. We're going to hit the library together and take out some cookbooks. I want to focus on low-carb for meals, with one small carby or sugary snack a day -- my daily treat. I go crazy without them, and wind up doing this binging crap when I deny myself for too long. Then, once I start binging, I don't fucking stop.

So far the only thing I'm having real problems with is breakfast. I don't eat until second period (8:30) and since I'm at the school, it's hard to come up with. I'm already low-carbing breakfast because my insulin resistance is CRAZY in the morning and if I eat anything with real carbs, my sugar hits 300. So, I'm having nuts and cheese for breakfast. I'm thinking about learning how to make freezable frittatas to micro at the school, but that's something for the new year, not now :) I'm hoping to make lunches out of leftover dinners, and get those dinners from those cookbooks. Snacks during the day are hard to figure out -- string cheese? More nuts? Slim Jims? I want to low-carb, but I don't want to eat buckets of sodium in the process. I want to continue knitting at night so I don't snack.

I don't want to binge anymore. I feel horrible every single time I do it.

PS, by low-carb, I don't mean hardcore Atkins. I more mean less than 25-35 carbs per lunch/dinner (under 15 for breakfast) being my ideal with under 50 each being my main goal. Don't know about snacks yet.
30th-Nov-2008 08:05 pm - Been a long time.....
save the tigers

It's been a long, long time since I posted anything here, and the reason for that is that there's a lot going on. But there's very little of it that really needs to be gotten into. I was more thinking about Thanksgiving. To me and J, it's a whirlwind holiday of food. His parents, my parents, and my friend. 3 places -- usually means 2 full dinners, and 3 sets of dessert. And the thing I never think about, truly think about, is the actual part about giving thanks. If I do, it's usually sarcastic or ironic or a brief summary. I'm truly grateful, conciously grateful, for so little. So I wanted to dig past my emotional crustiness and actually express thanks to a world that most people think I should be cursing right now.

To start, I'm thankful to be alive. Less than 80 years ago, I would have been dead by now.

Suffice to say, I was misdiagnosed. I don't remember how much I posted about this here, but my control of my diabetes was atrocious, no matter what I did. There came a week in August where my numbers reached the territory where I very well could have had a stroke and died. I'm not a Type 2 diabetic -- that's the diabetes that people who are older or overweight get, when they can control it with pills and exercise and watching their diet. I was diagnosed that was because I was 26, over 200 pounds, and had a very strong genetic link to T2 in my family.

Unfortunately, that kind of blinded the doc to the fact that I have a strong genetic link to Type 1 as well. My mom was Type 1. Her dad is Type 1. And now, so am I. All the while I'm taking medicine that's making me ill, my pancreas is under attack by my own body. In all honesty, there's nothing that could be done about that part. So, that week in August, the final diagnosis comes in. I'm put on insulin. I'm SO THANKFUL for insulin. I can feel like a normal person. I can eat (almost) like a normal person. The only problem is the shots -- I have to take one whenever I eat, and I'm a grazer. Plus, I don't know what's wrong with me, but I'm VERY  sensitive to shots -- I bled a lot and wound up horribly bruised.

So I'm on an insulin pump now. And I'm grateful for it, because, unlike injections, it doesn't make me feel like a sick person. It's just a plastic pancreas that sits on my belt that needs to be told how much insulin to give me. I'm grateful my insurance covers this thing, not to mention all the accoutraments that go along with it (infusion sets, alcohol wipes, disposable reserviors for the insulin.....). I'm also grateful that this model has a CGMS (Constant Glucose Monitoring System). It's another thing injected into my skin and attached to my body, but it allows me to see, at a glance, what my sugar is.

There's so much else going on -- three master's classes, directing the school musical, as well as adjusting to this new insulin -- and now the new pump -- routine. My brain feels ready to explode most days. I've been eating more than usual to deal with the stress, so I'm grateful for all of this insulin crap to keep me from being sick. I'll worry about the weight gain after my birthday :)

I'm also grateful I took up knitting. It's very de-stressing and keeps my hands busy so that, sometimes, I don't eat. It's also a way for me to communicate with my grandmother. You want weird? I was thinking about learning a new knitting tecnique (cables) but thought they'd be too hard, so I didn't bother. That night, I had a dream where I learned how to cable -- I'd never looked at a book before that. I ran out to get a book on cabling and -- whatddya know? -- the dream was right. I think it was my grandmother :)

Anyway, I gotta get back to work. I have my lesson plans set up for tomorrow but I still have things to grade, and articles to read for papers due in a few weeks (sigh).

30th-Oct-2008 10:26 pm(no subject)
save the tigers

"Copy this sentence into your LiveJournal if you're in a heterosexual marriage, and you don't want it "protected" by the bigots who think that gay marriage hurts it somehow."
24th-Aug-2008 10:08 pm - Spiritually lonely?
save the tigers
I've always felt the lack of a religious support system. Now, anyone who knows me knows I'm not a fan of organized religion at ALL, but something about a community of like-minded has always drawn me. I love my dad, but I've always been a little cynical about his ability to believe whatever suits him to belong to a religious culture. When he taught at a Jewish day school, he became devoutly Jewish. When he left that job, the Judiasm went away. Now he's involved with something called Urantia that I just don't get, although I've tried.

Now, I'm absolutely unwilling to to believe (or pretend to believe) something just to belong to a group. I tried that, hanging at the local New Age ministries. The only place I felt at home -- a Shamanism Circle -- fell apart when we all had too many problems at the same time.

So I feel like I'm standing in a dark room, turning in circles. That sounds so depressing -- I'm not depressed, just bewildered and a little lonely. If any of my beliefs fit some kind of criteria, I might belong somewhere. Am I a Witch? No, I don't practice, but I am pulled to the idea of a large Universal force, of moving in tune with Nature and the seasons. Occasionally, I feel drawn to Spellcraft, but not to the point that I actually do anything about it. I can't do the Group Wiccan thing because most Wiccans I know fall into the "flaky crystal-sucking" category around here. It's hard for me to get involved with Spellcraft because it seems to involve too much STUFF. Wands and incense and crystals and herbs picked by moonlight.... when I do anything, it's by will and intention alone, with maybe a candle for focus and some incense just because I like it. I don't like the idea that green is for money, red is for love or passion.... the best book I read on this stuff said that personal associations were the best. Maybe blue is healing to me, and green is nature. 

Might I also add that there are NO good New Age stores around here? They're all desperately overpriced and they sell crap, for the most part.

And finding a local Shamanism chapter is kinda not gonna happen. But without people to help me, I feel like I'm at the mercy of books. I've totally let go of my Journeying and practice, lost my connection to all of it.

I know I don't have to define myself, define my beliefs, set things in stone -- but I do kind of wished that there was SOMETHING I believed in, that I could turn to. I wasn't comfy enough with Journeying before the group fell apart to lean on it when times are bad, like they are now. I also have no ONE to lean on. J is good with talking to about this stuff, but I have no local friends. Usually that doesn't bother me, but sometimes it really does. My two closests friends live far enough away that it's a real plan to go visit and see them. 

It's times like this I wish I lived in a big city instead of Suburbia Hell.
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