Historical Contexts

Think It Through Thursday: Historical Contexts – My Family History (Maternal Side)

Hello People!

I’ve been doing a lot of researching, thinking, reading, and all out knowledge-seeking on the low/high blood sugar issues I’ve mentioned here a few times.  Although never fully diagnosed (I’m almost too scared to really know) as a hypo-glycemic, I have all of the classic symptoms plus have the added bonus of being related to two people who had full-blown Type 2 diabetes with ugly side-effects, one being death.

Since reaching about the age of 38 I’ve seen a lot of bloating and fat storage on my body.  It has been the bane of my existence for about 2.5 years now and I’m getting fed up with it.  There must be an answer and before I resort to being tested for parasites and other nasty things, I’m going to look to my family history first to perhaps give me some clues to what exactly it is that I am dealing with.

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On my Mom’s side of the family I had two wonderful grandparents – My Grandpa and Grammy as I called them for many years. By the time I could really think and act like a fully aware human being, they had long-since been diagnosed with diabetes.  I believe my Grandpa was first, but it doesn’t really matter.  What does matter is that I remember a long row of boxes, bags full of needles, refrigerated  Rx items and other paraphernalia around the kitchen counters.  That was just what my Grandparents kitchen looked like; although a little scary and not fully understood, this is a memory of them that I will always have. (Do you want to be remembered this way?)

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They were NOT fat.  That’s right.  My Grammy was quite thin and skeletal (5’7″, 108 pounds).  I have often asked my Mom what my Grammy ate and she always says “Well you were there.  The normal foods old people eat I guess.”  I remember boxes of cereal, bacon ( a HUGE memory), fruit – mostly bananas for cereal, canned soups, hot dogs with white buns, going out to Mexican food, etc.  Nothing too crazy….or was it?

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Let’s get to the good part. I have these terrorizing memories of my Grandpa going into dramatic episodes of low blood sugar attacks.  One’s in which he writhed on the floor like a snake and couldn’t even say his name or address when asked.  The entire Fire Department of the town would show up at 2 am and haul him off to the hospital while I cowered in a corner of the guest room near my two sisters in the bed.  It was the most frightening thing to witness and most of it was seen and heard through a distorted view of my hands-covered face.  I knew that my Grandparents always stocked candies all over the house and glove compartment of their Buick “just in case.” There was also a giant bottle of orange juice stocked for that same purpose waiting in the fridge.  My Grammy never had these types of fits.  But later on, her toll was taken in a different way.  She got glaucoma in her left eye and looked like a crazy homeless person.  She developed mad dementia and had gangrene in her toe.  In the bedroom I sleep in today, I held her hand while she was laying down crying and screaming that she couldn’t feel her legs.  Shall I go on?

Recently I asked my Mom what type of diabetes they had.  She said Type 2.  That’s the adult on-set variety.  The kind that everyone all over the nation is getting by eating all their processed/fast foods with no exercise.  The kind that is being touted that one can “beat” with healthier nutritional choices. WHAT???  You mean that my Grandparents could have had a better handle on this and may have lived a bit longer with less hellish health problems if they ate better?  That is the scary truth, which is why I am so concerned about myself and want answers before I ever get to their level. I won’t even go into my hatred of the way doctor’s “treat” these types of patients.  “Don’t eat excess sugar” is usually part of the prescription.  Along with “Just eat normal meals but supplement with some bottled insulin.”

Oh-My-God.  I don’t know what else to say…

Maybe later. I need to keep thinking about it as it relates to me.

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5 Things

Think It Through Thursday: 5 Things

Hello People!

It has been a few months….6, to be exact, that I have been a blogger.  My weight hasn’t really gone down a whole lot during this process, but I have been discussing the reasons why here periodically.  Particularly, I think most of my issues relate to blood sugar problems, and I’m currently working those out.

So I wanted to do a post that was upbeat and positive today because there isn’t enough positivity in the world, in my opinion.  Therefore, I want to discuss 5 things I have learned during these 6 months of blogging that I will continue to implement for the rest of my life regardless of weight-loss or not.  They are healthy habits that I wish to pass on to you, dear reader.

5 Things

1. What You Eat Matters

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This means that it doesn’t matter if a “calorie is a calorie.” The quality of the food is utmost important.  Forget the counting calories bit.  Look to the nutrition of the food/meal/snack first.  Calories matter too, no doubt about it, but there is a hell of a big difference between the nutritional makeup of two foods with the same amount of calories: a snickers bar vs. a  a few pieces of fruit.  Those nutritional qualities differ in that one of those items your body will store most of it’s calories as fat because of the high sugar content, and the other will be used by the body for re-building, supporting, digesting, etc.  Now which one do you want?

2. Vegetables & Fruit Are Your FRIENDS!!!

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You’re hungry?  You want to binge out? Have a tangerine.  Still hungry? Have a cucumber.  Still hungry? Have a bowl of cherry tomatoes.  Still hungry? No?…..Well even if you were, the calories in these foods are so small in comparison to junk foods that even if you binged on them, the worst case scenario would give you gas and bloating.  Junk Foods? You will be seen wearing them on your thighs the next day for sure.

3.  All Exercise is Not Created Equal

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The older you get, the more muscle you lose (up to a pound a year!!!).  This is key to understanding why your treadmill antics ain’t working like they were at 20.  Don’t do tons of cardio.  Do tons of weights/strength training/bodybuilding workouts.  Then do some cardio – but no more than 20 minutes (HIIT would be optimal).  You can start burning your muscles right off if it’s any more than that.  EEEKK!

4.  The G-Free Life is For Me

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Gluten was giving me blood sugar spikes. Why? Mostly the gluten was in the form of bread which has flour.  Flour, in any form, 100% whole wheat or otherwise, digests fast.  Gluten was also coating the villi in my intestine causing me to have skin irritation problems.  Going gluten free is not easy, but it is doable and I am not starving like I feared I would be.  It definitely has cut down on the carb consumption in my life.  I am not a no-carb preacher, but I would advocate low-carb (220 grams or less a day) eating. I am eating approximately 120 – 100 grams a day now.

5. Plan Meals For the Week

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Not planning what to eat is planning to FAIL! If it is 12:00 noon and you don’t know what you are eating for lunch…you are doomed friend.  Your hunger will override any will you had to stick to a calorie regime.  Don’t fool around, designate 1 day a week to prepare, cook, and portion out your meals for the week.  No second guessing, no last minute drive-thru runs, no excuses. (Video on this subject to come!)

Temporary Suspension…

The Saturday Weigh-In: Suspended

Hello People!

Well, I’ve got a big problem.  I’ve been logging and reporting my diet and exercise program for almost 2 months now, and I think that I need to quit for the time being.  This is a pre-mature ending to my agreement with you, reader.  You see I think my weight problems are bigger than diet and exercise.  I think I may have a medical reason for what is happening to me.

The weight simply isn’t coming off the way it did even 5 years ago. It doesn’t matter how many hills I climb (and believe me, I have been climbing actual hills!), the weight either stays the same or barely creeps off like a snail.  There is something more sinister at work here and I believe it is my blood sugar going amuck on me.

I’m related to two people who developed Type 2 diabetes as adults.  I have always known that I am hypoglycemic.  I remember thinking in my twenties how much sugar played a role in my diet.  It was in every meal and snack.  This was exasperated by the fact that I also had a long love affair with fake sugars.  If you don’t know, fake sugar also raises insulin in the body just like when a person eats real sugar. After a while (years and years of yo-yo excess sugar-insulin release), the body doesn’t want to deal with all that insulin anymore and starts to shut down; one very important way is, the excess sugar roaming around in the bloodstream gets stored AS FAT regardless of whether you are eating low calories and exercising.  Yep, that’s the research.  It seems that my carb loving times have got to come to an end.

It’s not that I’m giving up carbs – HELL no.  I will never stand on that platform.  I just need to rethink the types of carbs I’m eating (starting with gluten, that I have given up and it has been a huge help in this problem).  I’m now thinking that brown rice is too rich for my blood.  That is usually the staple bread eaters turn to when they go gluten free.  I dug out of my diet binder a list of carbohydrate rich foods and started comparing the amount of carb grams with different types of foods. My plan is to cut down my carb consumption slowly, perhaps starting with 100 grams a day and work towards eating eventually 70 grams per day.  I’ll have to report back on how this strategy is working, but I just didn’t want to leave my Sat. posts blank without me explaining a little bit.  I really feel that my weight problems have more to do with my blood sugar issues than anything else.  It has become more than calories in and calories out.  It is now about WHAT makes up those calories.

Homemade Protein Bars

Foodie Friday: Homemade Protein Bars

Hello People!

I was just wandering around YouTube (go figure), and I came across these yummy looking gluten-free Protein Bars by Rob Riches, who in my opinion is yummier than the bars, but who cares.

I have yet to try them, but I will be.  I’ll let you know how they taste for REAL!

Reward System

Think It Through Thursday: Reward Yourself!

Hello People,

Yeah, I believe in giving yourself a small reward each time you accomplish a weight-loss goal.  This type of strategy makes me very happy, as in, it gives me something to look forward to.  My personal reward system is for every 5 pound loss.  If I don’t lose the 5 pounds, NO REWARD -BOO!  It’s not that I’m losing the weight for the rewards, it’s to give me some momentum to not give up.  Giving up is a daily struggle.  Having a little push to get me through makes all the difference.

Here are some ideas that you can reward yourself with:

  • Massage
  • Manicure/Pedicure
  • Hairstyle Makeover/Cut, Color, Highlights, etc.
  • New Workout Clothes
  • New Workout Shoes
  • New Workout Equipment
  • New Workout DVD (P90-X for my 10 pound loss!)
  • Yoga Classes (at that Chi-Chi place)
  • New Healthy Cookbook
  • Makeup
  • Music on iTunes
  • Magazine Subscription
  • New Kitchen Gadgets
  • Jewelry
  • Spa Appointment
  • Scented Body Lotions and Body Washes
  • Deluxe Car Wash/Detail
  • Books on Amazon
  • DVDs on Amazon
  • Shopping Spree at a Thrift Shop
  • Going to the Beach
  • Day Trip
  • Subscribe to a Fitness Site
  • Go to the Movies
  • Get a New Flavored Tea/Coffee
  • Estate/Garage Sale-ing (buying things)
  • Go See a Play/Musical/Opera
  • Day at a Theme Park/Botanic Garden/Historical Site (bring your own food!)
  • Splurge Shop at Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s/Health Food Store
  • Buy Supplements
  • Buy a New Plant for the Yard
  • Get Your House Cleaned by a Service
  • Get Your Carpets Cleaned by a Service

Can you think of any others?