It’s been months now and I’m still alive and still dealing with a diagnosis I was sure would never come my way. I’m fit and normal weight. And I’m still pre-diabetic. I think. It’s been over four months since my A1C was checked. I do have an appointment scheduled in a few weeks. I will see if what I’ve been doing is working.

Although I wasn’t overweight when I started this nonsense, I’m even less so now, having lost twelve pounds in the interim. Not that I’ve been trying, it’s just that without all the carbs in my life, I’ve shed some weight. I’ve been a little leery of this but my weights in the gym seem to be staying stable. In fact, if I had to guess, I would say my performance with Olympic lifts continues to improve. I know that my CrossFit Open old fart scaled weight of 35# thrusters seems to feel less crushing. I can get more reps in before I have to rest.

I’ve tried a lot of new foods. Some of them have been successful, some have not. I’ve tried desserts made with fake sugars and they all have a horrible aftertaste. I would rather not eat them at all than spend ridiculous amounts of money and effort to have something that tastes nasty.

I tried some zero carb “noodles” I found online. I couldn’t eat more than the original taste sample because they were so horrid. Even though I spent a lot of money on them, I had to throw them away. I tried Birds’ Eye vegetable pasta and it was unimpressive. It is not anything I would buy again, but I could eat it for one meal. It was as many carbs as a half serving of regular pasta with none of the taste.

I’ve always been fond of fruit and even that is a problem. So I have been measuring out portions. In fact, I’ve been measuring out portions of everything. Sometimes I believe the carbs are worth it and when they aren’t, I don’t eat the stuff.

For the first three month, was trying to keep my carbs around 100 – 125. I usually managed to stay in the 90s and never did get as high as 125. Then I finally went to a class for my condition and the dietician there said 45 – 50 carbs per meal and 15 carbs for each of two to three snacks. That is so much higher than I was doing that I stopped counting every damn carb. Well, I never did add the 4 carbs per day of milk I put in my coffee, but still.

I try to keep each meal in the 30-40 carb range so if I’m careless with my reckoning, it won’t matter because I have some leeway. I know my breakfasts are either 1 carb (days I don’t work out) or 17 carbs (on the days I do). My snacks are usually something healthy and may be slightly over the 15  count, but not ever more than 20 and I only have one or two per day, not three. I stopped trying to record every morsel of food.

My mother watched her fat intake to the point of making everyone around her a little crazy. She wouldn’t eat this and that and seriously limited her fat intake. She died of a heart attack anyway.

I’m looking forward to finding out if what I’ve been doing is enough or even too much. I’m pretty sure that no matter what my A1C number is, I can’t go back to just willy nilly eating anything and everything. It would just make it rise again for the next time.

I have given myself permission to eat one decadent piece of chocolate per day and figure it into my carb count. I have tried new and different recipes, some of them quite successful. I have cut back on breads, potatoes, and pasta without noticing too much of a problem. Pasta is the hardest of all these.

My biggest worry now is that I continue to lose weight although not as rapidly as when I started. Still, I worked really hard to build up this amount of muscle and my BMI is now 21.8. With my muscle mass, that’s an inflated number. Weightlifters really aren’t who those tables are made for and our numbers are skewed because we have higher than normal mass due to more muscle tissue.

I’ve tried to find out if there is any difference for diabetics regarding where the carbs are coming from. It seems we really don’t know that much about nutrition. Which is a shame, considering the state of our national nutritional mess. What I did see over and over again is that the more processed something is, the less healthy it is for you. Which makes all the “fake” food substitute things a little suspect.

Hopefully, I will find out that what I’ve been doing is working well. I can manage this without much problem. I’ve even figured out how to dine out. So, I guess I’m just going to get to keep all my toes. At least, I hope so.

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I’ve been not diabetic, as a diagnosis rather than a state of being, for nearly three months now. I know this because I’m soon going to have to get my prescription refilled and it was for 90 days worth of pills. After the initial shock, the reality sunk in and I’ve been more or less okay with the whole mess.

I say more or less because I can still cry over the dumbest of things. I don’t cry with each trip to the grocery store anymore, but I was still able to shed tears when thinking of all the Christmas cookies I couldn’t have and wouldn’t bake. It’s not that I really liked the baking part, but I sure did like the eating part.

Someone asked me yesterday if I couldn’t just cheat and eat some. I could. But the cheater and the cheated would be the same person – me. I know I could have one or two cookies without a problem, but the cookies I really like and am missing the most are the ones that Dick doesn’t eat at all. Candied cherries, candied pineapple, and dates along with the chocolate chips make it way outside what I should be eating by the recipe full. So, I don’t get them. I will live and I will be fine.

I’ve found some really good recipes and some sorta good recipes so far. I have purchased a variety of odd foods. I have fake sugar which is really so not Paleo as to be ludicrous, but there you have it. There are no foods we eat today that are the same as they were thousands of years ago, anyway, so I guess I’m just working with what I have. Broccoli used to be a flower. Almonds were never supposed to be milk.

I lost five pounds in the first couple weeks because I couldn’t find anything to eat. All the foods I love to eat are high in carbs. This is the whole root of my problem. I love French fries and Tater Tots. I love pasta. I love good bread. And I adore dessert. I have always built my entrée choices when dining out based on the dessert menu and what I wanted to eat later. Even the salads I enjoy most are filled with dried cranberries and candied pecans.

I’ve more or less stabilized my eating but have still managed to lose another five pounds. I wasn’t terribly overweight, and losing ten pounds has been an asset. If I lost another five, that would be okay. After that, well, I better find more to eat. But I haven’t gone a single day being hungry. I have to remind myself to eat more calories on the days I don’t work out. I don’t have all the calories I consume with my pre-workout stuff and recovery eating on those days.

I’m not delighted with this diagnosis, but it hasn’t been as horrible as I first imagined. On Thanksgiving, I ate carefully, but didn’t even really keep track. I just know what I had and what I didn’t eat and still had a great day. For my birthday, I will go to Kaminsky’s and I will get something decadent. I will not eat all of it and I will not bring the rest home. I will eat some and love it. I’m going to guess that with all that sugar in it, it would be a bit nauseating if did try to eat the whole thing. My body is no longer used to that stuff.

What I have noticed the most is how many of our easy, grab and run foods are full of carbs. Years ago, there were studies saying how fats were our enemies and making us obese. The sugar industry may have funded some of these. My diet has been fat heavy (isn’t that a ludicrous phrase?) and I’ve lost ten pounds only because I cut out the carbs (and not even all of them). Snacking has been the most difficult part of the process. I have some low carb snacks available now, but they were the hardest things to find. And they are always more expensive than high sugar foods. Apparently that high fructose corn syrup is so damn cheap, they can put it in everything and so – they do.

The internet has made this transition a lot easier, too. I can look up some keto recipe online and get hundreds or thousands or way too many hits. It has helped me to make some really wonderful new dishes that have been amazingly low in carbs. I made lasagna without noodles (using zucchini) and even Dick liked it. We had lasagna! For less than five carbs. I wouldn’t have ever thought of that by myself.

All in all, this is getting to be more of my routine and I’m growing accustomed to it. Even if my A1C number is better in another three months, I know I can’t go back to 300-400 carbs a day, what I apparently was eating before, without a problem. Even if my diagnosis goes away, I can’t pretend I’m not at risk. I am learning a lot with this new chapter, and I guess that’s really the important part.

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Going to the gym is one thing, but eating the right foods for the rest of the day is an entirely different beast. Now, with even one more thing to worry about, diet-wise, I need to plan carefully to be able to keep my body fit and healthy.

Today’s workout was stunning. I read it and figured, well, I won’t get far.

The 12 minute AMRAP was toes to bar and double unders with a progressive ladder. There were 6 toes to bar and then 12 double unders, 12 toes to bar and 24 double unders, 18 toes to bar and 36 double unders, etc. The toes to bar increased by six each round and the double unders were twice the toes to bar.

I was hoping against hope to get the 18/36 round completed. I can’t do toes to bar, but I can do hanging knee raises. When I began, I could barely hang from the bar for more than five seconds. I eventually could bend my knees slightly. And then I got a bigger bend. Today, on the first few I could get my knees to or close to my chest but as the minutes dragged on, I was content to get them all at least waist high.

I also realized I was an old woman and did single unders instead of any double unders today. Even so, I was having trouble getting them perfect and missed several. So, it wasn’t like I wasn’t working.

Both hanging knee raises and jump rope spike my heart rate, so I wasn’t very confident about this at all. I figured I would just spend all my time sitting and box breathing. But to my surprise, I did better than expected.

I did the first round without stopping and even got back to the bar and did the 12 hanging knee raises (albeit with a break) before I had to sit. After the jump rope, I had to sit a bit before getting to the 18 hanging knee raises and I looked at the clock and far less time had elapsed than I had anticipated. By the 18, I was able to do six and then had to do three sets of four, but I never had to sit down. I could just pause, regroup for a bit, and jump back up to the rig.

I finished as far as I thought I would get and there was still quite a bit of time on the clock. After the jump rope, I had to rest again and then there were 24 hanging knee raises to get through. I managed by breaking them into smaller and smaller sets. I got the jumps in and amazingly there was still some time on the clock. In fact, there was enough time that I got another 24 hanging knee raises in.

For the math people out there, that meant I got 84 hanging knee raises done along with 120 jumps of the rope in twelve minutes. I really had no idea I could manage such a thing. My hands were on fire and my right shoulder was complaining. But I got so much farther than I thought I could manage.

Now, on to the food portion of the day. I come home from the gym absolutely starving. I could chew my own arm off some days. So I need something rather instant. And I have a system.

I keep cooked bacon in the refrigerator. I don’t buy the pre-cooked because I’m cheap. But my husband fries me up two pounds of bacon at a time and I get two strips after the gym. I fold a paper towel, hide the bacon strips inside, and microwave it for 30 seconds. I then get my egg heated up. I do this while my half an English muffin is toasting.

Today, I finished off my last of the eggs so I had to bake some more. This is the planning that is so essential to my diet.

First, I had to buy a larger muffin tin because when I tried this with a regular muffin tin and even fewer additives, it was too small. So, I bought the bigger size and it is perfect.

I spray the pan with nonstick spray crap because I like the dishwasher. I then shred some spinach and put some in each cup. Next, a diced cherry tomato goes into each cup. Then I add slivered green onion and diced mushrooms if I have them (today I did). I top that with shredded cheddar cheese. I learned that if I think I’m going to add the salt or spices to each egg, I won’t. I will forget at least one so I put the salt and spice in each cup separately. Today I added rosemary. Last week I added basil. Chives are also good.

Of course, if you want to add other stuff or delete some of the above items, that would work as well. I made this whole thing up so I made it the way I wanted it.

Next, I whisk together a splash of milk and one egg. I tried all six eggs at once with more milk and then found it was really difficult to divide the liquid between the six cups I make and do it evenly. So, although it is more difficult and time consuming, it works much better for me to do one at a time. After whisking it, I pour the single egg into a cup and go on to the next. The veggies rise to the top on their own.

They bake at 350⁰ F for about 25 minutes. I’ve never eaten one straight out of the oven and have no idea if they taste better then. They are puffed when they first come out of the oven. As they cool, they shrink down. I let them cool slightly and then remove them from the pan. I cool them completely before storing them in an airtight container.

I heat them for 30 seconds in the microwave, one at a time, for my breakfasts in the coming days. They are delicious and they keep me from eating something less healthy just because I’m so damn hungry after the workouts. I find the one egg, two strips of bacon, and half the English muffin keep me happy until the next meal is due.

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Getting ready to bake

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Straight out of the oven.

I am getting a handle on my not disease. And I’m figuring out what to eat and still have an acceptable diet full of foods I can love.

After being on medication for more than a week, it dawned on me that I should warn the coach that if I fell over now, it might not be my heart but could be my blood sugar. She did not sigh audibly. It hasn’t seemed like too much of a stress on my workouts.

On Sunday I ate three decent meals, had a snack and was not at all hungry during the entire day. I logged in my food as I was getting ready for bed and noticed I had consumed fewer than 1000 calories for the day. I had an egg and fruit for breakfast; salmon, sweet potato (half), and broccoli for lunch; my normal salad for supper; and a bowl of cheese popcorn.

I think because my blood sugar isn’t spiking and then insulin output being wonky, I’m not always hungry. I have to watch and make sure I’m eating enough. Monday’s workout was more difficult as I had very little reserves. Either that or the split jerks were just hard. Could be either.

I’ve lost three pounds in two and a half weeks without trying. I’ve watched my food intake without being too crazy. I didn’t have birthday cake because it wasn’t worth the carbs for a store bought cake. And it wasn’t my birthday. But I have had one piece of Suzin L chocolate every day. I’m not giving that up.

I used a low carb/high fiber tortilla to have a chicken salad sandwich and then when that didn’t taste horrible, I used them for both of us to have a cheese crisp (tortilla topped with taco sauce, shredded cheese, and crumbled bacon and on mine, a few diced cherry tomatoes and then baked until the cheese melts and the edges are crisp). It’s like a Mexican pizza.

I made cream cheese (low fat) and sour cream with a whole bunch of chopped green olives (stuffed with pimento) dip. I love this stuff. Usually I have it by the ton with lots of crackers, but I measured out a bit and had it with celery sticks. It still tasted good. When I had a carb reserve left at the end of the day, I took my eight crackers and had it with crackers and that was its normal tasty treat. What I noticed most about that was if I hadn’t counted out the crackers, I would have continued eating for a very long time.

I’ve had pasta twice in three weeks and had only a half serving of the actual pasta and had other things on the table to go with it. It cut my carbs back but let me have a meal I enjoy without going over the top on the carb count.

My workouts are staying in line with what they were before I got here but I seem to be more diaphoretic which is a medical way to say I’m sweating like a whore in church. The insomnia went away after about a week on this new pill. So that was a big relief.

Getting a handle on this whole mess is making me feel a little bit more in control. I don’t want to be too crazy about it, but I also want to keep my eyesight, brain, toes, and all the stuff in between. So I’m trying to behave responsibly.

All in all, I feel like I need to watch this and keep track of my intake all the time because it is easy to think that stuff doesn’t have “that many” carbs in it. When I saw a piece of crappy cake, not even really good Kaminsky type cake, had 62 grams of carbs, I knew where my basic problem resided. I have always built my restaurant choice of entree on the dessert menu, making sure that dessert was a thing. So I have to come up with some other plan.

Yesterday was my three week anniversary for all this mess. I feel much less stressed now than I did just that short time ago. I’m sure that my new normal will become normal. I don’t know when that will happen, but I’m confident that it will.

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Expert advice is invaluable. The internet is not an expert. It is full of conflicting advice, even from reputable sources because we are each individuals with unique responses to outside stimuli. In other words, we are all special. Isn’t that cute?

My son contacted a friend of his and she gracefully said she would speak with me. Lindsey is a Registered Dietician. I really needed to speak with one even though I used to be a Registered Nurse. It was long ago and in ICU/CCU everyone is either not eating at all or on some very special diet. Otherwise, they get transferred out. In OR, we didn’t feed anybody.

I know very little about diets and what I did learn over forty years ago has been updated, modified, and changed beyond my recognition. I really needed an RD.

I spoke with Lindsey for less than fifteen minutes and feel like I have had a monumental paradigm shift. I’m not sure why the doctor didn’t know better and give me a number to shoot for, but she didn’t. I stressed and looked and researched and got more and more confused. Lindsey gave me a concrete thing to strive for. I now have a target that I can either hit or miss, but at least know what the target is.

She also helped me to understand some of the more vague concepts I held about food and nutrition. I feel like this gigantic boulder has been lifted. Not that anything is any more or less difficult to actually achieve, but at least I know what I’m trying to do.

Today is a big test. I’m going out to eat. I have no idea how this is going to work. I usually have a hard enough time finding something I like since I’m such a picky eater to start with. Now I have a new layer to put on top of that. I’m sure I can manage it, but this is my first time on this adventure. I have always planned my meal around what I was going to get for dessert. Now, I get nothing.

It’s not that I can’t have dessert, it’s that restaurants charge a huge price for a piece of cake or pie and the food isn’t the really expensive part (as far as I can tell) because they serve these huge pieces of the cake or pie. I have a little package of those individual cakes you can make in a mug. I looked. Each one is 62 carbs. That’s more than I can afford to eat for dessert. And I’m sure the restaurant’s serving will be bigger.

I’m sure that I will eventually figure out the entire process and not have to think so hard about each meal and what to substitute for the 42 carbs in a serving of pasta (which is also about half the amount of pasta a restaurant serves).

I have been buying foods that increase my protein intake since I’m hoping to build muscle. I never looked at the carbs because I didn’t have to. Now, I have a bunch of stuff that isn’t going to fly in my new world.

I also have to worry about something else at the gym. On Tuesday, I came home with a noticeable headache. I didn’t know if it was from low blood sugar or low caffeine. I ate and had coffee and it went away. I had burned through 598 calories on Tuesday. I don’t know how I did that. Today, I came home feeling fine. I had burned 517 calories, which is my normal amount.

I had the same pre-workout drink on both days. I might have to monitor this a little closer. I have to monitor everything a little closer right now.

There are a couple things I refuse to give up. The first is real milk in my coffee. It amounts to 3-4 carbs per day and I hate almond milk’s grit and taste. So I’m willing to work with that little extra zip in my coffee because it is one of the things I enjoy a lot.

The other is my chocolate. I have one piece of chocolate (right now it is from Suzin L and I have almost two pounds of that left from the summer). I have no idea how many carbs are in that one piece and when I get to Those, I will only eat half a piece a day. But after that runs out, I have other really good chocolate. I can make a serving last for a week or even two. But I want that sweet taste once a day. Again, I’m willing to cut out something else so I can have my treat.

My meal planning is more difficult while I adjust things. But now I know what I can manage per meal and it is going to make a huge difference in my ability to make that meal.

This new normal isn’t of my choosing. My body betrayed me. We are going to have to have a serious talk.

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Years before my mother died (of a heart attack) she was diagnosed with high cholesterol and placed on medication. She made us all nuts with her dietary concerns and her most frequent assessment of food choices was, “If it tastes good, spit it out.”

I do not want to be like my mother in this respect. I’m now pre-diabetic and feel like I’ve been totally betrayed by a body that is not living up to its potential. Here I sit, having never smoked, never been drunk, being of normal weight, and killing myself at the gym four to five times a week and still, this shit happened. What sort of Karma is working here? This seems like anti-Karma, if you ask me. I followed the rules and it didn’t matter.

I’m trying to be good rule follower still. It’s sorta what I do. Here’s a rule. Follow it. And then good things will happen. Obviously, I know that last part is not entirely true. But, I am still trying to follow the rules and that is where I’m running into massive information overload.

I’m supposed to be on a “low carb” diet and I have no freaking idea what that really means. It can mean anything from 50 grams of carbs per day up to 325 carbs per day. What the hell kind of range is that? It is impossible for me to figure this out and so I keep going to Google and it is being particularly unhelpful.

One of the first things I read was what foods to avoid or cut back on. Fruits in limited supply were okay but melon was just awful. So were bananas. Berries were on the okay list as were apples and pears. Fruits with a seed – not so much. Today, while looking at more stuff, a list of approved fruits for a low carb diet had watermelon listed as the first thing. What fresh new hell is this? (I love Dorothy Parker.) And apples weren’t all that great for this list.

Eat this and not that turns into eat that and not this. I’ve never been particularly interested in diets and food regimens and mostly just let registered dieticians do their thing without me being involved. I know that as a nurse, I’m probably supposed to know this shit, but I worked OR for most of my career and those people aren’t eating anything.

So I don’t know what the hell I’m doing and I’m having a terrible time trying to figure it out for myself. There are millions of hits for any query I make and they all disagree with one another. I’m unable to find even the most basic answer – how many carbs is a low carb diet? Well, your answer may vary.

Then, what do I do about CrossFit? What do I do with carb loading? What do I do for a pre-workout? How do I manage this new not-normal and make it become my new normal?

I have never been on daily medication unless it has been a 7-10 run of antibiotics. Then, I set an alarm to remind myself to take a pill because I forget. Now I have to remember to take a pill with my main meal every single day and I’ve nearly forgotten two times in less than a week. I have my pill case next to my coffee cup so when I make my postprandial coffee, there it is and I take the pill which is technically still with my meal. Really, I just have to take this pill on a not empty stomach, so I’m following that rule okay.

It’s just that I don’t even really know how to deal with this because I don’t even have a foundational place to start. I’m lost without a map.

My doctor’s advice was not to cut out any foods and cut back on pasta, rice, potatoes, and bread. Eating veggies before high carb foods helps, so having a salad before spaghetti helps with the whole process. And having only half the pasta will help, too. Some of this I can manage. Some of this is just too ephemeral for a person who desires rigid boundaries. I need to know when I’m too far outside these fuzzy edges and it is driving me crazy. I know I’ve been at this for less than a week and I will eventually be able to really incorporate this stuff into my regularly scheduled life.

I crave answers and Google is only giving me more questions, more confusion, and less clarity overall. I’m not good in this place. I need a map. I need direction. I need answers. Come on, Google, that’s your job.

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