Update about my diabetes: I have had 5 days of 120 or less fasting blood sugar readings on basically dietary changes alone. I am working up to a real workout but it goes a lot slower. Even walking with my walker pushes my heart rate up beyond aerobic levels, and I can only do a few minutes on the stationary bike.
The weight front goes a bit slow too probably because I am not able to maintain a 20 to 30 minute workout yet. However with gaining a bit losing a bit and so on I have managed about 9 lbs (just over 4 kilos) in 6 weeks.
Goal is to keep from having to go on medications when I get my next A1C test done. Also to lose 20 lbs in 3 months.
A few pointers I would like to make based on my struggles:
1. It is more than just sugar, I was not a major sweet eater BECAUSE I knew that I was at risk for diabetes in a major way. It was starches that did me in, especially white pasta, white bread, white potatoes which used to consist about 65 % or more of my diet. Plus of course being overweight and family history. Eating more veggies is crucial, and get away from white food and processed food or at least eat them in moderation.
2. Do not just rely on fasting blood sugar test that is the usual testing done in the blood workup. My fasting blood sugar was 98 when tested. Doc was able to diagnose me long before that went up to dangerous levels via the A1C test. Think of it like the difference between a snapshot (a fasting blood sugar test or glucometer reading), and a movie that covers 3 months of all blood sugar activity (the A1C). My A1C was 6.5, which means that over a 3 month period my blood sugars were averaging around 140 or so. With the fasting of 98 that means I was having readings well above 140. If you have family history at all, or find yourself with symptoms you think might be diabetes have your doc check A1C as well as standard blood work.
3. Small changes can make BIG results. If you are overweight and have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or at risk, by making small dietary changes small increments in activity level, small weight losses (5 to 10% of body weight can make a HUGE difference in diabetes,) you can improve your health. Say you weigh 200 lbs a 5 to 10 % would mean a weight loss of 10 to 20 lbs. You can of course lose more and it will help your overall health of course, but even a small but maintained weight loss has big benefits. What is not healthy is losing a lot, gaining it back, and so on which is called the yo yo effect and is really bad for your health.
4. Find ways to move more. Of course the maximum benefit comes from a full workout, but even moving more helps a lot. I move my legs when I sit at the computer periodically. This helps the circulation which is good since I have issues with lower leg swelling, and it gets a bit more movement in, Sometimes I “chair dance”. This is an activity I can do while on the computer and listening to music and I can maintain it for over a half an hour.
If you are basically really out of shape because you have not seen exercise in years DO NOT start trying to jog, or full work out at a gym or whatever. Take time to build up to a full work out slowly. Especially if you are very overweight, trying to jog or so on can lead to injuries and quitting not to mention could over strain your heart. Park further out and walk. Walk around the block, Go to a mall and sign up to walk the mall in the mornings before they open if weather is an issue. If you have a pool you can go to, try aqua exercises or swimming.
Alternate exercises like walking sometimes with stationary bike or swimming to use more muscles differently and give some a rest. If you lift weights do so 3 times and skip a day in between each work out. Or do upper body one day then lower body other day.
Most of all listen to your body. Your breathing and heart rate will tell you when you are doing too much or too little. If you can talk with some effort but only a few words then breathe you are doing aerobic, if you can’t talk and are gasping, then you are doing it too hard, and if you can talk in full sentences without having to stop and breathe then its a bit low and you need to kick it up a notch.
I will be very honest with you, the first couple of weeks after modifying my diet, were absolutely horrible. In order to save money while waiting for the inheritance, I have been eating a very poor diet. My diet primarily consisted of lot of starch and processed foods which tend to be cheaper than healthier foods. The amount of starch I was eating will probably was about 60 to 70% of my diet. Examples include one of my favorites called smashed potatoes, and pasta dishes.
Smashed potatoes is where you boil the potatoes with the skins on, then smash them up kinda like mashed potatoes, but keep the skins on. Then you add grated cheese, spices, and either butter and sour cream or salad dressing. I usually used non fat Ranch dressing. I would eat a plate with nothing but smashed potatoes with the cheese for protein. Pasta dishes usually were some form of white pasta with cheese and maybe some meat, but no veggies added. Or a frozen pasta dish. I also relied a lot on the meal style soups.
The problem with this diet is I was not getting enough high-quality protein, or enough non starchy vegetables. A low-carb diet that benefits diabetics needs to consider the of a large portion of non starchy vegetables, good sources of protein, and a small amount of fruits with emphasis on berries, and very few starchy grains and starchy vegetables. Practically overnight, I radically switched up the contents of my day-to-day eating. Now I eat about 60 or 70% non-starchy vegetables by volume, and I limit my grains and potatoes to know more then one to two servings a day.
My main grain is my breakfast oatmeal which is much higher in fiber and lower and starchy carbohydrates then most breakfast cereals. I add 2 ounces of unsweetened applesauce and a large amount of cinnamon to spice it up. I also include ace vintage egg scramble and a bit of bacon to complete the breakfast. Almost every day, I eat a large home made salad bowl of fiber and nutrients. Overall I eat 6 to 8 vegetable serving every day, 1 to 2 fruits, 1 to 2 servings of grains and potatoes, and 3 to 4 servings of protein, and try to make sure I have at least one serving of protein with every serving of grain. Even a potato is a vegetable, for the purpose of diabetes, it is best to be considered as a grain. In general, if a vegetable is starchy enough that you can make a bread out of it, a regular bread not a quick bread like zucchini bread, then consider it a grain. So potato bread is quite common and therefore it qualifies as a grain for the purposes of the diabetic diet, so does corn.
Not only was I going through emotional withdrawal from cutting so much starch out of my diet, I was also dealing with physical symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, lack of balance more so than usual, and a general feeling of low blood sugar even though my blood sugar was not that low. This is very, common when you cut back on foods such as pasta potatoes bread etc. I basically felt sick and like I was going to pass out at any time. I highly recommend if you want to modify your diet because you have been diagnosed with diabetes, that you make sure you have a glucometer and the equipment necessary to regularly test your blood sugar. Otherwise you may find yourself reaching for sugar and starch because you feel like you are about passed out even though your blood sugar may be normal or even high. The other reason for getting the glucometer early on and doing regular testing is that you can find out which specific foods make your blood sugar go up high in which winds seem to tolerate fairly well. Each diabetic is still an individual, and though there are general guidelines that can help you with making the changes you need to in your diet, it is very important to know which specific foods are ones you really have to avoid. Some people find they cannot tolerate oatmeal, others can tolerate oatmeal but not potatoes, and so on. By testing yourself one to two hours after you start eating, you can find out what fits and what combination of foods work best for your specific case of diabetes.
I will be adding a page of links for you to find more information about diabetes, and where you can find support groups online. If you wanted in person support group the best place to start is with your primary care physician, your local hospital, and your local mental health facility.
If you have any pointers or comments feel free to post them below.
You may have noticed based on the date of this blog post, that there has been a gap in my writing. The reasons for the delay, are several. Mostly it has been due to issues with my Word Press blog. I finally found someone who was able to help me sort out the technical difficulties, but during that time I was unable to post any new blog posts. In addition to this issue, I was still dealing with the wait for my inheritance, and a new issue came up.
On my mom’s side of the family, I have a massive family history of diabetes. All my dad’s side of the family there’s also a family history of diabetes, though not as severe. In addition, on my mom’s side of the family there is a history of pancreatic cancer. As I have mentioned in a previous post, I also lost a fiancé who had type I diabetes. Watching what my mom went through, during the last few years of life, I knew it was there import to have regular testing for diabetes.
On July 1, I went into the doctor to get my annual blood results, and got the news. Although my fasting blood sugar was only 98, my A1C result was 6.5. In basic terms, this is like having over a 3 month time period, an average of 140. Think of the A1 C test as being like a three-month long movie, while a fasting blood sugar test is a snapshot. Since my fasting blood sugar was well under 140, that means I was having readings well above 140 during the three months prior to the blood test.
Since I have so much family history, my doctor regularly did the A1C test as well as the fasting blood sugar. This means I went from being non diabetic to early stage of diabetes in a very short period of time, completely skipping over the prediabetic stage. This was a very scary time for me. I have watched diabetes cause so much damage in so many members of my family and contribute to early death in some cases, that the thought of having the condition myself really was an emotional upheaval.
In addition to dealing with the emotional changes, I had to radically change how I eat, work on getting more exercise, and learn everything I could about diabetes. I found out that even though I knew a fair bit already, there was so much more to learn especially in the new research. Others in chocolate which is always been my nemesis, I really was not much of a sweets eater. I found out that actually it was a starchy carbohydrates in my diet that were the main issue.
Most food can be broken up into three primary categories, fats, protein, and carbohydrates. However, not all carbohydrates are the same. Simple carbohydrates such as sugar and starch, are easily digested and turned into glucose very quickly. Complex carbohydrates, especially fiber, slow down the rate of digestion and are very crucial for healthy diet for everyone including those who have diabetes.
Most of the recommendations for controlling blood sugar actually benefit everyone. The diabetic has to be even more careful with how much starch he or she is consuming, than a person who is non diabetic, but a healthy diet is crucial to anyone wanting to have a healthier body.
In addition to controlling their blood sugar, my doctor wanted me to lose 20 pounds in the next three months. By following her recommendations and adding others based on my research, I started the journey.
As I go through this journey of dealing with the Big D, I will be sharing it with you. I hope that you learn new things along the way, and especially if you have been diagnosed with type II diabetes or are at risk for type II diabetes, that my journey to help you as well. I may also share something about type I diabetes, but that’s in many ways the years a bit different than type II and far rarer so most of the stuff I will be covering all have to do with type II diabetes.
Let me know what you think in the comments below.
Probate can be one of the most frustrating things to deal with. It takes a lot of time to sort out. For example, it has been about 18 months since my dad died, and they recently postponed the final hearing for yet another 2 months for minor things such as my cousin moving because he got a new job. Really crazy stuff like that. One thing I DID learn was that both Michael and I were stuck in limbo waiting for that money to come. It has taken longer and longer, and the amount has gotten smaller. So we both made a DECISION. To accept the money when it comes, and to live in the NOW.
What do I mean by that? I mean we will do what we can to work on our goals now while we are still in California. We will also be looking at was to cut expenses even more and focus on investing more seed money to help our business grow. But mainly it is a MINDSET change. Instead of letting the money that is currently tied up in Probate affect us so much, we accept that it will be there when it is and not be worrying or anxious about setbacks in getting it. Instead we do what we can with what we have, and once the money is here then we will move.
Yes we are MOVING to another state, Tennessee. This is for both personal and business reasons. California is our home state and we do love it, BUT it is very expensive to live here and buying a house here is totally out of the ball park. Besides that my sister in spirit Cat lives in TN. She is not only dear to me personally, but she has written many books which our publishing company will be publishing for her. Living near her will make that process a lot easier.
Since making that DECISION to live in the NOW, great things have started to happen, opportunities that were not there before are here now. Also our productivity level and creativity has increased ten fold. We also feel freer and like a massive weight is gone from us.
Have you ever made a DECISION that made a major impact on your life? If so, feel free to share with me in the comment section, I would love to hear about YOU.
After trying a few things, I turned to writing which is something I love to do. I published my first book on Amazon which is the first of many. Out of the Rut and into the Running is a short non fiction book. In it, I cover what ruts are, why we stay in them, and how to get out of them and into the running. If you would like to buy a copy of it you can go to the link for it under My Books.
I will be writing many other books, both fiction and non fiction. I will share about them along the way. Out of the Rut has a special place in my heart, not only because it was the first book, but because it was published before my dad died. He was so proud of me for accomplishing the goal of being a writer, even though it was not the kind of books he read, he supported me all the way.
Due to a lot of things that have been happening since I wrote Out of the Rut, including losing my dad and a young cousin on my mom/s side, I am taking a break from the rest of the books in the Rut series and switching to fiction for a while. I will be writing light fiction such as cozy mysteries and light romance books for the next few months or so.
I am currently working on the first book of a cozy mystery series. My protagonist (main character) is Fiona Donahue. She inherits after her parents pass away and uses the money to set up her business which is a coffee shop called Jammin’ Java. They do both self serve regular coffee with free refills and gourmet coffee orders. The upstairs portion of the building which used to have another store, she turned into a 1 bedroom apartment for herself and her cats. She also added a garage for her car, her bicycle, and extra storage.
More about Lethal Latte to come in future posts so stay tuned.
I had several ups and downs in looking at setting up my own business online. There were scams of course that I got burnt by, as well as wonderful and genuine people who helped me along the way. I even found love which was something I had pretty much given up on entirely ever having again.
Two groups which really helped me learn a lot were Family Networker and Talk Marketing Now. FN provided me with connections and a great deal of knowledge about marketing and how to brand myself. Their classes helped me tremendously with how list building works and why it is so important. They taught me how to make connections with people, and to brand myself. And they introduced me to TMN a small online radio station where I met the love of my life.
In addition to meeting and getting to know Michael Thorsett, George gave me my own show, and several of the other show hosts there had a great deal of confidence in me even though I felt I was the “new girl”. I learned that you can move forward with something even if you feel like you still have a lot more to learn. Being from an educational background, teaching is easy for me. So I built on that strength. Because of my background, being a leader is also very natural to me. Again another strength I could add to my foundation.
In getting to know Michael through TMN, it became very obvious we had similar business interests and goals. We also had a strong love of writing and teaching. Both of us were strong in the area of mindset and personal development. Some of our skills overlapped, and some skills were different. Which led to discussions of joint ventures and even a business partnership in many talks on Skype. Along with that, romance bloomed. A few months later he told me of his feelings and we got together in November, 2011. Then in March 2012 he moved in with me and we have been living together ever since. Now we are engaged to be married and moving on with our business together.
After the situation with the teaching credential, my room mate at the time and I moved back to Modesto, near my hometown of Oakdale, CA. The rent was cheaper, even though public transit was not as good as in San Jose.
Things were tight and many things fell through, leading my old room mate to decide to move back in with his mom in FL. I had been looking for part time work to supplement and help pay the bills including working as an aide with children with special needs, and clerical work. I found over and over that the employers were requiring a driver’s license and a car with current insurance just to work with kids in a classroom or to sit in an office and work. Of course this was not going to work for me since I am 70% blind and unable to drive.
So as my old room mate moved back to Florida, I was looking seriously at ending up homeless and owing my landlord a ton of backrent. I ended up getting a new room mate just before that happened. At this point, I had started looking online for ways to own my own business and make money, I knew it would be more of a challenge than just working a part time job, but at least I would have no commute and the issue of not being able to drive would not be an issue. I also knew from my mom’s experience with her small consulting business, that it was easier to coordinate with SSI as well. And if I became profitable enough, I could finally get off the system.
That was the start of the journey that I am on now which has led to some wonderful things, including meeting the man of my dreams.
I attended three different colleges over a period of many years. After I graduated from high school, I went to Modesto Junior College. After a couple of years there where I was getting my lower division requirements done, I had my first detour in my college education.
I became pregnant with my son Ben. When he was 7 months old, I became a single mom. School was on the back burner for many years and I focused solely on raising him.
When he went into first grade, I went back to college at California State University, Stanislaus. I was at first a Psychology major, but I quickly decided to go for a double major to prepare to be an elementary school teacher. Transportation was a major challenge for me, since I am unable to drive because of my vision. I spent about 4 hours a day on buses to get back and forth to college, while juggling school and being a single parent of a child with special needs. My mother was an incredible help in this process.
To prepare for the Multiple Subject teaching credential, I switched to Liberal Studies and Psychology double major. I had the education track requirements, the new CLADD requirements, and my concentration in Exceptional Child and Youth. I finally switched to a minor in Psychology. While I was attending college, my son was switched from being in a regular classroom to a non public school for children with special needs, and had two surgeries. It took several years to finally finish my BA.
Then came my second detour. My fiance passed away at the same time my mother’s health seriously deteriorated. At this time, my son graduated from the 8th grade and there was no school that would provide what he needed for high school. I left school and moved in with my mother to take care of her and homeschool my son. Then in December of 2005, my son passed away. My mom died a year later.
After working through my grief, and moving to San Jose where the public transit system was much better, I started my teaching credential at San Jose State University. My plan was to get my Multiple Subject credential, and then open my own educational consulting business. Halfway through the program, that door was slammed in my face. California laid off over 20 thousand teachers to help balance the budget, and I was let go from the program.
So now I am once again reinventing myself and starting a new journey. I do not regret any of the twists and turns along the way. All are valuable lessons and experiences. No matter what happens along the way, you can move forward and not remain stuck. You need to not blame the circumstances, but learn from then and find a new path when you run into a dead end. I have done it many times and you can too.
From first grade on, I was in Girl Scouts. It is a wonderful organization which gave me a great deal of skills and experience. I was a bit of an overachiever in it and earned most of the awards possible.
When I went for my First Class Award, they were transitioning into a new program so I earned both the old and the new program which included the Silver and Gold Awards. These awards were much more complicated than just earning a single badge or challenge. The Gold Award is very much the equivalent of earning the Eagle Scout Award in Boy Scouts.
I also was the youngest ever in my area to earn the Green Angel Pin for outstanding troop leaders. As part of earning my Gold Award, I was a troop leader for a Brownie troop (grades 1 to 3). I always had assistant leaders who were over the age of 18, since I was still a minor, but I ran the troop.
Even now as an adult. I still try to live my life very much by the Girl Scout Law as it was when I was in Girl Scouts. Changes have happened since then, but I still believe that Girl Scouts is a wonderful organization for teaching skills and providing experiences that are both fun and educational. Skills you can use your whole lifetime.
If you would like more information about Girl Scouts in the US, check out their main website at http://www.girlscouts.org/
There are also Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in many other countries around the world.