Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Place Where the Nuts Hunt the Squirrels

Today's post was going to be something like this:
Title: Ow.

[Body]: Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow....
That is, until I opened my bottom drawer at work to put away my purse and the bag of Trader Joe's Blister Peanuts I'd cracked last night. There it was, stacked on the box of mini Luna bars* and shoving aside the flax packets: the nut stash. (*I rate mini Luna bars "meh," for what it's worth...not sure whether to contribute them to the other snack bars in the breakroom or see if Things 1&2 like them any better.)

I've always loved nuts. No secret there. Lately, though, my brain seems to be living "in the place where the nuts hunt the squirrels (ha ha)," to quote the very bizarro recording artist Napoleon XIV. Usually I just keep one bag of nuts at a time in the stash, and then I finish it pretty gradually. But lately, I'm going to them even more than before as a comfort food. They are healthy and non-spiking, but they are so darn calorie-dense. Even if they weren't, though, I don't *want* to have a "comfort food"...I want food to be food, darn it. Fuel for the healthy, functional body I'm developing. And also, I had to ask myself, "Why am I hoarding?" Well, I know why: stress, winter, stress, leftover packets from last week (when I wasn't sure that I'd get regularly scheduled meals), January, and...wait for it! Stress. It was just one of those weird clarity moments, though, when I opened the drawer.

Another weird clarity moment: Last night, Thing 1 wanted a snack, and we cracked open the jar of peanuts sitting on the counter after Mr. Handsome-and-Handy's grocery run earlier that day. While in the kitchen, I noticed that *SOMEONE* left a bag of brownies on the top of the coffee maker...what a weird spot, they had been so nicely tucked away in the bread box. Did I put them back? Noooooo...I stared wistfully at the chocolate-chip-studded-chewy-goodness...and ate a few handfuls of nuts. I stared some more, then decided to compare the relative merits of the Planter's lightly-salted dry roast with the Trader Joe's blister peanuts. Both were quite tasty, the Planter's having a lightly seasoned flavor, but the TJ's being a bit more crispy. I stared at the brownies again. "Have a few grapes to satisfy your sweet craving!" chirped the little haloed being on my one shoulder...she bore an odd resemblance to Mary Lou Retton. (Yes, I just received The Platform...thank you again, MizFitMotivationalBuddy/Personal Jillian SeaBreeze, who won the prize on contest site CrankyFitness and asked that they send it to me! And I might even have an original take on a blog post about The Platform soon, too....) "Kind of late, aren't ya, sister?" I muttered to myself. Whereas the tiny pitchfork-wielding creature on my other shoulder cackled herself silly, because instead of having the few grapes first (or even the bite of brownie I had wanted in the first place), I'd just snarfed down half a day's worth of calories in nuts.

So, what now? I shake my head and chuckle a bit more at my human foibles, and then think. What else can I do? Well, there are the trite-and-true possibilities:
  • If I want something crunchy, eat carrots and celery instead of nuts (bonus: that bag of baby carrots is good to go...I need to prep the celery, though)
  • If I want something salty, have some broth
  • If I want something sweet, check the fruit drawer...ours had grapes and blueberries. Or there's always my Good Earth tea. Or sugar-free mints, the bread box has a whole baggie full, I remember now. If only I'd put those brownies away....
  • If I'm stressed, I could do some stretching, walk around a little, jumping jacks
Any other ideas? I'm nuts for 'em!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dang I'm sore!

Whew! I missed BodyPump class last week, so I was back for more this week. It kicked my posterior...and hamstrings...and quads...and just about every other muscle I didn't know was in there. (The arms and abs felt it, too, but they just won't admit it yet...they think they're too macho to admit to such, but they will be griping about it tomorrow.) I felt myself staggering out of the gym today, because my leg muscles were just not sure what to do with themselves. I just don't know why, but I seriously love that class.

It was an especially good stress outlet, because we had quite a scare yesterday. My mom had some wires still attached to her heart after the surgery; they leave those in in case they need to attach a pacemaker. One of the staff removed them yesterday, and she had a seriously scary drop in blood pressure. Luckily her doctor was still on the floor. So she's back in the intensive care unit, but she is sounding much better today, although feeling a bit shaky about her close call. They cut the medication that was making her nauseous and gave her a different one to help with the nausea, gave her another blood transfusion, and she was actually able to eat breakfast this morning. (She hadn't eaten in the past couple of days.) We also joked a little that she was just trying to get back and meet the handsome nurse who was taking care of her immediately post-surgery when she was unconscious...I felt grateful that she was still around to share our bizarro sense of humor.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekly update, 1/27/09

Well, I'm back! My mom is still at the hospital. While her surgery was successful, she is still not quite stable enough to go home, although we considered her stable enough for me to come home. We thought she *might* get to go home yesterday, but she had a rough night on Sunday night and all day yesterday (extreme nausea, not eating) and so she's still there. I'm now second guessing whether I came home too early.

One thing I found really interesting, from my perspective as someone with diabetes: doctors at her hospital follow very strict blood glucose management guidelines. Surgery puts stress on the body, which in turn tends to elevate blood glucose levels; however, they have found that having blood glucose levels at normal levels promotes healing. Her doctor's range is 70-125, and even in the intensive care unit, the nurses did blood glucose checks and administered insulin regularly to keep her in that range, and now that she's out of there, they have her on a diabetes-specific menu and still monitor several times a day.

Oh, but it's good to be home. "I don't know how single parents DO it!" exclaimed Mr. Handsome-and-Handy, even though he is the at-home parent/home manager and has excelled at the job for the past 3 years. (But I know what he meant; I was in a similar role when his dad passed away a couple of years ago, and it is harder to be "on duty" 24x7.) I played with Things 1&2, and unpacked, and tried to feel settled back in. Later--probably more to put off bedtime than to impress a recently-returned Mom--they started cleaning up their rooms. I walked into Thing 1's room as he was making the bed, and I got shooed out, as he wanted it to be a surprise. "Can't a 7-year-old man get a little privacy?" he growled.

Some observations:
- I find it easier to keep to an eating plan than to an exercise plan during times of upheaval. Does anyone have any tips for improving this?
- I felt tired and sad at times during the trip, and it was *hard* to feel like exercising. But when I did get moving, it helped ease that achy feeling inside.
- I'm still finding it hard to keep exercising sometimes, even when I *know* it will make me feel better. I did my run today, but I didn't feel like it before or at all during. I was nearly a minute slower than my slowest time on my usual run...I just didn't feel like pushing for a better time today, but I felt a little discouraged all the same. "Well, when did you last run?" asked the Mr. "Well, there was Santa Barbara...just about a week ago...before, the previous Friday? No wonder!" I had done other exercise, but yep, not much running going on during the past couple of weeks. I've got a race in a few weeks; presuming things stay stable, gotta get back to hitting the running goals.

Monthly Measure:
Bust: -.5" past month (-9" total) <-See? My findings are holding up nicely...
Waist: -1.5" past month (-7.5" total)
Hips: -1" past month (-7.5" total)
Thighs: +.5" past month? go figure! (-2" total)

Progress last week:
7-day blood glucose average: 100 (met goal of <120)
7-day fasting: 98 average, all days <120 (met goal of <120 every day)
Weight goal: Same weight as last week (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food goals: Consumed 6 meatless, low-fat meals and 3 fish meals. (met goals of 4/2 respectively)
Exercise goals: Exercised 4/5 days, and not all were 30 minutes of cardio. Wednesday was a 45-minute run; Thursday was 45 minutes' of exercise DVDs; Saturday was 15 minutes of dance exercise DVD and 10 minutes each of arm toning and abdominal exercise DVDs (and this was after I had nearly convinced myself to not do anything, so I'll take it...I think the only thing that convinced me was that I'd have felt really silly dragging my weights on my trip with me and never using them); Monday was a 30-minute walk at lunch. I fit in some "extras" here and there that I'm not counting, such as taking the stairs in the hospital when possible and pacing while talking on the phone with relatives...did a fair bit of that, so as to save my mom and step-dad the trouble of having to update everyone. (Didn't meet my usual goals, but will call it "good enough" for an out-of-the-ordinary week.)
Misc. goals: Got adequate sleep overall, although there were a couple of nights when I didn't get 7 hours of sleep.

Goals for this week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days plus 2 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; do at least 3 runs, weather permitting (Weather-permitting=not raining and temperature over 40 degrees). Back to Body Pump class this week; yeay!
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Brief update

Typing this on my phone, so it's going to be short. Mom had her
surgery, and it was successful. She is still in the intensive care
unit, but they will likely be getting her to a regular floor later

I'm doing okay; on track with food, pretty much, and blood glucose
levels are in range. Not quite getting as much exercise as I would
like, although I did get in a fantastic run this morning. (I'm staying
in Santa Barbara near the hospital, and it's a beautiful area for
running. Hilly, too, which was a nice challenge. More cars than I am
used to, but not too bad.)

Will hopefully be back to normal posting next week. Thanks for all the
nice comments and good thoughts for me and my family--we appreciate it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Weekly update, 1/13/09

Sorry to not have been around much, either here or in the comments on anyone's blog. I have been reading, but whew! It's been a wringer of a week, although it started pretty well. On Wednesday, my parents called: my mom was having heart trouble; on Thursday she was admitted to the hospital. She's been living with a prolapsed mitral valve (in which one of the valves does not function properly and leaks a little), but she and her doctor were managing it alright. But then it started leaking a lot, and then her heart went into atrial fibrillation, which is when the beat gets really irregular, and then she started developing other symptoms (basically, congestive heart failure was happening). The good news is that they got her stabilized and that they can repair or replace the valve, and chances are good that they can surgically correct the atrial fibrillation. She'll get to go home to wait until next Tuesday for the surgery.

It's times like this that I wish they didn't live a 5-hour drive away. (On the bright side, it's a *drive* and not a *flight*.) I drove down on Saturday and was planning to stay until everything was done, but they ended up rescheduling the surgery. So I'll be going home, then back here again. It's hard on all of us.

Part of my coping strategy was to at least try and keep things as on track as possible, which is why I'm bothering to post at all. I've been doing pretty well on the food front, making good choices. (That's been step-dad has not been wanting to eat much at all, and they don't eat as many meals as I do, so I planned and brought lots of diabetes-friendly meal bars. The hospital cafeteria food was surprisingly good, too.) I did fair on the fitness this situation, I've found it easier to mind the eating than to get in all the workouts. I'll have to analyze and figure out what I can do to plan better for next week. I did bring my weights and my workout video and my running shoes and my swimsuit. I got about 10 minutes of video, and I'm hoping to get in a swim tomorrow morning, and I did about a half hour of mild walking yesterday since I knew I might miss out today. (I had dearly hoped for a swim, but it didn't work out.)

I did do the BodyPump class at the gym last week, and it was a blast! I'm planning to do this week's class, now that I know I'll be back home.

Progress last week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers:
7-day average was 98;
7-day fasting average was 98, with 100% of numbers below 120. (met goals)
UPDATE: Lab results in: my a1c is now 5.7%, and cholesterol numbers are looking good, too!!! (<6% is normal; that is, what people without diabetes have. No, this does not mean I'm "cured"--there is no cure for diabetes--but it means I'm managing it well. Being below 6% was my goal; like maintaining a weight loss, I need to work at maintaining my a1c.)
Weight goal: -2 pounds (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food goals: 9 meatless, low-fat meals and 2 fish meals. (met both goals; hurray for *good* cafeteria food and meal bars!)
Exercise goals: I got 4/5 cardio--my runs and a stationary bike--so met the goal of 3 runs, but missed cardio by 1 days. I did a brisk half-hour walk Sunday, because I knew Monday would be a wash. Also did a 10 minute kickboxing workout video on Saturday. Sadly, only one strength training day, but it *was* BodyPump class and it kicked my posterior. And my quads. Arms and abs felt pretty good. So I now know that I really should be working upper and lower body, not just upper.
Misc. goals: Sleep? Ah ha ha hahahahaha! (Actually, I did track bed times. Got to bed no later than 11 p.m. all nights except last night. Guess why?)

Goals for this week:
Stay on track better with the tracking, even when out of town. There was plenty of downtime for writing stuff down on the log.
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals. Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m.
Exercise goals (modified for the next 2 weeks): At least 30 minutes of cardio or activity 5 days; 2 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; do at least 2 runs, weather permitting (Weather-permitting=not raining and temperature over 40 degrees). I'm going to try that BodyPump class again on Wednesday; I really liked it a lot. (Would likely not have taken the Friday class last Friday, since I was rather sore in the legs from Wednesday.)
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Shirt That Was Not Just A Shirt

For Christmas, Mr. Handsome-and-Handy and Things 1 & 2 bought me two shirts from Posh Moon, a French-inspired store in our town of which the children's book character Fancy Nancy would greatly approve. (I had gone in ahead of time, with a bit of trepidation, to see if I would fit them...and I did! So the proprietor kindly created a wish list card for me.) They're pretty, feminine, just sparkly enough, and just form-fitting enough. (Ooo la la!)

I pulled the chocolate-themed one our of the closet this morning, and remarked to Mr. Handsome-and-Handy, "Thanks again for the shirts. You know, they're not just shirts...."

He looked puzzled. "They're not?"

"No...these are the first shirts from a 'normal shop.'" (Not having read The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl, he didn't quite catch the reference. Oooo, I've plugged it yet again...this is getting ridiculous!)

"So you're not Abbie anymore?"

My turn to look puzzled. As far as I knew, I had never been Abbie, one of my best friends since jr. high school. Although there have been times when I would have liked to have been Abbie, certainly.

"You know, Abbie-normal?"

Ah! Of course. Young Frankenstein reference. I always love those!

"Well, they're the first things I've gotten that are actually a normal size, from a nice shop that slender people like my mother buy things from." (That sounds kind of funny, doesn't it? But its appeal is broad...people who have actually been to Paris, like Abbie, have bought things there, too. I think even my teenage niece would love this store.)

"Oooh!" (Behold the lightbulb!)

"Yep, a little non-scale victory of sorts."

I'd tell you what he told me next, but I don't want to turn this perfectly respectable post into a glurge-fest....Suffice it to say it was sweet and (I'm happy to say) typical of him and would induce gagging in the non-sentimental.

So you want to see this shirt-that-is-not-just-a-shirt? The photo really does not do it justice, but you get the idea.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tower of Treats: Then and Now

We always loved receiving the Harry and David catalog and drooling over the merchandise, especially the ol' "Tower of Treats." (Imagine that said in a monster truck show announcer voice. Much more impressive!) Here's the Classic:

When I brought my lunch to work yesterday, festively bound in a Safeway plastic shopping bag, I couldn't help but think: "TOWER! OF! TREEEEATS!" Mine looked a little different, though:

Being a volume girl, this one is right up my alley these days....

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Weekly update, 1/6/08

Busy month ahoy, so I don't know that I'll be posting much, other than my Tuesday weekly updates. I feel like I'm just about back in the swing of things.

We enjoyed a pleasant New Year's Day. I proposed a hike we'd never done before, "something new for the new year." Although we didn't quite make it to the end point, we enjoyed wandering through eucalyptus groves and found a picnic table for our picnic.

And today was my every-3-months checkup with the doctor. She's happy with my blood glucose numbers and my blood pressure (102/62; hurray for cardio!) and I got blood drawn for the lab tests. I'm actually kind of excited to see what the numbers are this time, especially my a1c. I was also happy to confirm that my scale at home is pretty accurate; I weighed in, fully-dressed, 3 pounds more at the doctor's office.

The doctor asked if I was bored with the foods I've been eating. I truthfully answered "no." I'm lucky, in that I've always enjoyed EVERYTHING I ate, from vegetables and fruits, to meats, to cheeses, to desserts. Sure, getting used to the new way of eating was hard at first, but it has gotten easier over time. For me, eating a good variety of fruits and vegetables, plus plenty of spice, keeps me from getting bored. The occasional trip to a Thai, Indian, or Mexican restaurant nips boredom right in the bud, too.

Progress last week:

7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: 7-day average was 94; 7-day fasting average was 94, with 100% of numbers below 120. (met goals...I'm having a hard time believing these numbers!)
Weight goal: -2 pounds (met goal of maintain or lose)
Food goals: 4 meatless, low-fat meals and 1 fish meals. (Met meatless, missed fish by 1 meal. I did a little too much sugar-free chocolate eating, methinks. Mr. Handsome-and-Handy made the mistake I made: 3 sugar-free York peppermint patties in one day. He compounded this, though, by eating a bunch of Biz's delicious Spicy Zero [Weight Watchers] Points Mexican Soup. Hoo boy....)
Exercise goals: I got 3/5 cardio--my runs--so met the goal of 3 runs, but missed cardio by 2 days. I didn't counting the New Year's Day hike, which was a couple of miles but done at kids' slower pace, nor did I counting the workout DVD as a full was 20 strength and 10 minutes cardio/strength. I'm happy to have gotten in my 2 arms & abs workouts, although I missed my goal by 1 workout.
Misc. goals: Didn't track, but felt well-rested.

Goals for this week:
7-day blood glucose average goal and fasting numbers: below 120.
Weight goal: Maintain or lose.
Food goals: 4 or more meatless, low-fat meals and 2 or more fish meals. Buy canned salmon so as to get in the fish goal during lunch. Lighter eating if dinner is after 7 p.m.
Exercise goals: At least 30 minutes of cardio 5 days; 3 days of arms & abs strength training workouts; do at least 3 runs, weather permitting (Weather-permitting=not raining and temperature over 40 degrees). For part of the arms & abs goal, I'm going to take the Body Pump class at the gym tomorrow and/or Friday. It's one I haven't tried yet, so not sure how I'll do. Most of my usual weight exercises are with 8 pound hand weights, and certainly not for a full hour. But new year, try new things, right?
Misc. goals: 7 or more hours sleep/night.

Monday, January 5, 2009

How I Spent My New Year's Eve (And Several Days After)

(NOTE - I left a similar version of this as a comment on MizFit Online, which is the very appropriate kickoff point for a virtual book tour, via blogs, celebrating the US publication of The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl.)

I started following the Dietgirl blog a few months ago, and I've read through a number of the archives. "Dang!" I thought to myself. "This girl is *funny*!" I preordered the US book awhile back, felt anxious when it did NOT arrive on 12/30 as predicted, happily received it on New Year's Eve, and spent the evening (and a few days after...only because of family/job demands, otherwise it would have been devoured in one sitting) reading this book. Totally missed tuning in for the 9 p.m. (PST) dropping of the ball in Times Square, which usually marks the high point of our personal festivities. We're such the party animals at Casa de la Pubsgal.

I wanted to write a compelling review for my own blog...but I wouldn't be able to do it justice. I'd just gush and those people who hadn't already heard from more credible witnesses (such as The Miz) would probably think, "Yeah, right, she probably says that about every book she actually has time to read these days, she's so desperate for a read at all." Imagine my delight that The Miz also gushed and said pretty much everything I was going to say (laughter/tears/preference to Cats). But darned if I wasn't going to post about it anyhow. :-) So here goes:

No, I'm not just gushing. I really am particular, and this book is BRILLIANT! Like MizFit, I was smitten.

Remarkably insightful observations of things I loved about the book:
- Numerous laugh-out-loud funny parts
- Parts that made me feel sympathetic, that I could relate to, and that made me ponder my own quest
- The themes: Fitness is not *only* about the scale or a pant size. Don't wait until you're at the "ideal" weight to do the things you really want to do. Don't let fear stop you. It's stuff I've learned from my blogging sisters and brothers during the quest...but this is stuff that so many others offline need to hear and grok. (Like Oprah, for example. Girlfriend, pull your head out of Hollywood and plunk it into this book!)

The only drawbacks?
- Being irritated at what or whom ever pulled me away during reading
- Potential financial ruin from buying copies for family (especially the nieces) and friends (Kidding, Mr. Handsome-and-Handy-and-Frugal!)
- Having to *wait* until Shauna Reid (hope! hope! hope!) publishes another book! (Don't wait as long as that OTHER Edinburgh author, please!)