Monthly Archives: August 2012

Fresh Starts

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pizza

pizza (Photo credit: Mickipedia)

Yesterday, I logged on to Twitter and clicked Compose New Tweet. “What’s happening?” Twitter asked. I’ve been in In Service for the past two weeks and today was the first day of classes, so the  better question to ask is “What’s not happening?”  It’s an easier question to answer.

Here’s what’s not been happening:

Exercise

I started the Couch to 5k program over a week ago. I did the first two days of the program, took a day off to rest, and then life happened in all its chaotic glory and I’ve not exercised since. (Unless going shopping for birthday presents counts.) My new running shoes came in, but I’ve worn them once. To my birthday party. Where I sat on the couch, watched Doctor Who, and ate my TARDIS birthday cake.

Watching What I Eat

I like to call In Service “In Parties,” because if someone is going to throw a party In Service is the time to do it. That means two things: pizza and ice cream.

My University also outsourced its dining services over the summer and the new menu is in full swing now that classes have started and students are back. That means two things: pizza and ice cream.

Don’t get me wrong: I can eat pizza and ice cream. I actually had a nurse tell me not to feel guilty when I do. But no one should live off of pizza and ice cream. It’s time to start making more health-conscious food decisions again.

Logging Blood Sugar Levels

I’ve checked my blood sugar a minimum of 4 times a day, but I’ve not been logging the results consistently for the past few weeks. That means I don’t really have a clear picture of how my diet of pizza and ice cream has affected my blood sugar levels. I know it’s been roughly ok, but my management has been far from tight.  Checking more frequently and logging the results will show me how my choices are affecting my blood sugar levels and help me make better ones.

Thankfully, the beginning of a new semester is a time for fresh starts. It’s a time for planning a new schedule and setting new goals. Here are my health goals for this semester:

  1. Exercise three times a week. Right now, I’m planning on continuing with the Couch to 5k program and to go back to exercising at 5 pm, right before dinner. That time worked well for my blood sugar levels and for my schedule over the summer and looks like it will continue to be the best time during the semester as well.
  2. Make healthier meal choices. I found making healthy choices was easiest when I limited my carb intake to a maximum 50 grams of carbohydrates per meal. Healthy food choices are more filling and lower in carbs (usually), so I feel fuller and more satisfied after a healthy 45 carb meal than a less healthy one. Given the choice between one slice of pizza and a heaping bowl of strawberries and yogurt, I’d take the strawberries and yogurt. I’m going to reserve the pizza and ice cream for parties.
  3. Check blood sugar at least  5 times a day and log the results. Logging and reviewing blood sugar levels helps me put the individual numbers in perspective. I shouldn’t worry too much about one after lunch spike,  but if I’m always spiking after lunch I probably need to tweak some numbers or work on my carb counting. I won’t see the changes I need to make without tracking my numbers.

What are your goals for this semester? 

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What Diabetes Looks Like: Impulse Buys

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With the money I made off a couple of textbook rentals, I bought this:

Hanky Pancreas Hoop’n Bolus insulin pump accessory in mint green

and this:

Golden Yellow Satin Rose Brooch by Ever Just Curious

Golden Yellow Satin Rose Brooch by Ever Just Curious

I’m supporting two start-up crafty shops. Best impulse buys ever.

Check out more awesome pump accessories at The Hanky Pancreas and more awesome general accessories at the Ever Just Curious Zibbet shop.

I like cute things.

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Like this

C9 by Champion® Womens Banded Bottom Tank - Assorted Colors

C9 by Champion® Womens Banded Bottom Tank

And this

C9 by Champion® Womens Short-Sleeve Tech Tee - Assorted Colors.Opens in a new window

C9 by Champion® Womens Short-Sleeve Tech Tee

And this

C9 by Champion® Womens Shapewear Capri Pants - Assorted Colors.Opens in a new window

C9 by Champion® Womens Shapewear Capri Pants

My current exercise clothes? Not so cute.

20120823-133229.jpg

T-shirt: Old work t-shirt, probably Hanes (under $10)
Shorts: Men’s exercise shorts, Adidas (picked up for free in the hallway)
Shoes: Running shoes, Walmart ($cheap)

They’re functional but frumpy.

While you don’t have to look the part to start running , it helps. I’ve decided to make new exercise clothes my rewards during the Couch to 5k program. It’s a brilliant idea because exercise clothes are probably the only rewards that will encourage me to keep exercising. Almost anything else I would like keep me on the couch.

As a reward for starting, I’ve gotten myself new running shoes. Really, the shoes were a necessity more than a reward: the last time I used my current pair of running shoes (a pair I bought from Walmart to wear at work when I worked in the dining common my sophomore year), I could feel water seeping into my socks after running through a puddle.

The tops don’t look too bad for four-year-old shoes. But you should see the soles.

After some searching, I ordered these beauties:

New Balance 561

New Balance 561

Two of my favorite colors AND I’m sure water won’t leak through the soles.

Couch to 5k Day 1: Initial Thoughts

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Living Room Couch

Living Room Couch (Photo credit: Mini D)

After last Monday’s conversation about running with a friend, I decided to spring the $2 to buy the Couch to 5k app. I started yesterday. Here are my initial thoughts, in the order they came to me: 

  • The developers weren’t exaggerating when they named this app; it actually starts from the couch. The first exercise starts with 4 minutes of warm up, 20 minutes alternating between 1 minute of jogging and 1 ½ of walking, and 5 minutes of cool down. Even if you exercised by watching FIRM videos from your favorite couch, you can handle this exercise.
  • If your ipod goes to sleep, you’ll miss the app’s audio clues. I had to tap the screen regularly to keep it awake.
  • My blood sugar levels actually went up after exercising. I find this is often the case for me; I assume it’s due to elevated hormone levels since I my exercise routines aren’t terribly strenuous.
  • I forgot to set my temp basal. Oops. Although my blood sugar goes up during and immediately after exercising, it will begin to drop a few hours afterwards. Like now. (I’ve been cramming carbs in my mouth all evening.)
  • Ever get pump tubing tangled in your iPod’s earbuds? Try to avoid it.
  • I need new earbuds.
  • Mulan’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” is a very motivating track. Good investment of 99 cents.

Diabetes is something that I have, not something that I am.

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Adjectives Bulletin Board

Adjectives Bulletin Board (Photo credit: Evelyn Saenz)

 

I was checking my sugar before eating when the guy sitting next to me in the cafeteria said, “Oh, you’re uh, diabetic, right?” He seemed happy that he had remembered the right word and I was pleased that he had an idea of why I was making myself bleed in public. But I was a bit puzzled; it was like he had used the wrong words. Why was I reacting in that way to his question?

After giving it a little thought, I realized it was because he had used the word “diabetic” as a noun.

When I discuss my diabetes with others (something I do often), I almost always say that I have diabetes. I haven’t consciously decided to use this terminology; it’s just the way I naturally talk about my condition. A noun is a word that defines and describes a person, a place, or a thing. Diabetes doesn’t define me.

I will use the word “diabetic,” but it’s always an adjective, much like the other adjectives I use to describe myself–words like short, hyper, talkative, nerdy, or brunette. Adjectives describe things rather than define them. Diabetic is an adjective that describes me, not a noun that defines me.

I realize that I’m being semantically picky here. I may be an English teacher, but I don’t demand a high level of precision in everyday conversation; in fact, I think that constantly correcting someone’s verbal grammar or vocabulary choice is annoying. I’m also not completely opposed to using the word “diabetic” as a noun. It’s is more concise than “person with diabetes” and the acronym PWD is opaque to those who aren’t “in the know.” Diabetes has enough jargon already. Yet I find I rarely use the word “diabetic,” at least as a noun.

Because diabetes is something that I have, not something that I am.

 

I hate running.

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Microsoft Office Clipart.© 2012 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

My favorite activities all involve sitting in chairs. I love reading books, blogs, magazines–anything. I love playing games and eating good food and drinking coffee and watching sci-fi and murder mysteries and BBC dramas. I love long talks with friends.
I have to force myself to exercise.

It’s not that I don’t like any physical activities. There are plenty of them that I enjoy: I love hiking and trips to the beach. I love to swim. I love to kayak and take long bike rides and long walks.

But I hate running. Unfortunately, running happens to be the cheapest and most flexible form of exercise. Although I find other forms of exercise more enjoyable, I also find them harder to work into my schedule (or my budget). So each semester, I try to take up running. I’ll go out maybe once or twice, walking more than I run. Finally, I end up promising myself that I’ll schedule in time for the campus gym. Exercising soon falls by the wayside.

Since my diagnosis with type 1 diabetes, I’ve been more motivated to make exercise a more regular part of my schedule. This summer, I carved out some time for the gym, where I’d usually find myself on the treadmill. I started out with brisk 10 minute walks and then began alternating between walking and running.

One day, in a moment of reckless abandon, I kept running.

I ran for a solid ten minutes, about a mile. I felt a rush that exercise had never given me before, a tiny taste of why some people love running. A ten-minute run on the treadmill soon became a regular part of my exercise routine.

One weekend when the gym was closed, I tried taking my usual run on the track. I quickly conked out and walked instead. Evidently, I’m not as motivated when I can stop running without falling over. Perhaps I don’t really hate running, but I can’t seem to do it without a treadmill as my taskmaster, setting my pace and threatening me with the humiliation and pain of a fall if I quit.

I shared this information, with a laugh at my expense, after a friend told me how she had taken up running while interning in England this summer. “I used to be the same way,” she said. She told me that she set small goals for herself: she started running for 15 minutes at a time, then 20, and then 30. By the end of the summer, she had learned to love running.

She recommended an app called Couch to 5K. Apparently this app helps you set reasonable goals and provides some accountability, something I need. Realizing that the intimidating 5K was merely three times farther than the distance I could already run has encouraged me.

I think I can do it and would like to try.

But I think I’ll need to start on the treadmill.

Do you run? Did you have a hard time transitioning from treadmill to track?