Month: January 2013

Finding My Inner Ryan Reynolds

Every year right around this time we all dream up our New Year’s resolutions. Some form of weight loss, get in shape, go on a diet, or eat healthy is almost always at the top of everyone’s New Year’s list. This year, I’m feeling the stretch, and I realize that I need to do something to get back to my size 4 bikini body again.

Actually, I don’t even know what that means. I just heard it on an infomercial for some kind of magic beans that are supposed to make your clothes fit better. Truth be known, they probably have a better chance of turning into a beanstalk and leading to a land of giants than they do making me lose weight.

I bet they are good with ham though. Anyway, moving on…

I freely admit that I weigh more than I want to right now. I’m overweight. Heck, I might even be considered obese by the current standards of ¬†how big a person’s butt should and shouldn’t be. (And don’t you dare tell me what the difference is. I don’t want to know.) What I do know is that my clothes fit a little tighter than I would sometimes call comfortable. I can’t really button the top button on my dress shirts right now because my head and neck resemble Jabba the Hut. If someone told me to haul ass, it’s questionable if it would take me one trip or two to get it all. At least, that is how I feel.

BusinessJabba

I’d love to lose some of the extra pounds that I’m carrying around. I know it would make me feel better, both inside and out. I mean, there is a Ryan Reynolds under all of this that is just waiting to get out. I’m just trying to find a real solid purpose that I can grab onto besides, “Skinny people are happier.” Oh yeah? With that kind of logic, rich people must also be less lonely, hairy people have more style, and short people enjoy the smell of toots. Give me a break. Happy has nothing to do with weight, just like loneliness has nothing to do with how much money you have.

And everybody hates the smell of toots. Unless you’re a proctologist. Then it just smells like money.

When I signed up for my last gym membership, my goal was simple: I wanted to look good naked. I could have said that I wanted to be able to run a marathon, or be in good enough shape to teach spin class, or ride my bike for miles and miles and miles, but…well…yeah, naked. You have your goals, I have mine. Unfortunately, 2012 was a really hard year for me to establish and maintain a routine of exercise, working out, riding my bike, and keeping active consistently, and I feel like I’ve lost my way a bit. I could blame it on a chaotic schedule, being overwhelmed by other things going on, not having enough time, or that the Mayan’s had predicted that the world was going to end anyway, so why bother. When it really comes down to it though, it was me. I didn’t take time or make time, and I realize that I really need time to exercise and work out for both my physical and mental well being.

In order to change all of that for 2013, A-Flizzle and I worked extremely hard in our garage over the holidays to get it organized so that we could have a functional workout space that would be available despite my busy and often chaotic schedule. If I want to work out at 11 o’clock at night, I can. I don’t have a bunch of expensive equipment, but what I do have I can definitely make the most of now. I’m SUPER excited about it.

GarageGym

In 2013, I’m trying to get back to establishing consistent exercise routines. I’ve really got to find a way to make time to train and get to where I want to be. The first place I want to be is on my bike in a few months for the Tour de Cure. My goal is to train consistently this Spring so that I can complete the 100 mile century bike ride in May. From there, who knows? Hopefully by then there will be other bike rides that I can train for. Or maybe even a triathlon. Wouldn’t that be exciting?! But, first things first.

I know that exercise is only part of the story. In order to get fit and have a set of abs worthy of doing laundry on (thanks Ryan Reynolds for setting THAT bar so high), I realize that I also have to eat right. What does “eat right” even mean these days? I look at all of the options for supposed “eating right” and I wonder how in the world I can adopt something like Weight Watchers, Atkins, Paleo, eating clean, gluten free, zero trans fat, and all the other whoop-tee-do diets out there for the rest of my life. I don’t want to make a change that gets me to where I want to be with my size and weight, just to reach that goal and balloon back to being the fat kid that I am now all over again. I also don’t want to not be able to have a Burger King fish sandwich WITH fries when I have one of these:

BG24

Basically, I’m a walking contradiction.

Weight Watchers I don’t get because of the point system. It’s difficult for me to understand how a banana (about 24 carbs, take or give) is zero points. It sure doesn’t feel like zero points when I’m having to bolus for the carbs and then check my blood sugar a couple of hours later to make sure I guesstimated properly and am not sitting at 300. Fruit is like jet fuel for blood sugars when you have Type 1 diabetes (YDMV – your diabetes may vary). “Free food” is really just a matter of perspective. Yet it works for so many people.

Then there is Atkins. How is it healthy to eat that much meat? I mean, essentially the diet is a version of a low carb diet, but it also talks about putting your body into ketoacidosis. Aren’t we supposed to be staying OUT of ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can mean a hospital trip for many of us people with diabetes (PWDs). But there again, it works for so many people.

Correction: It’s KETOSIS, not ketoacidosis. Easy to get confused. Thanks Allison!

Those are just two examples, and clearly I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of them all. I see info about this meal plan and that weight loss option, conflicting testimonies and experiences, and I can’t seem to come to any conclusion about what is right for me. It is this lack of understanding that is paralyzing my decision making process on what it means, for me, to “eat right.” I see successes and failures with every single option. How do you pick one? Which one is the “right” one? It’s like walking down the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Can’t I just get the one that is delicious and has the best prize?

I don’t have an answer. I probably just need to commit to something and try it. For now, I know I can work out. I enjoy that, and even look forward to it once I get into the routine. Maybe my rule needs to be, “If you eat it, burn it.” Or maybe it’s, “Sweat like a pig to look like a fox.” It’s one of those. In any case, we’ll call it the “Running on Fumes” plan, and I’ll try to talk Chuck Norris into being my spokesperson. After all, Chuck Norris never loses weight; he knows exactly where it is, and it’s very afraid of him.

Outlook for 2013

In 2012, I was a bit quiet on my blog and even online within the diabetes online community (DOC). I spent the majority of 2012 offline with diabetes, working in real life with groups like Students With Diabetes, and spending the bulk of my time professionally in my job as a medical librarian. Now that 2013 is upon me, I want to get my voice back, realizing that time and puberty experience may have changed some of what I have to say.

I get frustrated when I see folks posting so many “woe is me” blog posts, Facebook statuses, and even Tweets about how awful life with diabetes is. I get that, believe me. We all have our bad days, and I’m no exception. The frustration I feel is when that seems to be all that they are sharing, as if living life with diabetes is like walking around in a cloud of filth like Pigpen from the Peanuts gang.

Pigpen

I don’t want to be someone who parades around in a sea of hate because I have diabetes. Diabetes doesn’t own me, and I work extremely hard to never let it. Diabetes is not all bad. It’s a challenge, certainly. Life with diabetes is not going to always be easy, but it’s not going to always be the thing that demands every single second of my attention either. The same can be said for life without diabetes. If diabetes took up every single minute of every single day, none of us would have time for jobs, families, hobbies, or any other activity that is really what makes life worth dragging our carcasses out of bed for every morning.

I like to think that diabetes is more like a sleezy landlord in my body that I have to pay rent to (insulin, time, attention to details) and deal with quarterly walkthroughs of my proverbial apartment (trips to the endo) to continue living in its good graces. If I want to renew the lease on this walking shack of mine every year, then I have to do my job and take care of the things that were featured on the lease agreement that was forced upon me.

In 2013, things are changing. I’ve taken the first steps by completely redesigning Diabetically Speaking so that it is available to everyone via their mobile phone, tablet, or computer. All of the old posts are still there, but I needed to give my site and myself a refresh.

2012 was an election year, and it seemed like there was so much hate flying around. People that I thought I knew better showed (and in many cases are still showing) a side of themselves that I simply can’t support. It really made me feel like I couldn’t trust people, or myself, because I had made such a mistake in my judgement of their character. I’m not a hateful person, and I can’t operate with disdain toward people just because they don’t match my politics, religion, sexual orientation, skin color, income level, education level, gender, or any other measuring stick that people seem to choose when comparing others to themselves. In 2013, I am not going to tolerate that nonsense in my world. It yields no good. I am all for free speech and sharing of opinions, even if I don’t necessarily agree, but I believe we can do it with some human decency and respect for each other. Type 1 diabetes does not discriminate based on any of these things, which tells me that a stupid autoimmune system malfunction may have more sense than some of the rest of us walking around. Like diabetes, I want to give people an equal opportunity, because we all need someone who gets it, and gets us.

Finally, I’m not going to set specific goals for myself in 2013. In previous years I’ve set a list of goals, and some of them I accomplished, and some of them I didn’t. In the grand scheme of things it didn’t make a bit of difference. This year, I feel like I need to leave some room for the unexpected, and paint with a broader brush. I’m not going to force myself to lose X number of pounds, pay off X number of bills, pedal X number of miles, or write X number of blog posts. I’m going to set myself up for success, not failure, and I’m going to do what I can in hopes that it will be enough. I’m going to lose SOME weight, I’m going to pay off A bill, and I’m going to ride SOME miles and work my way back into riding shape, and share everything that is going on in my world WHEN I can.

This year, I want to find happiness, be kind, and seek greatness. I want to practice random acts of kindness, because despite appearances and our own biases, you never know just how bad the person sitting next to you may have it. Above all, I want to approach the world in 2013 like it’s an adventure, and let that lead me wherever it may.

Snoopy Ace