The Adventures of Now

exploring the mix of fun, fitness & health…as a diabetic


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The need to reset

Where is that girl who would get up at 5am to walk 15 blocks in the February cold to go to the gym? Or the one that would get in a few (struggling) miles before a draining day at the office, breaking it up with a lunchtime yoga session & rushing out to make it to a soccer game? Or who would collapse in a drenched neon heap at yoga, straight from a training run this summer? Occasionally after another yoga class earlier that morning. Or more simply, went to yoga several days a week or sweated up a storm on the elliptical for 30 minutes?

I want her back.

Maybe not to the extent of 3-a-day or making it the focus of my schedule – that luxury is over. But this trade off of being glued to my chair all day is not working. I’ve had the “too much time at the office, no energy left” excuse – this isn’t that. Worse. I do have time to go to the gym, I’m finally getting 8-9 hours of sleep (unheard of in this city).

So what’s my deal?

I lost my goal, I lost my focus.

Without digging up drama and focusing too much on the past, short & sweet: November 2011 I set a goal – to run the NYC marathon. The very next NYC marathon. I won’t deny it – part of me liked the fact that it fell on 2012 (duh, the very next year). I have a thing for even numbers and have even appreciated all my graduations falling on an even year, plus it marked 4 years post college and 26(.2) miles while 26 yro. So began a year planning. Everything became “for the marathon.” I loved joining a soccer team this past winter & spring but left when training started to avoid injury. But as much “sacrificing”, I think deep down it became a bit of a scapegoat too – blood sugar battles and nutrition fights were in vain of the marathon.

And money? Ha! They say running is cheap – they lied. MRIs, physical therapy co-pays, compression sleeves (worth it), more strips for bloodtests, increased groceries for hunger, nutrition and low blood sugars. And yes, the self justified items like a garmin. Not really what severance packages are suppose to be for.

This makes me sound bitter, regretful – I’m not. It’s been an amazing journey and I’m so grateful for it.

It’s about goals. Something that’s discussed a lot in the upcoming weeks.

Since I can remember (age 3&1/2) I’ve always had one major goal : A1c of 5 or 6. I didn’t pick this goal. I didn’t set the perimeters for it. I didn’t outline the consequences for failing or straying. It was all laid out for me. …… Except for the part on how to realistically achieve it – for my lifestyle & health. See, I’m not the only one with this goal – ask any Diabetic. Many even achieve it.

I have never gotten even close. On a scale of 5-12, I often sit at a 9, it’s a achievement if I get it to 8.x. Do you know what it’s like to do a check-in every 6 months (ideally) and each time fail at reaching your goal? Since you were a kid? Maybe you do, there are a lot of different goals out there. The funny thing is, I often hear many people tell me how “in control” I am, how well I manage the Diabetes. Deciding not to drink doesn’t give me a free pass to perfect A1c – especially if chocolate is involved. So while I don’t often address this issue (aside from every bite and shot where I’m calculating perfection vs consequence), it lingers.

The marathon gave me a tangible goal of sorts – I would get a shiny pretty medal for it – which would justify everything (gained & given) “for the marathon.”

But still, why the pity party? It’s been WEEKS since that goal date has come and gone. I may not be at my highest moment currently but I have been so lucky during recent events and there are soooo many people who sacrifice, battle and overcome during training. Yet, pity party it has been.

It’s true, I wasn’t my strongest on November 4th. In fact the 4 miles I managed with some teammates that day were not easy (though tremendously moving). My immune system was kicking my butt.

So I took a break.

Apparently a month+ long break (with one very sad exception of 2 miles in early November). I wasn’t with my team, the negativity around the marathon which I apparently took very personally weighed me down, and I was just thrown some new elements in what felt like my never ending fight with my body. Running just wasn’t fun. At the same time I was being zapped of my energy with no direct reason so the extra push was harder to find (of course when you need it most…).

But the thing was – it wasn’t just a break from running , it was a break from everything.

To be fair – part of it was the immune battle. While nothing overly serious, it had me dreading the gym. So I started slacking, failing my GymPacts, skipping my favorite yoga classes and opting for newly acquired cable over apartment workouts ( roommates mom staying with us for 10 days may have something to do with that).

It’s not just the exercise. When I was home for a wedding the second weekend of November I discovered Nutella & cookie dough. And consumed them both. Yep that’s right. A whole jar of Nutella and a roll of cookie dough. Don’t judge. That is not ok for anyone, let alone a diabetic (see part about A1c). Like really not ok. No wonder those 2 miles felt awful – they were fueled by cookie dough. I really should stop looking at the desserts on Pinterest that shoot up my bloodsugar just by repinning. And while most of my teammates are rejoicing about being able to skip the PB & bagel, I’ve turned to it for one too many meals.

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So no exercise & binges …. You can imagine I’m feeling pretty good right about now. I was feeling sick going into Thanksgiving let alone no Turkey Trot this year (not my fault) and tacking on those few extra calories.

Don’t even get me started on all the holiday talk.

I know, you want to shake me by my shoulders and tell me to snap out of it – to quite my whining. I do too. While I’ve gained intentions to get back on track it’s been all (whispered) talk and no action – my pet peeve. Kind of like how they tell you to just set your alarm an hour earlier to fit in a morning workout, only it just produces an extra hour of hitting the snooze button – not really the arm workout I’m aiming for.

Excuses, justifications, embracing and fighting. Yada yada yada. Eventually something needs to break you out of that trance many call a rut.

Many of my teammates & the running community threw out race options and alternative marathons. Florida in January – perfect, mom could actually watch me run it now instead of being my biggest supporter from a distance….

Oh right, that whole mounting medical bills and babysitting while looking for a new job thing. So I’m out for that. Even local races – race fees add up. I have so much love & appreciation for the running community and its organizations & it sucks to say it but $50 for a 5k was not happening – I’m sitting out for winter racing.

But that doesn’t mean I have to sit out of running. And definitely not out of the gym (as I wuss out from the cold).

I went from being in full force to a dead stop – and it hurts my body way more than a 18 miler.

Time to set some new goals – and equally important, some new commitments.

{to be continued…}


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Group Run: 6/16

TFK mixes up which coaches lead which groups which I think is awesome because it means more perspectives, more advice and more styles to learn from.

The coach that led our group out 2 weeks ago stressed that we were going to start off easy and all run together – there would be time to pick up the pace later. Perfect! I’ve been trying to focus on having control over my runs vs. pushing my hardest for each one. (the whole work smarter not harder thing? I was never good at that.) I had no pain during the entire run – a first since February!!

Of course my bloodsugars wanted a turn at challenging me. I had had a pretty good formula for food & insulin that I was testing out in our past long runs and I tried to keep in line with that but my pre bloodsugar was a tad higher from the start …. which included high blood-sugar hunger (not to be confused with low blood sugar hunger or normal hunger). So I wasn’t feeling awesome going into it. By the time I caught up to everyone at the water fountain I feeling sick. I did a bloodtest … 210. Spiked since breakfast, not awful  or enough to stop a run but insulin kicking in, carbs breaking down and trekking along on a run was sending a lot of mixed signals. 

It was my first time time doing a blood test during a TFK run (that sounds way too important), I was already kind of on my own so did my thing and kept going. By the time I met up to the next turn point with the coach directing us I was struggling. As she gave out directions and tips I used that time to blurt out I was diabetic – just a heads up. With in our little chat another TFK’er caught up and we started on the new path together … only I struggled to keep up. By the time I saw the coach again she asked me how I was feeling and gave me a new plan – instead of 6 miles I was going to do 5. As she told me, it’s better to cut it short and run it strong then be shuffling losing form at this point. 

Instead of getting embarrassed that I was taking a modification I embraced it, I was kind of already doing my own thing anyways. Instead it gave me confidence to make it my run. Since I have awful sense of direction I missed the point she told me to run up to so I went a little further but circled back before the planned turn. 

Best part was the strides at the end reminded me that I do have what it takes – I’m just not there yet.

The coach wasn’t there last week but her style was exactly what I needed for that shift from injuries to bloodsugars and I look forward to learning  a lot from her.  


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Losing Count: Why I stopped Food Journaling

I first learned to read nutrition labels when I was old enough to read (or sometime in elementary school), if sugar was one of the first 3 ingredients it wasn’t going in the shopping cart. I started paying attention to the numbers over ingredient list around 5th grade…when I was first introduced to carb counting. Gushers, Goldfish, Chewy granola bars, Rice Krispies treats, Dunkaroos – give me a kids snack from the 90s and I can probably tell you the carbs, serving size…..and calories.

I’m still learning how to deal with a sweet tooth & cravings. Growing up I walked a fine line of restriction when it came to food. Forced to eat when I didn’t want to, not being able to eat when I did. Trading one thing for another, making compromises, testing what I could get away with, trying to fit in but knowing early on that I knew better than most grownups. Control. It’s a funny thing.

I kept loose food journals…of all sizes. Not necessarily diligent in keeping a proper record didn’t hide the fact that the information constantly consumed my thoughts. Is that what stock brokers feel like ? Planning their next move, debating risk & rewards, watching for the next big trend.

It was high school that calories became constantly counted. Again, never fully diligent in writing it down but constantly consuming my thoughts – providing fear, anxiousness and guilt. Not enough to cause drastic actions and under the guise of basic nutrition it led to binging of sorts more than anything, yo-yoing between guilt, rebellion and force.

I love my iPhone, yes one might call me dependent. It has apps! Apps that record your blood-sugars on the go, that can count your calories, give you nutrition information instantly…it’s endless! I’ve tried the looseit! app and it’s great.

But here’s why I had to let it go:

It was a battle. One low blood-sugar could ruin my entire day. And it would make me feel defeated. An unplanned granola bar could put me 120-200 calories past my daily allocation, 60 calories could be stolen by an unwanted juice-box. It was another reminder of restriction. Like the times when I wanted a snack and couldn’t have the carbs.

Or the times when my blood-sugars were normal or even high yet I wanted a snack by choice – the guilt of eating when I didn’t have to.

In adapting to a crazy work schedule, frequent meals at the office, NYC dining and the world of Healthy Living Blogs, I discovered both spectrums of “whole foods.” After struggling with the vulnerability of “open” food from restaurant ordering, I finally connected with the various mind sets of wholesome eating.

Growing up with a health nut father I learned early on about honey vs white sugar or the benefits of whole grains. But growing up in the 90s where I had buyers choice at my moms it was all about the pre measured & pre packaged snacks – my dad’s kitchen would throw me off and scared me.

Restriction is a difficult thing. If you don’t know what you’re missing you may be ok but once that door of temptation opens you become vulnerable. It goes hand in hand with food. As much as I try to control food, often through restriction, it strongly controls me. My health, my decisions, my actions.

So in letting go of the obsessive calculations, I’m aiming to focus on the things that I can enjoy – and truly enjoying them. Seeing food as an experience rather than a controller.

And where does that leave me now? I still hate grocery shopping, am constantly picking up packages to look at nutrition labels and read the latest news. Energy bars, granola bars and protein bars still make up a large part of my diet. But that may equally have something to do with my lack of cooking.

I’ll never be able to let go of planning, knowing and calculating – but now I’m trying to manage it in a more wholistic approach.

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Related Links

I knew that just because every time I see a new product I instantly look at the nutrition label doesn’t mean that everyone else does. But only 9% look at calories and 1% (!!) look at other nutritional information ?? With the diet trends in America I would have expected more. | Fit Sugar

Calorie-Conscious without counting | Fit Sugar