Proud.

Day 4 of Diabetes Month Photo-a-Day is “Proud”.  I think that people who live with diabetes (and our awesome Type 3-ers) have a lot to be proud of every day.  This isn’t an easy disease to manage.  We constantly have to juggle, do math, chase highs and lows, etc.  It can be exhausting and every day is a victory!

But for the purpose of this Photo-a-Day entry, I want to share a picture of me after one of my training runs.  I have completed two half marathons – The Virginia Beach Rock N Roll in September 2010 and the Flying Pirate (Outer Banks) in April 2011.  Granted my times were pretty pathetic (Running is so not my thing) but I did it, managed my blood sugars along the way, and got the medals to prove it.  I think this goes to show that even people who aren’t the best athletes can set a physical goal and achieve it.  Thumbs up to you!

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After one of my training runs for the Flying Pirate Half – notice I’m wearing my Rock N Roll half shirt? (Also, can I move back to the Outer Banks? Oh how I miss living on the water…)

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Five for Josh

Last Sunday I participated in the Durham Bull City Race Fest in honor of my nephew, Josh, who passed away in June.  My sister, Josh’s Mommy, organized a team of over 80 people to participate in this event – from the one mile fun run to the half marathon!  She is amazing and has raised over $6000 for SIDS research!  It was a great weekend, full of love.

I decided to participate in the 5 mile distance.  Myself and a few others on “Team Josh” were going to walk and I admit, I trained for this event for about 10 minutes.  I think I’ve gone running (shuffling) maaaaybe 3 times since we’ve moved here a year and a half ago?  Boxing is my favorite exercise, but I’ve been a complete bum in that department as well.  Oooops.

Of course since I didn’t train, diabetes decided to be a butthead.  I woke up around 200 and had a bagel for breakfast.  I bolused about 70% of what I’d bolus normally.  I wanted to come down a smidge but I still wanted to stay around 170-200 because I knew this was going to be physically challenging and personally, I like to run a tad high when I exercise to prevent drastic drops.

Before the race started I looked at my CGM and saw the dreaded double down arrows.  20131024-073622.jpg

Oy.  I ate two glucose tabs and figured I’d hopefully level out.  I’d be very pleased if I stayed around 160 for the whole 5 miles.

Of course, diabetes rarely plays nice when you want it to.  Throughout the whole race I had at least a southeast arrow.  I was popping glucose tabs every 2 miles or so (along with texting my husband such ladylike things as “My BG is being an asshole”, I am the epitome of class, friends), took Gatorade when it was offered, set my pump to only give me 10% of my insulin, and still finished the race at 78.  I suppose this could be considered a victory because I never really dropped, was just slowly going down.  However, it caused me to panic and I couldn’t really enjoy myself and take in the race.

BUT, I did it, there wasn’t a catastrophe, and it was nice to be a part of Team Josh.  I think about him often and miss him so much.

However, the next time I decide to do 5 miles, I’ll do one of two things: I will either actually train for it so I can remember how my BG reacts and can properly prepare, or I will eat a giant cupcake right before the race.

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I made these delicious chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing for the Team Josh potluck. Don’t judge my awesome icing skills.

The weight of it all: Mini Yay!

Lost 2.2 pounds this week, woohoo!  I’m pretty pleased with that.  I know that there is definitely room for improvement with the eating and exercise, though.  I went to boxing class once last week but other than that, I seemed to find any and every excuse not to go.  But, I’m planning on going today, assuming the blood sugar is behaving, and again on Thursday.  I really wish I could go to the 6:15 – 7:15 am class but alas, I have to be at work at 8 and there’s no way I could get home and shower and be at work on time.  Even if I changed my hours to where I’d be coming in at 8:30, with commuting, no can do.  The gym keeps talking about adding a 5am class, which I’d be interested in.  I really like having my evenings free, which I think is part of the reason why I’ve been Miss Slacker-Pants on getting to class.

BUT, I know exercise is so important in maintaining good blood sugar control and losing weight so I just need to force myself to do it, even if I’m not in the mood.  Anyone have a spare T-Rex hanging around?

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The Weight of it All: Kicking and Boxing.

Well, I did OK-ish on the food front this week, however I don’t have a loss to report.  Honestly, I’ve been struggling, especially on the weekends, for the past month.  Since my nephew passed away, I’ve been turning to food for comfort.  Which is typical of me, I am an emotional eater.  Always have been.  This is a constant struggle.  I see food as comfort, a friend when I’m in need of one, a celebration, entertainment when I’m bored, etc.  I recently ordered Ginger Vieira‘s book “Emotional Eating with Diabetes” and am very much looking forward to diving into it when it arrives.  (Yes, I still read paper books.  Maybe Santa Husband will get me a Kindle this year? *cough*HINT*cough*).  I really hope this book will give me some tools to prevent over treatment of lows and to not abuse myself by abusing food.  I’ll be sure to post a review once I read it.

The husband and I have been doing a pretty poor job of planning our weekend meals, which has led to lots of eating out.  Related to what I said above, I have this mental block where I see eating out as a reward or celebration.  The little devil on my shoulder tells me I’m not going to go to a restaurant and get something boring like grilled chicken and veggies when I can make that at home.  I’m getting stuff I don’t normally cook  – fried goodness, heavy pastas, etc.  I think that the husband and I need to not only be better about including weekend meals in our menu planning, but I also need to remind myself that this is a journey and a process and going out to eat does not give me a free pass to throw calories out the window.

One victory I do have to post about is that I went back to the gym yesterday for the first time in over a month.  I had previously posted about a fear of exercising because my blood sugar seems to behave pretty erratically when I work out.  I’m really striving to keep things as steady as possible with less drastic blood sugar swings.  This was making me hesitant to work out because of the naughty behavior of my blood sugar during and after exercise.  But, after some encouragement from friends, I decided I need to face this head on.  I like boxing and, duh, exercise is good for everyone but especially for a person with diabetes.  So, I went to the gym yesterday and surprisingly, stayed level the whole time.  Started my workout at 169, ended it at 161.  I also was OK after too.  I’m going to continue to play with this and take meticulous notes on my phone of my basal rates, snacks I eat, etc. to see if I can figure out a good game plan for boxing days.  Go team?

My goals for this week are:

  • Go to the gym at least 2 more times.  (And make notes of snacks, BGs, etc. in relation to said workouts)
  • Don’t let the weekend derail me.
  • Make better decisions when dining out.
  • Remind myself that food is fuel and question myself if I am eating due to emotions or boredom.
  • And, not to fart whilst I exercise:

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The weight of it all: One down, many more to go!

WooHoo!  Lost a pound this week.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t get back on the calorie counting wagon as much as I had hoped this past week.  BUT, even though it took me a few extra days, I am now back on track and hopefully will see another pound (or more) gone this coming week.  It may be a semi-challenging week with the 4th and going to a baseball game on Friday (hot dog and beer anyone?) but I think I’ll be OK.  If I want to indulge, I will just make adjustments elsewhere.

On the recommendations of my CDE, a nurse during my yearly health assessment at work, and fellow blogger Allison :o), I’ve upped my calories to 1550/day.  Seems totally do-able and hopefully I’ll see better results by eating a little more.  We’ll see how it goes.  On the Diabetes Front, I’m aiming to eat less than 60g of carbs per meal to prevent those big after meal spikes.

Exercise is, well…there.  I’m struggling with it for a variety of reasons.  The main one is that my blood sugar seems to react differently to it on different days and I really am working hard to keep my CGM graphs as smooth as possible.  I need to figure out a solution though because I know how important exercise is to not only losing weight, but maintaining a healthy D-Life.  I don’t know if this means choosing a different form of exercise or just being more aggressive with trying new things as far as basal rates when I go to boxing.

My goal for this week is to not let the holiday and baseball game derail me.  And to be more focused on what I am eating over the weekend!

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The trouble with exercise is…

I love to box and kickbox.  Back when we lived on the Outer Banks I worked with an amazing trainer and really fell in love with the sport.  Back then, since I didn’t have a CGM, my routine was as follows:

-Test BG 15-30 minutes before leaving work.
-Test BG 1/2 hour into commute (my commute was 60 minutes long)
-If BG had dropped, eat snack – banana or rice krispie treat (I know, I know).
-Test BG as arriving to gym.  I usually would get there around 6, and class didn’t start until 6:30.  If BG was lower after eating snack, skip class or eat another snack (all this snack eating kinda defeated the purpose of working out!).  If higher, yay, enjoy class!

Not the most scientific of approaches, but it worked.  Some days after class I’d be high, in the 200-300 range, but most days I would be below 200.  I only had a bad low once – was in the 30s once after class.  No passing out and after a few glucose tabs and waiting a bit, I was fine and able to drive home.  Maybe I was more confident at my previous gym because I had friends there as well as my trainer who knew I have type 1 diabetes?  I don’t know.  All I know is that it did not stress me out nearly as much as it does now.

At this point in my life I was pretty blasé about my diabetes care and my outlook was more “one day at a time”, rather than seeing the whole picture (I had an A1c of close to 9.0 to prove it!).  Blood sugar high?  Bolus and move on.  Low?  Snack time!  Now that I’m trying to get baby-ready I am really working hard at keeping my BG steady with as few drastic BG swings as possible.  My CDE told me all about the deviation smart numbers stuff and how it shows how dramatic my BG swings are.  The way she explained it that if  my deviation is larger, this is no bueno.  She said that I want to be able to multiply my deviation by 3 and have the resulting number be less than my average BG.  If I can multiply it by 4, she said that’s awesome.  So guess what my goal is?  Multiples of 4, baby.

But, with the plethora of information that my CGM provides, I have almost a fear when it comes to working out.  See, the pretty graphs on my CGM tell me that my BG has no real pattern when it comes to exercise.  Some days it will go up.  Some it will go down.  I haven’t noticed if this is dependent on if I eat before class, as well as when and what I eat.  It just seems so random and without patterns.  This annoys me.  I do much better in life with diabetes when I can at least get an idea of what to expect.

This also stresses me out because I’m trying to keep my blood sugars as steady as possible with as few swings in either direction.  It’s easy to say, “Well, Laura, use the awesome tool of the CGM during your class and make adjustments as needed”, which I have been doing.  However, it’s a lot easier said than done.  Sometimes when I notice I’m rising, it’s almost like it’s too late.  I can set a temp basal to +50-100% and I’ll still creep up and remain high for hours after exercise.  It’s like a freight train you can’t stop.  Setting a temp basal to much higher than that while I’m participating in such a physically challenging activity makes me nervous, but maybe this is what I need to do?  Also, I’ve noticed that when I get really, really high I’ll crash and burn.  Maybe too much correcting?  I don’t know.  All I know is that it’s not so good for my innards and certainly doesn’t feel great while it’s happening.

I am not sure what the solution is.  I think that the first step is to keep better records of what I eat before workouts and when.  I don’t know if I should take a step back from boxing and maybe try something that is less intense like walking on the treadmill or yoga or weight training or something?  Something that is a more steady pace that may help prevent those nasty random spikes?  What say you, DOC?