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?

The weight of it all…

Although this is a Diabetes blog focused on day-to-day life with the disease as I try to get healthy to have a successful pregnancy, I can no longer ignore the elephant in the room…my weight.  (Elephant in the room…see what I did there?).  Anyway, I am finally coming to the point where I am ready to face my weight issue head on and I am ready to quit being lazy and in denial about it.  I kind of have to be.

I stepped on the scale this morning and was above my “scary weight”…I weigh, in interest of full disclosure, 202.4 pounds.  The highest I’ve ever weighed was 206 pounds and give me another few weeks of eating like a complete jerk, and I bet I’d be there.  I refuse to let this happen.  Enough is enough.

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Those endorphins were pumping!

About a year before our wedding, in September of 2011, I made the decision to get in shape, lose weight, and be a “hot bride”.  I wanted to lose 50 pounds.  I stepped out of my comfort zone and joined a kickboxing gym – something I talked about for months before actually ripping off the band-aid and walking through the door.  I was scared that it was going to be all these super fit, in-shape people and as an overweight woman I would not fit in.  I was so intimidated.  Luckily what I found was a friendly, supportive environment.  I started hitting (hitting, get it?) the hour-long kickboxing classes 4-5 times per week and within a couple of months was working with a personal trainer once a week.  The weight was falling off and in the meantime I was having FUN with my workouts and made some great friends.  In November and December of 2011 I participated in a Bootcamp, further pushing me out of my comfort zone and upping my results.

Also in interest of full disclosure, my doctor had also prescribed a low dose of Phentermine for me when I started on this fitness journey.  Something that I am sure a lot of people do not agree with, but she felt I was a good candidate for the drug.  Let me tell you, it gave me a lot of energy, as well as the hot flashes of a menopausal woman.  However, I really do think it helped me with my weight loss.  During this time I was losing about a pound per week – some weeks more, some weeks less.  I was driven.  I was dedicated to my health.  Nothing was going to stop me.

Until we decided to move.  A bunch of factors went into our decision to move – I was severely under-employed and had a long commute to my entry-level job, my husband was a contractor at the time (working from home) and we felt that if he lost his contract there were minimal employment opportunities for him in our coastal town, we are planning on having a family in the future and the medical facilities in our town were not exactly top-tier (I had to drive almost 2 hours for my endo appointments, pain in the neck when one is going weekly during pregnancy!), real estate costs at the beach were outrageous, etc., etc., etc.  I received a job offer in early 2012 and we made the decision to move in early spring.

I’m not going to lie.  My head knew it was the right decision, but my heart was screaming, “nooooo!“.  I was falling into a rhythm with our life on the Outer Banks.  After living there for 2 years I was making friends, getting in shape, and could honestly say that with the exception of the long commute/job situation, I was whole-heartedly happy.  Moving was an adjustment, to say the least.

During our first six months here I focused on the wedding.  I believe knowing this date was coming really helped me with my diet – I counted my calories on My Fitness Pal and luckily only gained 5 pounds from the time we moved to our wedding day.  I did not reach my goal of losing 50 pounds, but I lost about 30 and that made me pretty darn happy and proud.  I think that had we stayed at the beach and I continued with my trainer and gym, I would have met my goal, but I cannot think like that.

Our honeymoon was perfect – we relaxed, slept in, explored, oh, and did I mention ate and drank our faces off?  We returned from the honeymoon in early November so I got in the mindset of “It’s holiday season!  My birthday!  Thanksgiving!  Christmas cookies!  Traveling!  There’s no sense in trying to start a diet now!  I’m going to enjoy myself.”  And enjoy myself I did.  I think I went to the gym three times in November and December.  Whatever, I’ll start over in 2013, it will be my year.

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Not quite at my goal, but much closer than I am now!

Since we moved last April, I have been what I like to call “gym shopping”.  I had such a great experience at my previous gym that I refused to settle for a ho-hum environment.  First I tried a chain boxing gym.  Hated it.  It smelled and the people just weren’t friendly.  So I quit.  Then I found another local chain gym that had sort of a subset Muay Thai (kickboxing) school.  I liked it, but the schedule annoyed me – classes were from 6-7 so I wouldn’t get home until close to 7:30.  Plus it was really, really intense and I always got partnered with a woman who, I swear, never washed her hand wraps.  (Imagine gym socks that never see Tide…hand wraps get NASTY!)  So I bailed.  Finally, late last summer, I found a smaller gym that had boxing two nights per week and kickboxing on Saturdays.  In between it had bootcamp type classes.  I liked this gym but was not a fan of the price, $100 per month.  After the wedding, I found myself going less and less and finally decided to quit back in March.

Recently a new boxing gym has opened and I have joined.  It opened about a month ago and I’ve gone a handful of times.  Every time I go, I really like it.  The problem is that I just find excuse after excuse not to go.  Laziness wins out every time.  I cannot seem to find that drive or focus I had when we lived at the beach.  It just isn’t there even though after each workout I think to myself, “I need to remember how fun this is and how good it feels tomorrow when I’m talking myself out of going!”.

I am letting myself slip into this unhealthy lifestyle of eating whatever I want to eat and spending my evenings sitting on the couch instead of moving my body.  For diabetes blog week, I even posted about how I’d selfishly temporarily trade places with someone who is paralyzed so that I can celebrate what my body can do.   I’ve been inspired by blogs touting the importance of exercise even when we don’t feel like it but then as soon as I close the internet window, the inspiration goes along with it.  I’ve been in a slump and I really want to get back to that kick-ass woman of 18 months ago who was happy, confident, and high on endorphins.

My husband has been doing a fantastic job of losing weight.  We’ve dedicated this year to the year of getting healthy and physically ready for a baby.  I feel like a complete jerk that he has been so focused and doing so well and has been doing it on his own.  He’s lost almost 50 pounds and his drive and dedication is admirable.  I’m so proud of him.  I wish I had an iota of his dedication and perseverance.  He has mentioned to me a few times that losing weight is so much easier as a team and I know that it’s been tough for him to watch me not have the drive to do this.  But still, living with someone who’s on a mission still hasn’t been enough for this couch lover.

One would think that the thought of having a healthy pregnancy and baby would be enough to motivate me.  Up until now, it hasn’t.  Yes, it’s motivated me to become more vigilant about my carb counting and properly bolusing for my meals, but it has done nothing to kick me into gear with weight loss.

But I know that I have to do this, like it or not.  Maybe that is the first step in the motivation process – getting angry enough at myself to punish myself with an exercise and food plan.  Maybe after a few weeks, once I see some results, it will get easier and become a habit.

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Time to put down the fork..

So for now I am going to “fake it til I make it”.  It’s going to suck and I know that, but I am going to track my calories on My Fitness Pal and go to the new boxing gym at least 3 times per week.  NO EXCUSES.  I am going to limit my calories to 1300 on days I do not exercise, and 1500-1600 on days that I do.  Oh, and my beloved beer and wine?  No more.  I typically burn about 800 calories in a boxing class.  I cannot continue to let my weight creep up and do nothing about it.  I am 32 years old and will likely be 33 by the time we start trying to conceive.  If I’m going to do this, I need to do this now.

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…and pick up the boxing gloves!

I am going to check in every Tuesday with my weight and progress and a quick blurb about how the week went.  I ask that you call me out on any excuses I make, because really, there are none unless I’m lying in a hospital bed.  I have the time, I have the resources, I have the support…

And, speaking of elephants, really, how cute is this guy?