Monday, August 29, 2011

Size Matters

I'm getting thinner -- and what's weird is that I didn't realize just how much I've been slimming down.

In the past, I'd start a new diet or eating plan, and then become obsessed with the number on the scale. Sometimes I'd weigh myself a few times a day and then let it dictate my mood. This time, though, I'm avoiding the scale and going by appearance/clothing size instead. I was weighed at the doctor's a few weeks ago, and will see her in a couple of weeks when I will get weighed again on the same scale. So far, this "experiment" is working; I at least have an idea of my size, but am not consumed by it.

I also haven't been obsessed with eating, at least not with calorie counting. I now have to be very conscious of what I put in my mouth because my diabetes limits what I can eat somewhat, and I am determined to keep my blood sugar down. I had an eye exam last week that thankfully went well and the doctor said that I have better than 20/20 vision. But -- and this is a big but -- he stressed that in order to keep my eyes healthy, I need to carefully monitor my blood sugar. I really, really don't want to lose my sight, so any cravings are tempered by the thought of the diabetes making me blind in the future.

That said, I'm eating a lot and I'm eating well. I basically cut out all junk, including diet sodas. I eat a large salad with most meals and lots of healthy, lean meats, veggies, fruits and good proteins. The few carbs I do eat are "brown," such as whole wheat bread or whole grain cereal. I snack on low-fat cheese, almonds, yogurt and if I really want something sweet, sugar free Jell-O. I eat whenever I'm hungry, but watch my portions. I don't feel deprived and my cravings for sugar, which I can no longer have in large quantities, have subsided.

I like this way of eating because my menu is free of junk. Whenever I followed plans that involved counting calories or points, or whatever, I'd "work" the system so that I could have sweets. I'd allow a certain number of calories for a cupcake or exercise for enough minutes so that I could splurge on a cookie. Yes, I was sticking to the number of alloted calories, but I was wasting them on foods that aren't nutritious. I believe that things should be done in moderation so if I go to, say, a wedding and indulge in a piece of cake, it won't be the end of the world. But I'm not going to eat cake just because it's available -- especially if I can make a better choice. In a way, I like having to keep track of my blood sugar because my meter tells me right then and there how healthy my meal was. If I ate something that caused a spike, I know right away and make sure that I'm more careful at my next meal. My meter keeps me accountable.

I've also been walking several times a week. I'm training for that 5-mile walk that we're doing in October, but I'm also falling back in love with walking on its own. I can comfortably do about 2 miles at the moment, but I'm working my way up.

I've been following this plan for about a month now and can already feel the differences. I'm sleeping so much better, which for this lifetime insomniac, is a welcome blessing. I have more energy and am in a better mood. I used to spend my weekends sleeping, but now I want to the movies or take a walk or see friends. I even cleaned our apartment this past weekend when we were hiding out from Hurricane Irene. It was a disaster area, mainly due to me not having energy for months on end, but I cleaned up a good portion of the clutter. It felt good to get rid of the crap and matched what I'm doing for my body: cleaning up the mess.

I've been so happy with the internal changes that I've been experiencing -- sleeping better, having more energy -- that I haven't really thought much about my appearance. But the other day at work, one of my colleages suddenly said to me, "You know, you've lost a lot of weight, like 30-40 pounds. I can see it all over." Of course, he said it in front of everyone so I was a bit embarrassed. Still, it was sweet and especially appreciated coming from him since he's had a gastric bypass. However, it was very unexpected. I really didn't think that I've reached a point where my weight loss is noticeable so I was completely taken aback by the compliment.

Then when I was cleaning out my closet this weekend, I came across a cute pair of denim capris that I'd purchased online at the beginning of the summer. I think I got them for the 4th of July because they have little stars embroidered on the pockets. Unfortunately, they hadn't fit me at the time, so I threw them onto my growing pile of clothes and planned to send them back. Yesterday, out of curiosity, I tried them on -- and they fit. Really fit, like they're comfortable and look nice on me. I couldn't believe it. Just last month, I could barely pull them up over my thighs and now I can wear them.

To be honest, my success scares me a little. I've been successful at losing weight before, but have always failed. Now I have this bigger thing hanging over my head -- my diabetes -- so I really have to concentrate on keeping my blood sugar at a good number. Maybe, in a weird way, my diagnosis will turn out to be a positive thing and will be what helps me get my health back on track. Wouldn't that be ironic?

By the way, check out my diabetes blog: How Not Sweet It Is

1 comment:

  1. Ironic, but fantastic. Well done on getting in those jeans I bet it felt fantastic. I am so pleased to read of your progress and the positive mental attutude you describe. This is your time, its really happening and its going to keep on happening.Well done