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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. I hope to share my struggles, my successes, and everything in between.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Snowballing

I am feeling like my health, control, self discipline, eating habits, exercise habits (or lack of) and general state of health are just snowballing out of control.

I think that my blood sugars have been AVERAGING about 260 these days.

Recognition is the first step to stopping the bleeding I figure. Ok - so I know things are out of control, and not heading in the right direction. So, just turn it around right? Wrong. I've learned that for me, these general trends carry so much momentum behind them, that it's terribly hard for me to turn it around. It's almost like a big snowball rolling down a hill.

For those of you in warmer climates, use your imagination. Those of you in places where it snows (I'm in Minnesnowta ya know? Ever heard of Fargo? Ya, you betcha!), you should know what I mean. Picture a snowball at the top of a big snowy hill. It starts small, you know, little habit changes - walking, eating, exercising, and doing too much of some (eating) and not enough of the others (walking & exercising!). As you push the snowball down the hill, it's getting bigger and bigger, picking up more snow and momentum along with it. After some time and distance, this damn snowball is as big as a house and crushing everything that tries to get in it's way. Actually, I think SWALLOWING everything is more accurate than crushing. It's just eating everything that get's in front of it, kind of like what I'm doing.

Some may remember that I got myself involved with a study at the University of Minnesota where I lost a bunch of weight. Just doing regular exercise, watching my calorie intake, and creating a negative balance (burning more calories per day than I ate), I lost damn near 40 pounds! So, I know how to do it. It's not magic. Just a lot of discipline and hard work. But, I can do it.

Where does this tie in to the big picture? Well, weight management (that would be maintaining a healthy weight) is just better for you than being a big fat ass. Diabetes already sticks you with higher than average risk factors for heart disease, so not adding obesity to that would be a good thing.

Right around the time the study ended I started a new job. Big life change, for the positive. I got involved with something I'm good at, and that is near and dear to my heart (involving diabetes and technology). I'm getting some real satisfaction from it, and for perhaps the first time in my life I am doing something I like. However, I lost a couple of things along with the change.

At my last job, due to finances and my gadget addiction (that is, buying gadgets I can't afford - spending all my parking money, etc.), I would park about a mile away where there was free street parking. So, this was an AUTOMATIC 2 miles of walking EVERY DAY. In addition to that we had an on site fitness room. This room was awesome - not an average treadmill in a closet type workplace fitness room. We're talking 3 treadmills, 2 elipse machines, 2 stairmasters, a couple stationary bikes, a couple of the incline stationary bikes, self spotting weight rack, complete set of free weights, a bunch of weight machines and a big aerobic room. I mean, this place was bad ass, and I had access to it anytime I wanted, 24x7. With heated underground parking I might add (which was free for me on weekends and after 3pm on weekdays).

Along with the daily walking, I would either go for a walk at lunchtime (I worked on the parkway along the Mississippi River near downtown), or go use the fitness room. The snowball was rolling down the healthy hill! At my new job I have not found any nice places to walk, we have no fitness room (well, there is a single treadmill in a closet sized room), and I park as close to the door as I can. Pitiful. There is a YMCA at the end of the block, to which I'll eventually get a membership - when I'm not so damn broke. Did I mention I have a gadget addiction? Also my Monday night basketball has ended for the season. Too many of the guys play softball, so they have trouble getting enough people to show up.

Along with the new job, and all the stuff that happened with my mom passing, and just general life changes, I have not gotten back into the healthy groove. I eat all the time, or at least it seems like it. Which is why my blood sugar is always high (I don't even give my insulin time to peak and bring my numbers back down before I start eating again, then because I've been stacking doses all day I crash at suppertime, which means I eat more...). Along with all that eating and lack of exercise, I'm gaining some weight back. And I felt soooo good about getting my weight down finally...

One of the biggest factors for me is my eating habits and choices. I have a terribly unbalanced diet. I eat carbs, all carbs and nothing but carbs. No fruit, no veggies, no meat, no protein, no ... uh ... non-carby type stuff. I am a dieticians worst nightmare. The thing is, I've been like that my entire life. How does one go about trying to change a lifelong eating habit? Working towards a balanced diet will do wonders for everything - my diabetic control, my weight control, my overall health. I do think I can work on the fruit, veggies, & protein stuff. Maybe trying to add one new item per week or something. I will not be able to work meat into the diet. I just don't like it, and never will. The idea that it was up and moving around at some point in time just grosses me out. I know, I'm weird. If you could see me - I'm a big hulky kind of guy who's scared to try eating meat. Someone should make a movie.

So, I have recognized that things are out of control, which is the first step. Next I need to pul together my will power and start working on that monster of an unhealthy snowball (damn that's a big hill...). Stay tuned!

5 Comments:

Anonymous Kathleen Weaver said...

If you want some help, go see my blog, as I am at the "end" of the cycle you are on.

Last week, I basically stopped eating carbs until I got my blood sugars normalized again. The good news is that the cravings went away and now I'm back to "normal" eating, whatever that is.

Basically I did the "Atkins" thing, didn't worry about quantity, just that what I ate was low carb. (And not that fake low stuff).

10:09 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

I hear what you're saying Scott. I'm not diabetic, but my son is. I do know how difficult it is to eat properly. Take it one day at a time.

10:43 AM  
Anonymous AmyT said...

You are not wierd! At least not about the meat, I mean :) Like my daughter says, it once had a face!!

Anyway, I know you can get back on track if you just take it one baby step at a time. Just try to make one little itty bitty improvement each day. That's how I slice up the big stuff when I'm feeling overwhelmed.

You OK!!
- Amy

6:08 PM  
Blogger Violet said...

Hey Scott. Welcome back to the blogosphere. I always enjoy your posts & their uniquely Minnesotan sense of humor :)

I am pretty squeamish about meat myself. I can eat it, and sometimes I even like to eat it, but sometimes I just can't. Bleah. And cooking it is really hard. Well, cooking anything is really hard for me. But meat especially...

I have a deep abiding passion for the kinds of carby foods you pay homage to here. Basically we're talking the refined carb food group :-) I've cut out some of the crummier ones, but recently I was looking at my diet and realized I'd pretty much quit drinking milk so that I could eat more carbs without going over my "limit." Hmm, that's not so wise.

Some diets--not that I am trying or advocating them--such as Richard Bernstein's operate in part on a theory that carbs have a physiologically addictive property. You eat them, you crave them, you eat them more. So if, as Kathleen describes, you manage not to eat them, the cravings dissipate. I wonder if this is true across the board. I certainly feel a physical longing for those foods that resembles an addictive response.

Have you played much with glycemic index in your food choices? Of course, doing so means letting go of the happy refined carb group. So it's no easier, just another way to look at it.

It sounds like you have a very clear understanding of what's behind your struggles, and that seems important. (I would add to the list the loss of your mom, yes? Can any of us add that kind of grief to the juggling act and not drop a few balls?) You know where to start. Please let us know how you're doing when you can.

5:25 AM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

You all are just wonderful people, and I really do value all of the support you offer. Thank you!!

8:27 AM  

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