Dietician = swell things

So the dietician I see is turning into an amazing resource. He spent almost 90 minutes with me today discussing everything from the last 2 weeks of my “eat more protein” program and progress to date to what comes next and refinements I can make. If I do nothing else I will likely be just fine on my own, but as I have discussed, it seems to take an entire team of coaches to help me move me along in my better health journey. I presently plan to continue to meet with him for as long as I feel it worthwhile and of value for me.

I like my RD. He’s sensible, and he seems to get me. Rather than throw his entire playbook at me and hope a lot of things stick , since our second appointment he has been far more systematic and going at this one issue at a time, negotiating and convincing me to do take one step at a time.

Part of me feels uber high maintenance, in that I need things broken down, explained, and most importantly, to understand why whatever he prescribes, suggests, instructs needs to happen. Maybe it works on me, maybe it doesn’t. But until we develop enough rapport to come to terms, I am disinclined to do much unless the other party can make me understand why I should listen and follow their suggestions and directions. I suppose this is my baseline basis for the beginnings of trust.

I do best with people who are willing to be kind yet straight with me, even if I am not yet toughened up enough to take it well, and have solutions to replace whatever may freak me out and potentially send me over the edge.

There is a consistent pattern with those I work with, those who have made the harder parts of this better health quest more bearable. They seem to have some spark of genuine hope, a type of faith that may not be divine or have anything to do with higher powers and the disposition of our souls in the afterlife so much as the human condition in the here and now. Maybe it’s part of their job; perhaps they are professionally hopeful, optimistic people and it is part of the job description. I kind of get that, because for everyone else in the world, I tend to be an eternal optimist. I want those around me to be happy, healthy, live a good life. Now is my time, my turn to desire that for myself.

M, RD, J, TM, and others in my tribe and life inspire that kind of optimism. A few of my friends are undergoing major changes and challenges of their own recognize bad habits are difficult to break at first and reverse direction when called on it. I appreciate this quality in people; I am actually quite drawn to it. I truly do appreciate those who understand that helping ourselves is our own responsibility, and asking for help means we take the good with the bad, and to borrow from Wild World of Sport, my crew understand the thrill of victory with the agony of defeat along the pathway way to success.

Today we went over my “eat more protein” progress. The last couple of weeks I have not been counting calories so much as generally tracking the protein consumption and when/if I ate carbs that were not plant-based. I wanted to be fair and have some basis for our conversation.

Overall, for my initial foray I have done really well with the protein consumption. Mostly I have stuck with leaner sources; I would do better with white meat chicken, but hey, this is an evolving process. I am down a couple more pounds, which always surprises me. I have yet to even consider replacing a scale for my own use, because it will depress me if it says something I am not prepared to cope with, so the only time I weigh myself is when I am at some medical practitioner’s office for whom there is a box to be checked and filled out. Truly, anyone who has to interact with me on any level does not want me trying to track or measure my progress in conventional diet ways. That my blood sugar is stable throughout the day is the only number I track with any consistency, and I have gotten to the point where on the rarer occasions it has been high, i.e., over 140 before meals or first thing in the morning, I am immediately mentally cataloging everything I have eaten or drunk in the hours before that reading. My meter has been great for helping me understand the effects of the foods I consume, but that’s the only thing I want to track or measure on any consistent basis.

We went over my meals – about 7 or 8 that I just recycle throughout the week – and I will probably add more foods and things and mix it up as we move along. I asked him about vegetarian sources of protein, and he offered me some ideas while strongly suggesting I not consider becoming a vegan at this stage in my life and my diabetes management. I was absolutely genuine in my reassurance that even 50% vegetarian eating is not something on my radar. I like cow milk too much, even if it is the gray fat free milk. Hell, I love my chicken far too much. On top of which, I remain a picky eater. Then there is my current obsession with greek yogurt, but since I eat very little sugary foods anymore I like this treat-like substance. I did admit to the 5 dark chocolate squares over the last 10 days. I cannot be expected to go cold turkey on EVERYTHING, and I did give up the caffeine. I still drink coffee a few times per week, only its decaf now. Not. The. Same.

RD gave me some new ideas for additional protein sources to try if I want – beans, legumes, etc. He offered some tweaks and adjustments to my existing menu of protein and carbohydrate sources I eat. I can have more fruit along with my varied servings of vegetables, and I need not feel so dependent or desperate to supplement with protein powder. However, I happen to like the protein powder and the ways I am using it, so that makes it okay. He also suggested some plant-based protein powders, a few of which we have tried and they taste like chalk-flavored water. I’ll stick with what I like, thank you.

He, too, is interested to see what the doc does next as far as medication, but for his part, I am evolving into an excellent patient success story, maybe even trophy room worthy. But if someone makes a good case that seems to make sense to me it is fairly easy to get behind and put forth genuine effort to follow their advice and program. Of course it make take several tries to overcome my crazy brain, but eventually I’ll get there.

Interestingly, though, he fears I am not consuming quite enough calories. It’s impossible to track because, well, because I don’t log food or count calories. But I’m not dropping crazy amounts of weight or looking pale and weak, so it seems like all is well in that regard. He is concerned enough to ask me very nicely to keep at least a rough list of what I am eating every day for the next couple of weeks, because what I am describing to him that I have been eating daily sounds a little light and may be impeding my progress.

Magic words here: impeding my progress.

First I am eating too much of the wrong types of foods and having to take meds to control my sugar. Then I overhaul that and eat lots better, only now it appears I am eating a better balanced diet but not quite enough calories? I know there is a happy medium out there for me and have to just keep refining my technique to find it. So I am back to another couple of weeks of keeping a general food log so we have more to talk about next time. Maybe if I add the legumes and other plant-based proteins and carbohydrates I will make him happy enough to give me a pass on homework next appointment.

But for now I’m happy with my report card and to get bunches of questions answered. My diet is pretty balanced and I am eating plenty of fiber, etc. I am not consuming too many carbs and since most of what I do eat are from plants, even better. But with me still on even a low dose of diabetes meds and still having low events, I do eat a slice of bread or a couple of crackers to keep my sugar stable. Maybe if he removes that final medication that will be better?

Eating at home and bringing my lunch is no problem to stick with my program. It’s when we eat out that I have potential issues. But life happens, and so does the occasional cheeseburger or plate of spaghetti. Not a lot of junk food anymore, and it’s been a few months since I have had a french fry. Strangely, I don’t really miss them.

But onward. I am doing really well on my overall eat more protein quest. I am slowly steeling myself to try other foods that I am sure I do not like. Thankfully M likes a lot of things I don’t, so I can taste his without having to commit to wasting food I may not eat.

It’s been a really good day. Even at the lab she got blood from my arm with only one stick and no bruising, a rare event for me. Now I wait for Friday and the appointment with the endocrinologist.

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