G and K’s wedding is a few days away. Yesterday was all about The Gown, consuming a good chunk of my afternoon and filling my soul with some anxiety and nervousness. The Gown is looking good. The Gown will be completed and retrieved on Wednesday. No matter what, the wedding will be fine, beautiful. Getting there could be a marathon with limited sleep.
I finished the post last night between emails, phone calls, texts about various wedding-related topics and even some work-work interwoven. Friend J and another close friend (G) are in the midst of an email storm and their bubbling fountains of energy leave me feeling excited and exhausted, my own brain racing with ideas and thoughts I want to share as well. End result was a rare night of being incapable of falling asleep. Writing to try and slow down my thoughts and then reading for awhile to help me relax and fall asleep.
I am in the process of finishing books I started and felt have little real impact or contribution to my life, but since I have started them, I should finish reading them. Last night I returned to a book on controlling diabetes. It’s not something I have discussed here on the blog, because honestly I have not enjoyed reading it and find it a complete, utter disconnect from the life I am living. Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution is an interesting guide and written by a physician, but most of what he advises and advocates is well beyond what I am willing to pursue in my life. I am not willing to label it as quack science, but I am willing to suggest it is far too extreme for me.
But it got me thinking about what “extreme” really entails. Because it’s a word that has come up frequently through the last year from friend and acquaintances.
Let’s start with family. I speak frequently of my family, husband M, kids C (now married to A), and of course G and soon-to-be-wife K. Love them to the moon and stars and back. This is the sum total of my blood/marriage family, or at least the part of it that are part of my life. So we are a very small tribe. As such, we are fairly close, there fore one another, get together for family dinner once a month, but other than that, busy with our own lives. I mean, we talk frequently through text and such, but we are not family that are on the phone with each other talking about life and times several times per week. And this works for us.
The Wedding has brought with its all sorts of headaches and issues, which surprises exactly no one. However, M and I do what we can to help alleviate the stress and resolve issues as they arise. To us this is what one does for family and close friends. There is no agenda to take over and control the outcomes; it’s not our event. To some of my friends our hands-off attitude seems extreme, but then again, we have never been helicopter parents. I just find it curious that there is expectation in some facets of our friend population that feels I have hidden monster-in-law qualities within my personality make-up.
Then there is the diet extreme, once more.
Many of the books I have read in the last year have been related to fitness, nutrition, diabetes. Some have been exceptionally good, a lot have been quick crap from my Kindle Unlimited subscription. What strikes me is what I consider extreme is on the fringes of science (per sources I trust) or how much more I am willing to sacrifice to ensure my long-term health. Dr. Bernstein’s book, which I finished last night, discusses medications available and advocates a severely restricted low carbohydrate diet. While I can honestly see and understand the merits of his approach, it is far too extreme for me.
I am willing to consider a lot of things. I am presently on a march to cut back on my carbohydrate consumption, which is not even close to just saying no to traditional carby foods. I have tried a range of different vegetables and other foods. I have become a smoothie princess with added nutrients and frozen vegetables and fruits. I have gone from eating nearly all sorts of sugary foods to protein-enhanced granola bars to pieces of fresh fruit. I can perhaps cut back further on fruit or continue to pursue lower glycemic index choices, but I am unwilling to cut them completely from my diet. My numbers are not such that it seems to be an option under demand or consideration.
While I have absolutely nothing against vegan eating, it is not a good choice for me and my particular health-related concerns at this point in my life’s journey. But I will continue to read and to listen to others discuss their experiences. Diabetes is never cured; it is merely controlled or not. Thankfully I remain on the well controlled side of the equation and hope to stay here a good long time into the future. If I were someone who was indifferent about food or could not utilize medication to control my blood sugar, I would likely entertain a more severely restricted diet. However, body seems to respond well to what I am feeding it in conjunction with the amounts of exercise I put it through daily. I experiment with my eating because I like to explore new ideas, but I mostly know my outer food limits and the consequences that come with eating too much of less desirable choices or overeating in general.
And while I am not pursuing vegan eating as a lifestyle, I feel like some veganism and vegetarianism is not a bad thing. Maybe not every day. Maybe not even many days. But sometimes. I find my willingness to at least try new and different vegetables has yielded some positive results and new foods to add to my eating rotation. I am experimenting with vegan baked goods. It’s been … interesting. My new focus is that if I’m going to eat treat-like food to eat, i.e., baked goods, I am going to make them myself so I control what’s in them and how they taste. Since I do not eat a lot of treat-like food as it is (well, except this week – The Wedding and all it social eventing) anymore, I think this could work for me. My first major success is a vegan-ized blueberry muffin. I will make those again.
So my extremes about food are not at all extreme. But to a lot of folks I know, it is pretty damn extreme. Most of my friends would never pulverize vegetables daily to drink with protein powder. None of my friends have never ever pulverized frozen green beans to drink with anything and no plans to try it anytime in the future. That aspect of my new lifestyle seems extreme, and I am okay with that. I am fine with them not getting a lot of things I am doing to keep myself on this side of the controlled diabetes line. Vast majority are simply happy that I am here, no longer there. They find my eating habits unusual, but my test subjects enjoyed the veganized blueberry muffins. I can live with that.
The exercise makes many folks uncomfortable, something I do not understand. Yes, I get up very early in the morning and go to the gym, because I have no other way to get the exercise accomplished. And I need the exercise. There are choices to be made in life and we each have our priorities about what makes life worth continuing. If I had life-threatening cancer and getting up and 3:45 for my regular quota of daily exercise meant living well for an extended period of time it would be a no brainer for nearly everyone. While diabetes and cancer are very different diseases, the outcome is the same. I do not see my actions as extreme; I see them as mandatory for survival.
It makes people uncomfortable, for reasons I cannot fathom. And I have no expectations that anyone follow my example. I do what I have to do to make the life I love so much worthwhile and extend it as long as possible. I have friends that work nights, M worked nights, and our lifestyle was perplexing to those who work 9 to 5.
But I am not feel extreme in my habits. I feel like an individual who has a chronic health condition that must be addressed forever. And I am finally doing what needs to be done to keep it in check.
I have become habituated to my schedule. If I have to eat this way and exercise this much to keep myself in good health, I should enjoy it to the best of my ability. Both make me feel better, make me some improved version of me that I cannot, even now, fully conceptualize. My body and inner system are healthier and stronger. My mind feels sharper and more focused. My confidence has soared and overall, I am happier with the emerging results.
If that’s extreme, so be it. I can definitely live with that, and I am definitely living well.