Training #88 – Just like fire

Monday morning, training with J. Review day, the last of our latest lower body series. As usual, I love review day. As is also typical for Mondays of late, feeling it in the glutes today.

I learned a lot of little things today, stuff it seems like I should know but had either never thought about, never considered the difference exercises from the geometric planes of reference, and just other aspects of form that have been under emphasized in the quest to get the overall shapes down first. It was a fun session, for sure.

On today’s List:

  • Squat Machine “Frog Stance”
  • Stability Ball Reverse Hyperextension
  • Cable Glute Kickback
  • Cable 1-legged RDL
  • 1-legged Glute Pushdown
  • Adductor Machine

This is possibly my favorite lower body workout. But I also say that about every workout. So I apparently have undiscriminiating taste in exercise Lists. But oh well. Better I love everything. Or at least not hate everything.

We did the squat machine “frog stance” today. I have a love/mostly like relationship with this machine. Every time J and I do/review this machine I learn something new. Today it was how deep the deeper is supposed to be, the thigh parallel to the floor, and then the pause at the bottom and stay fluid and timing the cadence from the top. We also increased the weight today, and between the new cadence and the increased weight review day became almost a teaching day. Or maybe I’m giving myself a pass for taking a break in the midst of the set? Anyway, I am working at this, getting it, and as I am muttering inside my head 20 times per practice, it’s a process.

Had boatloads of fun with the stability ball reverse hyperextension. No, really, not being sarcastic – it was lots of fun. Learned some new tricks with this one as well today, like the half-second hold on the upswing and the positioning of ankles – positioned together or comfortably apart. Mermaid tail versus blue whale tail was the way I thought of it, but unlikely a cue J will use with anyone else. *laugh* Anyway, I am liking these more and more. Especially now that I have a much firmer grasp on how they are supposed to be performed and where the different “tail” stances impact on the glutes.

Still mixed feelings about the cable 1-legged Romanian deadlifts. They are not quite as powerful of an arch nemesis as they once were, but I feel like I should practice them day and night until I eventually get the balance right and then the return snap more strongly. I also feel that way about pushups, too, and am hit and miss on my extra time spent practicing those.  The cable RDL went pretty well today, finding my balance and got a better feeling for the pretensioning and hip snap at the conclusion of the exercise. More and more the message of practice, practice, practice is hitting home.

Super excited about the cable glute kickback. I am getting better at the set-up and then the higher kickback to feel the contraction. These are effective, because I can still feel them 14 hours later. I like the challenge the present to my mental practice. Push the leg up higher, feel the contraction in the muscles. Now that I have gotten the hang of it, know what I am supposed to be feeling where, and have my brain working overtime on the thinking through its part of the exercise.

My new favorite of the whole List, the 1-legged glute pushdown. I have had this one almost bite me in the knee joint – lost control of the pad setting up in one of my practices and it scared the crap out of me when it suddenly jumped up – but the experience made me pay attention to what I am doing when using this thing. Still, I like it. I like the way it makes my legs feel.

The adductor machine, my old friend. This one goes pretty quickly, staying focused on a steady pacing. I make myself go through a few sets on this machine each and every week or I will be feeling it for at least a couple of days afterward.

Over the course of this series of reviewing these 6 exercises, I learned some new things. J explained to me how the leg press machine and is very similar to the squat machine only on a different plane (sitting in the sled versus standing up in the squat machine) and the wider stance on the leg press is similar to the “frog stance” on the squat machine. Same for the power squats versus the sumo squats. Small details that had never occurred to me before today.

Somewhere I had read about something called the Smith machine and asked friend J about it in a casual email. He said not to worry about it, that it was unlikely to be something I would ever use, and I believe him. But I mentioned it to J this morning and he showed it to me. Nope, not likely something I’ll be using anytime soon, but I’m a curious person and like to know these things.

Personal training rates are going up at my gym, a trend I understand and accept. It has now been more than almost 18 months since I began this journey and a rate increase is to be expected. But as I had this month to take advantage of old rates, I renewed early and purchased my next block of 40 sessions. J is stuck with me I should be good, my session bank well stocked for another several months without having to worry about running out or renewing.

This has been on my to-do list since the email came out a couple of weeks ago, because the 8% difference should cover the cost of the training shoes I am trying valiantly to locate and purchase. My current favorites are not available anymore, which is practically a given because I have come to like them so much. Thus far I have been through 4 different pairs of New Balance and a couple of pairs of Inov8, a favorite brand of friend J that unfortunately do not want to work with my particular shape of foot. My point here is that I do not begrudge the gym their increase in fees, but if I have opportunity to save a few bucks on something I know I am going to purchase I may as well take advantage of it.

Things are going well for me in my exercise realm. I work at it every week, but there are weeks I do not do as much or feel as if I am putting forth 100% effort at my practices. I suppose I have matured to the point of feeling as if this okay from time to time. I am extremely fortunate to have not been sick or injured myself in all this time, and no way overtraining is a thing impacting me. But since I have not had to take time off for illness or injury, so my mind rationalizes a less gung-ho week as okay once in awhile.

I am again in the process of tweaking my eating, and between that and my workload overwhelm the periodic pull-back in exercise intensity is just part of my way of life now. But I am doing well on my consistency – I go every day and at least do something, even if I am not going full-steam on my pursuit of the List of the day.

Going back to eating more regular food for meals and using protein shakes for pre-exercise fuel and mid-afternoon snacks to keep my energy up. My blood sugar is staying stable and well within the normal range, and I believe eating a higher percentage of carbohydrates will not be sending me back to the diabetes medications. Steadfast commitment to the exercise is keeping me on this side of the insulin needle, and I like the way this commitment brings out the better in me. I do need to settle on a regular meal schedule, though, because the blood sugar drops are exhausting when I don’t.

It was a fun, exciting day. I am better at some exercises, and I am stronger than I was. It is good for me to be able to see the advances I have made, how much better I am now at things that used to frustrate the living daylights out of me a few months ago.

There is an infinite, undefinable sort of peace in being boring about my habits – getting up early and getting myself to the gym at least 6 days per week. I’m glad to be selfish and protective about my gym time every day. It is by far the best medicine.

 

Health news

So I had an appointment with my endocrinologist today. Guess what? I’m a glowing picture of health. Everything right down the line is normal to great, all without any medication. While I am concerned about my A1c, doc says it’s normal to fluctuate, but we will continue to monitor it. The rest of my readings – all comfortably within the normal range.

So we chatted about the possibility of waiting 6 months for my next check in, but I am not quite ready to be let so far off the leash. I will check in again in 3 months, see how things are looking.

While my eating has improved, I know the exercise is a determining factor and covers a lot of food sins. My doc agrees. I know I would not feel as good or be as health on the inside if I was not quite literally working my ass off in the gym and the yoga studio.

Which, since I brought it up, my glutes and legs – completely KILLING me today. And I thought walking out of the gym yesterday that maybe I had not actually worked that hard. Shows you how little I know.

Anyway, best labs to date this month, even if the A1c crept up a little. My smoothie life diet is helping with that I know, so I’m pleased and expect things will be better in January.

One thing we did discuss is weight loss and medications available to help me with that. My doc knows there are drugs he could prescribe that will likely help, but they are not without risks, of course. I am kicking the can down the road, will see what the next 3 months brings or if I can come up with a more compelling reason to approach this again. Honestly, I feel like if I’m not eating tons and tons of crap food and am not actually gaining weight and my test results are coming back so squeaky clean I must be doing a lot right. Right?

But the WORST – I think my scale is messed up. Fully clothed on the doc’s scale, I was 7.4 lbs. lighter than sans clothes on my own scale first thing this morning, and while I worked very hard this morning at the gym (had a fantastic day with shoulders), I seriously doubt I lost more than 7.4 lbs. between the time I got up, drank a protein shake, practiced, and then showered/dressed for my appointment.  I tested my theory when I got home and sure enough, I was nearly 8 lbs. heavier.

I told M I need another scale, because his cannot be trusted either.

So … now I’m doing some research for the most accurate home scales, because mine is obviously not good. I could just subtract 7.4 lbs. every time I hop on it. But even then, I’m not sure I will ever believe it again anyway. Or maybe the doc’s scale is off. It makes me feel better that I’m not just delusional about this weight stuff.

And while I would like to just pitch it and forget about it, I’m not sure I can do that either. Ugh. Maybe I’ll wait for a less emotionally volatile day to search Amazon for replacements. These kinds of health measures – chasing weights and measures – make me crazy. My doc says while sure, he’d love it if I dropped some additional weight (I’m actually down almost 10 lbs. since my last visit a few months ago … seriously? Seriously? How come I don’t know this?), my test results are impressive and he feels I am on a good track to better health without medication.

He’s the doc, right? I should just shut the f**k up and listen to him.

And drink my smoothie for dinner.

 

Smoothie life

My recent dietary life of smoothies for 2 meals per day has been a bit of an experiment as well as an eating adventure. One thing that has become a constant, though, is my smoothie cup.

The smoothie cup is a large stainless still travel cup with a lid and a straw. The lid is either blue or red (we have 2 – M rarely uses his so I have claimed it as my own) and the straws are gray or purple. These details are important. They conceal the ugly appearance of my breakfast each morning.

Now, I have learned and adapted and accepted helpful hints from others who have been down or are trudging beside me on the smoothing-drinking pathway. But no one has said a word about the unattractive appearance of a kale or spinach or other greens and berries smoothie. I believe there is no way to make this more attractive to my eye. And while I absolutely know it shouldn’t matter, presentation of food must be a thing or there would never be any garnish on the plate in fancy-smancy restaurants. Just saying.

So I have taken to the stainless steel cup t with the clear but camoflauging colors of top and straw that conceal the ugliness to my eye of that greenish-brownish taupe colored beverage food. I have also refined my ingredient list so it does not come out so thick a spoon is required to eat it.

I know, I know – me and my first world problems.

Other than the ugliness of the actual food blend, it’s not bad. Trainer J recommended a packet or 2 of stevia with the kale to eliminate or at the very least cut back enormously on the kale-ness of the blend. M, friend J, and friend G suggested kale with the spinach for an additional nutrient mix. I. Hate. Kale. But … maybe like this I hide it adequately enough to drink it down.

Second smoothie is easier and more palatable. Chocolate protein, dried peanut butter, banana. Only I tried it all mixed together and it just didn’t work for me. Now I do the chocolate protein powder and PB2 on its own, eat the banana. Dinner is lean protein source – chicken, turkey, fish – and green salad or green vegetables. Relatively simple. Except sometimes I switch dinner and lunch meals, for meetings with clients and such. It makes things more workable.

I have not climbed onto a scale, any scale, in over a week. But I did get bloodwork done last week and results were delivered last night. Everything is normal, including my A1c. However, it’s climbed from 4.5 to 5.6. My staying off medication means this number has to stay less than 7, although with my history I believe he’d start me back first-line oral meds at or above 6.4, and this climb makes me uncomfortably aware of the fluctuations that come from eating too many carbs, sugar, processed food. I cannot outrun my fork, apparently.

So while I don’t meet with my doc until later this month, I am acutely aware of another 90 day window to get this number down into a more comfortable range, like less than farther away from 6.

I knew when I undertook the better health quest the road to wellville was not a straight, simple path. I knew things would not be easy or without its own unique setbacks.

This morning I was doing Thursday’s List and there was a pop in my right shoulder and a shooting pain up my arm (it was not hanging at my side at the time). Yowza! Mandatory rest pause for evaluation. Fortunately whatever it was does not seem serious, and after dropping from 2 bands to 1 and going with lighter weights the balance of the practice. It went okay. Since this was a shoulder-heavy day, the lighter weights and slower pacing seemed appropriate and cautious, not me wimping out and being lazy or slacking. J used a term I haven’t heard in a long time – yellow signal. I believe I was heeding the yellow signal and not the express train to being lazy.

My A1c result is a yellow signal to pull myself together and get consistent about my healthier eating. I really do not want to go back onto diabetes meds, even just the lowest dosage of oral meds. Because even though it is a long way from the injectable insulin and everything else I was taking, I am not ready to go backward. I know it’s something that is likely to may happen to me in the future, but I don’t want it to be right now anytime in 2017. I want that particular “in the future” to be very far, far away.

So I need to do more about my focus on my eating discipline and become gazelle intense about sticking with the program and not giving in to boredom, stress, or the force of habit. Exercise is easier, because I only have to do that once daily. Intermittent fasting is unlikely to work for me, and I have to just find my groove and start working it.

On this Saturday, it hasn’t been that hard. My attention has been focused on domestic choring, specifically deep cleaning the master bathroom, changing bed linens, and basically figuring out why I have such an amazing volume of paper crap on my desk. I rarely read traditional paper books anymore, yet I still manage to have pile of papers all over the place. Majority of it is either filing or shredding, but there were actually a couple of action items in there that required phone calls or emails. Done, done, and done. I do work better with a clean and organized space.

I wonder if I will have better hair days now that I have gone through and discarded hair goo, combs, brushes, and appliances that I no longer utilize. If not, it’s still nice to be minimized down to the comb and couple of hairbrushes that I actually use, rather than a basket full of crap that I have not touched or needed in months. On top of which, how many flat irons and curling wands and irons do I think I need? When my hair was longer, I probably needed a wider flat iron on occasion, and once upon a time I thought I might occasionally like curly or wavy hair. But since I’ve taken off some of the length, lack the patience and skill to use a curling iron effectively and without burning myself repeatedly. Since I am eyeballing cutting off another several inches in length, I am pretty sure I’m safe giving up those extra appliances.

Oh, and I almost forgot – today I was enduring a laundry crisis and had no clean jeans. M’s fault, because he’s been slacking and not washing and drying during the week except for running and gym clothes. So I thought I’d be courageous and brave and open the smaller size box. A favorite pair of jeans I haven’t worn in probably 3 years are now buttoned and resting comfortably on my lower half. These were a favorite pair of old style button down straight leg jeans, and I can wear them again. I cannot even describe the satisfaction that comes with that. It’s even better than giving up larger size pieces that I still love.

Best news this week.

 

Sunday afternoon

So fun new fact about me: exercising in the afternoon equals disaster for me. I’m not quite sure why, unless its biorhythms or something. Or my extreme creature-of-habit nature make deviation of this sort impossible. Honestly, conditions could not have been more optimal. The gym was mostly empty – downstairs there were a few teenagers working out quietly and my little room was completely empty. Yet the negative noise in my head would not stop.

The staff were bored, inattentive, completely uninterested in members coming and going. There may have been a manager (or even 2) on duty as well, but I saw them only briefly in passing and they were actually outside the gym when I left.

Stuff like that tends to bug me. Especially since the entry machines have been down awhile and I have to be checked in by the guy on the front desk, who was apparently wandering around somewhere else when I arrived and sitting with his back to me when I left. It was kind of annoying. Probably 98.31% my thing, being there in the afternoon.

The work itself was fine – mercifully short by design and desire. I felt off. My timing felt off. Despite my good intentions of taking care of me, the opportunity cost was high. Mind and body clock were out of sync, and while I would not say the experience was a disaster, it was about as unproductive and painful as any exercise has been in the last year.

Another learning experience and opportunity. I have trained myself to exercise at a certain time of day and stepping outside that realm did not work out for me today. All is not lost, sky is not falling, life continues.

The eating plan, however, is already proving a bit problematic. Low blood sugar this afternoon. It’s been so long since it happened I thought I was just really tired after the workout. No, the 59 reading on my meter says I’m going to have to watch it. I’m not sure why this continues to happen to me, another question for the endocrinologist in a few weeks. In the meantime, I’ll monitor closely.

Busy and with work this low-key weekend. Not a terrible way to be, I suppose.

Self-care

Listen to your body, they said. But what if body says “I need donuts!” What if body says “I’ve done 3 tricep dips today, let’s stop now and go get donuts!”

I have learned to ignore body and all it’s whining. Mostly is baseline sensible. Mostly.

But in my newsfeed and email recently the whole “self-care” tagline has been recurring. And of course it has me thinking.

Friend J, one of my very closest friends, is recovering from a serious, unexpected illness. He is a model citizen when it comes to diet (he follows a pretty good model of clean eating) and exercise (gym rat – nuf said). These are habits of a lifetime. When we first met 20-something years ago, he was a runner and a gym rat. Knee injury sidelined him from running, so he became a cyclist and a gym rat. Then he got tired of cycling (after 4 bike wreck injuries) and became a weight lifter and a more casual cyclist. And then he got bored living on celery and water (possibly a mild exaggeration) and went from weight lifting to power lifting.  Then he broke his hand and his burgeoning disillusionment with power lifting cemented and he took up harassing an adopted family member about her tiny little baby steps into the gym and exercise. All the while continuing his own healthy eating and exercise pursuits.

My point here (the he tells me at least once daily) is that he did not get sick for lack of vigilance or trying to stay ahead of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, or any other disease of affluence. He refers to it as a fluke illness, and while it is very serious, it did not happen because he failed to listen to his body.

And I completely agree with his assessment. Sometimes bad shit just happens to us.

For me, I have not been nearly so smart, proactive, or motivated about looking out for my own health. But while I am 10 years older and have a chronic illness, I happen to have a chronic illness that has responded favorably to lifestyle changes. That said, I can and must do better. The improvements I have achieved and the ways I feel stronger and more confident in my physical abilities than I did before starting a regular exercise regime, I am not always heeding my body’s cues. When it pleas for donuts and soda routinely, I am obviously still doing something wrong that the pull toward such nom-noms still exist. Or I am not yet detoxed enough from soda and sugar. Maybe I will never be detoxed enough from soda and sugar.

As I type this I am sitting here drinking an orange sparking water and eating a pear baked with cinnamon. Delicious. For the last week or so I have been thinking about what it takes to make changes in lifestyle and make them stick. A lot of the other things in my newsfeed about diet, exercise, lifestyle changes preaches moderation.

Fuck moderation. It doesn’t work for me.

About this time last year trainer J and I had a conversation about working out at least twice between training appointments. He probably doesn’t remember it; J probably has the same or similar conversations with members and clients at least once a week if not once a day. But I do. The kind and gentle approach wasn’t working; time to take the gloves off and get serious.

So … maybe it’s my turn to live on celery and water.

No, not really. Probably more like protein shakes, salads, chicken and broccoli. My calendar is pretty clear for the next 6 weeks and I should be able to get seriously extreme for a week or 6.

I am bright enough to understand eating this way is absolutely not sustainable for the long haul. However, I should be able to muster the discipline to get through this for a week. Or another day tomorrow.

RD and Dr. Spencer have both offered suggestions and thoughts on this idea and have both provided guidelines and meal plans and are cautiously okay with the experiment. Back to MyFitnessPal.

I ordered a long-sleeved business blouse last week and it arrived today. It’s too small. But unexpectedly, it was not too small for the usual reasons. Rather than through the chest or waist, it was the shoulders and upper arms. Seriously. I was Hulking out of this blouse in the shoulders and the upper arms. And I can take comfort in the fact that my arms and shoulders are not freaking huge because of batwing flab. Honest muscle anyone?

Next week I have to go in for my next A1c. I expect nothing horrible to have happened, but I really want to nail down consistent eating practices so I can walk into that lab with absolute confidence. Last year I did it with exercise. I figured being ruthless with myself and going to the gym daily for a month would create a new habit. So goes my thinking with cleaning up my eating.

Bad habits of a lifetime are so difficult to unlearn. But I proved to myself that I can do it, and I just need to force myself to not look away from the prize. Which in this case is sticking to my eating plan.

And again, it’s not like I have been doing terrible things and eating 5 lb. bags of gummy bears and washing it down with sugary sodas. Which, for the record, I can’t stand gummy anything UNLESS they are coated in the sour powder, and even then only certain selections. Otherwise they are wiggly jiggly little pieces of sugary yuck. However, I went on vacation and ate really well while away, only to come home and not eat really well. I did not just fall off the clean eating wagon; I nuked that puppy into oblivion. Lots of carby delights going into my mouth without restraint or guilt.

New week started today. I made it through without incident, but I was extremely busy with self-employment work all day long. Tomorrow is more of the same.

I’m also having agree-to-disagree conversations with a couple of friends about the whole goals, diet, exercise, and my better health quest. I wonder why it matters to them so much and why anymore people feel so compelled to strongly express their opinions. I feel the fatigue of standing up for myself, changing the subject, suggesting we agree to disagree.

Maybe I should lie in the road and let them run over me a few times instead for a nice change f pace.

Another day. When I’ve overdosed on sugar and really WANT to be run over and put out of my misery.

That’s not today, though. Maybe not any other day in my future. Because I know they mean well, and sometimes some distance is required to remember why long friendships evolve and endure.

Hope you are all enjoying an amazing weekend.

Extreme?

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.

 

This is post number 1000!

My very first post on this blog was published on December 19, 2013. In not quite 3 years I have managed to write and publish 1000 posts. Friend J always says to me that I don’t happy dance, I happy prance. So this is most definitely a happy prance post!

I thought I would be more about personal finance, budgeting, and money. But I almost immediately found that I am not a personal finance blogger. I am a let’s-talk-about-my-life blogger. And for the most part, it’s turned out really, really well.

When I sat down and started a blog, I did not know what to expect. I figured a few of my friends would follow me. I thought may I’d find my voice, a theme, and have something intriguing to say. I know the theme thing has not happened, kind of iffy on the something intriguing to say, and voice is sort of personal and unique to me.

The best part is that I have stuck with it. I tend to stop and start with hobbies, and other than a 2 week period of not posting very early on, I have maintained my consistency with regular posting. My content might be kind of light and fluffy, but at least I get here and throw down whatever silliness is rattling around inside my head. I remark upon this fact only because I have not always been very good about sticking with things.

But that was then, this is now.

In some ways I feel like the better health quest and its components that have sort of consumed my life have become part of the focus and focal point for me. The blog does so much for me. Keeps me honest. Keeps me sane when the rest of my life has tilted on its axis. Keeps friends near and far in the loop of how I am faring in my life.

In 1000 posts I have left a job, expanded my side gig into a self-supporting operation, and taken on a dynamic part-time gig that challenges me and makes me happy.

In 1000 posts I have gained a son-in-law and I am less than a month away from gaining a daughter-in-law. While marriage my not be for everyone, I’m delighted that both my kids found someone they to love and to take that very serious step with. I truly do want my kids – all 4 of them now – to be happy.

In 1000 posts I have gotten off injectable insulin, then oral diabetes meds, dragged my A1c down well into the normal range, and become a well-controlled diabetic.

In 1000 posts I have met my superstar, uber fabulous trainer who has not only taught me how to exercise, he has caused me to fall in love with moving my body and making it better and stronger. My world is a bigger, better place since he has become part of my village and my tribe.

In 1000 posts I have found another super great guy to help advise me on my eating. RD is hundreds of miles south of me now, but he emails me regularly and hounds helps me with my eating and food choices. He too expanded my horizons and reminds me how much I value my village and my tribe.

In 1000 posts I have done some reconfiguration of my figure, lost some weight, and built some visible muscle. While I have done it under the watchful eyes of my village, I have had to do the work to make it happen.

In 1000 posts I have made new friends here and on other blogs I follow and read regularly and learned so much.

In 1000 posts I have said goodbye to old friends and mourned their absences. The blog has been an excellent outlet for me to sort out my stuff.

In 1000 posts I have mostly eliminated my brand of gym crazy.

In 1000 posts I reinvented myself with greater confidence and significantly less anxiety and fear. Negative girl will never go away completely, but I have her mostly contained.

How far will I go in the next 1000 posts? In my mind, there is no place that far and even the sky is not a limit, not really. I have no particular goals or objectives. My hopes are only loosely pinned on still being here, still writing about my life and times. Improvement is an incremental thing, no big steps forward planned or on my radar. Writing is something that enhances my life, and I hope to never become so burned out or tired of it that I take a break or walk away from it.

There is no expiration point in my future where I get a pass on being careful with my eating or an extended leave from training and practice at the gym. This is my life now. If there is a fountain of youth, if there is a way for me to move forward in life and have a long and healthy retirement with M, I cannot take the shortcuts I may want to take. I have to do the work, and I am glad to have found my happy places in the gym where I turn off all the background noise and just listen to body and process my stuff inside my head. I cannot eat the endless amounts of favorite foods, and if I am careful, if I stay the course on my better habits, I may succeed in continuing as a well-controlled diabetic. I did that. I very nearly literally worked my ass off to get this far. And within these first 1000 posts I have documented the 95% of the journey thus far.

The better health quest is important to me, and there is no end point where everything is merry and bright. And I’m okay with that. I have had so much fun, along with buckets of sweat, a few tears, and some blood along the way. My tool belt is pretty well equipped with the tools and resources to make better health continue to happen for me.

Wow! Even I cannot believe I have made it through 1000 posts. But I am so happy to be still here, still writing, still oversharing. My life, my self-contained little world, is a richly varied and wonderful place and it’s nice to download the good and the not so good as it happens.

If I paid better attention to statistics, I might be able to tell you how many views, likes, comments I have received, how many words written and published through this significant milestone. But I honestly don’t look at my stats much, and the only reason I know this is post 1000 is because sometime this month I noticed I was in the 980s and so very close. I could have saved post 1000 for my recap tomorrow, but those are significant posts to me as well and should be written and celebrated standing on their own.

So thanks for reading me, for following me, for liking and for commenting on my posts through this first 1000. May our journey continue through to the next milestone with feeling of joy and satisfaction I have right now.