Sign up here to get info on new releases and giveaways!

Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

The Horror Novel You’ll Never Have to Live: Surviving Without Health Insurance

In 2005, I was a robust 25-year-old living in Chicago and working as a project assistant for an architectural and engineering firm. In the fall of 2005, I started to lose weight.

This was a good thing, I figured. I worked out a lot. I ate right. It’s just that losing weight got… easier. It was nice. After so many years of working out relentlessly just to stay at a reasonable size, I didn’t have to think about my weight anymore. As the months passed, I started to experience other problems, though. I started to get recurring yeast infections, infections that could only be cured with prescription medications, not the usual over-the-counter stuff. My gums bled when I brushed my teeth. Not just a little blood, but bloody spitfuls of the stuff. I was thirsty all the time, to the point where I could barely survive a 45-minute plane ride to Indianapolis without having at least one tea or juice on hand. I honest to god thought I was going to die if I couldn’t have a large drink every hour. And when I got ingrown hairs, they would form huge pustules on my body that had to be lanced and drained. As the months passed, the symptoms got worse. My sinus infections dragged on and on. When I went to various urgent care doctors and explained that I was exhausted all the time and getting weird infections, they said I must just be stressed out. I was so tired, in fact, that I couldn’t get out of bed on time for work. I started to get confused, and had trouble concentrating. My boss had to call me in twice for making data entry errors that I hadn’t had problems with before. I dragged my ass into work an hour late sometimes. An hour late! But I was so exhausted and frazzled I didn’t care; nothing seemed to really matter except sleeping and drinking juice. I also become increasingly hungry in addition to thirsty. I had to eat an extra meal between breakfast and lunch. I was chowing down on burgers and ice cream for lunch… and continuing to lose weight.

I remember lying in the bathtub and rolling up into a sitting position and feeling the bones of my spine against the tub. It hurt. I didn’t have the usual padding there to protect me from the hard tub. It was like being inside someone else’s body. I had a “catastrophic” health insurance plan through my employer, so when I went to the doctor with these complaints, it was always to somewhere cheap like the 24 hour urgent care or Planned Parenthood. I had a $2500 deductible, so everything was out of pocket. I was 25 years old, making $40,000 a year living in Chicago; after rent and paying my student loans, it didn’t occur to me to spend a bunch of money on tests. I was 25! Surely there wasn’t anything wrong with me but stress. I never went to the same doctor, so there was nobody to connect the dots related to my various symptoms. b9b2_horror_movie_shower_curtain_bath_mat_curtain

My body finally gave out one Friday after coming home from Indianapolis for another work-related trip. I stepped off the train and got myself a hot dog because I was so hungry. But it gave me such bad heartburn I had to stop eating it. I trundled home via the bus. I could barely walk up the three flights of stairs to my apartment. I was so goddamn tired. I came home and drank and drank and drank – water and juice and Gatorade. And I peed and peed and peed. It was all I could do to stumble from my bed to the bathroom. I had to grab hold of the couch for balance.

At some point, my roommate and girlfriend at the time found me standing in the bathroom. Just… standing there staring at the door. She brought me to the couch where I apparently went into convulsions and started vomiting. I blacked out and wasn’t fully conscious for 36-48 hours, when I woke up in the ICU and had a doctor patiently explain to me that I had type 1 diabetes, an immune disorder that usually shows up in children, which is why nobody thought to test me for it at 25. Sometime the year before, an immune response from my body backfired, and my immune system started killing the islet cells in my pancreas that produce insulin. I would no longer be able to survive without taking 4-5 shots of synthetic insulin a day and carefully measuring and monitoring everything I ate and all of my physical activity.

What they did not tell me was that having this immune disorder also meant that outside of an employer-sponsored health insurance plan, I was now forever uninsurable. And the medication it took to keep me alive was going to cost me $500-800 a month without insurance. The ICU trip alone was over $20,000, with thousands more in bills coming in for weeks and weeks after I got out of the hospital. Even after my $2500 deductible, I still owed an 20% of that cost. That was *with* insurance. I just laughed at these bills. Laughed and laughed.

Four months later, still recovering from my experience in the ICU and adapting to a life totally reliant on taking medication, I was laid off from my job. To retain the same health insurance plan I paid $60 for through my company was $800, paid for on my own. I had to cash out my 401(k) in order to pay for it, because unemployment was just $340 a week (rent alone was $550 a month).  If I went just 60 days without some kind of insurance, my condition would be considered “pre-existing” and I would become uninsurable for 12-24 months *even through an employer sponsored plan.* So I had to find some way to pay for health insurance – health insurance which still didn’t even pay 100% for my drugs. So it was $800 a month for my premium PLUS another $300 a month for the only partially-covered drugs. This was just to stay alive. To keep my head above water.

I picked up temp jobs, and after getting through my 30 days with them, was able to sign up for some shitty insurance that technically covered me (so I wouldn’t fall between plans and get hit with the pre-existing thing), but didn’t pay for my medication, so I was still paying out of pocket for that while trying to pay rent. Credit cards became my friend. I had four of them. Eventually, this situation became unsustainable, and in March of 2007 I packed up all my shit and moved to Dayton, Ohio where I lived in a friend’s spare bedroom, rent-free, while trying to live on expired insulin and checking my blood sugar the minimum amount possible to save on the cost of the testing strips, which were $1 a piece and which I was supposed to be using 7-8 times a day.

Without the temp agency I’d been at before in Chicago, I found myself uninsured once again while trying to rack up the requisite number of temp hours I needed from my new temp agency to qualify for *their* shitty insurance which, once again, wouldn’t cover my medication anyway. So it didn’t make a difference to how much I was spending on drugs (most of my medication costs were going on a credit card at this point). But it did start the “pre-existing condition” clock running again. I only had 60 days to get insured again, but I wasn’t getting enough hours yet to qualify for the new temp agency plan.

I was sick, my medication was working sporadically, since it was expired, and my credit cards were rapidly getting maxed out. I was mostly unemployed and only not technically homeless because I had a friend with a spare bedroom. I just stopped looking at my credit card statements. Being in debt, I figured, was better than being dead. But I knew that if I didn’t get lucky at some point soon, I was going to end up dead.

I signed up with another temp company, but was still 60 days out from being able to use their insurance. I ended up twisting my ankle and had to go to the ER. The bill was $800. When I got it, I just looked at it and laughed. I never paid that bill. I had to go back to the ER again with an issue related to my IUD. That bill was $600. I laughed at that one too, and didn’t pay it.

I could pay those ER bills, or pay for the medication that kept me alive.

Easy choice.

My temp company had me working a temp assignment for three months at a local company. I finally went to the temp company and said, “Listen. I can’t pay for the medication that keeps me alive. Either these people need to hire me or I need to get a full-time position somewhere else.” I went to my employer and said the same.

The temp company and my employer got together and – bless their hearts – my employer bought out my contract from the temp agency. My salary was just $32,000, and I didn’t negotiate at all, because I got first-day health benefits. And the premiums were free. Yes, free – the company paid 100% of the premiums and there was no deductible. I immediately ordered new drugs – the drugs that kept me alive – and paid nothing for them.

That company saved my fucking life. My spouse sometimes wonders why I still do freelance work for them, and why I don’t charge them the rates I do everyone else.

It’s because they saved my fucking life.

But because they saved my fucking life, they also got me for a really good deal. At that point, things were so bad I would have worked for nothing. I would have just worked for the health insurance. Their insurance plan was so good, in fact, it was a common joke over there: “Hey, if you lay me off, I’ll work for free. Just let me keep my health insurance!”

But today, that shit is over.

Today, you don’t have to joke about working for a company for free, just to get the health insurance.

Today, you don’t have to juggle eight credit cards to get the medication you need to live.

Today, for the first time in the U.S., you can sign up for health insurance no matter how much money you make, no matter what your health condition. Even if you have cancer, or you had cancer, or you’ve got some shitty immune disorder like mine. You don’t have to go to bed on some shitty mattress in some friend’s basement hoping and praying that you’ll get some lucky break before your expired medication stops working. You don’t have to beg a company to hire you just for the health benefits.

Today you don’t have to pay $800 a month for bare minimum coverage, and cash out your 401(k) and live on expired medication. You don’t have to run up multiple credit cards with medical bills. You don’t have to cry when the bills from the ER come in.

You can go to healthcare.gov and find a health plan that works for you, with coverage starting in 2014. Can’t afford it? That’s OK. The government will subsidize plans for people who can’t pay for them. You don’t have to worry about being unemployed and homeless and dying of some treatable thing in an alley somewhere.

You don’t have to hope you’ll get lucky – hope that some friends will take you in, and an employer will show you mercy.

All you have to do is be a human being. And you’ll be treated like a human being.

I don’t wish my experience on anyone. It’s my fervent hope that nobody in the U.S., ever, has to live with the fear and terror I did during that year from 2006-2007 when my whole world imploded. I want people to forget what it’s like to live that way. I want them to think that this is the kind of story you’d only hear about in some shitty SF dystopia novel.

I don’t want it to be a story that anybody in the country ever has to live again.

So go get yourself some health insurance.

UPDATE: 1/4/17. Sadly, this post is making the rounds again as the new Republican administration is planning to gut the ACA just three years after it both saved and transformed millions of lives for the better. Ask yourself now: is the pre-ACA world we lived in, detailed here, really the one we want to return to?

How I Built My Treadmill Desk for $200

So, after my mega-crazy writing spree on RAPTURE, where I found myself sitting for 14, 16, and even one memorable 20-hour-stretch just… sitting, I decided it was time to finally give in and put together a treadmill desk. Depression and anxiety runs in my family, but I’ve found that if I can be consistently active, I can pretty much lead a normal life. The trouble is, I’ve chosen a sedentary profession. As I’m now working 1-2 days a week from home as part of my day job… well.

The treadmill desk idea was starting to look a lot less like a silly liberal hippie thing and a lot more like a practical way to solve a modern problem.

Since money was the first issue for me, I’ll show you how I did it for about $200.

First, I did my research. One of the most helpful things was this blog post about three different people and their treadmill desk setups. To sum up, all three hit Craigslist. The most successful managed to get hers for $200 *and* have it delivered to her office. That sounded like an astoundingly good deal to me. The second was this really quick video that showed just how incredibly cheap and simple your desk could be:

Armed with this information, I hit Craigslist for a few days looking for treadmills. There were quite a few treadmills under $300, but very few that I could get delivered. Finally, I found one for $60 that was missing a piece of molding. I offered the guy $175 if he’d deliver it. He actually said he’d feel bad charging me that much (awwww) and delivered it right to my door for $150.

After plugging it in to confirm it worked, I hit the hardware store and got the stuff indicated in the video at my local Lowe’s:

I splurged and got some really nice shelf pieces.

First, I got the treadmill into position. In order to retain a sitting desk space for when I’m tired or exhausted, I simply re-oriented my existing desk stuff to the other side of the desk, and put the treadmill between the wall and the desk on the other side.

 

They had the brackets already cut into 12in pieces, but I needed 10in pieces, so I bought a hacksaw. Turns out I could have saved myself the $$ because J has a Dremmel, which cut through the metal pretty easily.

 

Unlike the treadmill in the video, my treadmill didn’t have flat arms, so I got two nice pieces of molding and just screwed them into the bottom shelf with the 1/2 inch screws. Now I could rest my mouse and keyboard on it without them sliding off.

 

Because I already had a pretty buff, tall shelf, I decided to make the most of it and just affix the shelf for the monitor directly onto my existing tall shelf. I got longer screws for this job because I really wanted it to be sturdy:

 

 

The finished top shelf looked like this:

Next, it was time to put in the bottom shelf for the keyboard. After installing the moulding, I did exactly like in the video, and it worked great.

And here’s what it looked like after I installed the keyboard shelf:

Finally, I was ready to install the keyboard, mouse, and monitor. J. had an extra monitor, and I still had my old keyboard from when I upgraded my keyboard a couple weeks ago to a gaming keyboard. The mouse is wireless, so I can just take it with me based on where I’m working. I mirrored my monitors, so it’s an easy switch for when I want to change positions as well.

Pretty neat, huh?

I’ve got it going at about 1.1 mph right now. It took a few minutes to get used to, but so far, the extra brain power it takes to walk and type at the same time actually keeps me more focused. I’ve also been on here nearly 50 minutes now and I barely noticed the time slip away… you know, like it does when you’re playing WoW for four hours or sitting for two and a half hours writing guest posts or something.

So far, I’m really digging it. Looking forward to changing up the way I work!

What is this Fat Woman Doing on TV?

When I rant about biases and stereotypes and authors’ blindspots, I get the impression that some people think I’m some perfect person without any biases. I’ve talked a lot about my awareness of my own misogyny and racism, but there’s other stuff that creeps up on you too, sometimes when you least expect it.

Bias does not happen in a vacuum. It’s a learned behavior. You eat it every morning with your cornflakes and simply haul it all back up the moment it’s triggered.

This truth hit me especially hard a few weeks ago when I was shopping at a local big box store and cruising past a row of televisions where a nondescript, sweater-vest wearing fat woman was talking on the screen in front of a harsh white background. My hind brain immediately sneered (despite the fact that I, as a matter of fact, am also a fat woman), “What the heck is that fat lady doing on TV? Is she talking about some new dieting show or how hard it is to be a mom?”

I kid you not. That was the insidious bullshit that popped immediately into my head. Afterall, how often did I see fat women on TV? All the fat women I see on TV are from The Biggest Loser, talking about how crappy their lives are because they can’t tie their shoes. And then they barf and scream their way to skinny and they’re allowed to smile on TV and actually talk about how great their lives are. But not until they’re skinny.

So here I was, mocking the fat woman in a sweater vest.

It wasn’t until the show continued to roll, cutting to images of said fat woman hurling a shot put in a massive stadium, that I realized she was, in fact, an Olympic shot putter.

She was an Olympic athlete. 

Biases and stereotypes do us all a disservice. In this case, I’d totally put the woman into a box without knowing anything about her but the fact that she was fat, but it also did me a disservice, because by putting her in a box, I’d put myself into one too. Fat women only get to speak when it’s about how much it sucks to be fat. That’s what TV told me. That’s what I’d lapped up with my cornflakes.

And now, random photos of buff, meaty women I wish we were all seeing a lot more of:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

The Unreasonable Weight of Being

Some folks might know that I’m a Jillian Michaels fan. I mean, how can you not love somebody who kicks people’s asses all day, screams at them to suck it up, and then provides a thoughtful psych evaluation on them after she’s beaten them raw?

I was working out six or seven weeks ago and listening to one of her free podcasts, and she said something, only half-joking, like “If everybody would just do everything I tell them to do, they’d have no problems.”

And I thought… well, fuck it. I’m just going to do whatever the fuck Jillian tells me to do, because nothing else is working.

Physically, I’ve had a rough couple of years, mostly due to my extended-honeymoon-eating-fest, new day job that no longer requires me to bike to work, and some surgeries that left me down for the count.

Low-carb alone wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I was too addicted to high calorie items like nuts, cheese, and whipping cream, and when you’re eating a dessert every night that’s 1200 calories (what? It’s whipped cream mouse! Low carb! DELICIOUS! Yeah, didn’t figure out that calorie amount until I actually started… counting calories), no amount of working out (unless you’re clocking in three hours or more) is going to be able to help you.

The working out, I already had down. So I just made a commitment to getting in 60-90 minutes a day and logging it to make me accountable for it. So instead of 20 minutes here, 20 minutes there, I was committed to daily strength and cardio work.

The biggest challenge – and one I have fought against doing my entire life – was calorie counting. One of the reasons I’m a fan of Jillian is that she’s less of a bullshit fad dieter than most gurus. It’s all pretty simple. Burn more than you consume. Work out this much, but not more than this much. Eat this much, but not less than this much. Balance. I like balance.

I’d always known the calories in/calories out thing before, but I just didn’t buy it. See, just like calculating how much insulin I take based on the number of carbs I eat and my current blood sugar number, weight loss is supposed to have… well, not an exact formula, but a general formula that’s calories in, calories out. Balancing my blood sugar, though, taught me that trying to use that math to precisely predict what my body was doing was hopeless. However, if I came to it with the expectation that I was going to be getting an approximation of what was really happening instead of an exact number-by-number results, I’d feel better.

3500 calories might equal a pound, but just because you burn 3500 calories doesn’t mean you will burn a pound. It makes it more likely, sure, but saying “FUCK YOU I BURNED FOUR POUNDS AND ONLY LOST TWO THIS IS BULLSHIT” becomes more likely when you think of it that literally. That was the problem I always had with doing it. I watched people starve themselves on 800 calories a day and plateau, then go on huge binges, then gain back more than they lost. The body doesn’t like trickery. It will fuck you right back – the t1 diabetes has taught me that. Most mornings, my little formula of 1 unit insulin for every 15 carbs ingested might work. Others… I might be shaky and sucking down juice at 8am. No discernable reason (oh, I’m sure there’s a reason, but we don’t understand the individual vagaries of bodies enough to calculate all of the relevant variables. We can only go by the most obvious ones).

Instead of expecting precise miracles, then, I expected approximations. I calculated my BMR – basic metabolic rate. It said that on an average day, a person of my height and weight burns about 1900 calories. So, ok, that’s a starting point. My goal, then, was to cumulatively eat and/or burn enough calories that I was getting less than that each day.

But there were two important tricks here that I never did before on my other eating regimes. Only one of them is totally Jillian-approved.

First, I’m not allowed to go below 1400 calories. My goal is 1500. Crazy people may go as low as 1200 (::shudder:: ) but anything less than that and you’re well into starvation mode. That’s the point where not only are you hungry all the time, but your body kicks all the shit into gear that halts weight loss. We’re not meant to starve. We’re meant to hang onto fat. And I have a body that is very efficient at doing just that. I suspect it does it with even greater efficiency than most people. That’s one of the big reasons I avoided low-calories diets. I was also prone to bingeing. If I went hungry, bad things happened.

So there was one more thing I did here to fool my efficient body into easing back to my maintenance weight. I added in a meal one day a week where I was allowed to eat 1,000-2,500 calories more than my 1500 goal. So one day a week I’m eating anywhere from 2,500 to 4,000 calories that day. Jillian would not approve of this level of consumption (she’d recommend a day where you’re eating maybe 300-500 calories more), but it works very well for me.

Some of the changes were easy, like switching to non-fat lattes and reduced fat cheese and making a greek yogurt mousse instead of one made entirely of whipping cream. Others, like switching from Crystal Light and Coke Zero to water, and throwing out all my “snack” cheeses, were a lot harder. Worst of all, though, was getting used to cooking with cooking spray or 1tbs of olive oil instead of huge amounts of butter and olive oil… and bacon. We ate that stuff like liquid candy (WHAT?? IT’S LOW CARB!!). Also off-limits were the three-kinds-of-cheese-plus-bacon-plus-roast-beef wraps I liked to get from the cafeteria at the day job for lunch. Now it’s Chipotle, generally, with my usual carnitas fajita bowl (no rice, no beans, no cheese, plus guac) for 505 calories a pop.

At the end of the day, doing the one thing I didn’t want to do finally worked, and I dropped 20 lbs and can now fit comfortably back into 80% of my wardrobe.

But short-term drops aren’t really what I’m looking for. I’m looking for a way to not let this happen again. I’ve spent my whole life vacillating between 185-250lbs, and you know… I’m tired. I’m tired of having four sizes of clothes in my closet. I’m tired of thinking about it. I’m tired of dealing with it. I just want to find a weight and stick with it. Before I met J., I’d managed to maintain a very nice weight for myself for nearly two years. It was workable and relatively easy. I still got to eat pizza occasionally and I worked out regularly. But when Life Things happen, I inevitably get out of my routine, and things go sour.

So I’m turning to Jillian’s advice for that part of it, too, because, let’s face it – I just have no idea how to maintain a single weight for more than two years. As soon as the wacky Life Thing happens, it throws me out of whack, and there I am, with a closet full of clothes that are either too big or too small for me again. The other problem with calorie counting is that, you know, it’s not some fad diet thing. It’s something you have to do forever. If I want to stop fighting my body, I need to track my calories in vs. calories out every day, and ensure that, on average, I’m not eating more than I burn in a single day, without going below my 1500 base (or, when I get to maintenance again, my 1700). That’s the only way to manage it.

Ideally, of course, I’d just get to the point where I don’ t need to track this stuff anymore. I’d get so good at calorie counting and automatically knowing about how much of X type of exercise burned so many calories that I could just keep it all in my head. But I don’t trust myself to do that. It’s basically how we all do it now, and for me, as for most folks in the U.S., my guesstimate is so laughably wrong it’s… yes, laughable. Also, wrong.

So, I went against all my principles and started calorie counting and exercise logging, which is a lot less painful these day because of apps like MyFitnessPal, which keep me accountable. And this is where I’m at after nine weeks or so. Back down to a reasonable weight where I look slightly less like a mushroom, and another ten weeks or so from maintenance weight. I also feel like I’m in a better place for additional physical activity, because honestly, one of the other reasons I made the switch is because it was getting harder to move around all that extra weight when I was exercising. I felt physically weaker because my body was being asked to lug around more.

There is no particular point to any of this, of course. On my deathbed I won’t be all like, “Thank god I started counting calories!” or “If only I had lived my life at a size 6!” In fact, I rather like myself as I am. But there are some cold, hard realities I have to face when living in a world that tells me that a 2,500 calorie burger-and-fry combo is a normal meal, and sitting at a desk all day is a normal way for a human being to spend 9 hours. None of these things is a reasonable expectation, and to counteract them, sometimes you have to do things that may, on the face of it, seem unreasonable.

 

Fitness Update

I made it a point to work in some pilates and a nice long walk with my niece while I was back in the PNW. This wasn’t tough, as the weather was great. I ended up eating a piece of French bread too many while at home, and the numbers during my first day or two traveling weren’t great (but that tends to happen anyway, when I travel). Overall, though, my average BG has gone down a few points (from 144 to 138 – which corresponds with a 5.9-6 A1c), and my morning readings have gone down about 20 points, on average. Still a ways to go – I’m looking for an average number of 120-125 (which would get me a 5.5-5.7 A1c).

Eliminating all that coffee cake and low-carb (read: almond flour) treats after dinner also allowed me to drop 6 lbs, which gets me closer to my maintenance weight again.Still, the last few days of traveling churned over some of the good work I’ve done, so it’s good that I’m back in my routine.

Now that the eating part is back on track, I realize that much of what led to this sudden jump in weight over the holidays wasn’t just coffee cake: I haven’t ridden my bike to work since early December (cold and snow), and our twice-a-week workouts at the day job were canceled back in November. That means I’m getting at least 2.5 hours less physical activity every week, and that adds up. 

Winter is holding on – we’re expecting more snow this weekend – but the new house is a little further from work, so when biking weather arrives again, I’ll be putting in a little extra. Not sure what to do about the lack of midday workouts. I’m considering switching my tough workout to the morning and the pilates to the evening to ensure that I get in the tough workout (I’m more insulin resistant in the morning, so it makes sense to workout more then. One of the big obstacles I face with evening workouts is low sugar).

Overall, I’m feeling a little better, but still doughier than I’d like. Would love to take up boxing again when/if i can afford it. We’ll see how much we can sock away once we’re settling in our new digs.

Things That Need Doing

Stepped on the scale today for the first time in, what, six months? When I was living at my old apt, I was very good at weighing myself once a month and making adjustments accordingly. It kept my weight steady and my clothes fitting and all was well. Now that my house is so damn cold, I’m less inclined to strip and step on a scale. So I’ve avoided it since at least October when the house started getting chilly.

I knew I’d put on 10lbs or so since J. and I moved in together. I actually managed to get that back down to +5 before the holidays. Then came the holidays, and winter, and tax season, and this really great website with low carb coffee cake recipes…

Despite getting up at 5:30 in the morning to do 30 minutes of exercise and another 20-25 minutes 3 times a week when I get home, it just hasn’t been enough to make up for the coffee cake and cold house. They’ve also cut the workout program at work, which means no more twice-weekly strength training sessions and no more gym membership.

What happened is just what I suspected would happen when I ceased being vigilant – I’ve gained a retarded amount of weight since J. and I first met a year and a half ago – most of which I’ve put on in the last 4 months of coffee cakes and cold houses. Nobody believes me when I say this is what happens when I stop paying attention.

What actually moved me to get back on the scale was my crazy sugar numbers. My blood sugar has been a lot harder to control, and far more frustrating. I wanted to know if the weight gain was indeed substantial enough that it may be causing insulin resistance. And oh yes, dear reader – it is.

There are some quick and easy changes I’m making right away: no more low carb cookies and coffee cakes, for one (do you have any idea how many calories are in almond flour?), and sticking to the lunch I bring into work instead of adding snacks from the free salad bar at work. I did manage to eliminate my peanut butter/low carb English muffin fix way back, which is how I curbed the initial weight gain and got things back under control. But now there’s that coffee cake thing…

My 20 minutes pilates/15 min free weights workout each morning is pretty solid. What I need to work on now is getting at least 30 minutes 5x a week of cardio instead of the current 20-25 3x a week. A lot of the problem with getting this in is wonky sugar numbers. Some days I turn my insulin off at 3:45 and I can workout for 50 minutes. Other days, I turn it off at the same time and I can only workout for 20 and then my sugar crashes and I start to tremble and all the energy goes out of me and I have that intense hunger spike and desire to burn the world to the ground. I need to get this timing right if I’m going to workout properly every day after work.

I’m also working toward doing at least 40 more minutes on Sat or Sun to get me to 6 days. 6 days a week of 30-50 min a day is pretty much the only thing that moves me. It’s just a really tough routine to put into place during the best of times, and right now the house is cold and I’ve got a crazy day job and personal deadlines.

But. The alternative is very bad. This is a good reminder of what happens to me when I don’t stay on top of maintaining my weight with monthly weigh-ins. I know some folks thought this was odd – if you’re happy with your weight, why be so vigilant?

Here’s why: because aside from that whole immune disorder thing, I have great genes. I’m very good at packing weight away, and when you have aforementioned immune disorder, this is a very bad habit to get into. I have been displeased with my numbers, and not feeling well to boot. Now I have a better idea of why. I’m still quite pleased with how I look (I spent a long time learning how to like myself, and reorienting how my self worth was measured in a society with weird ways of measuring worth, particularly in women), but my numbers are bad, so I don’t feel as well, and I’m not throwing out my wardrobe because I’d rather eat coffee cake.

So, here’s what we’re going to do to get back to maintenance:

Monday/Weds/Friday

Workout: 20 min pilates. 15 min free weights
Breakfast: 2 eggs w/spinach
Workout: Bike to work (if not snowing, more than 20 degrees out)
Lunch: Leftovers. No more salad bar additionals.
Workout: Bike home (if not snowing, more than 20 degrees out)
Workout: 25-30 minutes elliptical
Dinner: Entree and side. No more tortillas/low carb bread
Dessert: Yogurt and berries

Tuesday/Thursday

Workout: 20 min pilates. 15 min free weights
Breakfast: 2 eggs w/spinach
Workout: Bike to work (if not snowing, more than 20 degrees out)
Lunch: Leftovers. No more salad bar additionals.
Workout: Bike home (if not snowing, more than 20 degrees out)
Workout: 25-30 minutes elliptical. 25 minutes circuit training.
Dinner: Entree and side. No more tortillas/low carb bread
Dessert: Yogurt and berries

Saturday

Breakfast: Low carb pancakes (no almond flour makes a big difference)
Workout: 40 min circuit training
Lunch: Soup/sandwich/leftovers. No more “it’s a special occasion” carbs
Dinner: Entree and side. No more tortillas/low carb bread
Dessert: Yogurt and berries

Sunday

Breakfast: Low carb pancakes
Workout: 15-20 minutes elliptical
Lunch: Soup/sandwich/leftovers. Ditto above carb curb.
Dinner: Entree and side. No more tortillas/low carb bread
Dessert: Yogurt and berries

This eliminates the low carb bread/tortillas I’ve been snacking on and low carb/high calorie coffee cakes and cookies I’ve been making. I think this alone will make a big difference. I’m telling you, I could live on low carb coffee cake forever.

I’m not terribly happy with this, but I’m less happy with my sugar numbers right now. If I’m going to do some of the things I’d like to do this year, it’s also very important that I get into some semblance of fighting shape. And all this happy-happy-joy-joy stuff has aided me in becoming a bit doughier than I’d like.

Thing is, you want to be a certain kind of person, you have to start living like that kind of person, no matter how frustrating it may be. And there’s a certain type of person I’d like to be. And she works out a lot more than I’ve been able to the last few months. It’s too bad she doesn’t eat as much coffee cake as I’d like, either, but them’s the breaks.

Today’s Stats

Only had two regular workout days last week instead of four. Annoying. On the other hand, it was a short and busy week.

When J. and I stopped at Wendy’s at 1 am for a “snack” on the way home from our fireworks party on Saturday and I ordered a baconater, I turned to him and said, “This is why married people get fat.”

“It’s one roadtrip!” he protested.

Then I was reminded of why I don’t eat fast food anymore. I felt sick after eating the damn thing, and wished I would have just kept to the almonds and string cheese. But oohhhhh the IDEA of a baconator is just… well, the idea is better than the real thing.

Hot hot hot!

15 min free weights this morning
10 min bike ride to work
20 min weight lifting w/ trainer at work
20 min cardio w/ trainer at work
10 min bike ride home
20 min Wii Fit

Hot Eats

Breakfast: Egg mixed with spinach, tomato, & cheese
Lunch: Chicken curry, low carb tortilla, and string cheese
Snack: 2 tbs peanut butter mixed with 1/4 cup peanuts
Dinner: Pork chop and asparagus
Snack: 5 low carb peanut butter cookies (they were DELICIOUS)

Hot Sugar

Breakfast: 98
Lunch: 161 (had to lower my insulin before cardio at the gym)
Post lunch: 209 (I always forget that the peas in the curry have more carbs than I think they do)
Dinner: 77
Post-dinner: 80

Today’s Stats

Today is hotter than hell. I plan to spend the rest of the evening reading in the bedroom where the box air conditioner resides. I should prob’ly start tracking my wordcount here too. Need to get back on the writing bandwagon.

Hot hot hot!

15 min free weights this morning
10 min bike ride to work
10 min bike ride home
20 min on the elliptical
10 min Wii Fit

Hot Eats

Breakfast: Egg mixed with spinach, tomato, & cheese
Snack: 2 tbs peanut butter mixed with 1/4 cup peanuts
Lunch: Spaghetti squash spaghetti and 1/2 cup pecans
Snack: 2 string cheese
Dinner: Chix strips, spinach salad, and peas
Snack: Perhaps a choc covered banana later?

Hot Sugar

Breakfast: 91
Snack: 157
Lunch: 129
Post lunch: 101
Dinner: 89
Post-dinner: 137

Huzzah!

Today’s Stats

Again, pardon the lists while I get back on track:

Hot rides:

Today was an “off” day for me, fitness-wise

15 min free weights this morning
10 min bike ride to work
10 min bike ride home
40 min Wii Fit

Hot eats:

Breakfast: Egg mixed with spinach, tomato, & cheese
Snack: 2 tbs peanut butter mixed with 1/4 cup peanuts
Lunch: Rueban sandwich and cabbage coleslaw (srsly un-low-carb)
Snack: 2 string cheese
Dinner: Chix strips, spinach salad, and low carb tortilla chips w/hummus
Snack: Half cup blueberries with whipped cream

I should also start listing my “sugar correction” snacks for when I get low. Had a serious low last night of 43 and again after work today (34).

Hot sugar:
Not bothering to post my sugar lows. Been having a lot the last couple of days – due to Wii Fit and new PDM settings. Better than the highs I was having before I finally refined the settings.

Breakfast: 138
Snack: 132
Lunch: 120
Post lunch: 245 (yeah, that rueban was a killer)
Dinner: 91
Post-dinner: 79

Today’s Activity

I may start keeping a little activity log here to help track my fitness/insulin/food levels. It may help me stay accountable.

Hot rides:

15 min free weights this morning
10 min bike ride to work
40 min speed walking (“free” day with the trainers today)
10 min bike ride home
20 min on elliptical machine
30 min Wii Fit

Hot eats:

Breakfast: Egg mixed with spinach, tomato, & cheese
Snack: 2 string cheese
Lunch: Spaghetti (made w/ spaghetti squash) and 1/4 cup peanuts
Dinner: Pork chop and brussel sprouts
Snack: Low carb brownie with dollop o’ whipped cream

Hot sugar:

Breakfast: 81
Snack: 132
Lunch: 62
Post lunch: 107
Dinner: 154
Post-dinner: 227 (lazy insulin math on my part, adjusted)