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It’s been a week full of transitions


Whew! What a week!

Inside Tony's BrainBefore I “get into the weeds” and talk about some of the details of the past week, I thought I’d share a few random thoughts and observations in no particular order and no intentional emphasis… …sort of a “stream of consciousness” exercise.  Sound good?  Got your seat belt tightened? Are you mentally braced for the strangeness of entering Tony’s Brain?  LOL  OK then, here we go!

  • This crap is HARD!
  • This whole “getting fit & healthy” thang is gonna kill me!
  • There are a LOT of moving parts to this process.  Tug on one and the others shift. *SIGH*
  • I’m making progress!
  • I feel OLD. Some days more old than on others.
  • I am old. – evidence: I now have to use my reading glasses waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more than I used to…  *SIGH*
  • EVERYTHING takes longer than I thought it would
  • It’s a process… …I’m making progress.
  • I’ve GOT to do this. The quality of my remaining years depend on it.
  • I do feel MUCH better now than I did a couple weeks ago; something about paying attention to my diet, my health, and my fitness has changed my mental outlook.  Yeah, it is everything I’ve listed up above, but, even though only a tiny bit of progress has been made,
    I FEEL BETTER ABOUT MYSELF! simply because I’m doing SOMETHING to improve myself.  That alone is worth all this effort.

The cold hard numbers:

Slow Progress is still ProgressSlow progress… …but progress!

  • Weight 292.8 lbs — Total lost to date: 42.2 lbs / Left to loose: 97.8 lbs

    • no weight loss this past week…BUT check out the body fat % numbers!  Woo hoo!
  • Body Fat: 41.3% — Lost to date: 3.2%  / Left to loose: 28.8%
  • Muscle: 24.1% — Gain of .1% — Yay!!!
  • Visceral Fat: 29.26% — Average over 19 measurements — still getting data here.  Sometimes it is 29% sometimes 30%.  As you can see from the average it seems to be closer to 29%

How did the “plan” go?

Well, it was a mixed bag.  Mostly I stuck to it.  And I knew last week it was a “trial week” meaning that THIS week, beginning Mon Jan 4th was the “real” start of the new Game Plan.

Last week was to try it out and tweak it before jumping in for real.

There are LOTS of things that you have to change if you are serious about getting fitter, healthier and staying that way! In other words, if you plan on this being a permanent lifestyle change and not a temporary effort.

Some examples:

Tracking Calories / Switching to a balanced diet

  • Simpsons dueIt takes TIME to enter data into a program.  Whew!  Those nutrition labels are sometimes very tiny!
  • I am NOT currently eating a balanced diet.  Over the past week I have tended to eat a higher percentage of fat than recommended daily allowances. Also, my carbs are lower than they should be.  GOAL: I am going to try to adjust that this week.
  • I tend to eat calorie dense foods.  Ugh.  GOAL: try to adjust that
  • My sense of portions are way out of whack.  This ties into the other two things.  SIGH
  • I’m better with breakfast and lunch. Dinner is where the shit hits the fan.  Ooops! Did I just use a wordy dird? Damn right I did. 😉
  • I am successfully drinking more water.  Yay Me!
  • I only gave in one time and drank some diet coke.  — Yeah, according to the nutrition label, there’s nothing wrong with doing this but LOTS of articles on the subject and my own personal experience tells me that NOT drinking Diet Coke is better for me than when I drink a lot of diet coke.  I’m actually better drinking a Hansen’s Root Beer when the craving for a soda hits than drinking the chemical nightmare that is Diet Coke.  So there!  *grin*
  • I need to find and consume some healthy snacks…things that are high volume but low calorie and have some nutritional value.  Things that come to mind are raw carrots and cucumbers….things that are fresh and crunchy and filling.  — GOAL: do some research on this.

Daily Blood Glucose Test / Daily Blood Pressure Check.

I had some questions about this.  I am a Type 2 Diabetic and have been so for several years now.  My doctor assures me that IF I loose the weight and get my body fat percentage down, that I’ll be able to stop taking the diabetic medication and the blood pressure medication which keeps both of those conditions in check.

Questions I had at the beginning of the week:

  • How long does it take for the Blood Glucose Level to increase after after drinking a sip of coffee or taking a bite of food?  Actually for me I wanted to know more about the coffee than the food!  LOL

I am NOT a morning person.  My long-time roommate and best friend can attest to this.  He knows after living with me for 15 years to NOT even attempt to speak to me until I’ve had at LEAST one cup of coffee.

Truly, I’m not capable of conscious actions and thought until at least half a cup, so, performing my morning blood glucose test and the morning blood pressure check before consuming any coffee at all…OMG!!!!!!  I’ve mostly trained myself to do this, but sometimes…SIGH.

So, the answer?

  • It depends

SIGH!  I did some research and got all kinds of answers that basically boiled down to: It depends on the individual and it depends on what kinds of food / drink you’re talking about.  Basically high carb (including sugar which is a carb) causes spikes faster.  Fats and Proteins take longer to cause a spike BUT EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT so the only sure way is to experiment and find out what happens to your body when you eat/drink different things:

  • FOR ME: a cup of coffee doesn’t affect either my blood glucose level or my blood pressure.  I get the same readings pre and post not just one cup, but three cups of coffee.  I did the measurements over a course of four days.
  • My morning coffee is Equal Exchange Breakfast Blend, 1/2 tsp of Organic Sweet Leaf Stevia, and 4 Tbsp of Sprouts brand Organic Half and Half.

So….for the next couple weeks I’m going to take TWO tests, one that is “fasting” right after I wake up and the second after cup #3 of coffee.  Why? Because the fasting one is higher than I’d like…actually outside the recommended range,  SIGH, while the one after cup #3 of coffee is where is SHOULD be… so what the heck is going on?  I think it is because of my food choices for dinner which I’ll be changing over the next couple weeks so, for now, I need to do both in order to tell if my food changes have the desired effect on the AM fasting test.

Next Question:  What is the acceptable range of blood sugar level PRE and POST eating a meal?

THAT answer was a lot easier to find.  According to the American Diabetes Association here are the ranges (click the image for a full size view):

Blood Glucose Chart

And the good news is that I’m right on target!!!  Yay me!!!!

Final question on blood glucose testing:  Am I doing it correctly?

Again, the American Diabetes Association seemed to have the best answer:

https://www.diabetes.org/healthy-living/medication-treatments/blood-glucose-testing-and-control/checking-your-blood-glucose

How to check your blood glucose levels

Answer: Yes, I’m doing it right!  YAY ME!!!!

Omron Blood Pressure DeviceAs for the Blood Pressure testing, all week, whenever I did a blood glucose test, I also checked my blood pressure.  I use an Omron home testing unit.  Mine is an older one so the idiot lights on it reflect the OLD ranges, not the current ones but the measurements are accurate.  The current model is the Series 10 unit which I’d like to get but can’t afford.  It is on my “Help Tony on his Fitness Journey Wish List on Amazon” so if you’re in a generous mood and want to get it for me that would be AWESOME!

Eeeeeeennnnnyyyyyyyway…. My blood pressure is spot on!  Woo Hoo!  Yay for me!  Well, “Yay” for the awesome meds my doctor has prescribed to me that keeps my blood pressure where it should be.  Hopefully, eventually, I’ll get weaned off those meds as well as the diabetic meds.

ONE example of weirdness…

Tug on one thing and it affects everything.  So…to count calories and to track WHAT and HOW MUCH I’m putting into my body that meant that this week I had to:

  • Re-arrange stuff in my kitchen
  • Replace the batteries in my food scale
  • Ask my roommate if I could have the tiny drawer at the end of the kitchen cabinets closest to the wall where he had been storing the fuses for the condo. He said yes. Then clean it out and then put the measuring tools into it that makes it more likely that I’ll actually MEASURE the food that I’m eating.
  • Clean out my fridge, tossing a couple expired items of dressing, sauces etc.
  • PULL EVERYTHING out of my pantry and fridge, haul it to my bedroom where my computer and desk are located, then grab my READING GLASSES *Grrrrrrrr!!!!!*  sigh and input the nutrition label information for anything that wasn’t already entered into the database of the program I’m using.  THEN haul all that stuff back and put it into the fridge and/or pantry.
  • Order a couple measuring spoons because I discovered that I need some spares – easier to have the spares than to have to keep rinsing and washing the ONE of each size that I have currently.
  • Order a new lighted magnifier to put in the kitchen because the old one wasn’t working (did I mention yet that I’m irritated about needing reading glasses / magnifying glass to read nutrition labels?)  Oh? I did? Nevermind then! *hmmprhmph*

See? Tug one thing and….thar ya go! Whew!

And… don’t even get me started about 2020 / New Years Eve, the Covid-19 vaccine roll out, the delay in getting unemployment $$ from the newly passed relief bill, the massive train wreck that is our federal government….Aaaaaaaarrrrggggghhhhh!!!!!

thinking calming thoughts…thinking calming thoughts…

So…all in all, a good week!

Still lots of work to do and I’m sure that this coming week there will be more tweaks to the “Game Plan” but I’m on my way.

See ya on the dance floor!

Looking Back and Looking Ahead – Good things are happening!


My Journey So far…

My journey so far...The way we humans envision time is a funny thing.

When I start looking back I am often surprised at how much, or how little time has actually passed.

And, if you will pardon a wee bit of bluntness, I’m often surprised by the huge amount of CRAP that I’ve been through!

No wonder my face has some tread marks on it because life done run me over! Several times!

In the colorful vernacular of present times: Life be like — “Boy you done been Bitch Slapped!”

Life is getting Better! Way Better!

2016 is going to be a FABULOUS yearIf things keep going on their current trajectory, then 2016 is going to be an amazing, stupendous, exciting, fabulous year!

It may, indeed turn out to be the best year of my entire life.

Wow!

The truly amazing thing is that my focus has shifted.

I’m no longer focused on the “here and now” locked permanently into “survival mode;” I find that I am only looking “back” to measure how far I’ve come and/or to explain to friends when they ask me “where have you been hiding?”

My focus is firmly pointed toward the future.  A quick rundown of the exciting things that are happening:

  • I’m loosing weight! Yay!
    ..
  • As of this morning I weigh 294.6 — that is a total of 40.4 lbs lost from my highest weight of 335 lbs.
    ..
  • My health is improving on almost a daily basis. My stamina is up. I’m moving more.
    ..
  • I’ve started dancing again!
    • I am back in the studio practicing.
    • I’ve started teaching line dance again — lots of stuff happening there; more on that later in this post.
    • I’ve started an Instructor Training program at a local studio and as soon as I finish that program I’ll be put on staff teaching couples dancing, both Ballroom and Country — THIS IS FRIGGIN’ HUGE!
    • I’ve been put on staff at one dance event already for the coming dance year, 2016, and I’m likely to be put on staff at several others!
    • I’m planning on competing this year in Line Dance!
    • I’m beginning to choreograph line dances and will be competing in Line Dance Choreography this year.

Things are turning around.  But to understand just how wonderful and much of a positive change these and other events and happenings in my life are, I have to go back in time and fill you in on how awful things were… 

Long time readers of my blog will recognize bits and pieces of the story but you’ve probably not seen it laid out so concisely in one spot.

For my new readers, new “dance friends” I just made at Dallas Dance and at Worlds, and for my friends with whom I only recently reconnected…

…in the words of Bette Davis “Fasten your seat belts...”

And, uhmmm… you might want to hit “pause” and go grab a cup of coffee or soda and some snacks.

I never intend for my blog posts to be long. Stop laughing!  It is true!  I really do try to make them short, but somehow…  sigh

Oh, well, it may be long, but it is without a doubt entertaining…and informative… Now git…go grab that beverage…

…back?  Got your soda?  Cool… here we go:

The date my life changed…for the worse

Looking back on one’s life, even on recent events, is much like using a crystal ball to peer into the future: the images are very VERY foggy!

Some events are Read the rest of this entry

This has been a good week!


Where to start?  So much news to share…

One of the hardest things about writing and/or blogging, is deciding on just what to write about and how much to write.  Ideas are always popping into my head.  I have a post-it note program on my Mac that I use to jot down ideas about topics as they occur in an attempt to stay organized.

Sometimes I even start a post then save it as a draft to finish later.  We will not even begin to discuss how many of those I have saved in draft mode waiting for me to return and finish the post…  sigh

And then I have a week like the one just past, so chock full of stuff that it generates even MORE ideas!swooning

“Whateva shall I do?  I feel faint with the stress of it all…”
   [using my best Southern Belle / accent]

  [Hmmmm…I think I need some liquid fortification…]
Oh waiter! YoooooHoooo! A chocolate martini!  Stat!

…..ssssslllllluuuuurrrrrrpppp….  Ahhhhh!  That’s better.

Now, where was I? A lot happened this week.

Since I have been accused of digression in posts past, I am determined to turn over a new leaf.  Plus, that chocolate martini is gonna get warm if I don’t make this quick. 😉

Therefore, for the ultra-minimalist crowd:

It has indeed been a very good week!

There.

I’m done.

What?  You want more?

Tsk-tsk-tsk  You guys should know better than ask me for “more”  —   Brevity is not a strong point of mine… but I’m gonna try.

How’s this then?

Read the rest of this entry

Sharing Diabetes and Supplement Information #2: Janumet


Second post in a series…

How to measure your bodyThis is the second in a series where I go through all the drugs and vitamin supplements that my doctor has instructed me to take and I provide you with a list of links / readings / background information.

For the full backstory and the 411 on Invokana and the ACA, check out the first post:

Sharing Diabetes and Supplement Information #1: Introduction, Invokana and the ACA

I can hear the collective groan from my assembled readers…  “Just give us the short story!” — well as you should all know by now, I don’t do short very well.  But, I shall try.  😀

I am a fairly new diabetic.  I was diagnosed in June 2015, approximately 5 months ago.  My doctor immediately put me two diabetic drugs.  This was in addition to the drugs I was taking to control my high blood pressure and dust/dust mite allergies.

A month ago at my last doctor’s visit, I was ordered to start taking a HUGE number of mega-doses of vitamin and mineral supplements.

Which lead me to a BUNCH of questions:

  • confused kittyAre there any interactions that I should be watching out for?
    ..
  • What are all these things supposed to be doing to improve my health?
    ..
  • Are any of these things the cause of:
    • …a constant low volume ringing in my ears?
    • …a weird pattern I’m seeing in my blood sugar levels? [Since I’ve started taking the supplements, my fasting blood sugar levels have increased dramatically.]
      ..

Standard Disclaimer:
I am NOT a doctor.  I am not offering medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult your doctor before making any medical decisions.

Why share such personal information?

Well, I’m a bit of a drama queen.  LOL  I love talking about Moí!

Actually, I’m a retired Librarian.  I enjoy sharing information.  I get a kick out of it.

Since I’m doing this research online no matter what for my own benefit, I thought I’d make a series of blog posts out of it so that others could benefit as well.

Read the first article in this series for more detail on how and why I chose these particular links / articles.

Janumet (Sitagliptin / Metformin)

Q: When and how should I take Janumet?

A: Online, everything I read said “take with meals” — but that wasn’t exactly “helpful.  Sheesh.  I wanted EXACTNESS!  Did “with meals” mean just before the meal or actually when I was eating?  Did the drug need time to be absorbed BEFORE I started to eat?  And if I was supposed to take it “with meals” then wouldn’t that mess up the timing if I’m taking two pills a day?  I mean, logically, it makes sense to take two doses of medication 12 hours apart if you are taking “two per day”.  If I took it “with meals” then it wouldn’t be 12 hours apart — after all, breakfast and dinner are NOT 12 hours apart.  *sigh*

Of course every article also said to “ask your doctor”  so I did.  🙂

My doctor said: to take the 1st pill of the day 10 minutes before eating breakfast (basically I take it when I start cooking breakfast).  For the second dose of the day, my doctor said to take it approximately 12 hours later.  So if I eat breakfast at 9 am, then I should take the second pill around 9 pm.

Q: Any drug interactions that I should watch for?

A: Yes, as with most drugs there is a big long list of possible interactions.

I discovered that, for me, what I need to be most aware of is a possible interaction with my high blood pressure medication, Enalapril and with my Niacin supplement.  So, I bet you can guess what I’m about to say…all together now:

Note to self: ask my doctor about this when I see her next time!

Janumet (Sitagliptin / Metformin)
Information / Articles / Links

Janumet (WebMD)
Link: http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-148074/janumet-oral/details

Diabetes Medicines You Don’t Inject (WebMD)
Link: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/guide/oral-medicine-pills-treat-diabetes

Sitagliptin (MedlinePlus)
Link: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a606023.html

Metformin (MedlinePlus)
Link: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a696005.html

Medication Guide for Janumet (Food & Drug Administration)
Note: This is a PDF file.  Get the current version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Link: http://www.fda.gov/downloads/drugs/drugsafety/ucm204268.pdf

Janumet (website mantained by the drug’s manufacturer)
Link: http://www.janumetxr.com/sitagliptin_metformin_HCL/janumetxr/consumer/what-is-janumet/index.xhtml
Note: Yes, you can get lots of information on the manufacturer’s website.

However, when using any manufacturer’s website, you need to put on your “buyer beware” hat.  Think about it:  the company is a business which means that it is to their advantage to emphasis the positives and minimize the negatives even as they do everything the law requires them to do in terms of disclosure of risks.

Trust, but verify be thy motto when reading information provided by the manufacturer.

Discount ($5 copay program / Savings Card for Janumet)
Note: I am on this program. The application process is easy to complete.  Basically the program works like a coupon when you pick up your monthly prescription at the pharmacy.  My copay for this drug is $100.  The pharmacy rings up $100 then they apply the “coupon” and Tah-DAH, my balance due is only $5.
Link: http://www.activatethecard.com/7159/

Free Trial for Janumet (30 day supply)
Note: I took advantage of this when I first started taking Janumet.  For me that was 60 tablets because my doctor ordered me to take it 2x per day. The Free Trial works like a coupon at the pharmacy during checkout.  When the coupon is applied, there is zero cost.  You pay nothing.  Your insurance company pays nothing.

Special Note: If you have trouble redeeming the coupon have the clerk ring the transaction all by itself.  When I did this, it wouldn’t work if I had anything else on the ticket other than just the Janumet.  I have no idea why the computers were not happy but once ONLY the Janumet was on the ticket, everything worked fine.

See ya on the dance floor!

P.S.  If you find any of this information valuable, please “Like” and “Share” it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter etc.

P.P.S.  If you found this information REALLY helpful and/or valuable then please consider helping me out by making a small donation via PayPal to help me

See ya on the dance floor!

 

 

 

My shortest post ever… “I’m on a Positive Feedback Loop”


In completely random order…

really_yay_lolcatsOK, folks this is going to look more like a “Facebook” or “Twitter” post than one of my usual blog posts…

BUT…  Sqqqqeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!   I am feeling AWESOME at the moment and I just had to share

The past couple / three weeks have seen some NOTICEABLE improvements in my health and fitness.  A few months ago I felt as if I had hit the very bottom; I just didn’t see how it could get any worse.

Now, a few months further along, I think I was right.  That was the “bottom” — why?  I’m glad you asked.  Because since then things have been getting better, a little at a time.  A TEENY tiny LITTLE itty bitty bit at a time, but better.

So, in no particular order, these are the things that I’m happy about this morning:

  • My weight on the scale this morning was 300.6 lbs.  OMG!!! OMG!!! OMG!!!!!  Sooooooooooooooooo close to being under 300lbs!  I can almost TASTE it!
  • I went shopping at Kroger this week.  Which is a HUGE step.  I’ve been shopping at this tiny grocery mart called “Braums” for the bulk of my food.  Because frankly I didn’t have the strength or stamina to go shopping at a large grocery store — the distance I had to cover to do my shopping was more than I had the strength to do.  Literally.  No exageration.  But this week I shopped at Kroger, AND I was able to carry ALL of the groceries up the stairs without having to ask my room mate for help!  Yay!
  • I did a two loads of laundry on Saturday.  And it wasn’t until I was done that I realized that it wasn’t an ordeal.  Which is FRIGGIN’ AMAZING!
  • I have met my Out of Pocket Maximum with my insurance for the year, which means that for the rest of the year everything is covered at 100%  Yay!  Even doctor’s visits copays and Rx copays are all zero!  Yay!
  • Did I mention that my weight was 300.6 lbs?
  • I sold my bed!  Yay!  That means that I no longer have to pay $29 a month for a storage unit.  Yay!
  • And the money from the bed ($150) covered the gap between my monthly pension and the amount I need to pay bills.  Now all I need to earn is money for food for the 2nd half of the month.  Yay!
  • I did a chart for my doctor — I have an appointment tomorrow morning (Tue Oct 6).  My blood glucose numbers are on a downward trajectory which means that the diabetes medication is doing its job.  I think it will do an even better job once I start taking it on a completely regular schedule. I sometimes forget to take the night-time dose.  (My bad.)  My doctor is going to give me a “Mom Look” tomorrow when I see her.  But she’ll give me a hug for loosing more weight!  😀
    • Avg for Last two weeks: 125
    • Avg for Last four weeks: 126
    • Avg for Last Last eight weeks: 127
    • Avg for Last twelve weeks: 130
    • Avg for Sept: 126
    • Avg for Aug: 128
    • Avg for July: 137
  • And finally.  This is the week.  Come hell or high water, I am going to get to the dance studio three times this week!  Well, technically, I’m not going to a “dance studio” — For me my “dance studio” is actually 24 Hour Fitness aerobics room, butcha know what I mean..  🙂

See ya on the dance floor!

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