Wednesday, May 28, 2014

You bet I want birthday cake!

Mom and I in our tie-dye
at my Bday BBQ
So, Monday was my birthday.  A couple weeks ago, My Mom was asking Hubby what I wanted in terms of dessert.  I, of course, wanted dessert didn't I?  Oh, you betcha!!! Thankfully, I spoke up in advance and told Hubby that if there was to be dessert, I wanted something special.  So, he sent Mom my Direction.

If left her to her own creative devices, my Mom was going to get a sheet cake with tie-dye frosting.  While I do love my tie-dye (if you know me, you know I'm kind of a tie-dye addict) and this is an AWESOME idea, but a sheet cake is not the best choice for me.  First of all, there are way too many leftovers.  Second of all, the pieces get cut in all sorts of "way too big" sizes.

I've always enjoyed German Chocolate Cake on my birthday too.  Mmmm....gotta have me some of that.  However, German Chocolate cake can be even more dangerous than a sheet cake.  It's hard to stop eating the stuff!!  It also comes in a triple layered form, most of the time.  2 layers of icing?  Eeeks!  That's not the best idea.

So, as I was thinking about how I could have my cake and eat it too, I came up with an idea.  Cake pops!  I've seen a lot of specialty cake/cupcake stores starting to offer cake pops.  It's just a ball of cake on top of a stick.  I could have one of those!!!  Possibly even two, depending on how big they are and how much icing is on them.  Not to mention, you can order just enough for the group of people coming to the party...minimal leftovers.  Oh, yeah.  That was it!  I had to have German Chocolate cake pops!  So, I specifically asked my Mom to get them.

Luckily, my Mom works with just such a person who makes specialty cake items.  So, yay!  I got my cake pops.  They were rich, chocolaty, coconut goodness.  These cake pops were about 1.5-2 inches in diameter, so 1 was more than enough.  They were so sweet and good that I really didn't want any more than that either.  I did hold one back for later too.  Just ate it for a snack this afternoon.  Soooooo yummy!

What have I learned from this?

  1. ASK for what I want in terms of food.  If you tell people you have a specific request (especially when it's a special celebration for you), they are very willing to honor it.
  2. Use my creativity to find a solution that everyone will enjoy.  Everyone at the BBQ thought the pops were such a cool thing.  They didn't even think about portion size.  They had no idea that it was a  "Diabetic friendly" way to have dessert until I said something.
  3. There is always enough tie-dye when I'm need to have it on the cake too.  :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Confession #2: I do not always make the healthiest choices.

Just because my numbers have been good, doesn't mean I'm always following the rules of eating healthy.

I confess! I do fall off the healthy eating wagon.  The last couple months, I've been extra busy.  It's been hard to find time to cook and prepare fresh snacks.  I own that I could make time and that I could scale back on my commitments.  I love my busy life, though, and it keeps me moving.  So, I'm not trading it in.

About the end of March I noticed that my numbers were starting to creep up a little.  In fact, I had taken my A1C down to 5.3 while I was singing and dancing in a show last year.  I have a sneaky suspicion, I'm now back to 5.9 (or possibly higher).  I'll find out next month.

I started thinking about it and I realized it's because, while I've been busy, I've been making some not-so-healthy choices.  I will have 2, 15 carb gram, bags of crunchy munchies in a day instead of the 1.  I'll have store bought mashed potatoes instead of corn.  I'll have a couple sandwiches in a day instead of a sandwich and a meal.  I also noticed that I was "stuffing" myself at meal times.  I had gotten good at eating til I was full, but lately, I'd been eating until I was stuffed.

When I fall off the wagon, there are guidelines I follow to help me get back on track.

  1. Don't panic!!  My first instinct is to panic and run right to the grocery store to buy the healthiest food I can find.  I followed that instinct once.  All the healthy food I bought went bad because I didn't eat it. So, this is NOT helpful.
  2. Choose in the moment.  I find it's better to choose in the moment instead of forcing myself to eat healthy.  So, the next grocery trip I look for foods that sound good.  Then I ask myself what the healthier option may be.  I don't trade in my mashed potatoes for broccoli.  I trade my mashed potatoes in for some new potatoes this week.  I like new potatoes, but I don't eat as much of them as I do mashed potatoes.  So, I still get my potatoes, but I'll eat a healthier portion.

    Gradually, by honoring my craving with healthier alternatives, I stop craving the bad foods.

    The same applies to stuffing myself.  Each meal, I choose to stuff myself less. I find that if I have a pile of tasty, healthy snacks in the house, this is easier.  For some reason when I'm in stuff myself mode, I worry I'll be starving later.  If I know that's not true, I can choose to eat a little less.  As I continue to reduce how much I eat in a sitting, it gets easier to not want to stuff myself.

    A few weeks later (sometimes longer) and I'm back on track.
  3. Learn from my mistakes.  Usually, when I fall off the wagon, it's because something has changed and I haven't taken the time to figure out how I want to manage it.  I need to learn how to incorporate it into my life.

    This year, I've been out of the house/office a lot more.  I've been doing things in the evenings and my business has been busier than I'm used to, so snack times are rushed.  I have not quite figured out how to do busy life and eating healthy.  Now that I'm aware of this change, I'm looking for new ways of coping.  I've discovered low-carb frozen dinners with a little side dish (30 grams of carbs or less) are good between work & evening activities.  Then I eat again after the activity (again, 30 grams or less).  So far, this works well.  In fact, because I'm in a hurry, I don't really care what I eat.  I just need to eat so I can enjoy my evening without a low.  As long as I have quick, healthy choices, there is no choice.  I just eat what's there.

  4. There is no bad girl here.  Sometimes my brain wants to blame myself and get all mean.  I put the k' abash on that really quick. Things happen.  I'm not perfect.  Always eating healthy does take work and sometimes I get off track.  That's ok.  I'm human and I accept my flaws.  What's important is choosing to get back on track.  It's always a choice.  If I focus on making that choice, I get back to where I want to be.
  5. Celebrate!  Once I feel I'm back on track, I celebrate.  I congratulate myself and do something for me.  I've been known to buy clothes to celebrate weight loss.  I'll give myself a techy toy.  I'll dance around shouting "I rock!!" When Hubby's not home, of course (he doesn't need to witness that).  Pat myself on the back.  Give myself a hug.  Brag to Hubby or a friend who loves to hear these things.  Anything to celebrate getting back on track because darnit, I did the work to get back and I deserve to celebrate that.  
I'm in the process of getting back on track.  It make take me until the end of May, but I'm definitely moving in the right direction.  

What do you do to get back on track?

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

I did food prep. I think the world might be ending.

My least favorite part of cooking is food prep.  Slicing, dicing, mixing etc... Ugh!  So time consuming and annoyingly tedious.  

Because I hate prep so much, Hubby actually bought me a mandolin when I first started cooking.  As a former Music Teacher, I always thought a Mandolin was an instrument.  I had no idea there was a mandolin that that would help me slice faster and easier.  That mandolin has been a great addition to my kitchen!  I don't have to know how to slice and dice.  I just run it across my mandolin and it's done!

That doesn't mean I like doing prep.  In fact, I still hate it and try to find recipes that don't have much prep required.  

Since I've been so extremely busy lately, I've been finding it hard to prepare fresh snacks to eat.  On my busy days, I just don't have the time.  This week, I got home from the grocery store with all my fresh veggies, fruits etc... and decided to take some time, right then, to do some snack prep.  NOT something I've ever done, wants to take time to do food prep when you're not going to eat it right away?!  Seriously!

I did it anyway.  I REALLY wish I could afford to hire someone to do food prep for me every week.  If anyone wants to come do it for free, just leave a comment and I'll take you up on it.  :)  

In doing the prep on Monday, I've had all sorts of fresh foods to eat this week.  It's very easy to choose healthy when I'm busy and everything is ready to eat.  I also found that I've had less kitchen clean-up at snack times.  When I prep at the time I eat...I tend to feel like I'm always cleaning up the kitchen.  Especially since I eat 4-5 times a day!  So, I might...I say MIGHT...just have to do this again.  

For those of you who are wondering what foods I prepped and how I made them into quick snacks, I've included that below.  
  • Green Beans - Fresh green beans were $0.99 a pound.  So, I grabbed me a bag full. 
    • Prep-Wash, snap off the ends and put in a veggie bag to keep fresh.
    • Snack-I've been eating them raw and they are a very crunchy, tasty snack!
  • Strawberries - Strawberries were on sale too, so I grabbed one container of those (probably should've grabbed two, but you live and you learn). 
    • Prep-Peel off the leaves, core out the stem and slice.  
    • Tools-Hubby got me a couple handy, dandy strawberry tools for Christmas this year.  One of them takes the stem core out and the other slices them like an egg slicer.  Easy!
    • Snack-Strawberry and yogurt parfait.  Pile out some strawberries (2-3 strawberries sliced), spoon a couple heaping teaspoons of vanilla yogurt on top, sprinkle a tiny bit of granola on top of that and you have a tasty dessert.
  • Cucumbers - These are one of my favorite veggies to snack on. I bought two, so I'd have plenty.
    • Prep-Peel off four stripes and slice.  The mandolin is very helpful for this.
    • Snack 1-I get those little pre-drained cans of tuna.  Add a little mayonnaise, some pre-shredded carrots, some dill relish for tuna salad.  Then I take one cucumber slice, add a bit of cojack cheese and then scoop on some tuna salad.  This makes a tasty, very low carb snack!
    • Snack 2-Or shall I say, lunch side dish.  Hubby and I have been munching on these with our lunches raw.  Yummy!
 If you have any tips on food prep, I'd love to hear them. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Confession #1: I do not consistently exercise.

I've been successful in my Diabetes Management.  Because of that, I've been accused of exercising like a "good girl".  While I do feel it's important to follow the Doctor's advice, I am the one living this life.  So, sometimes I choose to go off track.

Confession:  I'm terrible at consistently exercising.  I don't like exercise for exercise sake.  I would much rather do a physical activity because it's fun.  I just can't do the same activity ALL the time.  I get bored way too easily.  So, I go through spurts. 

 I'll be really into Zumba for a few months (I love dancing and Zumba feels like I'm in a NYC dance class again).  Then I just won't feel like going one week.  So, I stop & don't get back to it for months.

Last year I was in a musical where I was in about 7 dance numbers.  So, I was active for a few months there with rehearsals, then performances (and even dropped 5 lbs.).  Afterwards, I needed a break, so I didn't do anything but rest for a month.

This year, I've been dealing with an old shoulder injury flare up & a lower back flare up.  I was in Physical Therapy for two months.  I did exercises that kicked my butt at PT for 45 minutes, 3 times a week.  Then I did exercises for 20 minutes at home every other day.  7 days a week of exercises for two months straight.  Yikes!!

After PT, I was kinda done and wanted a break.  I didn't want to do any kind of activity at all.  So I took a few days off.  

Hubby & I have now picked up Squash and joined a club near our house.  It's convenient and we can get a great, totally fun workout in 30-45 minutes.  I've also begun hiking again.  I have a couple groups I go with when I can squeeze it in.  One week I walked or hiked a total of 10.5 miles in 8 days.  Yeah, it was a loooong winter and I'm enjoying getting outside whenever I can.  Hubby and I plan to take a canoe or kayaks out this summer (provided I can paddle without pain).  We did that a couple years ago and really enjoyed it.

Do I do my 5 days a week of PT exercises?  No. While my back is doing well, I still get pain with my shoulder when I do my exercises.  So, I've stopped and I'm seeing new specialists for that.  My shoulder gets aggravated playing Squash & hiking, but it's just achiness and won't do any further damage.  I'm having fun, so I'm willing to deal with a little achy pain.

This is how it works for me.  An ebb & flow of exercise.  A constant choice.  Sometimes I'm gung-ho and get a lot in, other times I take a break.  Most Diabetic Educators will tell you that consistent exercise is best.  My numbers concur.  The more consistently active I am, the better my numbers.  At the same time, I am just NOT a consistent person.  I accept that and I accept the higher numbers when I'm less active.  (NOTE: high numbers for me are not dangerous. You may need to exercise more consistently if your numbers are dangerously high.  Check with your Doctor or Educator).

I don't push myself to do something every day or even every week. I need to be able to be active for the rest of my life and that means allowing myself to find new things, take breaks and be inconsistent.  This, I can keep up with long-term.  If I HAD to do something every day or even 150 minutes a week, I'd always be "cheating".  By giving myself permission to be inconsistent, I get to enjoy and celebrate the fun things I find to do.  

This past year I've been able to keep my A1C in check by being inconsistent.  If/when that changes, I'll re-evaluate and make adjustments.

Also, what I've noticed is that I want to get out of the house more.  I find myself looking for reasons to have fun being active.  I could get more consistent over time.  Who knows. My list of choices grows every year.  I feel it's more important to create long-term habits instead of pressure filled requirements that I can't keep up with.  I will continue to find sustainable ways to be inconsistently active.  

How do you adjust what you're "supposed to do" for sustainability?