Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Lessons from the road.

As you know, last week I was at a conference (My first since being diagnosed with Diabetes).  Before that, I stayed with my Dad for a few days.  There are several lessons I learned on this trip that are not only Diabetes related, but also just "being healthy" related.  Here they are.

  1. Pack food if you can - I packed a cooler to take to my Dad's so I'd have choices.  Best decision ever!  It made eating at his house for lunch and snacks very easy for me.  I had fresh veggies, fruits, meat and my favorite lower carb bread.  Plus cheese and turkey sausage.
  2. Planning ahead to get up early doesn't work for me - So, I'm very aware that when I don't get enough sleep, my sugar is higher in the morning.  I thought I'd be smart and take time a few days before the conference to get on an early morning schedule.  Well, the first night I only got 5 hours of sleep.  Not enough to keep the sugar at my norm.  However, it did help me adjust to getting up early and I was good for the next couple days.

    Then the back fire.  I couldn't sleep the first night of the conference (too excited and too many things running through my head...could not shut it off!).  I only got 4 hours of sleep that night...ugh!  Another higher than usual morning.  So that was two high mornings.  Next time, I'm not preparing.  I'm just going to get there and sleep when I can.  Take one high morning, instead of two.
  3. I have to take more down time AFTER the trip.  I've been tired all week, which hasn't helped my numbers much because I don't really want to exercise.  I figured I'd bounce back fast if I took time out in advance.  Nope!!  I don't work that way.  From now on, I'll back load my trip with time off.  It's Wednesday and I'm still I think I need a week off AFTER my trips and I need to work right up until the trip.  I'll try that next time.   For now, I'm giving myself some space to recoup, but this weekend...I'm back to moving again.
  4. Eating at white table cloth restaurants means lots of tasty veggie options.  When Hubby and I eat out around home, we usually go to the bar & grill or buffet style places.  While I can find things to eat, there are usually only one or two dishes that I make work for me.  When I was visiting my Dad, we went out to nice white table cloth style restaurants, which was a nice treat.  There were always plenty of tasty veggie options, plus lots of low carb dinner options.  In fact, (dare I say), at times it was hard to find enough carbs!  Must raise my level of income so I can do that more often.  SO much easier to eat out that way.
  5. When the conference is full of Gluten Free and Vegan people, there is plenty of healthy food to eat.  I never went hungry and there were always plenty of choices for me at the buffet line during meals.  It was very easy for me to eat.  I didn't even need my leftover snacks from Dad's house. 

Again, planning ahead works when it comes to the food.  Obviously, when it comes to sleep, I don't do so well on planning ahead for that.  I live, I learn and I change it up next time.  That's how I find what works.  What about you?  How do you find what works?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Conference Conundrums

So, I'm getting ready to attend my first conference since I was diagnosed with Diabetes.  I'm an organizer for this one, so I have a lot of duties to attend to throughout.  As I've been planning, I've been thinking about when/what I'm going to eat during our long 14 hour days.

The good news is, there are scheduled meal breaks!  You can't change the time on a meal that the hotel is providing.  So, meal times are set.  So is the schedule for the entire conference.  I've just spent some time going over when we are scheduled to eat.  It looks like the biggest gaps are 5 hours and the shortest gap is 2.5.  Given I need to eat every 3-5 hours, then this should work out well for me.

Here are a couple potential challenges that I'm looking at what I'm going to do to prevent/cope with them.

Challenge #1 - Activity
I will likely be moving around the conference venue a lot.  I'm in charge of making sure the Emcee has everything she needs, plus making sure signage is visible and everything looks good for our guests.  This means a lot of walking and possibly a little running.  I have no idea how much of this I'll do, but it could be quite a bit.

Concern - The last thing I want is to have a low.  Those 5 hour breaks could be a bit too long.  I may need an extra carb or two to keep that from happening.

Solution - Eat!  I plan to eat bigger meals (3 carb servings) before the longer breaks.  That way I have plenty of fuel.  I'll also eat at every opportunity there is to eat.  Two meals and one snack are provided for us each day.  So, I will definitely eat at all of them.  I've budgeted out 9 carb servings (I'm allowed 11) for the day.  Then there's room for 1 or 2 snacks if I get hungry during one of those long breaks.  Now, I can just count carbs per meal and know I'm on track.

Challenge #2 - Food Options
As an organizer, I have access to the person who ordered the food.  I was most concerned about the one snack we get in the day.

Concern - I can't live on bagels and muffins (which is usually what conference snacks are).

Solution - I asked about the snacks. Thankfully, we have a large Gluten Free and Vegan contingent, so the snacks are built around them. Nuts, popcorn, fruit, cheese and veggies will be available.  Yay!!  I'm SO glad I asked.  Now I know that it won't be a problem to get a carb and non-carb at snack time.

So, I just need to make sure I bring a carb snack to prevent lows. What?!  Usually I have to bring veggies and protein for trips.  For once, I'm actually going to need carb.  Easy!  Some diabetic snack bars should do just the trick.  If I get hungry 2.5 hours in, I can eat.

I thought this was going to be a bigger deal than it is.  It would have been, had I waited until I got there.  I find that planning in advance when travelling and/or doing long days, works very well.  Ok. Now that I've figured out the food, I can go back to conference planning activities.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

It's ok to play with your food if you are diabetic.

People think I'm crazy when I order sandwiches out.  They give me the "Are you supposed to eat that?" look.  I can eat anything.  It's how much I eat that matters.  Especially with sandwiches, my rule is "If you didn't make a mess, you didn't do it right."

For example, the picture above.  This is an example of what my plate and hands look like after I've had a really good, juicy burger at a restaurant.  Messy!  I don't go sticking my tongue out with food in my mouth or do anything crude like that.  I just make a mess and usually need extra napkins.  Why?  Because I have a trick to eating hamburgers.  It helps me eat only half the bun (notice there's no meat on that burger bun above).  This works at most NON-fast food joints.   Fast Food burgers have a tendency to stick together too much for this....that's why I order a double from the cheap's a smaller bun.  Here's The Burger Trick:

Step 1) Make sure both bun pieces are separated from any cheese or sauce.
Step 2) Re-position toppings so they are still on the burger part, not just between bun.
Step 3) Use fingers to push burger and toppings (if possible) so they are hanging over the edge of the burger.
Step 4) Take a bite.
Step 5) Repeat steps 3 and 4 until the meat is gone.

My Husband makes me laugh, because every time I order a burger he asks; Are you playing with your food again?  My answer is always a resounding "YES! Of course I am."

I find that if you order the smaller burger (usually 6-8oz) at most restaurants, the bun is a little big.  So, I've been known to push everything to the edge and then peel off a good 1/4 to 1/3 of the extra bun from the beginning.

I do a similar thing for The Wrap Trick.  They usually fold over excess wrap around the side.  There is also a bunch of wrap folded up at the bottom to keep everything in.  Who needs to keep everything in?  Unwrap that puppy and let all the veggies and protein shine.  Then eat it more like a taco.  Depending on how much the wrap is stuffed, I can sometimes get it to only half the tortilla.  At a minimum I skip 1/3 of the wrap. Oh, yes, and I have some very messy hands.  That's what they make napkins and soap for though.

Then there's The Sub Sandwich Trick.  Subs are one of my serious weaknesses.  I absolutely love fresh baked sub buns stuffed with meat and veggies!  So, what do I do?  There are a few options here.

1)  Take out the bread - Some restaurants have an option to scoop out the excess bread in the middle of the bun. This is a great start to cutting bread carbs, so I look for this first.
2)  Order it cut - Order a 6" or 7" sub (depending on the restaurant) and make sure they cut it in half.
3)  Move it over - Take out the innards of one half and stuff them into the innards of the other half, throwing away half the bun.

This way, you get a big gigantic, stuffed to the gills sub and only eat half the bread (or so).

With all three sandwich tricks, I still get bread in every bite.  It's just not as much as I'm served, which can save up to 20 grams of carbs for a sandwich.  Leaving me room for some fruit, yogurt etc...  Yummy!

What are your sandwich tricks?