Category Archives: Fitness
I need them, especially when it comes to fitness.
The numbers on the blood glucose meter, the numbers on the scale? They mean nothing if I am not doing what I can to stay physically fit. Right now, they both look awesome, but I know I feel emotionally crappy. I should be feeling physically crappy, but for whatever reason, I am not. That makes getting back to a state of physical fitness difficult. Why do I bother if there is no issue with the meter or the scale? If those two measures of physical fitness are fine, why bother exercising at all, no matter the emotional state?
Because I know from previous experience that it can all go south quickly.
And because I know my mother thinks I do everything I can to stay as healthy as possible.
Six weeks to get into enough shape to walk a 7k timed event. An event that happens to occur on my mother’s next birthday.
Because I owe it to her to stay as healthy as possible.
Here’s the thing.
I am a flipper.
If the iPod is set on random while I am exercising and a song not fitting my mood at that very moment comes on, I will flip and flip and flip until I find one that does. Even with 3,000 songs on the darn device, I need specific types of songs during specific parts of my workout.
I know what you are thinking, why not set up playlists?
One of these days I need to stop being lazy and do that, especially with this set of songs key to any awesome workout lasting approximately 35 minutes:
- Killing Me Softly With His Song – The Fugees
- Lightning Crashes – Live
- The Distance – Cake
- Hymn – Edguy
- It’s My Life – Bon Jovi
- New York Groove – KISS
- Little Red Corvette – Prince
- Sleeping Sun – Nightwish
If it is a longer workout towards 50 minutes, I might add in:
- Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac (before “Hymn”)
- Punk Rock Girl – Dead Milkmen (before “New York Groove”)
- Waiting for the End – Linkin Park (before “Sleeping Sun”)
So, what’s on your workout playlist?
WildFit is over, though a renewed interest in being as healthy as possible in spite of type 2 diabetes is just beginning. As I continue to be inspired by the more serious athletes of Team Wild, the changes coming to the organization in 2012 will make it even better.
What WildFit Did for Me
The biggest accomplishment is that most weeks (10 of 12), I worked out five times per week. I may not have hit the exact workout time that Coach Lynnda Best-Wise set forth each week, but I made a solid effort to go walking, or go to the gym, or get on the balance ball. Exercising five times per week is what has led to weight loss and weight maintenance in the past six years since initial diagnosis, and once again it shows with a 13 pound drop in the twelve weeks of WildFit.
The Plan Going Forward
I am committing to two days a week of workouts on the elliptical, or exercise bike, or treadmill – with a goal of 50 minutes each. Another two days will be spent strength training, which for now will continue to be balance ball workouts utilizing yoga and pilates techniques as well as repetitions with the wimpy dumbbells. (Although I may have to upgrade to a heavier wimpy dumbbell – the three pounders are starting to feel too light!). The last workout of the week will be something outdoors – a long walk, hike, bicycling, or when the weather turns wintry, snowshoeing.
Taking Lynnda’s advice, I will turn one week out of each month into a “rest” week, where I might cut out a strength training workout, or reduce time on the cardio machines. From what I have learned from The Way of the Happy Woman, I may choose to do these “rest” weeks when I am on my period, to give my body the rest it deserves.
Notice what I have not yet mentioned – diet. While I certainly appreciate the efforts of Coach Jennifer Smith with her advice, I felt that it was too directed towards athletes with type 1 diabetes. I simply cannot consume the amount of whole grains she recommended without ending up with high blood sugars – as someone managing type 2 diabetes with diet, exercise, and metformin – even on the toughest workout weeks.
Instead, I am slowly transitioning into what I call a pseudo-Paleo diet, with a little help from a nutritionist friend (more on her to come!). While a traditional Paleo diet does not allow for any whole grains, beans/legumes, or dairy, I am allowing lentils and Greek yogurt. Basically, it revolves around real food like meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, and nuts while using healthy oils such as olive and coconut as well as pastured butter. It is surprisingly easy to cook this way, especially for just one person.
The last diet soda was consumed Friday, and soon I will stop putting Splenda in the only cup of coffee I drink each day. Water is the liquid of choice, with occasional pitchers of iced herbal teas available in the refrigerator. For now, alcohol is being avoided, both to follow traditional Paleo and to account for the new anti-depressant.
Two weeks of eating and drinking this pseudo-Paleo way and I see no impact on ability to exercise to the WildFit level – if anything, I have more stamina and more energy.
Team Wild at the Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon
While WildFit made a huge difference in turning around pessimism about the future by getting me moving again, I have to admit that the TeamWild women preparing for the Ironman Wisconsin next month are that much more inspirational. Training for such an event is grueling for any athlete, but to add type 1 diabetes into the mix makes it that much difficult. While I wish I could cheer them on in person, I will be thinking of these Team Wild athletes on September 11 as they participate in this significant challenge.
Team Wild Going Forward
Recently, Mari Ruddy announced that Team Wild will look and feel a bit differently in 2012. Not only is she including men with diabetes (with an updated acrostic of “We Inspire Life with Diabetes”), but the organization will become one based on membership instead of “teams”.
In the meantime, she is planning another round of WildFit in the fall. I encourage any woman with diabetes looking to either start an exercise program or to take their current program to the next level to consider signing up for this last edition of WildFit.
After ingesting all sorts of tasty carbohydrates Saturday night, I knew I needed a kickass workout Sunday morning to counteract the effects the sushi and the ice cream must have done to my body. I say “must have” because for the first time in preparation for traveling since the type 2 diabetes diagnosis in 2005, I forgot to check how many test strips I had left before packing my blood glucose meter. Three. Strips. Are. All. I. Had.
You can be certain I will never again forget to figure out the status of test strip inventory before a trip, even a quick weekend trip like this one. (Did I absolutely need to test as someone managing type 2 diabetes with diet, exercise, and metformin? No. Do I like to know what kind of trends travel brings? Heck yeah.)
Anyways, on to the exercise…
While watching some of the Wimbledon men’s final, I kicked out fifty-five awesome minutes on the hotel elliptical. Then after visiting the Art Institute that afternoon, I walked briskly along two waterfronts for another couple miles – taking the Lakefront Trail from Monroe to Lower Wacker, switching over to the Riverwalk all the way to Dearborn near my hotel.
I did stop to take pictures, both on the way to the museum and on the long contrived way back to lodging.
The credit card receipt may now read Macy’s, but it will always be Marshall Field’s to me:
Michigan Avenue entrance to the Art Institute:
Orchestra Hall, just across the avenue, where I attended a concert just for music students back in junior high:
The lakefront looking south towards the Shedd Aquarium and Field Museum, with plenty of boats in Chicago Harbor:
The Chicago police helicopters patrolled the Harbor during the holiday weekend (looking north towards Navy Pier):
Not much else to say about the whirlwind weekend in Chicago. A lovely meal at a decent Italian restaurant near the hotel, followed by a quick soak in the hot tub, then ready for bed before the sun set. An absolutely perfect end to the short time in the Windy City, with nine hours of quality sleep before traveling back to Colorado.
(Entire Flickr set of photos here.)
Although Camp WILD, a project of Team WILD (Women Inspiring Life with Diabetes), was going on in our “backyards” this weekend, neither Tiffany nor I were able to attend the full four-day package due to other commitments. Mari Ruddy allowed us to let us sit in on some activities, meals, and lectures in exchange for running errands (in Tiffany’s case) and doing some press releases for the TeamWild Ironman team (in my case). And in both cases, Mari would like us to promote our own experiences with Team Wild as women with type 2 diabetes, a demographic that has been difficult for Mari to reach so far.
A member of the cycling team this summer, Tiffany spent several more hours than I did at Camp Wild on Friday (oh day job!), and her write-up on her Facebook page inspired me so much I asked if I could post it here. So, here she is, completely unedited…
I am a Type 2 diabetic. I am not embarrassed or ashamed, although I do know a number of people whom are. I determined when diagnosed 7 years ago that I was not going to play the victim, accept, educate and move on. I have done this for the most part, tweaking my diet to keep a reasonable amount of control and using medications now and then when I struggle with control. One element of the disease that I know is important for care and management is exercise. I am the first person to tell you that exercise is not my thing. I’d much prefer to be a lazy butt at home reading a good book, sewing a quilt, or sitting in the sunshine with my knitting. While these are enjoyable and relaxing, they don’t help my physical well being.
At the end of last year I shared with a couple of friends on Facebook that I wanted to learn to like exercise, partly to help with my diabetes but also because I thought it might help me with my mental well being. Laurie and Ana were both kind enough to give me some things I might consider and encourage me to reach out and take some bold steps. I felt as if I was the only fat woman in the world and everyone was going to laugh at me, so I needed something different. They told me about an athletic team that began here in the Denver area (although it is national and soon to be international) specifically for diabetic women, Team WILD (Women Inspiring Life with Diabetes). I thought what the heck, I can do this. Initially I decided to sign up for a general fitness group that would teach me how to get moving and the intricacies of exercise and diabetes nutrition. While awaiting the start of the season I began to realize that I really didn’t need general fitness I somehow needed to tackle the monsters in my head and set myself up for a bigger challenge with a more specific goal. I spoke with Mari Ruddy, the founder of Team WILD and we determined that the cycling team was a better option. This gave birth to a whole new side of life, competitive cycling (although I am more of a finisher than a competitor).
With the help of Team WILD I am training to ride a Metric Century this August. It is apropos that I am riding in the Colorado Tour de Cure to raise money and diabetes awareness. Using suggestions from Coach Nicole Freedman I drug myself out of the house and bought a road bike that I absolutely love.. I was fitted the bike and told how to outfit myself so that I could actually start to feel like the cyclist I will become. This spring we started Team Training calls in which other members of the WILD Cycling team meet over the phone/internet with Nicole Freedman to discuss our training. Admittedly I have struggled a great deal with my training. Whether it is finding a sitter to watch the kids, balancing nausea with increased exercise, or struggling up hills I have struggled to get myself on my bike. Sometimes I lack confidence. I even at times have doubted the benefits of joining Team WILD and what it was really going to help me with. Yesterday my fears were completely put to rest.
Part of Team WILD’s offerings is a 4 day fitness camp. I was unable to participate the entire weekend due to a variety of commitments, but with some encouragement from Mari I cleared my schedule and attended the afternoon and evening sessions on the first full day of camp. I cannot emphasize enough how glad I am to have taken this bold step. I learned an incredible amount of information about myself and what I can do with a little bit of effort on my bike. While I still have some Monster’s sitting on my shoulders telling me all the reasons that I can’t do something, thanks to Carrie Cheadle’s coaching I now have some strategies for putting those monster’s to bed. I gained so much more confidence from my teammates and coaches helping me to put into perspective that I am actually stronger than I realized. With Marcey Robinson’s help and expertise I have some tools to approach balancing my exercise with the needs of my Type 2 diabetes. She also gave me some strategies to consider while training and desiring to lose some poundage. I learned more about my bike and how to use it to its full potential from Olympic Cyclist Nicole Freedman. While I am not completely over my fear of using toe clips, I know that if I fall I also can get right back on and master a new skill. I learned new terms like “masher” and “spinner” and actually know the benefits of one over the other which has just broadened my biking world. That monster telling me I can’t climb hills is still there, but I know now how to put the monsters in my head to rest.
For me motivation will always be a huge issue. I am not a person that automatically feels better after exercising, honestly I typically feel like crap. I accept that if I want to become healthier as I approach my 40′s than I was in my 20′s and 30′s I need to get out of my comfort zone and move. Meeting other women who struggle with diabetes was very beneficial. I have a number of friends that suffer from their own diabetes issues and I want to tell you right now, no matter your type of diabetes, or your denial that you even have diabetes, you can with help and encouragement from others become an athlete and improve your own health. Team WILD is here for you as it has been for me. I am ready to grow with the help of Team Wild, do you want to join me?
Thank you, Tiffany, for sharing your story. There is a special fall session of WildFit (the program in which I am participating) beginning in September and I hope to see a few more women with type 2 step up to the challenge.
Week #4 of WildFit: Twisty Practical Advice.
Here we are in the middle of week #4 of WildFit.
Already, I feel I am in the best shape since sometime in the fall of 2009 when the symptoms of serious acute illness appeared. Slowly but surely I am losing the weight that started to pile on during recovery from the first surgery, and then the second, and continued up until the moment I signed up for WildFit in March. Average blood glucose showed a correlation with an A1C of nearly 7% at that point, now I am down to one that might just correlate with 5.7%.
I am running – without knee or ankle pain, the two things that have held me back in the past – and it feels awesome.
Onto the silly, funny, yet oh-so-practical advice I wish to pass along to others starting (or restarting, like moi) an exercise plan:
- Remember to wash off eye makeup before going for a run, especially in summer heat. Unless you like the remnants of said makeup mixing with sweat and flowing right into your eyes, leaving a wonderful burning sensation.
- Baby powder is an excellent way to conserve water and allowing one to stick to one shower per day. (Who knew?)
- Sometimes I wear three sets of clothes per weekday – work clothes, exercise clothes, sleep clothes. To minimize the loads of laundry, I wear the exercise clothes (with wicking fibers) and sleep clothes three times in a row. (See also: baby powder and water conservation.)
- Hiking is a great way to mix things up, but some locals consider the area around their homes somewhat private, even if that area lies beyond their property lines. I was not a bear rustling around behind your house, I was just someone getting their hike on!
- Dancing with a cat for five minutes totally counts as exercise for a human…and pure torture for the cat.
Sleep woes be gone!
(For one night, at least…)
Forget all that stuff about insomnia.
After looking over this week’s WildFit plan, a decision was made to introduce early morning workouts before breakfast and getting ready for work. It makes sense, I told myself, if I cannot seem to sleep past 5AM anyways. I would make it happen, I promised myself and Twitter.
Until the 4:47 AM potty break, that is. I shut off the alarm due to go off at 5AM, grabbed a hoodie, and even laced up my shoes and go ready to go, until something stopped me.
I found myself tired. Like I could sleep another hour.
So I did.
Summer bucket list.
(Inspired by The Guavalicious Life‘s list!)
- WildFit. Exercise five days a week – three longer, more intense, more specific workout patterns, two shorter and lighter workouts – but what kind of exercise we do for those workouts is entirely up to each of us. To give an example, this week is 60-50-65-50-60. I walk briskly for the longer workouts, while for the lighter workouts I find myself either leisurely walking, grabbing a session on the exercise bike in the small gym at work, or doing yoga/pilates work. The nutrition aspect is a little more contentious as there’s no way I can handle the daily total of carbohydrates that the RD/CDE recommends as someone with type 2 diabetes mostly managed by diet and exercise. (Especially if I want to lose weight and maintain acceptable blood sugar after meals
- The first ever Denver area alumni event for the little Wisconsin state college I attended will be held in a couple weeks. Meet and greet at a local tavern before heading over to Coors Field for a Rockies game, including a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium.
- First normal well-woman exam after the surgeries and decisions and all that fun at the end of June. Okay, well, a new normal – the GYN will likely order the first baseline mammogram, too.
- A whirlwind less-than-48-hours trip to Chicago in July. I vow to finally visit the Art Institute and get one step closer to being like Ferris Bueller singing Danke Schoen and Twist & Shout on Michigan Avenue.
- Lab work (including c-reactive protein) and endocrinologist appointment a couple weeks after that. With WildFit winding down by then, I think I should be able to rock the A1C for the first time in a long time. (Which means
- August will find me with access to a pool, of which I will take full advantage.
- September is still summer, and that finds me first going to Wisconsin to meet my new nephew (born a few days ago), hanging out with his sisters and parents, and catching up with the rest of my kin at a family wedding. Then, I get to feed my bloggy spirit with Bloggy Boot Camp on September 17 in Denver.
Sometimes, I like to combine two favorite activities…
Hiking, with a great view of hot air balloons taking off from a nearby airport…
And wandering in a cemetary, something I think (I know) is in my genes…
(I lived only blocks from this cemetary when I first moved to Colorado, and I had NO IDEA.)