Over the last couple of years, I have been fighting the weight gain that accompanies out of control Type 1 diabetes when you get it back under control. In the past two years, I have gained nearly 50 pounds due to some pretty big circumstantial and psychological stressors. I have often felt desperate and helpless against the onslaught of this kind of weight gain, and there have been times where I have had to make a conscious choice not to do things that would be overtly harmful to my body, like allowing my blood sugars to stay high so I don’t gain weight. (The weight gain happens when your body goes from high blood sugars that don’t allow you to absorb all the food you are eating to good blood sugars, where your body absorbs every calorie. Ten pounds every time.)
I did finally wrestle my blood sugars back under control. Once I did that, it was time to undo the damage. Easier said than done. The more insulin you take, the harder it is to lose weight, and with a higher weight comes more insulin due to insulin resistance. I have had to double my dose since I started gaining weight.
But I’ve lost weight before. I did it by following all the conventional wisdom. I followed a strict 1,200 calorie diet (the lowest my doctors were ok with) – calculating meals down to the calorie, logging everything I ate or drank. Which I hated. More than anything except perhaps for having an IV, and that’s saying something. (I still make them cover an IV with gauze so I can pretend it’s not there.)
I also followed an exercise program of weights and cardio 5-6 times a week. That’s a lot, but I did enjoy the weight training. I thought it would be fairly easy to replicate my previous success. It worked before, so why not now?
Well, not now because under that plan, every time I lost five pounds, I would sabotage myself by eating it all back. That kind of plan is really difficult and unpleasant, and I am no longer willing to torture myself by self-criticizing when I go five calories over or go see my family without access to a gym (never mind that I am toting a toddler around and running up and down stairs all day.) It’s the first time I ever rebelled against myself.
Clearly, that isn’t going to work. I took a minute and really thought about when I had felt the best. It was a long time ago. In college, actually. Back then, I didn’t eat well (who does in college?), but I was active every day. I did not live on center campus, and parking passes were scarce, so any time I wanted anything except Chinese takeout I had to walk to get it.
Now, that’s not realistic for someone who has a desk job in a cube farm, but the points I took from thinking about that time were that I did not log anything and I did not think too much about exercise. What would that feel like?
I started cooking things that I wouldn’t have to eat in strict moderation (vegetable-heavy) and I started exercising right after I got home. Doing an exercise video would only take 30-45 minutes and really, what would I be doing otherwise? Channel surfing? Listening to news shows that only made me angry?
Immediately, I felt better, less tense, less like I was failing every time I did something “wrong.”
In the last two weeks, I have set no weight loss goals. I have logged no meals. I have exercised eight out of the last nine days – something doable and not so long it would feel like a chore. I have lost three pounds.
It’s a start.