I learned much over the last three weeks while I dealt with a severe ear infection. Due to fluid moving around in my ear, it was quite painful and I couldn’t move my head around or down towards the floor, or even lie down for that matter without some sort of pain. So, my regular workout routine became nul and void. No yoga, no gym. I did continue to walk the dogs two miles each day, until it snowed again… (I’m a total suck when it comes to the cold, but so are my dogs.)
For the first several days I was still able to maintain watching my diet and spent a lot of time sleeping. After the first round of meds did nothing, I started my second round of stronger meds and noticed that by then it had been 10 days where my schedule was kyboshed and slowly, my healthy eating habits had diminished. Not completely, but slowly it became easier to make a quick processed food supper or it was too much effort to cut veggies for a salad. My calorie intake on My Fitness Pal was rising, slowly – not a lot, but enough to notice my good habits slipping. And most importantly my blood sugar readings moved up a number or two. All small changes, but significant to me. I had experienced so much success that this was bothering me greatly. And a note of interest – my last blood tests with my doctor showed ALL of my numbers in the normal range, plus I’m down forty pounds. I was so proud of myself, this was not the time to get sick. All my work has my diabetes under control, all within four months of diagnosis. So, seeing those numbers change on my daily tests, even though they were small, sent up a red flag.
Being true to my analytical self, I looked at the scope of what was going on. I couldn’t do my usual workout, but why was I struggling to stick to my diet decisions. I determined that my morning yoga was the key.
My usual routine being the following:
- get up
- get the boys off to school
- do 35 minutes of yoga
- drink a raw vegan smoothie
- creative raw vegan salad for lunch
- workout at gym
- make supper (based around salad)
- walk the dogs with the boys
- bedtime for them
- unwind with Netflix
- bedtime for me and repeat… somewhat.
But the all important key was starting my day with yoga – it created my mindset for the rest of the day. Even if I didn’t feel like doing my yoga, on those days I picked a slightly easier flow, but I still did it. And always, always, I was ready to face my day, I felt good, my mind was clear, focused and I could go on. But that 35 minutes set me up for my success for the day. Without it, evidently, complacency nudged in.
With my ear 95% better, yesterday morning I woke up, got the boys off to school, completed 35 mins of yoga, made a smoothie, and got on about my day. Today, the same, but this afternoon I’m looking forward to getting back to the gym. And just like that, my mood is better, my day is brighter, I’m focused and ready.
I understand that at times I’m going to get hit with an illness and that will disrupt my routine, but this was a real eye-opener into how important my morning fitness routine is to maintaining my overall well being.
I am not a doctor, or a diabetes specialist. I am learning about being diabetic as a recently diagnosed person. Please always check with your doctor before adapting any information to your personal situation.
I met with a diabetes specialist last week. If you are diabetic and haven’t talked to a specialist, I encourage you to do so. I feel so empowered after that appointment. And I learned three important things.
- I asked her about all the contradictory information online – one site says you can eat “fill in the blank.” Another site says the complete opposite. Plus, I eat a high vegan diet. How am I supposed to know what to eat?
The answer – If foods affected each person the same way, this would be an easy fix! But it’s not. Everyone processes each food differently. What one diabetic can eat, another may not be able to, regardless of what the Internet says. The one agreement – carbohydrates (“carbs”) are consistently an issue. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat any carbs, but low-carb diets are highly recommended.
I was testing my blood morning and night as requested by my doctor. The specialist recommended testing my blood morning (not sleeping well affects your blood sugar), before lunch (to test for breakfast), before supper (to test for lunch) and bedtime (to test for supper). (I’m not a big “snacker” and sometimes struggle to get lunch in.) This will tell me how my glucose is after the meal I last ate. If the number is within a normal range, then what I ate was fine and my body was able to process the food with no glucose issues. If the number is high, then I need to assess what I ate and make accommodations. Over time I will get a very clear idea of what my body can and can’t process in terms of blood glucose levels.
2. How do I get a handle on all this, it’s a bit overwhelming?
There are three ways to control my diabetes.
And the guideline was pretty simple. If you don’t want to change your diet then increase exercise and increase meds. If you don’t want to exercise then control diet and increase meds. If you don’t want meds, then control diet and increase exercise. It just makes sense, right?!
I’m in the “I want off the meds” group. (I am not on insulin.) I feel like I have my diet in control right now and I’m really proud of myself for that step. Now that I’m tracking my glucose levels for each meal, I can really get this right.
She taught me that low carb doesn’t mean no carb and it also doesn’t mean I can’t ever have food from my “no” list. If I want popcorn when I go to the movies (I LOVE move popcorn… layered please!) – no problem, I just need to add in extra exercise before or after to make up for it. Essentially, there is no “no” list, it just depends how much exercise I want to put in. However…
exercise is my struggle. It always has been. But, I want off the meds!
So, I have consistently being practicing yoga for 20 mins every morning, since November. (I absolutely love the Namaste.tv series) I purchased the DVDs and do one episode every morning.
I have some other things in mind, and will slowly add them into my schedule. I find I work best with baby steps. Too many changes at once equals failure. Plus, with Spring coming in a couple of months, I know that I get energized to be outside walking and riding my bike. (And now that I live in the country, I will actually ride my bike!)
3) Can I really be off medication for life?
Yes. Once I get my readings consistent for six months, I can discuss with my doctor about reducing one of the meds (I’m on two) and again after another six months of consistent readings, I can try to reduce the second. As long as my blood glucose responds favourably to being off medication, my diabetes would be in remission. Cured? Nope, but I can control it. If I falter in diet or exercise it will come back. It’s up to me.
I watched this Ted Talk recently, about reversing Type 2 diabetes. It’s a real eye opener and I suggest giving it some of your time.
It’s all about life long changes.