A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘dieting’

Why, oh why…Questions I have.

My questions for today are: Is it possible for women to have a conversation and not talk about diets? Would it be possible for restaurants to consider that not everyone eats meat or tomato sauce? Why is it so hard to stay on your diet when away?

We just came back from vacation. It was a lovely trip to our favorite place in the 1000 Islands. We go every year at least twice. We do not really have cooking facilities in the room we are in. So we are required to either get take out or eat out. Actually, that is part of the beauty of the trip. Usually, we buy snacks for the room also. Now that I am required to watch what I eat, we limited the snacks. But I did buy a bag of Fritos and I had my favorite River Rat cheese. (I did end up feeding the Fritos to the geese and other animals there.) We ate cold cereal for breakfast in the room every morning. I don’t normally eat cold cereal. In the past I have brought an electric kettle so I could make oatmeal, but that is now only allowed on a limited amount on my renal diet. Cold cereal was the only option for this trip. Not a good thing.

Every morning, people around the world pour a bowl of sugary carbs and cover it with milk. For me, the carbs in the morning are really bad. My sugar elevates at the middle of the night, instead of coming down like most people and then by mid-day, it is in a normal range. I use long acting insulin with a bigger dose at night and a smaller one first thing in the am. I do not take insulin the rest of the day. When I ate cereal, my reading never came down and my overall sugar stayed pretty high. On top of that, milk has sugar as well as phosphorous and potassium which is not good for the kidneys.

When we were shopping at the store, it was hard to find any for breakfast that would have been a good substitute. We did buy some dark homemade bread at a shop and lite butter Again, bread is high in carbs. Forget about croissants, or god-for-bid donuts. I do not ever eat donuts.

I wonder if eating cereal as kids is a contributor to having diabetes as an adult. At home, I never eat cereal. I scramble two egg whites and one whole egg and sometimes add pre-cooked veggies. I have very low cholesterol so this is not an issue. My solution for our next trip was to buy a small egg cooker.

The other big problem was eating out. The place we stay has a wonderful restaurant with a fabulous salad bar. The first two nights they had a buffet. BIG MISTAKE. Even though I thought I was being judicious, I over ate. I skipped the buffet the rest of the trip. Two nights they had all you could eat pasta. It was cheaper to buy that dinner than the salad bar alone. I had pasta with alfredo sauce on the side. Yummy…but terrible for me. But, I was on vacation and in my head I justified it. We had other meals when the restaurant was closed and I tried to pick something with no red sauce and only chicken. I ate more chicken that week than I did all summer. A couple of times I only ordered salad but they came with chicken. It is almost impossible to find renal friendly meals in restaurants. If it doesn’t have pasta it has potatoes. Ordering a side of let’s say just broccoli is not a good option often because the broccoli is usually frozen and mush.

I had labs done the week we came back and my numbers were terrible….. well, I thought they were. My nephrologist said they were not that awful and to stop worrying. I already lost the five pounds I gained, and my glucose readings have come back down. But it did frighten me when I saw my GFR dropped two points. My goal is to get that back up.

Last night we went to a function at a restaurant. Again, it was a buffet. But they had big bowls of salad on the table. I was planning on having salad since they buffet was not renal friendly at all. I did pick though the broccoli and pasta and took just broccoli and had a small piece of really bad chicken French. The rest of the buffet was pasta in red sauce, veal parmesan, and roast beef. I filled my salad plate when I went up to the buffet and when I got back to the table; they had taken the big bowl of salad away. I was really mad. So for $40.00, I had the worse meal.

The function was for my hubby’s 50th school reunion. I knew no one there at all. I went to support him. After dinner, people were milling around and several people came and chatted with us….him. One other wife and I struck up a conversation as the men were chatting. We talked about what we were doing in our resent retirements. The topic never came close to diets until I mentioned cleaning out closets. Then she somehow got on a track about weight.

I don’t know if it is a female thing or because I am a large woman that people feel that have to talk about weight and diets with me. She started down a path of how as she aged she put weight on….. Truthfully, I don’t remember all that she was saying in detail as I tuned her out. I finally looked at her said, “I have been large all my life. Now excuse me, I need to go to the ladies room.”

Why do women NEED to justify their bodies? Also, why do women have to explain when they are at a dinner why they are eating what they are eating? My thinking is, “shut up and enjoy yourself. I don’t care what you eat and I certainly do not want your guilt or judgement.

No one ever said to my rather large husband, “gee… I put on weight as I got older.” If anything a male conversation last night would have been would be more about lamenting about hair loss. I did hear that once with one guy who was talking to my husband. His hair was almost gone but my hubby has a full head of hair. Both of them just laughed.

 

A Pissy Situation, Part Five. You scream, I scream for Ice Cream

As I lay in bed this morning, I could feel my heart pounding and hear it in my ears. I know that means I had too much potassium. It used to be so bad that it was hard to think with the loudness in my ears. Now I don’t hear it very often because I am watching what I eat. But yesterday was a holiday, and in my family we celebrate with food. I allowed myself a free day. I did not go crazy, but after all the changes I made in the last month, it really impacted how I feel today. Was it worth it? Well, maybe.

The other thing is that I am guilt ridden. I am so food conscious because of my size. I often get peoples’ stares at restaurants as they feel entitled to judge my food consumption. I normally make a face right back if I catch someone glaring at me. It also amazes me that they think they have the right to judge.

My indulgence yesterday was to go to our favorite ice cream stand and get a dish of the best soft serve ever. Their small is huge. I had forgotten how huge. As we approached the stand, this old crow was sitting with a bunch of other folks and glared at us. I just looked at her and made a snarl face. She looked away but then I saw her return to her glare. The other people she was eating with were enjoying their food but not her. I do not think she enjoys much. We got our ice cream and came back out to eat it and there was sour puss staring again. I just ignored her. People do not realize what harm they cause when they look at people with judgment and disgust. We polished off our dishes of delightful twist and we left.

For dinner, we were doing a cookout and I had planned to have a ground chicken burger, mac salad and cole slaw in my daily planning for the day. I decided because we had mowed the lawn and taken a small walk in the park we visited that I had burned enough calories to have one of the freshly baked rolls my husband bought. I have not eaten much bread at all and this was a treat. The burger also was huge. I did share some of it with the dogs, but I ate most of it. It was a good 6 or 7 ounces.

The daily totals were almost double what I normally eat. The protein was at my limit but I usually am way under. Protein and potassium are the two things I am most concerned about in my consumption. Sugar and fat is secondary.

My glucose reading this morning was just fine and not elevated at all. I was worried it was. But I drank a ton of water to help flush out the sugar. That made me realize that I had planned carefully and I was ok with the slight indulgence.

But as I lay there this morning I thought what if all that protein was too much? What if I damaged my kidneys and pushed it to the next level? There is no going backwards for the most part. Once they say its dialysis, that’s it. No one comes off dialysis unless they have a transplant, so I am told.

No one really understands how totally terrified I am of having dialysis. When I first was told, I felt like someone had stabbed me in the heart and kicked me in the gut. There are times now when I am alone that I will weep silently. I feel I am facing a torturous death sentence. Dramatic, I know, but it is how I feel. I am not all that brave and this is too much at times for me to handle. I can’t share this in conversation because unless you are in the same boat, people cannot grasp the fear.

I am my own worst enemy. I worry too much. But being cautious about what I eat is a serious decision. I know too many people who are cavalier about what they eat and then when they end up with a diagnosis, they continue with their bad habits and only get sicker. Then they ask why.

Today I get back on the wagon, so to speak. There is some feeling of success when I am in control. I just hope no damage was done. I will not know for a week until I have labs. I am sure I will perseverate about it the whole time.

 

A Pissy Situation part four: You are what you eat.

     Every month for the rest of my life I will have to have labs done. This is in order to see if there are any changes in my values and if there is a decline in my kidney function. It is like spinning a roulette wheel. The anticipation before going for the labs is tough. But waiting for the results is worse. Two labs ago, I was headed for dialysis in a rapid way.

But I took control of what I could and that was what I eat. I was so gung ho at first but the daily necessity of it does make it weary. I am keeping a food journal using an app called https://www.myfitnesspal.com. I track everything that goes into my mouth. I plan every meal and bargain with myself. If I eat this, I don’t eat that. I find it very helpful to know exactly what the calories are and other components of food that I need to keep track of like potassium and protein.

It also tracks my exercise. And when I say exercise, I mean what I do. I don’t go to a gym. I track what I do around the house and garden. The data base is pretty extensive but you can also find other calculators to measure how much output you do daily. I have been cleaning out and packing up old clothes and items around the house. I have been working on the garden and reseeding the lawn. You would be surprised to find that you can burn over 300 calories an hour just doing work around the house.

For the last years, I have been extremely sedentary due to my job. The only movement I had for the course of the day was to go from one meeting to another. I sat all day. When I retired in January, I was extremely short of breath and tired just standing. Sometimes, going shopping required that I use a motorized cart to get through a large store.

Almost every day I plan an activity that will use mobility. Yesterday for example, we went to BJ’s. It is a huge store and I usually have to ride a cart. Yesterday, I walked it and very rapidly. I haven’t been able to do that for at least two years.

This is a long haul process. I have to admit, it’s horribly hard. My husband and I love to go out to eat. We spend our weekends trying new places or revisiting old. Yesterday we went to one favorite places that has a bakery in the place. Their sandwiches are on fresh baked bread. They also usually have fabulous salads, but when their homegrown stuff is in, which it is not yet. So I splurged and had a sandwich. It was fabulous. But then the temptation was on to have more “forbidden” items, which was hard to pass by. But I did. When I got home, I actually calculated the sandwich into my daily calories, and was not that far over that I could also have an enjoyable dinner. I have to learn to cut myself some slack.

This experience makes me very aware of how easy it is to overeat. People who can eat whatever they want are truly blessed. I watched what other people were eating. They have no idea how lucky they are when they are chowing down without worry. This new concern for me has nothing to do with losing weight to look acceptable. It is all about putting the right things in my body to help my kidneys. My bigger concerns are keeping my sugar low so that doesn’t impact the kidney and low protein and potassium which is hard for the kidney. That means no meats or sweets. The American diet is so based on meat that it’s hard to go out and find places that offer plant based meals. Even salad offerings have chicken or cold cuts (terrible for you).

The information out there on the Internet is so convoluted that people with kidney disease have a real struggle. I am finding that recipes that are supposed to be kidney friendly are anything but. I hope in time to be able to become very knowledgeable so that I can help others who find themselves in the same position.

My labs from May 8th showed some real improvement in my numbers. It was good news after such a plethora of bad in the past few months. It gives me hope that I can hold off dialysis.

 

 

Let there be cake!

I saw the bright reflection from down the hall. The light glimmered off the protective covering as my boss walked towards me. It was time for our weekly staff meeting and we met and turned to enter the room together. It was like walking with one of the three kings from the Orient to present the holy child with frankincense or myrrh. She had the gift of the Magi. She had birthday cake.

If I was abandoned on a dessert island and could only have one food, it would be chocolate birthday cake covered in butter cream frosting with tons of roses and flowers. And there is one store here that makes the best. My boss was carrying one of those exact cakes into our meeting as a surprise for one of staff. I had to decide at that point if it was the best day or the worst.

I have been going through an on-line course call “Be Nourished.” It is a series of six modules that offer lessons and inspiration to learn to become an intuitive eater. No diet, no starvation and definitely no deprivation. It takes practice and training to quiet the mind and really feel what the body is saying. Instead of eating from emotion, you eat when and what your body says it wants. Believe it or not, when you really pay attention, the body does not crave sugar. I was surprised to see how easy that has been. I also noticed that I do not crave carbs and salty things as much.

If you think by “letting go” there would be the urge to eat everything under the sun. For some, I guess that happens. But then, it is in response to an emotion and not the actual response to hunger. I discovered I eat when I am bored. I eat out of habit. Its noon, it is time for lunch. But now I wait until I am hungry. It is weird also to actually feel hunger. And then I listen to what my body says it wants. I bring my lunch but at dinner, the choice often is salad automatically.

The other part of intuitive eating is knowing when your full. There are studies which say often obese people do not sense full. I stop for the most part when I am full or just know to stop. Sometimes the guilt of throwing food out makes me push past the point where I could stop.

I sat through the meeting eyeing with delight and patience for them to cut the cake. But when they did, I passed on it. It was only 10:00 am and I truly was not in the mood. I did not want the sugar rush that early on in the day only to crash later. I knew the cake would be left in our shared area and others would attack it later as was my plan. But I ate my lunch first. I was not hungry after that, but images of butter cream rosettes danced in my brain. Finally, I gave in and went to cut a chunk for myself. I included a piece of the biggest pink rose. It was only about an inch and a half square piece. I had to carry it back to my office. I knew if someone passed me in the hall I would get “the look.”

I actually set it behind me on a cabinet for a bit and again reassessed how I felt. The biggest hurdle was the guilt. It was so strong. I thought of all the things I have been doing for myself. This was a blatant disrespectful act and lacked self-compassion, I thought.  I spun my chair around to gaze at the loveliness of the rose which just happened to be my favorite color. I spun back to my computer to think how I would feel with all that sugar pulsing through my body after so long a withdrawal from most sugary things. I could feel the cake behind me. Its chocolate goodness filled the air and the pure white of the frosting sat waiting to be enjoyed. I spun around and with fork in hand, slowly and with purpose devoured the piece. I tasted every grain of sugar, every ounce of butter, every essence of dark cocoa.

It was done.

Was it worth you ask….. Hell, Yeah!