Monday, May 4, 2009

Lifestyle changes

We are all human and as such we hate change. I work in a clinic (big one, like hospital sized) that works exclusively on diabetes and glandular diseases. The diabetics are the smallest percentage of our clients (thyroid being the highest) but are who we see 90% of the time. Lets face it, San Antonio does not suffer from a lack of big fat and lazy. Hell anything to the contrary sticks out like a sore thumb here. I think we've been on the US's top 10 fattest cities for a multitude of years running. #1 for not just a few of them. In fact I think the only reason we are going down on that list is because this financial cycle California's mass exodus moved here. 10 years ago (the CA mass exodus happens every 10-15 years) the Cali's all moved to Washington and Oregon, this time we went east. North was too cold and all the old Californians had raised the housing prices up there in the past 10 years.

Anyway, back on topic and off demographics (all this is true, you can look up the statistics) the diabetics are the ones we see the most of because of one reason, non-compliance. It's like the big bad word here. Being diabetic means you have to change the way you live your life. If you know of someone who died of 'diabetic complications' I'll bet there was at least a 90% chance that the person died because they were not willing to make the lifestyle changes that would result in surviving and living a long life. Seriously folks, no one wants to hear that they need to eat vegetables, cut down on salt and carbohydrates and LORD FORBID exercise. Now talk about a word no one wants to hear. As a diabetic you have to watch everything that passes over your lips, it sucks and it takes effort. Oh no not effort! Effort and change no! Yeah, now you know why we see no less than 3 ambulances here a week. They come in pretending everything is hunky dory, we do their lab work (all in house) and they are near death and we have to have them taken to the hospital (other end of the corner from us) by ambulance. At least 3 times a week this happens. Non-compliance? Yes, just a little thank you very much.

We deal with it often and take it in stride. Really there's not much we can do other than tell them what they should be doing and then treating the big issues as they come up. Lets face it, for all intents and purposes people are stupid and that is what we have to work with. Need proof? Go drive on a freeway during rush hour and there ya go, living proof that morons continue to dominate the earth. There is also this other phenomenon when you come to work here at DGD clinic and I am not sure why it exists but I can totally prove that it does. The saying goes, "Not diabetic yet? Well if you come to work here we can fix that.". We don't actually make every worker diabetic but dang it all if we can't pack the weight on your ass. Now here's the thing, we don't provide food here and I can't imagine the women who work here (yes, mostly female) would be less sedentary if they didn't work here. So I'm not sure why working here makes you gain weight. Everyone here is on a diet of some sort. Sometimes they even do it together.

Go look behind the desks and you'll notice charts with workers names and their weights at certain dates. Chances are that number doesn't go down after a few months either. Mind you 95% of these women are latino so they don't have genetics or lifestyle going for them. The mexican food here is a culinary atrocity. Their beans are all made with so much lard by the time they get to the table there's a pool of liquid lard on top of the beans, its gross. And, true to Texan culture, all serving sizes are Texas sized, way hella too big for any one person. And yet they pack it all down. Just wrong. Someone made a Weight Watchers chili one day and everyone loved it. I tried it, it was good but it was like these people were eating a food they'd never had before. Turns out this chili had real tomato chunks and celery and a bunch of other veggies in it. To me this is normal, apparently not to a Texan. They don't do vegetables here, they do meat and lard beans. Blech.

Now I could blame this for the weight gain of the other women who work here but not myself. I was raised with a different idea of healthy food, you know, like that green stuff? Yeah. Well obviously that was not good enough to avert the evils of DGD and the propensity for all of us to gain weight. It will be my one year mark here May 27th. I weighed myself on one of the scales here 3 weeks ago and just about died. I don't own a scale at home so the only way I ever know my actual weight is when I go to the doctors, which thankfully, has been awhile. I had gained, in this past wee bit less than a year's time, around 20 lbs. No lie peeps, this is tragic. I'm 5'1" tall and 20 lbs does not disperse on this body frame. Tragic man, just tragic.

I went about evaluating my daily habits which, oddly, have not changed in forever and I could not figure out what made this huge difference in a short time span. I wish I could say I was more sedentary than before. Or that I ate more bad stuff but no, nothing. I'm just as lazy as I used to be, the table fare has not changed, I really just do not know. So in a fit of OMG I'M HUGE I cut my caloric intake. By a lot. I was trying to hit a goal of the standard 2000 calories a day and ended hitting about 1500. I couldn't function on 1500 calories and to anyone else out there I wouldn't recommend it, it's not pretty.

After about a week of this I threw in the towel. Now I'm just avoiding fast food and those type things like the plague (no, I didn't get them often anyway so that's not it) and also seriously watching what I eat. Like instead of bread with lunch I'll eat crackers. Lots more fruit and veggies, no desserts. Snacks are not candy (they weren't anyway so again, that wasn't it) and I bought a bunch of munchie things that are healthy so I can munch all day and not have big meals. I have eaten like this for most of my life but I had never followed anything very strictly, never had to. I think it's a mid thirties thing, my body has just changed and now I have to make lifestyle changes. Big ones lest my ass grow out of control like it obviously has for the last year.

Good grief just looking at the people that come in here everyday should put everyone on a diet, it's scary how people do not take care of themselves! Just for the record I have started exercising also. Every night, no matter what the time, Jaynie and I go out and power walk. I say power walk but that's just me, he barely gets a fast pace going. If I wanted to jog he may have to walk quickly. His legs are so damn long even the hubby has trouble getting that dog to lope when he jogs with him. This is why I take Jayne and not the other lazy 2, Corbie's body is barely made for walking and Roxy well, she'd much rather become one with the couch (I'm so with her on this one). Also Jayne will kill anything that comes within a 30 foot radius of us, this is bad normally but at night on a walk, perfect weapon. Loud as a fracking get out too, all sound and fury. Scary as shit if you don't know any better.

The pool has also opened again (yay!) so every free chance we get after I pick the kid up we're going to swim. She's an excellent swimmer since we made her take lessons for a year straight. I don't think any other parent has done that in the classes we have locally. They all figure their kid would learn to swim in 1 month with them taking the kid to the pool once or twice a week. Um, no. After one year my kid was 6 and doing the butterfly, now that is a stroke that would sink me. She knows that was her daddy's stroke that he competed in so she insisted on that being 'her stroke of choice'. Whatever as long as she doesn't drown and I can get my laps in it's all good.

So we shall see if it takes me the same amount of time to take this extra weight off as it did to put it on. At the very least I'm feeling much better physically, which is a good thing. Oddly though I don't think it has to do with diet, I'm pretty sure it's the added physical routine. I hate exercise but I hate diets more. I figure if I do a bit of both something should come of it right?


Stephanie said...

I'm the opposite. I hate diets, but I hate exercise more. Don't get me wrong- I love getting on my bike and riding around the beach, swimming, hiking (as long as it's not in the smoggy LA mountains, ugh)... but going to the gym? Sticking to a routine? No, thank you.

Every so often, usually after watching The Biggest Loser, I get on a workout kick. I start going to the gym regularly and all that crap. Sure, there's a part of me that wishes I could stick to it... but I really hate it. I'd rather make sure I'm doing what I can to get exercise in- like walking or riding my bike instead of driving.

aweesan said...

The hardest thing, by far, is change. Although humans are somehow good at adaptation, it's adaptation over time- gotta love evolution... problem is, it takes so long!

We know this instinctively and yet we have carefully tucked it away. Surely there's an easy solution? God, if I could've come up with even ONE of the crazy weight loss schemes I'd be set! Yeah, well you know me. I'm not really good at lying or passing something off on others that I know isn't worth it. So I'm probably screwed there. We want to be lied to though and want to be told it's easy. It's easier top shell money out to just get something fixed than to be able to do it yourself (a lot of parents I know implement this tactic for stuff vice affection and you can see how good that works).

I would guess that many of us have tried to kick some sort of habit- caffeine, coffee, soda, sugar, or implement something new, healthy, whatever. Not easy, not quick, and usually over the course of 2 weeks of consistent work at it, it starts to become a happy habit/one you want. It's been said that it takes awhile to get where you are, and it takes awhile to get back where you came from. First you have to be made conscious of the bad habit (if that's what you want), then you have to commit yourself to doing what needs to be done in order to correct it. It's not going to come in a pill and you have to be patient.

Shows like the Biggest Loser depict how hard it is for people to change "little things". But, keep in mind they are shipped off to a farm to work out for 4-8 hrs a day, in a super-controlled environment, without many of the pitfalls we have at home. The Biggest Loser may be inspirational but really, a healthy maintainable weight loss regimen will be around 2 lbs per week and not 10+ lbs per week’s weigh ins. Your homeostasis will fight you, thinking you're going into starvation mode. You’ll be losing water weight first and sometimes muscle if you’re not careful.

So you don't like to work out, then you have to reduce the caloric intake. That doesn’t mean cutting out carbs and dropping proteins. You need to fuel yourself and not burn up your muscle- which is the first to go in the body’s order of operations. Fat takes longer and that’s why you should supplement with a strenuous/resistance activity you enjoy. Start with friends who may have similar goals. Walk fast. Find a scenic location with lots of changes in the path for variety. It’s not a job and GOOD HEAVENS don’t let it be boring! That’s what our paid jobs are for!, in an article about weight loss (, Sept. 16, 2008), states the following:
Controlling your weight comes down to one thing - managing calories. Your body is a complex machine that requires fuel to run your metabolism and perform all movement. Calories from the food and beverages you consume provide this fuel. If you burn all the fuel you take in, your weight will remain stable. If you end up with excess fuel that isn’t burned, it will be stored as body fat and your weight will increase. Similarly, if you burn more fuel than you take in, you’ll lose weight – it’s that simple. By managing the calories you take in and the calories you burn, you can successfully control your weight.

Easier said than done, eh? Well, often our bodies confuse hunger for thirst. Try drinking water (maybe flavored with lemon, limes or something of that nature). Also try waiting another 20 minutes after finishing a meal before trying to get seconds. It’ll take a few moments for that food to get to your stomach and you’ll feel sated. Fiber or eating fibrous, water-filled foods like celery and lettuce can help fill those gaps.

If that doesn’t help, make sure you’re taking a multi-vitamin, and plan ahead by packing small meals to eat thoughout the day to keep your blood sugar constant and not prone to dropping and make you susceptible to stuffing your face. Trust me, I’m guilty, esp. when the blood sugar drops and I get a headache and my sense of humor and patience goes waaaay out the door. You’d better believe I’m gonna stuff this face. But, just by being aware of that fact, I keep something handy just in case, and plan ahead.

Anyway, stuff we already know, but I thought I’d revisit the discussion. It never hurts to try! :)

MichelleSG said...

Woman you need to start your own blog! Yes, I do all of those things, even the multivitamins. I've upped my caloric intake above the 1500 so don't worry about that. My walks are long and always entertaining as walks with Jayne always are. The other night he was so intent on trying to kill a pomeranian he saw that he cold cocked his head on a fire hydrant. I laughed because that's the kind of mom I am, bad.
Thanks for all the advice!

aweesan said...

bah... the world doesn't need my ramblings... look how much space I took just to illustrate a few points.... I saw that & said, geezus, Michelle better send it back to me to shorten it up a bit! You know me... get me rambling....

Also, I meant "you" in the general sense... lol I know YOU aren't the only one who thinks about this and I'm not typically a lecturer ;-)