Trust Me, I’m a Type 1

Since I broached the topic of weight issues yesterday, it’s only fair that I set the stage now for many blog posts to come. It’s been almost 19 years since my diagnosis as Type 1, and I’ve gone from a healthy and comfortable weight in my roaring 20s, to being an honestly overweight 40 year old. I accept that true lack of diligence on my part has added extra pounds. For those of you who have not yet made this transition – our lives and our bodies change dramatically in those 2 decades between 20 and 40. Consider yourself warned.

I don’t want to point the blame at anything but myself for this steady weight gain that I’ve had over the years, but let’s be rational and look at what has changed for me in 20 years, and what has helped contribute to my current state of unacceptable BMI:

…at age 20, I took Accutane to get rid of the awful cystic acne that plagued me since the beginning of puberty. You are required to go on birth control pills while taking it (because it WILL cause birth defects), and my ob/gyn recommended I stay on them to help retain my fertility (I’m sure I will tell more jokes about this later. Looking at the side effects, did accutane cause my diabetes?? A question  to ponder in another post….)

That horse was HUGE!

Ahh, the roaring 20s!

…I took said birth control pills for 15 years. There is conflicting information about whether or not birth control pills make you gain weight. I personally believe that anything that synthetically whacks out your normal hormonal system is bound to have some adverse systemic effect.  Most women report an average of 5 pounds gained each year on birth control. You do the math.

…once I got out of college, I got a job. Sitting down in front of a computer all day. It took more effort to exercise than ever before, and thus, exercise fell by the wayside in lieu of making money to pay off college loans, and spending time outside of work socializing with friends and dating.

…over the years, I’ve become more insulin-resistant, very much like a Type 2. I have taken Metformin since having a baby to help with some crazy sugar spikes, and slightly reduce my insulin requirements. As we all know, more insulin = more weight gain. (more thoughts on Metformin in future posts…)

…I got married at last when I was 35. I was happy and eating out a lot more than ever before. (But yay, I have an awesome husband! He loves me no matter what I look like, and has supported me more than I ever dreamed was possible.)

…and we started trying to have a baby. I had fertility issues. I took crazy amounts of fertility drugs for 3 years, went through several rounds of IVF. Stress. Emotional roller coasters. More weight.

…after much heartbreak and hope, I had a baby! Add on baby weight. (This weight I carry as a badge of honor. I freaking had a BABY!! I will gladly gain that weight again if I can ever have another. )

The good news is, I love my life, and I love all the people in it. I wouldn’t trade the years of struggle with my weight if it meant I wouldn’t have my friends and family that I have now in my life.

I recognize that there are lots of factors that led me to the place I am today – having to work hard to get back to some semblance of that healthy and comfortable weight of my roaring 20s. Most of the people who meet me today and who never knew me in the olden days are a little surprised, and probably think I am lying when I say I’m a Type 1 diabetic. They think that because I’m overweight now, I must be Type 2, right? But I know plenty of thin Type 2’s. And through my ever-growing circle of diabetic friends, I’m meeting more and more overweight Type 1’s. I wish people weren’t so quick to judge. I wish more people were educated about diabetes in general. I wish they would trust me when I say, “I’m a Type 1.”

I tend to crop pics now so you don't see as much of my body. But here, you can certainly see my happiness :)

I tend to crop pics now so you don’t see as much of my currently overweight body. But here, you can certainly see all  my joy and happiness 🙂

2.5 Pounds on the Scale

Going to a monthly weigh-in at my doctor’s office the day after my birthday was NOT a good idea. How do you think I’ve been celebrating for the past 2 weeks with friends and family? With food, drinks, food, drinks, and more food, of course! There was a wine and dinner night out with my girlfriends last weekend, a big bash of BBQ and cake last night, various meet-ups with people for lunches out, etc. I wonder why it never occurs to us to say, “hey, let’s go celebrate your birthday by working out together at the gym?” Because That. Sounds. AWFUL. And sweaty. Ewwww.

Needless to say, it was no surprise this morning when the scale showed I had gained 2.5 pounds since last month’s weigh-in. Which is a real bummer since I have steadily been on the downward path for over a year now. I’ve lost 45 pounds since January of 2012, and my goal is to lose at least 45 more in the coming year. As a diabetic who has struggled with weight even before my diagnosis, that is no mean trick. It took a LOT of work and effort. Added onto the daily monitoring of blood sugars and carbohydrates intake, I added in the hard-to-measure variable of exercise, as well as religious calorie-counting through using MyFitnessPal on my smart phone.   I am proud beyond belief of that 45 pounds lost. (Why do we say “lost” as if we want to “find” it again? Trust me, I don’t.)

Now, I have to get back on the wagon again post-turning-40. Regroup. Get motivated. Implement some changes in my diet and routine that will help me continue the work I began last year. And let me tell you, this IS work. My doctor today had some suggestions for me, and while I don’t think I can incorporate them all at one time – terror, the terror of changing things and ruining my blood sugars! – I do hope to take on one or two at a time to attack and conquer over the coming months.

  • Reduce carbohydrate intake – eat more protein-based snacks in place of carb-based snacks
  • Choose more foods lower on the glycemic index
  • Take 200mcg of Chromium per day (supposed to help with blood sugars, will research that more later)
  • Reduce/remove as much processed food as possible – eat more fruits and vegetables (duh)
  • Don’t eat wheat – it’s genetically modified and she doesn’t like it
  • Drink more water (I feel I already do this-water is my favorite drink next to wine. Ha.)
  • Exercise more (always a struggle to find the time when I have a daughter I’d rather spend that time with)
  • (And the killer for me) Cut out the microwave meals, like Healthy Choice/Weight Watchers/Lean Cuisine

    Is this really so bad??

    One of my (many) weight-loss crutches

I could spend paragraphs going through each of those bullets, and I’m sure over time here I will be addressing each one in other blog posts, but today, I’ll touch upon microwave meals. As a diabetic who works full time, has a toddler, and a very busy life in general, I LOVE them. All the nutrition information is RIGHT THERE – I can take the right amount of insulin, they are low-calorie,  fast to fix , and most of the time, pretty tasty. The convenience is so alluring that I’m not sure I can give those up, not quite yet. I do know in my heart that anything I take out of a box & put in the microwave – even the more organic and “natural” meals I pick up from Trader Joe’s – can’t be that “good” for me, but they are a hard habit to break.

Do you all have this same problem, or a similar ease-of-convenience vice with regards to food? If you have overcome using the “crutch” of microwave meals, how did you do it?