Wednesday, June 06, 2012
My doctor called me Monday night to tell me that my fasting blood sugar is 116. ONE HUNDRED SIXTEEN. I hung up and shook both my fists at the skies, screaming, "KHAAAAAAAAN!!!!" and then wanted to cry.
I was so hoping that my number would have gone down since I've been living a healthier lifestyle, but I have to be honest with myself - it could be healthier. I don't want to get nuts or anything with food restriction (not quantity, quality) because then everything I say is verboten becomes FORBIDDEN FRUIT and then I end up going right for those items when the poop hits the fan, and binge. So to stop bingeing, I have had to learn to be kind of permissive. When I look at a menu, I tell myself (mentally - saying this out loud gets me weird looks) "You can have WHATEVER YOU WANT, Laura! Nothing is off limits! You can have the fattiest thing if that's what you want!" and the weird thing about me is, once I think I'm okay to get whatever I want, 99% of the time I end up choosing something healthier. It seems I only want the fattier/sugary items if I am beating the crap out of myself for being fat and telling myself that I'm "Not Allowed" to have something.
Yes it's a convoluted mind-game I have to play with myself, but hey, I've been struggling with food and weight issues for 32 years, so the fact that I can even do this with myself today is huge. But I digress!!
I am not diabetic...YET. They said that diabetes is official when the fasting blood sugar is 120. I am awfully close to that. I DO NOT LIKE THIS.
I will have to walk a fine tightrope between forbidding myself to eat something out of some twisted shame and fine-tuning my food plan to ADD healthier things like dark leafy greens (not that big of a fan but there's got to be ways to make them yummy) and more whole grain stuff. It's rough because usually when things like "white flour and sugar" go on the banned list, they become so much more compelling to me.
I have to find a way to circumvent this knee-jerk reaction in me, but it's hard. The old addictive neural pathways are deeply ingrained in my brain. I'm reading this amazing book called "In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts" by Dr. Gabor Mate about addiciton - I have several. He is very compassionate and talks about the many factors that lead to addictive tendencies from childhood enviornment, personality traits, and the part that really blew my mind, the brain chemistry involved.
I've always been so FURIOUS with myself for having goals and things in place and in one second throwing everything I'm working towards away to eat things that are going to push me out of my calorie range, despite my best intentions. All this time I've believed it was a glaring character flaw or that I am a broken messed up human being loser who is beyond hope. I've bemoaned my lack of willpower. However, whatever my character flaws, brain chemistry is also involved. Dr. Mate says that when the addict is around their substance, or even thinking about it, dopamine centers light up like Christmas trees and chemicals are released that cause strong urges and drives to go get that substance ASAP -- it overwhelms the Executive Function center of the brain, so in that instant, the addict OVERVALUES the substance (drugs, alcohol, brownies, gambling, shopping sprees - whatever) and UNDERVALUES their higher goals or intentions. It's almost like the Executive Function section light bulb gets out-shined and overpowered by a Kleig light. This blew my mind, because this is exactly what happens to me. Granted, I've put down the drugs and alcohol (16.5 years!) but I still struggle with food. Food was my first love, my first escape, my first addiction. It's the oldest addiction I have.
However, it's not about me looking cute in skirts now. I want my health. It's as simple as that. I am 44 years old, 100 pounds overweight and on the verge of diabetes. This isn't what I want.
I haven't gotten to the chapter yet about how to circumvent that chemical process in the brain, but I have behavior tools I can use. I am going to have to drop the white flour and white sugar and white rice. I am going to have to work a little harder to find food that is better for me to eat when I am out and about, or I'm going to have to pack a cooler and bring it with me so I don't cave to the urges to have an ice cream cone on a normal day instead of saving it as a treat once in a while. I have post it notes posted in my car, on my desk at work, and on my fridge with inspiration quotes and things like, "I don't have diabetes...YET!" I have lists of GOOD healthy foods in my purse and I have Sparkpeople on my computer and my phone.
It's very important that I find the way to not eat certain foods but not talk to myself meanly about it - triggering that rebellious knee-jerk addict process. THIS IS NEW GROUND I'm breaking here. And it's scary! But diabetes is scarier. My Dad has it and many complications because of it. He and my mother are the same age- 69, but he appears to be much older, slower, and confused. She's at a pretty good weight and has very few health issues besides high blood pressure. I want to be like my Mom in my 60s - or even better. What I do today determines my future.
What I do today - even small things like getting up earlier and exercising which is the better choice for me (DONE), planning my meals for the day (DONE) and blogging about this (DONE) will determine my future. Consistency and small positive choices all day, every day is the way it's going to happen, and when I hit a roadblock, I'm going to talk about it, I'm going to work through it. My "good life" depends on it.
High Blood Sugar - I'm putting you on notice. YOU ARE GOING DOWN! (Literally)