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Day 573: Numbers

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

A couple of things have kind of come together in the last few days.

First, I hit 300 days for my log-in streak.

I say this not to brag, but to indicate how it's all in perspective.

I'm not as pleased about it as I might have been.

Why? Because 300-and-a-bit days ago I was poised to hit 700 days' log-in streak.

Even now, I can't tell you what happened. I had logged in, consistently, without fail, for nearly two years. Through all kinds of personal upheaval and trauma and spells of sturm-und-drang, I still managed to get to a computer and log in to SP.

Then, one day, in the midst of calmer times - I didn't. And not until the day following did I realize I had missed that day and broken my ever-growing streak.


I was truly and totally bummed. I whined about it for days. (As Himself would tell you. He felt bad for me, but didn't quite get why it loomed so importantly to me.)

And then... I got over it. All things must pass, ain't? So now I'm on a 300-day streak and I have to (almost physically) stop myself from saying "Yay, 300 days - and it WOULD have been a THOUSAND--!" Because that really takes the bloom off the rose, doesn't it?

That's what we do. We take our achievements and make them small, meaningless, worthless.

"I lost two pounds! But if I hadn't overindulged at the birthday party last week, it would've been THREE pounds--!" "Great, I walked half-a-mile. But if I hadn't let myself get so out of shape, I'd be walking two miles--!"

And so it goes.

You know that business about choices? Choosing the good, choosing the positive, choosing happiness--? Okay. Here's something to try: the next time you tell yourself "It's not good enough, it should've been MORE--" just remember that one pound is better than none... 200 yards is better than no distance... eating healthy at one meal is better than eating no healthy meals... and so on.

Me, now, I'll try to remember that a streak of 300 days is better than a broken streak - or no streak at all.

* * *

More numbers: yesterday was the (*sigh*) Semi-Annual Review of Blood. Sort of what vampires do to their storage vaults. A-heh.

In July, for the first time ever, my cholesterol was up out of the normal range, and that LDL-HDL ("lousy" DL and "happy" DL) ratio was out of whack.


Also in July, the HbA1c - which had been 5.0 or below for years, YEARS, was 7.0. (They don't like to see anything higher than 6.)

Blood pressure? 144/92.

Do I know how it happened? (*sigh* x 2)

Yes, unfortunately, I do.

Let's consider... weight gain. Lack of exercise. Three months in the US with eating out for breakfast (sausage / biscuits / gravy, pancakes, etc)... lunch (huge chicken-salad sandwiches, chocolate-chip cookies, slabs of apple pie, etc)... supper (hamburgers, hot-fudge sundaes, mac 'n' cheese, etc)...

Add to all that the span of six weeks back here but before the kitchen was finished in the new flat: rich cream in the morning coffee, convenience meals, carry-out foods.

Sure, I had excuses, everything from the could-be practical ("If I don't have a refrigerator, I can't keep milk around to make healthy cereal"; "There's no gym around here") to pretzel-logic ("It's okay to eat this cookie as long as I don't eat donuts"; "If I can't do a workout on a rowing machine, there's no sense in walking instead").

At the end of the day, the reason - the excuse - was "Because I want / don't want to." I want rich food. I want sweet food. I want fried food. I don't want salad. I don't want cauliflower. I don't want to count carbs, or measure portions, or turn down 'the good stuff.' I want to sit at the computer. I want to sleep late. I want to stay home and knit, or do a jigsaw puzzle, or cook food I shouldn't eat. I don't want to take a walk, or work out, or move around.


And where did this "want / don't want" get me?

Go back up there and read the stuff about the cholesterol, the HbA1c, the blood pressure.

The question for me has become - was it worth it?

Was turning a blind eye to my deteriorating health even as I indulged in foods I hadn't eaten in years worth it?

Was being lazy and not sweating and not walking in bad weather worth it?

Ah... in a word, no.

I'm back at square one. And it's hard, it's really hard.

Himself compared it to running one of those super-tankers at full tilt in the middle of the ocean, then suddenly putting on the brakes to do a 180 reversal.

That's a pretty good analogy.

In July, the "threat" was to put me back on diabetes medication and to increase the hypertension medication.

Well, I don't want THAT. I worked too hard, for too long, to get off them.

Since the 23rd of July, I have been in the gym five days a week (most weeks). I walk (treadmill) at least a mile before breakfast, and bike (exercycle) at least two miles. On three days a week I go back to the gym in the afternoons, for strength training: leg press, arm cycle, "fly weight" machines, resistance bands, whatever's going. On weekends - when our plan doesn't allow us to use the gym - I try to walk at least a mile each day, plus do some non-equipment exercising.

I also stopped (!) eating bread, quit all white foods (again), and completely cut out convenience / processed foods.

And as I said, yesterday was Round Two. Usually they don't do bloodwork so close together, but because we're going back to the US in a couple of weeks, the diabetes nurse wanted to see if I was making improvement - or if she would have to get me back onto the medications.

Yesterday's numbers? BP was 120 / 84. Cholesterol: smack dab in the middle of "normal," with a good LDL/HDL ratio. And the HbA1c? 6.5.

The blood glucose still needs work (!) but after eight weeks, the trend toward "healthier" is clear.

Have I lost weight? *snort* Of course not. That would be the icing on the cake (lol) wouldn't it?

But strengthened muscles burn fat more efficiently, help prevent cholesterol from accumulating in the body, and can improve blood-sugar levels. So sweating is worth it.

Balancing protein with carbohydrates also helps blood-sugar levels, and I had gotten into the habit of carrying antacids everywhere - without thinking about why I needed to have them with me all the time. Now, I don't usually need the Rolaids, and I have more energy. So eating right is worth it.

You know those lights on either side of runways that help pilots line up planes for night landings? Uh huh.

I don't want to live by numbers, necessarily, but they are surely useful to keep me on the right track.

'ave a good 'un, Sparklers - carpe diem!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Awesome blog as always Kasey....
    Love the pic....
    1875 days ago
  • VEG954
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1882 days ago
    emoticon A wonderful reminder of how Important our Self Talk is!!
    emoticon Congratulations on getting your Numbers down so quickly. That is Great Motivation to Keep On Keeping On!!
    emoticon I feel your Pain on the Lost Spin Streak!! It is Odd how obsessed we can be with those Spins/Points!!
    1883 days ago
    What a well-considered blog, Kasey! You are so right about the human tendency to want to be back to our very best and be bummed if we have to retrace our steps in ANY aspect of life, from spinning that doggone wheel to taking care of our health conditions!

    Doesn't matter how many times you've done it before... you're doing it NOW, and NOW is all that counts! Today is the only day you get to live today! emoticon emoticon
    1883 days ago
    +Well, I'm glad somebody's numbers respond well to healthy eating. I was so excited to get the results back from this year's labwork. Having lost 95 pounds, begun exercising regularly, eating super healthy, I was so stoked. And my LDL was up 32 points. Go figure. Now I have to wait another year to see if I can turn that around. (Insurance blah blah blah...) However, I need to take a lesson from you and try to see the positive in this. 95 pounds of me is gone. Gotta celebrate where you can, right?

    Congrats on all the exercise you're doing! You GO!
    1883 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1883 days ago
  • no profile photo CD6687446
    Girlie, I feel like I should apologize for the cuisine in the US. You know, the president's wife has been trying to get us all healthy, but it's an uphill struggle. You're on the right track now and that's the main thing, cuz now is all we've got.

    You are sure exercising! When the kid at the gym told me that 90 per cent of weight loss was due to diet, I quit the gym. I do still exercise, though. Daily. Working on my own set of numbers right now.

    Can't remember what part of the US you'll be in, though my mind wants to say the western region. If you get anywhere near Illinois, let me know.

    Gorgeous pic. Please tell me that is your home, and send me a round trip plane ticket! emoticon
    1883 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    I am going through the same thing.. I have now lost 16 pounds since June 25,, 6 in the past three weeks. I am slowly doing it again...again and again.. just like breathing..again,, the alternative is bad.
    1883 days ago
    Note to self: Numbers as a gauge of my progress..important. Obsessing over the numbers...not so much. It's a delicate balance for me. I loved this blog. You always put things in perspective with your insight. Cheers to progress..and celebrating the small victories! emoticon
    1883 days ago
    Oh wow - you sound like me... except for the part about being back on track! Getting ready for another trip out of town to work on the "other" house, so at least I'll be burning calories climbing, moving, etc. Gotta take a good hard look at what I'm consuming and then act on it instead of just looking!

    Good for you! Double good for you that Himself is so encouraging!
    1883 days ago
    The Girl's done Good.

    It has not been without it's traumas and near misses - you can't always think that leaping out of bed at 6.30 to be at the gym when it opens at 7 is the most attractive option but with the occasional push and shove she has done it.

    The improvements are visible. She stands more upright, moves more easily, just looks altogether better.

    The weight has not yet come off but the incessant increase has halted and I consider that to be a success. It will soon start to fall and when it does it will be increasingly rapid.

    I am so proud of her.
    1884 days ago
    Does Brown rice work the same as white rice? I'm sort of floundering through .... Would like to get to a Happy margin where sugar is concerned although I have gotten better.
    1884 days ago
    I am so proud of you and I am going to try to remember your post on a regular basis to help keep me motivated too. I completely understand and applaud you.
    The last 4 months have very good for me with getting back on track. In the last 2 years I have become "settled" with the weight I have lost and got a little full of myself as well. As a result I gained 13 pounds !!!! It was a friend that suggested something to me a few months back and I gave it a try, now I'm down 11 of those added pounds and just 2 pounds shy of my lowest since I started living healthy.
    We WILL do this and keep doing it still with all the ups and downs life brings our way but we WILL NOT quit !!!

    BIG HUGS !!!
    1884 days ago
    Pay attention to that blood sugar! You don't want to have a stroke like my husband did. I'd say breaking your spin streak (yes, silly) was worthwhile if that's what it took to get your attention for the things that really are important.
    1884 days ago
    Love that picture---and glad you turned your numbers around---hope when you come back you can continue the healthy routine----with only an occasional indulgence. And agree----we are often our own worse enemy when it comes to numbers.
    1884 days ago
    1884 days ago
    Love this. Often times, we don't take the pat on the back that we so deserve. And the numbers can lead to depression. I try to look at more than the numbers, but I do keep them in check as well, because to me, it is progress and keeps me on track.
    1884 days ago
  • no profile photo EVIE4NOW
    Excellent blog. I am glad you are not beating yourself up for your down sides to the journey. It's not worth it and accomplishes nothing. Keep on Sparking!
    1884 days ago
    Brilliant on so many levels, love this post!
    1884 days ago
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