Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Confessions for a Tuesday

Confessions for a Tuesday is a blog series I'm starting. Today's deals with my health; many will relate to writing, motivation, work, or balancing this beautiful life. Don't worry; they won't all be this long.

Last month, I visited the doctor for the first time in about ten years. Clearly, having regular checkups isn't something I've prioritized.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I consider myself a mostly-healthy person. In the past year, I've only been sick once (and I blame my sick brother, two plane rides with him, and two all-nighters within 72 hours for that). I exercise "regularly" (if between one and five times a week is "regular") and try to eat well. But I'm overweight. It's an ongoing journey—and an imperfect one.

Confession: I have a sweet tooth. A big one. 

Although I don't often eat candy, I do enjoy cookies, cake, peanut butter, all things chocolate, and lots (and lots) of sugar in my coffee. Sugary coffee was a daily joy, the rest was a once- or twice-a-week treat. I worked those into my 1200-calorie diet, even if it meant skimping on the more-important food groups. That all changed last month.

The doctor diagnosed me with pre-diabetes. That means I'm at risk of diabetes, but they caught it early. It's reversible. 

I'm counting this as a praise.

Her instructions to me were vague: "Exercise regularly, eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day, and lose weight."

I wanted to shout, "I've been trying!" but my computer screen and the people nearby wouldn't have understood the outburst. (Ohthe diagnosis arrived via email.) Instead, I did some research and made some changes.

In short: I gave up added sugar until Easter (when I'll have it in very moderate amounts), and I limited my carbs to 100 grams a day or fewer.

The first day, I looked in the fridge, pantry, freezer, and cupboards, and I sighed. There was nothing for me to eat. Everything, it seemed, had sugar.

I settled for plain tuna and celery. It wasn't great.

This is all I'm allowed to eat now, thought Dramatic Janny.
The next day, though, I went grocery shopping. I stocked up on all kinds of Janny-friendly foods: vegetables and fruit, lean meats, low-carb and sugar-free crackers and bread (to have in moderation), eggs, and cheese. I even found some peanut butter made from only peanuts—no sugar and very few carbs (made by Smucker's). It's thick, but it's sweet.

There is actually plenty of food I can eat.
I'm learning new recipes every day—most are savory, but some cater to my sweet tooth. I miss sugar, but I'm finding ways around that. Stevia is a Janny-friendly option when I really need one (though I don't love the aftertaste). Coffee was a struggle, but I found a way to make a sugar-free mocha, even without stevia (recipe coming soon).

Papa helps with even trivial things.

The best part, though, is that giving up sugar helped me to overcome a weight-loss plateau. I hit a 12-pound loss (since Christmas) this week. The journey continues, but these little victories will keep me motivated.

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