Saturday, March 9, 2013

Back in the search for wellness!

Its been just over 2 years since the last post.  Its time to get back in the habit.... all the right habits!

In the 2 years I lost a lot of weight, 65 pounds at one point and gained some back.... ok more than I want to admit.  I learned from trying extremes and have managed my sugars incredibly well in through it all.  However, over the course of the last couple months the diabetes is starting to trending poorly, diabetic neuropathy has set in and I can't seem to get my sugars under control.... so its time to get serious again but this time, I plan to balance a fitness and nutrition wellness adventure using this blog as a means to capture some of that adventure. 

In 2011 I learned about a really cool device to help out with the wellness path.  Its from BodyMedia, it tracks food, exercise, sleep and weight.  You will read a lot about this in upcoming posts, as it is one of a couple of gadgets I plan on using on this next phase of my journey.

Another resource I am going to reference is ISSA:

I enrolled in a Certified Fitness Trainer course to not only get me moving more, increase my fitness knowledge but once I am successful at completing the complex, intense, course (received the books a couple days ago, now I study medical journals, clinical studies, disease states etc... for work and I have a strong awareness of the art of medical learning - I was highly impressed at how advanced the books are and to the level in which personal trainers train in this arena to support their profession, huge respect points kicked in when I took a quick glance at the training materials) finally after it is all said and done I plan on volunteering with various areas of the community to support wellness beyond myself.

Welcome to my wellness journey...... ready to get active?  I am!   See you tomorrow with the start of our Duck-a-tude fitness knowledge workout......

Friday, November 25, 2011

Insulin... Friend or Foe? FOE for weight loss!

Insulin is a homone created in the pancreas.  Insulin is used to regulate the blood sugar within the system - it is like a key unlocking the insulin receptors to let blood sugar into your organs.  When someone develops insulin resistance it takes up to three times as much insulin to unlock the cell.  When you develop diabetes there is not enough insulin in your system to feed your cells and you may require insulin shots.  To put perspective on how much the body depends on insulin let me state that most of the cells in your body have insulin receptors.

Insulin reliant diabetics are starving their cells of blood sugar unless they take the necessary shot.  This could be because the pancreas is not creating enough insulin or because of insulin resistance. Whatever the reason.... that insulin shot can really help you AND mess you up!

A Diabetic is told to lose weight!  They are told that this is an important step to bettering their health and reducing the need for insulin (and other diabetic meds) along with diabetic complications. 

Insulin makes you gain weight!  YEP!  You read that right!  The typical person starting insulin will gain 10-15 pounds upon starting the dosage.  This is not water weight this is FAT.  Of course, my doctor did not share this lovely piece of information when I was first put on insulin.  I went to a diabetic nutritionist last week and learned this.  After doing a ton of research around it, I found it to be true!

Insulin is a growth hormone, aka it makes it exceptionally easy to develop new cells and it seems to really like creating fat cells.  I know a diabetic that uses insulin to allow them self to eat as much sugar as they want, what a terrible cycle.  The insulin will allow the person to eat the sugar by keeping or lowering the blood sugar numbers, in exchange for lowering those numbers that person will gain FAT cells and will pack on the pounds faster than a normal person not on insulin.

A diabetic needs the insulin, so other than doing more damage than good there is an answers.  It DOES NOT help you lose weight..... (still trying to figure out how to lose weight with diabetes and insulin not having any luck but I maintained my weight when I should have gained 10-15 pounds so it could be worse!)

Here is a solution to help with the cell creation caused by insulin.  Resistance training and/or weight training.  The insulin will also help to create muscle fibers.  If you are doing 20 min of resistant training and/or low/moderate weight lifting daily you are promoting the insulin to build healthy cells instead of fat cells.  You are also using up glycogen, the muscle version of sugar, causing your body to take up the blood sugar in your system to create more.  The effects of this also makes your insulin receptors more sensitive to insulin reducing your system Resistance for up to 48 hours - eventually making it so that you require less insulin naturally.  Of course, before starting any exercise program check with your doc and check your sugars before/during/after to ensure you are safe....

Here is a great Utube video focusing on the benefits of doing both strength and cardio exercise (what I do):
The second video above, is a great video for those without a gym and want some easy exercises.

Here is a great report on how resistance training is important for diabetic and overall health:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

What's in there???

Have you ever wanted to know if you were eating balanced?  or perhaps what vitamins/minerals you should add to balance out your diet?

There is an amazing website that my Medical Nutrition Professor showed me which does exactly that!  You enter what you ate and it calculates the values.... not just the Carbs/Proteins/Fats... it dives in deep!

Because it does track so many different things, I wanted to break down the summary screen:

The top triangle looks at the Carbs/Fats & Proteins balance.  Each point on the triangle represents a food you ate that day.  The White box represents the average.  Middle is good!

The second diagram on the top represents the nutritional value and fullness factor from the foods you ate.  Again each little white dot represents a food item and the white box represents the average.  Ideally you would like to be on the top right every day.

The bottom left is a grid that shows what vitamins you are and are not getting.  Based on the menu I entered I definitely need a multivitamin to hit where I should be hitting.  Gray represents a deficit.

The bottom right windshield looking graph are the amino acids consumed. 

On the far right there are two additional boxes without color.  These are very cool!  I have not seen another website that offers this break down.  When you have diabetes you should be watching what foods you eat that have high GI/GL numbers (will go into detail on another day but basically it means how quick the food is converted to sugar and high the spike) - lower is better.  For this day I rated a 42 which is very low, because I consider 50 high (not considered high for non-diabetics) I am right where I want to be.

The next box is the inflammation level of your foods.  Ever wake-up feeling like your swollen and can't explain why?  Might be because you ate a diet of foods that cause inflammation the day before.  I find that this specific box I am actually hypersensitive with.  After using this site for about 2 weeks, I have learned that this scale is right on to me "feeling" swollen or even "feeling" ill or not!  Each food has a inflammation score + or -.  Ideally you want to be balance with a slight tilt to the positive (anti-inflammatory).

The bottom grid is the breakout of vitamins again on grid.

There are many more tools and breakouts but I wanted to highlight the benefits of this site.

The major draw back to this site is that it does not store your information.  It only will review 1 day. 


It has been about a week since my last posting, I have been on the road and while I have learned much and done much towards Duck-A-Tude for health, nothing made it to the site.  SO expect a lot of great stuff this week!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

ORAC.. huh???

ORAC, short for Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, is a test tube analysis that measures the
total antioxidant power of foods and other chemical substances. Antioxidant power is the ability to
neutralize oxygen free radicals. (
 There is yet another new trend in healthy eating and that is what is commonly called "super foods" or "Antioxidant rich foods", really what they are referring to is foods with a high ORAC level. 
The USDA is even on the bandwagon with this one!  In a study published in May of 2010 they stated "the development of various chronic and degenerative diseases, such as cancer, heart disease and neuronal degeneration such as Alzheimer's Disease & Parkinson's disease may be attributed, in part, to oxidative stress."  So basically, to me, they are saying if your are not eating ORAC rich foods you ARE making yourself sick!  It is relatively easy to get the daily recommendations (3,000-5,000).  However, based on the author of O2 (a diet plan focused on ORAC scores) we should be striving for 30K a day (again relatively easy to get - if you put just a little effort into it!).
Here is a short list of common items and their ORAC scores:

ORAC Score
1 cup
Red Delicious Apple w skin
1 cup
Granny Smith Apple
1 cup
1 cup
Gala Apple
Fuji Apple
¾ cup
1 cup
Red Grapes
1 cup
½ cup
1 cup
1 cup
Dried Cranberries
2 tbsp
2 tbsp
Popcorn (air Popped)
5 cups
Red potato w skin
1 small
Russet potato w skin
1 med
Black beans
½ cup
Kidney beans
½ cup
Broccoli cooked
½ cup
Asparagus (cooked)
½ cup
Cabbage cooked
½ cup
Green Tea
1 cup
Black Tea
1 cup
1 tsp
Unsweetened choc
1 square
Now go check out more!

Here is the USDA database of ORAC scores and the White paper referred to above:
Here is a great pdf on how to get some ORAC scores from spices:

One more great read around ORAC and value:
My last recommended reading for this post:

Saturday, November 5, 2011

CPAP and Foam Roller

Medical Spotlight

Yesterday, I had my monthly check up and while he confirmed I was doing everything right (brought in lots of records and trackers showing what I had changed in the last month) he was unable to explain why the sugars have not gone down... so we go up on the insulin, alot!  The lifestyle change have another month to work before I get Mad!

CPAP.... So, I have been on a CPAP for years.  Not very faithful with using it until about a month ago.  Did you know that some people who are on a CPAP are on it because they stop breathing at night?  Yep!  A CPAP is a machine that forces people to breath.  When you don't breath at night your body reacts by releasing stress hormones and adrenalin to force system response and breathing.  It ages your organs and puts intense strain on them, when they should be resting and healing from the day activities.  It can help reduce blood sugar, heart rate, weight and all the other really necessary things you need your body to be kind around.... No one told me I held my breath at night!!!  I was told it would give me energy when I woke up, it did not so I stop using it faithfully.  Every once in a while when I got tired enough I would strap it on but lets face it... it is not a fun thing to wear.  I feel like I am in a hospital bed when I wear it.

We went and had my CPAP machine checked out and I got a fun new head piece....
resmed swift fx nasal pillow cpap mask hero

So much more sleeker than my old one.... but..... it did not seem to create enough positive air pressure last night and I had 7 occurrences of waking up due to breathing issues.  We are giving the new mask a week.... if it does not work then I will have to go to a full face mask.  UGH!

Here is more info on CPAP's:

Fitness Spotlight

As you know, I started with a personal trainer this week (OUCH).  She is great!  Learned how to use a Fitness Roller.  This little round toy, showed me quick how un-flexible and stressed my muscles are - especially the ones I did not know I had!  After the work out of trying to bend a board over a enlarged rolling pin - we headed to Fred Meyers to get one.  Since the workout with the trainer I have used it 4-5 times and my husband has used it at least that much (actually a lot more, I think he is addicted to the massage effect it gives).  We are both exceptionally sore in spots.

If you are not active and want to start getting active, I would strongly recommend the Fitness Roller!  It is easy and you really do notice a difference after the first use!  Here are a couple You-Tube videos to help you get started:

This is the basic 5 that I was shown this week with my trainer:

Here is a whole 10 minute work out devoted to the roller:

Another good video for beginners that goes a little farther and introduces weights.

Lifestyle Change Schedule:

Possible CPAP refit - Coming in a week or two
BodyMedia Care - Coming in a week
Nutritionist (MD, RD) - Coming in two weeks
Trainer Session II - Coming in three weeks

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Exercise & Diabetes.... yep I used the "E" word

When you are a diabetic, you hear about exercise as much or more than you hear about checking your blood sugar!  It seems to be the number one focus of everyone from health care providers to your favorite (or un-favorite) family member.  When you hear diabetes or exercise what do you think?  Be honest.... you think.. usually it is something along the lines of "it's about time Alice lost weight".... believe it or not while that is one of possible benefits it is not the main reason a diabetic should exercise.... yep... I said it, it is not about the weight - weight is not necessarily health but its what the high blood sugar is doing to a diabetics body that maters.

On my quest to become healthy, I have made a lot of changes....a ton of changes but with my check-up and med adjustment tomorrow, exercise was the last thing on my list to "Start".  I had to sell myself on why losing a few pounds would matter to the overall scene.  If you know much about me, you know that I need data to back up anything.  I need to sell myself on stuff with books, reports, white papers, clinical studies...etc etc etc.... it is great to hear from people but the data talks to me.

About a week ago,  I started the data dive as to why to exercise.  Expecting it to be about weight, after-all isn't it always?

That is NOT what I found!  I learned that exercise makes your insulin receptors active and more willing to accept/process the glucose in the body!  Yep, it acts as a insulin booster pack.  OK, the data had me interested... so I dug in deeper.

A post hoc meta-analysis, published in JAMA on September 12,2001 (vol 286 no 10), looked at 13 studies that compared exercise groups and non-exercise groups based on A1C (A1c is the tattle tale for Diabetics, it is a blood test that shows the averaged based blood sugar level for the last 3 months).  This meta-analysis showed there was a "clinically significant" change in A1c levels between the groups while there was not a significant lose of body mass.... yep, people did not lose weight but they made a nice dent in their blood sugar results.  (Lets face it we are probably talking about typical diabetic patients that do not enjoy "exercise" - as one and related to a few, I pull the I can say it because I represent it card!!)

OK, how did this information help me decide to exercise.... it didn't!  But this next part did.....

There was not a significant difference between the people who worked out via aerobic and the people who did the resistance training.... yep, I can lift a few weights.  Perhaps a lap or 2 in the pool.  Get in some funky Yoga stances or maybe even play with the elastic broken rubber bands (resistance bands) and get a "clinically significant" advantage to my blood sugar.  Lets face it, even the laziest diabetic can lift a weight while they are watching television or if they are playing wow (..... not pointing fingers at anyone specific...) perhaps they can lift a weight while you wait for the game to load.....

When they say "clinically significant" what does that mean?  Well it is different for different studies and etc... but the basis is two things.  A. it can be repeated with a reasonable degree of faith and b. it is enough to make a difference in the symptom/disease state.  For this study, it found a averaged decrease in A1c of .66%.... Does not look like much but lets look at the numbers...It drops your daily average by approx 12 points, at 300 not a big deal (After all you are seriously out-of-whack, you need medical help) but if you are pre-diabetic or if you trying to make sure you do your part to keep your..... eyes, arms, legs, kidneys... blah blah blah.... those points matter! If I had to guess, I would put my A1c between 10 &11 right now.  But not for long!  I bet if they spent less time trying to get diabetics to lose weight and more time educating why exercise mattered (aka made their bodies happier to accept the insulin) it would matter.  Even framing up what "exercise" would do the trick.  After all when I think of exercise I am thinking sweating, huffing, puffing, pain, should I go on??  nah.  I know I would have done more, if I understood more the reason.

In about 30 min, I meet with my new personal trainer (poor girl!).  Next week I have a fun new toy coming (expect a blog on it!!) that will help track every movement I make towards a healthier lifestyle + Exercise.  IF my arms still work, I will post a blog about the workout tomorrow.

Well off to change into a workout outfit and get ready for my next expensive adventure in this process I call "living healthier."

Get more active... that is the basic gest of all the articles I read on the subject (which was about 20).  If your not someone who likes to "exercise" in the tradition way, find something that gets you moving.  Every motion matters when it comes to your blood sugar.  (If your blood sugar is about 250 and all that other, I am not a doc cant give advise  blah blah blah coverage stuff - Talk to your doc!)


Hyperglycemia is when you have too much sugar in your blood.  It is usually the first symptom diagnosed with a patient with diabetes.  They take a quick finger prick size of blood, put it on a test strip and in a few seconds they indicated if you have too much blood sugar in your blood.  You can also buy the testing device at your local grocery store or pharmacy, does not require a perscription and runs anywhere from $8-$108 for the testing unit.

So the symptoms most commonly associated with Hyperglycemia are:
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
  • Weight loss
  • Blood sugar more than 180 mg/dL
If you go untreated and have long term hyperglycemia it may result in:
  • Skin infections
  • Slow-healing cuts/sores
  • Decreased vision
  • Nerve damage
  • Stomach and intestinal problems such as chronic constipation or diarrhea
Does not sound like fun!  So if you do have high blood sugar what do you do??

....feel a disclaimer coming on...... I am not a doc or in anyway authorized to give any medical advice, simply a patient educating myself (and maybe you) on what I learned along my path to a healthier lifestyle.. please consult your health care provider if you believe you might have diabetes or call 911 in case of a medical emergency...... thank you now back to the blog.

Some people take insulin to lower their sugars, while I am on insulin, I am not going to focus on this avenue as it is really the last option path and should be used in combination with other steps to lower your blood sugar.

  • Drinks lots of water!  IF you do not have kidney damage (can be caused by untreated diabetes), drink that water to help lower your blood sugar level (coffee and soda do not count!  needs to be water)

  • Take a walk (OK caution here!  If your sugar is above 290 you should seek medical direction on exercise before doing anything)  If you know me... I am not an exercise type of person, do not enjoy it, however..... in prep for this blog I learned through numerous studies and articles that exercise actually makes your insulin recepters more willing to function properly thereby lowering your need for insulin injections and blood sugar in the blood.  I will get into this deeper in a future blog.

  • Stop eating so many carbs... ok this is very ignorant to say.  My carb intake is less than 1/2 of what it should be (I keep a food diary - you should too) and my blood sugar is still running over 200 on any given test.  That said, I do notice a significant increase when I have eaten any carbs at a meal that day.  So don't stop eating carbs but rather be aware of what you are eating and add extra water/exercise to balance your sugars out.

  • Moderate Hyper does not make you pass out or put you in a coma but it does lead to some pretty naste results. 

    More information about Hyper can be found here: