Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Calories & Carbs

The moment I realized that counting calories was somehow more important to me than counting carbohydrates was a moment that has stuck with me.  Last week I went to the diabetes education centre for a three month check-in.  Before my appointment I had to fill out three days worth of food logs including the carbohydrate count and the doses of insulin.   Of course I left this to the absolute last second, just before bed and my appointment was at 9 a.m the next day.   

Luckily for me, I didn't have to think back, trying to imagine what occupied my plate three days ago, instead I pulled out my food diary and copied down the food that I wrote down.  It was all accurate, I don't neglect to write a food item down, but the only missing thing was something very vital to diabetes, the carb count. 

I don't always keep a food journal or keep up to date on apps like MyFitnessPal but when I am looking to make healthier choices, lose weight or maintain my weight I need something to hold me accountable. So, that is when I begin logging down what I put into my mouth, including the calorie count so I know what my limits are, both for minimum and maximum amounts of calorie intake. This system works for me, and while sometimes I question its control over me, I know that if I wasn't keeping note, the pounds would find their way to me somehow.     

But, the issue is that while I know basic carb counts for most of the things I consume, they are not my focus, and really haven't ever been. Not as much as I think they should be.   I spend way more time looking at the calories of food than I do at the carbs and mostly because I know a majority of the food I am eating, which is mainly wholesome, non-packaged food, so I don't bother in knowing the specifics, but rather guesstimate a good chunk of the time.

And, I am not awful at it.  In fact since I began food logging again {December 29th} I have rarely had high blood sugars and instead have gone low more than ever, reinforcing that no carb is made alike. My nurse and dietician were very happy with my blood sugars and the extensive checking I have been doing, but all in all when I had to fill out those food diaries I spent a good chunk of the time scanning my cupboards, googling and estimating how many carbs were in the food I was consuming.  Calories, were so vividly marked all over the page, I knew exactly how many calories I consumed each meal, each day.  

Like I said, in that moment I realized I was paying a whole lot of attention to calories and neglecting to think about the carbohydrates. Both things really do have an impact on my body and how in the world am I going to manage my diabetes if I am not thinking very wisely about how many carbohydrates are in each thing I am eating.  [Needless to say, I am not eating high carb food] but it is still important. 

Growing up I always struggled with body image and weight. I remember the teasing and comments that have been said in the past, many, many years ago and despite being so long ago they have always stayed in the back of my head.  Losing weight and seeing myself in a positive light has likely been on my mind since late elementary school and after being diagnosed with diabetes, health really came a key component in my life, never have I ever seen so many doctors, dieticians and nurses nor had to look at food in such a practical light. 

Diabetes gives us an outlook on how food effects our bodies and minds and while at times it can become incredibly unhealthy and obsessive  there are moments when we need to step back and think about what is important, losing weight to be 'skinny' or being healthy.   For me, not properly counting carbohydrates is not okay, and I need to regain that focus.  I can check my blood sugar fifteen times a day, but if I am not giving proper doses for my carbohydrates, what good am I doing? 


Monday, January 11, 2016


It has been a long while since I last sat down at my desk to write.  I must admit, life has gotten so busy that I haven't really been doing much of anything that revolves writing and I am starting to miss it.  Part of me thought about leaving the blog for good. Parting ways with something I started in the days after diagnosis, but a part of me just couldn't think about letting it go.  So, here I am attempting to revive the blog and at least try to remember to post once in awhile.

Since the end of September [when I last wrote] I did a couple of things.  First, I went to Vancouver, B.C to the IDF - Young Leaders conference.  This is the same conference I attended in 2013 in Australia.  It was so great seeing familiar faces that I met in Australia, but also it was nice meeting some new faces. That sad part is always saying goodbye, and even worse, not knowing if I will see them again. My training for the young leaders program was completed and I decided not to run for an elect position.  Reason being? I have realized a couple things, I take on too much and I need to focus on the things I have in my hands at the moment. It is great being an ambitious person, but at the same time, it's not always practical.

The second big thing was going to Barbados to see someone very special get married. Way before Kilimanjaro, I had a pen pal - actual hand written pen pal named Krystal, and then, a couple years later, I climbed Kilimanjaro with that very person, then a couple years later (two conferences, Australia & Canada) I was invited to attend her biggest day.    It was so surreal and I am still missing that sunshine, fun and the amazing Bajans.

This brings us to January, but not really because obviously many things have happened in the past few months.  I have had a shift of ideas, thoughts and really I have come to the point where I am feeling the burn out of being too involved in the diabetes community. Not in the sense that I am going to abandon it, but in the sense that I need to pick and choose what I am involved in, in order to give it my all in those things I do choose to be involved in - if that makes sense.

I added myself to every diabetes group on Facebook at one point in time. With the combination of the groups and the actual people with diabetes on my Facebook, I was being bombarded with diabetes talk on the daily. It was sometimes nice because I felt like diabetes was a normal thing, at least online, but part of me started to feel overwhelmed - TOO MUCH DIABETES.  I have since unsubscribed to groups that I do not need to be in.  Really, if I need to reach out to anyone, I have great close friends with diabetes I know I can lean on.

I think this year is going to be about finding time for myself, making myself comfortable in my own situations and learning to say, no thank you.

What's your outlook for 2016?