Friday, January 22, 2010

A Weighty Issue

This morning my scale tipped in my favor.  I saw a number I have not seen in a very long time.  My excitement was real but short lived.  Why did I see this number?  Not because I’m healthy! 

I have been trying to adjust my insulin pump’s basal rates.  Decreasing the amount of insulin I pump into my body has helped me lose weight mostly because I’m not constantly in a state of hypoglycemia.  When my blood sugar is low (hypoglycemia) I have to eat to bring it back to normal.  There is no alternative.  Unless you count hospitalization, coma, or death as an alternative to not eating.  And I don’t. 

Decreasing the amount of insulin I use is not a bad thing.  My doctor has had me on way too much for way too long.  It has created a series of other issues with my diabetes. 

The other reason why my weight is down is because I haven’t eaten much of anything in the last two days.  In fact, yesterday my blood sugar was higher than it should be before lunch so I skipped lunch.  A couple hours later my blood sugar had dropped low and I was able to have a large snack without bolusing any extra insulin for it.  I hate that as a diabetic I have found all the loopholes. 

I recently read that diabetic girls will stop taking insulin as a way to lose weight.  That made my blood run cold.  What a dangerous and effective way to slowly commit suicide with the nice side effect of weight loss.  Scary. 

This all got me thinking about weight loss in general.  The world teaches that a number on a scale determines health and happiness.  This is not true, as evidenced by the above examples.  The world teaches that one must diet in order to reach that all elusive number on the scale. 

The world’s diets have been around since people invented labor saving devices to do most of our work for us.  People moved off the farm and into the house, into the office job, in front of the TV, and onto the intoxicating Internet with all its vacuous content and social media.  People gained weight.  How do we lose this weight, the people cried.  Enter diets. 

Fat free diets.  Sugar free diets.  Protein and fat only diets.  Wheat free diets.  Gluten free diets.  Soy only diets.  Vegetarian v. Vegan diets.  Every diet seems to dictate that some category of food is the evil antichrist and must not be consumed for any reason! 

Diets come and go as all fads do.  Scientists have proven that some fat is good so don’t cut out fat.  High fructose corn syrup is ok because it comes from corn and, like sugar, is ok in moderation.  Artificial sweeteners are the way to go.  Oh wait, they cause cancer in laboratory animals so good luck with your sweet tooth, Diabetics.  Bread is so bad for you.  Actually no, it has fiber so if you do some weird math equation it’s ok to eat bread.  In fact, our math equation will make it seem like you are eating less carbohydrates and that’s the goal now.  Low carb diets! 

Diets are insanity.  All this self righteous hullabaloo about free range meat v. cooped up meat, whether or not the animals have been given hormones, and organic food being the only way to go is enough to make one’s head spin.  Who do we listen to?  Who is right in this debate?  America is fat.  Let’s just admit it.  This really is an issue but how do we solve the problem? 

Diets are not the answer.  Some mysterious berry from the rainforest used as an enema to cleanse your system is not the answer either.  Self righteous granola tree huggers are definitely not the answer.  If I have to listen to one more of those purists tell me I made my pancreas stop producing insulin because of some random food choice I will scream.  For now I’m blogging.  I have to do my share to keep up the vacuous content on the Internet!

The answer is simple.  Burn more calories than you consume.  If America insists on watching reality TV at least learn from it!  If we’re going to watch morbidly obese Americans melt before our eyes by eating a normal amount of calories coming from a variety of food sources and exercising.  If this is what we call entertaining, then for heaven’s sake let’s learn from the show.  Output more than you input.  It’s a concept Americans easily understand with regard to their bank accounts. 

It’s not rocket science.  It doesn’t require a guilt trip and dubbing food “bad.”  I agree that for some food addicts it can be difficult to moderate food choices.  It’s not easy to choose an apple over a cupcake. 

But I believe that the second you tell yourself you made a bad choice because you ate a cupcake you just set yourself up for failure.  Cupcakes are not bad per se.  Eating a dozen in one sitting is not the best choice.  So many people think they have sabotaged themselves because they had one cupcake after dinner then went for a walk.  Guess what.  It’s not that big a deal.  A cupcake reward periodically is not going to be your downfall.  A diet of cupcakes, candy and soda with the occasional banana will. 

When you tell yourself that food is off limits you get tunnel vision and crave that taboo food all the more.  Then when you eat it you feel guilty and emotionally eat it more.  It’s a vicious cycle.  So unless you truly are allergic to a food don’t tell yourself it’s “bad.”  Pamela Hansen, author of Running With Angels, lost a significant amount of weight while rewarding herself weekly with an ice cream cone.  No food is bad if eaten in moderation.   On the flip side, overindulging in healthy food can cause an increase in weight. 

That’s why people need to adopt the measuring cup diet, my husband’s astute innovation.  Actually measure out what a serving is.  Move once in a while.  Realize that you don’t have to join a gym to get exercise.  It’s that simple.  If you want more than that read The Word of Wisdom, a health code found in Doctrine and Covenants Section 89.  Who better to trust with one’s health than God himself?  My favorite thing about the word of wisdom is that it’s not extreme in any way.  It doesn’t berate nor does it bend to the whims of fashion.  It remains constant.  And it works. 

Am I perfect?  Absolutely not.  I am overweight and I know I’m not as healthy as I could be.  But I know where I am going.  I know what my Heavenly Father expects of me with regard to my health and well being. 

Health is an ongoing journey and not a destination.  That’s the problem with diets.  Of course diets will cause weight loss but the weight comes back on as soon as you start eating again.  It’s unwise and impractical to deprive your body forever. 

So back to my scale; will I see that number again tomorrow?  Possibly.  What about next week?  Perhaps not unless I start making more healthy food choices, eating in moderation, and exercising regularly.  It’s a weighty issue but it’s not rocket science. 

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