Month: October 2016

No matter how you say it, it’s serious. Diabetes is common and can wreak havoc on someone’s body, so I’m more than happy to spend some time focusing on this condition and how to manage blood sugars by counting carbohydrates.

For anyone who is looking for a review of what carbohydrates are or what they do in the body, check out this post. Carbs are the numero uno focus when it comes to managing diabetes and reducing risk of complications.

To understand how diabetes works, let’s go back to the house/insulin key/sugar explanation I wrote about here. Check it out because my upcoming explanation will likely not make sense if you’re not in on the metaphor. Let’s also bring my highly sophisticated representative drawing back for a second look:

insulin

 In people with diabetes, the sugar people are not able to get into the house, causing a buildup of sugar people in the streets. They get crowded and angry and start flipping cars, breaking windows, and rioting all over the place. It makes for a pretty hostile environment.

This buildup of sugar people in the streets typically happens for one of three reasons:

  1. The person has an autoimmune condition that prevents the body from being able to make insulin keys at all. This is called Type 1 diabetes.
  2. The person’s locks are all rusty and take a long time to open. While the lock and key are fumbling around, sugar people build up in the street. This happens for a variety of reasons including genetics, obesity, stress, and inflammation, among others. This is called Type 2 diabetes.
  3. The person’s locks are temporarily rusty because of the effects of hormones associated with pregnancy. This is called Gestational diabetes and most of the time it goes away after the baby is delivered, though it does increase a woman’s risk of having type 2 diabetes later in life.

 

In order to keep there from being too many angry sugar people in the blood, nutrition recommendations include portioning total amounts of carbohydrates eaten at one time. In other words, we send sugar people into the street single file all polite-like rather than stampeding en masse. That is why, in support of my patients and anyone with diabetes, I will be counting and moderating intake of carbohydrates at each meal and snack starting on Monday. We’ll also be going over more specifics about what types of foods are carbohydrates.

There are several other things we can do to help keep the sugar people from building up and rioting – look for more info in upcoming posts!

Carb Counting How Your Body Works

So, which diet did you choose for dietitian on a diet to follow next?

 

Photo from islandalpaca.com
Photo from islandalpaca.com

Carb counting for diabetes! That means I’ll be keeping on eye on the types of foods that break down into…*gasp*…SUGAR!!! I’m looking forward to this one for a few reasons:

  1. Diabetes is really common. Scary common. According to the American Diabetes Association, as of 2012 9.3% of the population had diabetes, and about 8.1 million of those were undiagnosed. With nearly 1 in 10 Americans having diabetes, chances are very high you know several people with diabetes.
  2. There are a lot of misconceptions about eating for diabetes. For some reason, the message has come across that eating for diabetes is very restrictive and the portions are teensy. The truth is, it doesn’t have to be that hard. It takes intention and awareness, but it’s not a death sentence for your tastebuds. Promise.
  3. Sugar is the root of all evil. Or so a lot of people say. Therefore, foods that break down into sugar must be evil. Or so a lot of people say. We’ll definitely address that while I’m on this diet.

 

I’ll be delving into this diet starting Monday the 17th – stay tuned if you’re interested in learning how to live with (or support someone who lives with) diabetes!

Carb Counting

On a note unrelated to any particular diet, I wanted to take a moment to spotlight one heck of a health and fitness inspiration.

Photo from nymag.com
                                         Photo from nymag.com

I discovered this gal on a recent vacation when we had a TV in our hotel room (the kids were super psyched!) and watched a show called American Ninja Warrior. If you haven’t heard of it and you are in the right age range, you will best liken it to something along the lines of American Gladiators. If neither of those names means anything to you, American Ninja Warrior is a strength and agility competition in which contestants train to tackle a specific (very difficult) obstacle course. They are timed, and they must achieve certain times and complete certain obstacles in order to move on to the next round.

In the episode we watched, there was a very tricky obstacle christened “The Wedge” in which contestants hung from a horizontal bar with rubber tennis-ball-like objects on either end. This bar was wedged into what looked like two sheets of angled glass. The contestants had to use their momentum and body control to “jump” the bar across the tunnel between the two glass sheets, ensuring they keep the bar horizontal and don’t lose their grip. If my description makes absolutely no sense, fear not, for the video below will clear things up.

“The Wedge” took no prisoners. Time after time, they would get to that darn wedge and their grip would slip or the bar would land slightly sideways and down they would plunge into the waiting pool below. It was beginning to look downright impossible.

Enter our heroine – Jessie Graff. Jessie is a stunt woman from Pennsylvania. She enters stage left with a delightful smile and a Wonder Woman costume. Her interviews gave a taste of her zest for life and her positive attitude. She is beautiful and fit on the outside, sure, but her mind and heart also exude beauty. Jessie, the only female in the show I watched, conquered the dreaded Wedge like it was a set of monkey bars on a playground.

So why am I all about Jessie Graff now? It’s not just because she’s a woman or because she “beat the boys” (though I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a defiant third-grade girl inside me who found a little bit of glee in that). It’s because she surpassed everyone’s expectations – including her own. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we combine discipline with a positive attitude. I so admired these qualities in her that I tracked her down on Facebook. Her page is littered with pictures of little girls in Wonder Woman suits and comments from people saying that she is inspiring others out of eating disorders by showing what the human body is capable of when properly fueled.

This lady is stupendous and has most definitely been added to my mental Wall of Inspiring People.

You and I also can (and should) make a practice of surpassing everyone’s expectations – including our own. Make a fitness goal to see what your body can do – even if it seems a little out of reach. Add some positive attitude and discipline and you can inspire the socks off of yourself and others too!

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