Conquering the jiggle

Today is the American Diabetes Association Alert Day. Nearly 6 million have diabetes and don’t know it. Less than three years ago, I was one of them. Please support the ADA … by giving, learning, acting, and joining. Thank you.

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If Jane Fonda’s statement “No pain, no gain” is truly accurate, than I must be advancing a heckofa lot!

In my quest to conquer the jiggle around my mid-section (aka the muffin top), I inherited a limp. My right quadriceps is k-i-l-l-i-n-g me this morning. I think I over did it yesterday (really? What gave it away?).

In fact, yesterday marked an important date in my 2010 calendar; it marked the two-month countdown until our beach vacation to the Outer Banks! Although I am excited to be heading to Duck, North Carolina in May, the reality is that my pasty-white body just isn’t ready for the beach, and particularly beach attire (thanks to the Christmas cookies from three months ago).

For the last few weeks I’ve been focused on getting my diet reigned in and getting back into a regular exercise schedule. And, I have to admit: getting back on track has been more difficult than I anticipated.

Perhaps the first thing you need to know is that less than three years ago I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. How I got so “lucky” to be “blessed” with this chronic disease is truly a mystery – ‘cause I am the only one in my family to have it this young. For the two family members that are diabetic, it was onset much later in their lives and caused by mobility issues.

(For me, I was 35, active and not overweight – all of which don’t come close to matching the typical onset of Type II diabetes. From time to time, the illogicalness of it all causes me to rant, stomp around and call life unfair, but I am sure you’ll hear more about that in future posts.).

I have chosen to control my diabetes as naturally as possible for as long as I can (i.e. limit the medication I take). So for two+ years after my diagnosis, I watched my diet and exercised religiously. I was a fanatic about it, actually. This regimen got me sore feet and a hip that ached and popped … but most importantly, it kept my diabetes under great control.

But somewhere between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I lost my course. I indulged in more “diabetic free” days than I should have (what do you mean every day can’t be a diabetic free day?) and allowed my treadmill to get dusty. Coupled with an extremely cold winter where I wasn’t taking my “girls” for the longer 2-3 mile walks we usually do, my body rebelled. Not only was my A1C  higher than normal when I got my blood results back in late February, but my midsection also got all wiggly.

So my first step was to get my diet under control, and to be quite honest, this wasn’t too difficult. I know how many carbohydrates I can eat and when, so it is just a matter of sticking to that plan.

However, getting back on a regular exercise schedule has been more difficult than I anticipated. I could give you many reasons why – no time, boredom, iPod tunes are stale, need new sneakers, nothing good on TV – but the bottom line is it has just been tough. And I know what comes with exercise: sore feet and a hip that constantly aches and pops – something that I was not looking forward to … at all!

But in my perpetual “positive attitude” (that drives many nuts), the positives of exercising, especially for someone with diabetes, completely outweigh the negatives. Not only does regular exercise keep my blood glucose level under excellent control, but it also brightens my mood and actually gives me more energy, not less. It gives me focus, as topics to write about often come to me during a good run. And of course, for vanity reasons, exercise should get rid of some of my jiggle … and hopefully also most of my muffin top!

The way I approach exercise is with baby steps. I get one aspect, cardio for instance, under control and then a few weeks later, I add weights. A few weeks from now, I may add yoga into the mix.

So after a few weeks of doing regular cardio, on Sunday night, I decided to dust off my weights and do some basic arm exercises. I threw in some lunges and squats into the mix for “kicks.” Yesterday morning when I woke, I felt a little twinge in my quadriceps, but it was a “good ache.” It let me know I worked my muscles a bit.

Last evening I went for a slow jog on the treadmill. I ran for two miles, and although it wasn’t earth-shattering to run that far, it marked a new milestone for me in my pursuit to get back in shape.

The verdict: perhaps pushing it when my muscles already hurt wasn’t the smartest thing I ever did. Today I am hobbling along with a noticeable limp. Yes, my friends, my run got the better of me!

But it isn’t something that a little Motrin can’t take care of, and hopefully by this evening, I am back to a normal gait again as my quest to conquer the muffin top continues. Tally-ho!!!!

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