If you remember I have been given a month to shape up or go on insulin. This is my half way report. But, before I deliver it, first let me go back in time. When I first got diabetes in New Zealand in 1995, after a period of feeling deeply sorry for myself and in an effort to be positive, I thought – good. The kind of feedback I would get (through blood testing every day and sometimes 2 or 3 times a day) would help me more accurately and immediately monitor my health and my life choices. As any good (or even indifferent) psychologist knows in order to change behaviour, particularly entrenched eating or drinking habits, a person needs quality feedback about their efforts. If feedback is non-existent, is inaccurate, slow in coming (i.e. not linked to the change in behaviour) then a person gets frustrated and returns to their old habits.
Habits are hard to break, you need all the support you can get. I quickly realised that pricking my finger (which hurts more than you might think) was not providing good feedback – little eating often = high sugars, over-eating – low sugars. I oversimplify but that was the gist of it. Furthermore, the results I got from my own tests never seemed to equate to the 6 monthly test results. I asked the nurse or doctor which of the two was the most accurate measure of the state of my diabetes and she said the six monthly one. No brainer then, I stopped doing the daily one – nose – face – cut off, you know the type of thing.
Which leaves my weight as my only form of feedback. And, as most people know, weight measure is a very poor form of feedback. So there’s a problem here as well. My weight is a self-correcting measure, like a wobbly doll, it goes down, realises it has and so bobs perkily back up again. So it is now; I seem to be stuck at 95 kilos just under 15 stones in old money, neither make for good reading. Yes, I’ve tried all the recommended strategies for weight reduction – standing on one leg on the scales or moving from heels to toes, weighing the same time each day after going to the toilet (I thought you’d like to know that). I changed my diet e.g. no buns, the weight goes down – magic, then two days later with diet still on-going, it goes back up again to what it was and sometimes, get this, it even increases.
I have never wanted to be skinny, it’s so ageing in my view. I’m happy with my small but attractive beer gut and my love handles (repulsive term). My neighbour has diabetes, he’s lost huge amounts of weight and he looks bloody awful. Yes, you say but this is about your life not your vanity. Yes, yes but I’m not interested in your opinions. I’m trying to strike a balance here between misery (giving up all food I like) and great health and complete loucheness (lovely word). And we know there is a very poor correlation between thinness and long life. Who was that runner guy who died or arterial sclerosis or whatever, somebody famous but can’t remember his name point was he was a professional runner and he keeled over and died at an early age and that was when jogging was at it very height of popularity. That was all the evidence I needed, exercise, at least without a ball, is bad for you. But for me exercise with a ball has slowly become not an option as various sports – rugby, football, squash, tennis, badminton and now golf – have all given me up. Crown green bowls any one? Then we got the pups and, as you know from my last blog, I put a lot of faith in the ‘this is the way to get exercise without too much pain’, theory and see where that got me.
For the last 2 weeks I have been on a bun less, biscuit less, cake less ‘diet’, cutting out all obvious sugars as instructed by nursey to avoid the dreaded insulin. Mrs Summerhouse has been doing her bit – baking flapjacks without any sugar or syrup although dried fruit (just as bad probably, cardboard or sawdust is good), low sugar strawberry jam for our croissants and toast although, I have to say, anything that tastes this good must be bad for you. No desserts other than fruit, not even bloody yogurt – low fat yogurt has 300 grams of sugar it says on the tub. We’re still working on this side of things. Not easy, even the diabetes mag says don’t buy special diabetic food as it is expensive and useless. So no plan there then. It’s all very frustrating and with 700, according to the news the other day, people diagnosed every day being told they have type 2 diabetes, it’s a frustration that’s not going away any time soon. And all because we’re obese, God I hate that word. All our fault that means. Probably true for many of us. But 15 stone for somebody 6 ‘ tall (that’s me) come on, that’s not so bad, is it, nurse?
Funny I never used to have a sweet tooth(now that’ a nice phrase), given a choice in a restaurant, you know – best of three, I would always choose a starter and main rather than main and dessert, now with diabetes I want dessert badly. Don’t they say that the body instinctively knows what’s best for it? All I can say is I wish my body would speak up when I’m being humiliated by nurse J. So there we are, that’s my half term report. It doesn’t feel fabulous, at least so far, but hey, let’s look on the bright side I’ve got another two weeks before I have to sit in front of nurse J under the spotlight. This retirement business and all that goes with it is fun isn’t it?
PS, stop press, on the news this morning, we’re to be offered surgery and gastric bands to help us lose weight, probably means they’re going to chop our heads off, that would make it difficult to eat.