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Health At Every Size (HAES), Size Acceptance (SA) and Me

About a year ago I stumbled upon the idea of Health At Every Size (HAES). And I loved what it said.

It says that no matter what size I am, I can still be healthy. It says I have the right to move my fat body in any way I choose without censor or ridicule.

And it says that fat does not immediately mean out of shape and that thin does not immediately mean healthy.

In fact, I remember a man in my first ‘Oh fuck you have Type II diabetes, now what?’* class who was thin as a rail. And still had Type II.

You know why? Because a Type II diabetic is one whose body does not use insulin properly. Yes, that can mean because they are too big for their insulin supply, or could just mean their body produces too little. But they produce some.**

Anyway, HAES gave me the courage to say ‘fuck it to dieting.’ I have never really been a “dieter” anyway, but I certainly tried Weight Watchers or other weigh what you eat plans. And have never kept the weight off for more than a year.

Of course, I didn’t just see HAES and give up watching what I eat. I also read the actual studies about the harm yo-yo dieting does to the human body and also how none of the weight loss “experts” or programmes, such as Weight Watchers, will even publish studies past about 5 years of success.

One of the blogs I follow, Dances With Fat, says this about weight loss past five years:

 “The vast majority of people who attempt long term weight loss gain their weight back, and a majority of those gain back more than they lost.  When most people trying an intervention have the exact opposite effect, ethically we have to stop recommending it, at least until we figure out why and have research that shows a higher degree of success.”

HAES has actually even permeated Type II Diabetes guidelines. When I was diagnosed about 10 years ago, I was told my HBA1C*** had to be under 7 in order for me to be in control. Just last year that number went up. To 7.5. And just two weeks ago, at my 6 monthly appointment, I was told it needed to be about 7.6**** or under.

diabetes.co.uk 50 Shades of Diabetes chart
diabetes.co.uk 50 Shades of Diabetes chart

This was because a lot of studies showed there was a nominal difference in health and secondary pathic issues between 7.5 and 7 but a huge difference in the quality of life for diabetics. In other words, people were working so hard to achieve 7 or lower, they were miserable.

And my last A1C (not counting two weeks ago, that one isn’t back yet)? 7.4.

And then there’s SA. SA is exactly what it says it is. Accepting that people are fat or thin just as they are tall or short, brunet or blonde. My weight is none of your business and your weight is none of mine. You can’t tell how healthy someone is by their size. And it’s really none of your business how healthy I am or am not.

So what does this mean practically for me? It means I still eat fairly well most of the time (I’m a huge lover of vegetables and always have been) and when I don’t? I don’t worry about it.

But I am also exercising more. Because my goal isn’t weight loss, but to just enjoy the exercise, I am more willing to do it and I do it more often. There is no goal, actually, beyond trying to move (I usually walk) about 4 days a week, if not more.

So give it a try. Try eating what you want, when you want, as much as you want and accepting that some people are just fatter than other people. I mean, I will never be 6′ tall. And now I accept that I will never be 140 pounds either.

*Probably not the actual name of the class.

** For the record, a Type I or Juvenile diabetic produce no insulin at all. That’s the difference between the two. Also, everything I say here having to do with diabetes is about me and Type II.

***HbA1c refers to glycated haemoglobin (A1c), which identifies average plasma glucose concentration, usually over 8-12 weeks.

****The United Kingdom no longer uses DCCT numbers for A1C but IFCC numbers instead, which are two digits and start at 35. But just as kilometres have no meaning to me, IFCC numbers mean nothing. So I always convert to DCCT, which I understand!

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So…What’s The Craic?

First of all, the sharp-eyed among you will realise that the URL of the site has changed. My former web host, aka my brother, decided to shut down his server and so we’ve migrated to a new host (NameCheap, if anyone cares) and given me a new URL. Which is actually my same URL that I’ve used for the company website since I started it seven years ago. Six years ago? Some amount of years ago.

But don’t worry about changing your bookmarks or that you’ll miss something because Leyser.org/TeeBlog will get you directly to designedtoatee.co.uk/TeeBlog. That’s the front page of the entire site now. It’s a nice picture of me, yeah?

Of course, if you don’t care about looking at my working or buying things from one of my shops (And why not? Huh?) you can add a new bookmark. To get directly here, to the blog, you need to use http://www.designedtoatee.co.uk/TeeBlog/Blog.

Or you can come through the front door. That’s okay. 😀

Let’s see, what else…

We’ve purchased and moved into our new house. OUR new house. As in, we own it. Weeeeelll, us and the bank, at least. But we can do whatever we want to it. And we are. And we will. And it is awesome in be here. I’ll be posting some before and after pictures at some point. Major changes coming, actually, starting with a complete bathroom refit.

My mental health is good. My diabetes seems to be under control. My fibro/early degenerative disease/arthritis kicks my ass and steals my spoons on a regular basis.

But I’m knitting. And crocheting. And doing tapestry. And sewing. And being a mum and a wife. And I have just bought a drop spindle and some wool and a book and I am going to learn how to spin.

I wonder if Simon will notice if I put a new shed up in the garden to hold a spinning wheel and a shuttle loom…

Or maybe convert the attic? Image source: http://www.jofirthlacemaking.co.uk/textiles_of_ireland.html

 

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Eat Less. Move More. Gain Control.

There’s been more than one thread on Mumsnet lately about Diabetes Type II management.

As a long term owner of the condition, I’ve been chiming in a lot.

And repeating the title of this post.

Because that’s what I am currently doing. I don’t diet, per se. I eat sensibly. Everyone knows I walk 1,000,000 miles a day. And I’m, hopefully, bringing my A1C down to better levels.

And it’s not necessarily a mantra just for diabetes management. It’s the basic idea, really, behind any sensible weight loss.

Eat Less.

Move More.

Gain Control.

I might make a badge.

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It’s Turning Into A Bit Of An Addiction…

my acquiring of blood meters, that is.

I was given an Accu-Chek Aviva when I was diagnosed. Lovely little meter. Beeps nicely. Stood me in good steed.

Then I got pregnant. And panicked. What if my meter stopped working!?!? What would I do?!?! So I bought a second Aviva.

Then Accu-Chek, who are a lovely company, came out with the Aviva Nano and said, want one? Sure. Why not? It’s another lovely meter, very small, also beeps nicely. Uses the same strips and finger pricker as my Aviva, so that was convenient. It quickly became my primary meter with the other two in storage. Which was a good thing when I couldn’t find the Nano after we moved. It’s been found now and I really do like it better than the regular Aviva.

And just last week they offered me another ‘upgrade’. This time to the Accu-Chek Mobile. All one unit, pricker and meter. Cartridge rather than strips, so less faff. So I ordered one and it came yesterday.

So far I’m a bit meh about it. I don’t think the finger pricker is very good. The motor to advance the cartridge is rather loud. Adam thinks it’s scary looking. And, of course, I’ll need to get my GP to prescribe new lancet drums and the cartridges, which I don’t know if the NHS has/covers.

But still. 4 meters.

It’s a bit of an addiction.

Isn’t it?

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Diabetes And Illness

So, as anyone who has been keeping up knows, Adam has been ill since last Thursday. As of Sunday Simon started puking, although he’s pretty much fine now. I thought I had escaped it until I woke up this morning will an achy ear and a sore throat.

And with my fasting blood sugar at 8.5 mmol/L (millimoles per liter, the scale used everywhere, except the US, for blood glucose levels. The US uses mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter). For my US audience, 8.5 mmol/L = 153 mg/dL). Ideally it should be under 8, which it has been for weeks and weeks so it was too high this morning. Another sign something was wrong with me.

Also, Adam threw up again last night and has been pulling and rubbing at his ear. Oh how I long for the sentence ‘Mummy, my ear feels weird/hurts’. Or not!

So anyway, rang the GP and said we both needed to be seen and off we went.

It would appear I am viral, which means fluids, rest (HA! I’ve done, approximately 1,001 loads of laundry since Thursday, all of which need to be folded so we can find the spare room) and keep an eye on my glucose. Adam, however, does indeed have a double ear infection and a red throat, so he’s on antibiotics.

So what can I do if my glucose is too high? Not much, really. I take metphormin, not insulin, so I can’t adjust that. I can watch my carbs, obviously, which I do anyway (more or less) and eat less of them if necessary. But it’s more to be aware of my levels and if they get really high (above 10 mmol/L is high, above 12 mmol/L is really high) to call the diabetes nurses.

I also have a diabetes clinic appointment on Thursday so if I am still running high I can discuss it with one of the diabetologist while I’m there.

So why does a viral infection affect (effect?) my blood sugar? Because my body is too busy fighting the infection to worry about dealing with my blood sugar, basically. Most likely if a non-diabetic had a viral infection and tested their blood, and had a baseline to compare it to, as I do, theirs would run high as well.

So at the moment, Adam is napping and I’m contemplating what to have for lunch.

I am thinking ice cream and white bread would be very very bad choices. 🙂

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That Old Shaky Feeling

Tonight as Adam was being cranky and crabby and clingy I suddenly felt weak and dizzy and sick. And I realized I was having a hypo.

I haven’t had a hypo since my pregnancy when I was on insulin. Hypos are very unusual on metformin, which is what I take now. As it’s not an insulin replacement but an insulin enhancer it doesn’t do what actual insulin does. It helps the insulin you have work better so, theoretically, your body should still be producing, with metformin’s help, just the right amount of insulin to cover what you ate. Just like a non-diabetic.

So what happened? I have no idea. I’ve started back on my eating plan so I know that I ate enough at lunch. Some rolls, some soup, a yellow pepper, 1/2 an apple and 1/2 a nectarine (Adam likes the first bite or 2, then I eat the rest). In fact, with the rolls and the fruit I probably had too many carbs at lunch.

I didn’t check my blood so I don’t know for sure that I was hypo but it certainly felt like it. One second I was a bit hungry and the next I was shaking and feeling a bit fuzzy.

I have been thinking about talking to my diabetes team about reducing my metformin anyway as my numbers have been consistently good. Oh I get the occasional highish number but they are getting rarer. It helps that I am continuing to lose weight.

So why was I hypo at 5pm?

No idea.

But next time, if there is a next time, I will check my blood and remember that some orange juice is the best cure.

Or, my actual preferred method during my pregnancy, a Mars Bar. 🙂

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I Felt Like Such A Bad Mother The Other Day

Anyone who reads this blog for anything more than 2 seconds knows that I have quite a few health problems.  Fibromyalgia.  Type II diabetes.  Anxiety Disorder.  Borderline Agoraphobia.  Early Degenerative Disease.

And I do everything in my power to not let these  things affect the care of my son.  I had a horrible fibro flair a few months ago and I managed to take care of him.

And then came this past Wednesday morning.  When I woke up with a borderline migraine.

Now, other than a reaction to some stuff I took for my fibro right after diagnosis, I haven’t had a migraine in ages.  I never have any warning that I am going to get them.  They just show up.

So when Adam got me up about 530 Wednesday morning, I was hurting.  And nauseated.  And ready to steel myself to get through the day.  I certainly could not ask Simon to take the day off.  I would manage.

And then Simon got up for work.  And took one look at me and said ‘Do you want me to stay home?’

At first I said no, no way.  I can manage.  I have to manage.

But he kept asking.  And when it got to the point that I thought for sure I was going to have to puke I finally said ‘yes, please, stay home. I need to go back to bed.’  And I did.

And I felt like the worse mother ever.  Mother’s are suppose to muddle through, no matter what.  They are suppose to put everything to one side; pain, illness, sleep, to care for their children.  And I just couldn’t on Wednesday.

I know, if Simon hadn’t been able to stay home, or had been on one of his trips, I would have managed.  But I still felt horrible that I didn’t manage.  That I, in the end, leapt at the chance to stay in bed for the day and not have to manage.

I know I am lucky that Simon could do that.  And I am very thankful for it.

But, still, I felt like a bad mother.

Of course, most anything can make a person feel like a bad mother.  There is so much competition out there, so much ‘my baby does this’ and ‘how can you not do that’.

Well, I lay enough guilt on myself for the decisions I make, I have decided to not play the ‘my baby is better than yours’ game.  I refuse.

Although I am looking for a baby yoga or baby signing class, its part of the reason I am so reluctant to join a Mummy and Baby group.

That and the fact I’ll probably be about 20 years older than all of them.

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On Advocating for Yourself

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows at least three things about me: –

  1. I’m a depressive
  2. I’m knocked up
  3. I have diabetes

Its this third one that is the subject today.

You see, I belong to Diabetes UK.  Its the one and only charity that Simon and I give money to on a yearly basis, in the form of my membership fee.

Diabetes UK has been around for 75 years and has been instrumental in some major advances in diabetes care world wide.  This includes research for a cure, for better treatment and for advocacy with the NHS and World Health Organization for better diabetes care.

Every two months I get their magazine, as a ‘perk’ of my membership.  And almost every month it pisses me off.

Not because of their articles, those are quite good.  Because of the letters page.  Of the 20 or so letters that they publish every other month, at least 5 of them are from people who are bitching about their level of diabetes care.  And this pisses me off.  Not because they aren’t getting better care (although I find some levels of care at some NHS Trusts to be appalling) but because they just accept this horrible level of care.

The one thing I have learned in my 2.5 years of being a diabetic and my nearly 20 years of being a depressive is that you must speak up. If you are not satisfied with the answers you get from a medical professional, ask again.  Keep asking until you understand.  Keep asking until you get the treatment you are entitled to.

When I went for my Glucose Tolerance Test it was a nurse who said to me ‘you have diabetes’ after only looking at my blood results.  I was angry. It was not her place to tell me, or to tell me so bluntly and it was certainly not her place to tell me in the middle of the treatment room (nothing but fabric wall between me and the world) and after only one set of tests were back.  And so, I complained to my GP when I saw her for my official diagnosis.  My GP agreed with me, that was completely inappropriate and promised me she’d speak to the Nursing Sister in charge of the treatment room.  And she did.  And that nurse has never treated me again (although she’s still around).

If you don’t speak up, nothing will change.  If you don’t ask questions, you’ll never get answers.

So, please, I beg you, be your own advocate. In your health.  In your job. In your life.  And especially for your children.

Thank you.

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Ooops, Sorry Eve!

I’ll post a warning next time.

In case anyone is wondering why I can’t get a driver’s licence because of my diabetes, they should know that I just had a hypo while doing nothing more than sleeping.  They can happen at any time.  Would you want to suddenly be weak and dizzy while driving? Me either.

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I Have Suddenly Realized

I am no longer a licensed driver.

My California Driver’s License expired yesterday.  I can’t get a UK one with the current state of my diabetes.

In some ways it is oddly freeing.

I am sure it will feel less freeing when I am in California later this year, after the baby is born, and I can’t drive!

We don’t have a car, we have no plans to get a car. So why should I worry about a license? I shouldn’t! 🙂