SnowballI am feeling like my health, control, self-discipline, eating habits, exercise habits (or lack of) and general state of health are just snowballing out of control.

I think that my blood sugars have been AVERAGING about 260 these days.

Recognition is the first step to stopping the bleeding I figure. Ok – so I know things are out of control, and not heading in the right direction. So, just turn it around right? Wrong. I’ve learned that for me, these general trends carry so much momentum behind them, that it’s terribly hard for me to turn it around. It’s almost like a big snowball rolling down a hill.

For those of you in warmer climates, use your imagination. Those of you in places where it snows (I’m in Minnesnowta ya know? Ever heard of Fargo? Ya, you betcha!), you should know what I mean. Picture a snowball at the top of a big snowy hill. It starts small, you know, little habit changes – walking, eating, exercising, and doing too much of some (eating) and not enough of the others (walking & exercising!). As you push the snowball down the hill, it’s getting bigger and bigger, picking up more snow and momentum along with it. After some time and distance, this damn snowball is as big as a house and crushing everything that tries to get in its way. Actually, I think SWALLOWING everything is more accurate than crushing. It’s just eating everything that get’s in front of it, kind of like what I’m doing.

Some may remember that I got myself involved with a study at the University of Minnesota where I lost a bunch of weight. Just doing regular exercise, watching my calorie intake, and creating a negative balance (burning more calories per day than I ate), I lost damn near 40 pounds! So, I know how to do it. It’s not magic. Just a lot of discipline and hard work. But, I can do it.

Where does this tie in to the big picture? Well, weight management (that would be maintaining a healthy weight) is just better for you than being a big fat ass. Diabetes already sticks you with higher than average risk factors for heart disease, so not adding obesity to that would be a good thing.

Right around the time the study ended I started a new job. Big life change, for the positive. I got involved with something I’m good at, and that is near and dear to my heart (involving diabetes and technology). I’m getting some real satisfaction from it, and for perhaps the first time in my life I am doing something I like. However, I lost a couple of things along with the change.

At my last job, due to finances and my gadget addiction (that is, buying gadgets I can’t afford – spending all my parking money, etc.), I would park about a mile away where there was free street parking. So, this was an AUTOMATIC 2 miles of walking EVERY DAY. In addition to that we had an on site fitness room. This room was awesome – not an average treadmill in a closet type workplace fitness room. We’re talking 3 treadmills, 2 ellipse machines, 2 stairmasters, a couple stationary bikes, a couple of the incline stationary bikes, self spotting weight rack, complete set of free weights, a bunch of weight machines and a big aerobic room. I mean, this place was bad ass, and I had access to it anytime I wanted, 24×7. With heated underground parking I might add (which was free for me on weekends and after 3pm on weekdays).

Along with the daily walking, I would either go for a walk at lunchtime (I worked on the parkway along the Mississippi River near downtown), or go use the fitness room. The snowball was rolling down the healthy hill! At my new job I have not found any nice places to walk, we have no fitness room (well, there is a single treadmill in a closet sized room), and I park as close to the door as I can. Pitiful. There is a YMCA at the end of the block, to which I’ll eventually get a membership – when I’m not so damn broke. Did I mention I have a gadget addiction? Also my Monday night basketball has ended for the season. Too many of the guys play softball, so they have trouble getting enough people to show up.

Along with the new job, and all the stuff that happened with my mom passing, and just general life changes, I have not gotten back into the healthy groove. I eat all the time, or at least it seems like it. Which is why my blood sugar is always high (I don’t even give my insulin time to peak and bring my numbers back down before I start eating again, then because I’ve been stacking doses all day I crash at suppertime, which means I eat more…). Along with all that eating and lack of exercise, I’m gaining some weight back. And I felt soooo good about getting my weight down finally…

One of the biggest factors for me is my eating habits and choices. I have a terribly unbalanced diet. I eat carbs, all carbs and nothing but carbs. No fruit, no veggies, no meat, no protein, no … uh … non-carby type stuff. I am a dietitians worst nightmare. The thing is, I’ve been like that my entire life. How does one go about trying to change a lifelong eating habit? Working towards a balanced diet will do wonders for everything – my diabetic control, my weight control, my overall health. I do think I can work on the fruit, veggies, & protein stuff. Maybe trying to add one new item per week or something. I will not be able to work meat into the diet. I just don’t like it, and never will. The idea that it was up and moving around at some point in time just grosses me out. I know, I’m weird. If you could see me – I’m a big hulky kind of guy who’s scared to try eating meat. Someone should make a movie.

So, I have recognized that things are out of control, which is the first step. Next I need to pull together my will power and start working on that monster of an unhealthy snowball (damn that’s a big hill…). Stay tuned!

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, and advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer.

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…