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DSMA March Blog Carnival: Exercise Does A Body Good

This is my first time participating in the DSMA blog carnival.  The topic of exercise is a hot one for me lately what with my freshly minted gym membership and goal of losing 7 pounds before my next endo appointment.  As I read the topic description, I wasn't sure how to characterize myself, exercise buff or workout avoider.  I finally landed on:  non-practicing workout avoider. In Fiona's perfect world, she could eat a bag of chocolate covered popcorn every day, never leave her comfy chair in front of TV, and still fit into her favorite jeans and tops.  Sadly, Fiona's perfect world only exists in my head and although I hold the beliefs of a workout avoider, I work out regularly.  I will never purport to enjoy it.  The most I will allow is that some things suck less than others.  And, you can ask my dad, that's leaps and bounds beyond where I was even a year ago.

In the years before my diagnosis, I would be pressed into exercising only when my clothes didn't fit well (or at all) any more.  The first time was in my early 20s and I realized that consuming the same amount of beer as a college student without the stealthy activity of hauling a 30 pound backpack across campus each day, would mean that my jeans didn't fit anymore.  So, I bought an exercise bike and pedaled off those pounds.  The second time was in my late 20s when my metabolism did that vicious slow down everyone talks about.  That time, I purchased an elliptical trainer and ran off the pounds.  Then, back in October of 2008, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  I still had the bike and the elliptical.  Eric had been using the bike faithfully, but the elliptical was gathering dust.

Before my diagnosis, I was down to a size 0, so I really didn't see the point in exercise when I was already smaller than I had ever been in my life and weight was falling off "like magic."  After my diagnosis, I was told that exercise would help me with blood sugar control.  I figured I needed all the help I could get since I had no idea what the hell I was doing, so I went out, bought new workout clothes, and got reacquainted with the elliptical.  I've been faithfully running on that infernal contraption for over 2 years now.  But, last summer, I got bored.  I was in a rut and it was sucking far more than usual.  I tried yoga and found that tolerable but I didn't stick with it.  I equate workout effectiveness with sweat production and yoga wasn't giving me much sweat production.  Muscle tone, yes, sweat no.  I never said I was logical.

Then I had my January endo appointment and given the chocolate popcorn consumption had sky-rocketed in December with no corresponding increase in exercise I got the dreaded "Your weight has increased since last time, why do you think that is?" questions/comment.  I HATE THAT QUESTION.  HATE IT.  She was perfectly kind and respectful when she asked it, but I immediately felt like a lumbering bovine.  I was outraged she would bring it up, never mind I was working out 5 days a week and the increase was "only" 4 pounds since my last visit and accumulated to about 7 pounds over prior 9 months.  I squelched my inner-hysterical female, explained the caloric decadence and then asked how to much to lose and was told 7 pounds.  I went home and wailed about it for several days to one of my girlfriends and then I took the roundabout way of joining the gym.  See, for years now, Eric has wanted a gym membership and I, as the CFO of our household, refused to fund it because there were no gyms convenient to us and quite frankly, I thought it would be a waste of money.  But, then I noticed Eric's weight had creeped up on him as well and when I coupled this with a few second comments from his doctor about his blood pressure, I decided to give in on the gym membership.  Conveniently, in the intervening years since my initial refusal, a gym was built in our neighborhood.  So, one evening when he called on his way home from work, I suggested he check it out and sign up if he wanted.  He was thrilled and did so that evening.  Then, I used his membership to get a guess pass for a day and after trying it out, I decided to add myself on to his membership.  Then I decided to work on strength and core and attended a Kettlebell class, which I now do twice a week.  I try to change things up in my routine, the Kettlebell classes are twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and I've added circuit weight training on Sundays.  Then, on Mondays and Wednesdays I avail myself of one of the gym's pieces of cardio equipment, either the Stairmaster, Cross Ramp, Stride Matching elliptical, recumbent bike, regular bike, or regular elliptical.  On the days I have Kettlebell, I put in some time on my own elliptical.

I guess that's the super-long-winded way of saying that what my motivation is driven by a strong desire to NOT have my endo mention my weight.  I guess I'm a little sensitive on that topic and would rather go against my basic nature and workout than have to deal with the emotional fall out of feeling like a lumbering bovine.  And, yes, it does have some diabetes benefits, my basal insulin needs have gone down about 4 units since January.  Of course, then there's the diabetes drawbacks with weird highs when I exercise in the morning vs. afternoon, treating lows before Kettlebell, etc.  It ain't perfect but again, I really don't enjoy feeling like a lumbering bovine.

This post is my March entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/march-dsma-blog-carnival

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