I can’t believe I’m going to complete my fifth decade of living. I definitely don’t act like I’m 50 and I know, thanks to my Filipino heritage, I sure don’t look like I’m 50. I’ve never really looked my age; I remember once telling a male colleague that I was 43 years old and his jaw hit the ground. I think he had just passed int0 his 30s– made me feel good, ya know?
Looking youthful, however, is completely different from feeling youthful. Myriad aches and pains riddle my body when I get up in the morning that I often feel I’m an octogenarian like my mom. I’m not as strong as I was and I’m definitely more klutzy than ever! I know the change over the last dozen years is the result of the 30 pounds I’ve gained since Ken was born and that I have completely given up on any form of exercise beyond walking the aisles of the grocery stores.
Ironically, I was at my lightest when I delivered my son because my OB was adamant that I follow a prescribed diabetic diet and exercise program both to ensure strict control over my blood sugar levels and to get as close as possible to 40 weeks gestation. (I still have flashbacks of walking around the underground garage, sucking in residual exhaust fumes, at our condominium in DC for 45 minutes when it was too icy to go outside). After Ken was delivered, Kurt was amazed at how thin I was. He has said many times when I complain about my current weight, that I need to go back to that routine of small, frequent meals and daily exercise.
And there lies the problem. When I was pregnant, my life revolved around my work and Kurt; we actually went to the gym consistently and all was well with my dress size. (I’ve kept all those clothes and remember just how good I looked in some of those outfits). Once Ken came along, I was consumed with him and his well-being; my diabetic diet and exercise plan plunged from high to no priority. Over the years, I’ve weaved in and out of my multiple-sized wardrobe, but never had as high an incentive as the life of my baby, to stick to my plans. For a few months after the kidney transplant, I maintained a good diet because I was recuperating. Although I’ve maintained my blood sugar control post-transplant, maintenance has now been solely through pumping more insulin into my body; it’s just easier than exercising.
A year and a half has passed since the transplant and my goal is to optimize the life of Kurt’s kidney; he doesn’t have another one to give me! I can make this kidney last for the rest of my life– a prognosis my nephrologist said was possible if I took care of myself. So I enlisted the help of my friend Jacki; I told her I needed a non-family member to whom I could “report” my progress and help me stick to a program of exercise and healthier eating. It’s just too easy to blow off my family members, who generally indulge me; in other words, Jacki can be quite tenacious about getting things done. It’s the German in her…
She wants to get healthier, too, and lose weight. Thus our “HealthBuddy” approach was born. When we mentioned this to our friends Aileen and Katherine at Max and Sarah’s wedding, they wanted to join us– the more, the merrier! At 50, none of us are striving to look the way we did in our 20s; we just want to be as healthy as possible for the next fifty years of our lives. I suggested that we use MyFitnessPal as our online/mobile app for logging meals, water and exercise because my sister Tina is also on MFP and if they linked to her, she’d be able to review our logs and suggest changes and ideas to keep going.
Tina is a CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) and RN; she’s works at a Johns-Hopkins facility as part of a cardiac rehab team that includes an exercise physiologist and dietician. She also has numerous clinical contacts at her old hospital, the Washington Hospital Center, where Kurt and I had the transplant surgery. Although she always complains on FB that she gives the equivalent of “concierge diabetes management care” to me for free, she deep down loves helping people who are struggling to get healthy, and readily agreed to share her expertise with us.
I’m excited for me and my girlfriends. It’s not often you have access to a team to help you get healthier the RIGHT way, unless you sign up for one of those pricey residential weight loss programs. As of today, all our holiday treats have been gobbled up or stored in the freezer for Ken and his friends. I’ve been building a repertoire of lighter meals that I can start incorporating into our family meal plan; I found my workout shoes and clothes. Kurt has the elliptical machine positioned in front of the TV in the man-cave and is 100% on board for trying lighter meals a couple of days a week.
I’ve done everything I can to prepare my home environment, and am ready for the challenge. I know we’ll do great together– it’s much easier to face a difficult challenge when you’ve got people around to support you along the way!
If any of you have any great “light” recipes for meals, snacks or desserts, please send them to me (click on my name under the “About Me” sidebar item) and I will try them out and highlight my experience here!
Go HealthBuddies! Wellness 2013!