Day 74 – Doctor’s numerical orders

16 03 2010

Every three months I visit the Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, where they have an amazing adult clinic for Type 1 diabetes. The BDC is part of the University of Colorado and conducts important Type 1 diabetes research and clinical trials. I am so lucky to live in close proximity to their dedicated team of doctors, nurses and researchers. My doctor is especially fantastic and has seen me through 10 years and two pregnancies. He is one of the few people I will listen to without question or argument.

I was excited for Monday’s appointment because when I’ve been training for a run or a tri in the past, my numbers are usually the most impressive. My A1C level — the bellweather for diabetics that measures blood glucose average across the past three months — is usually between 6 and 7%, which is considered “excellent” and the goal for Type 1 diabetics. “Normal” people who don’t have diabetes will have a 4-6% reading.

I was expecting to come in the low 6 range today — after a 7.1 in December and then 74 days of exercise in a row on this daily exercise mission designed, in part, to keep my A1C down. I was disappointed to report a 6.9%.

And I was the SAME weight as mid-December (which was before the 5 holiday pounds came and went). That is the other part of my mission — to lose these last 5 pounds that want to follow me into my 40s.

After long discussions with the doc about my frustrations, he made me realize how hard I was being on myself — saying he has dozens of patients who would be celebrating if they could walk in with a 6.9% A1C. Looking at weight records over the past 10 years, we could see I weigh the exact SAME as I did 10 years ago — pre-pregnancies, when I also wanted to lose these 5 pounds. My lowest weight in 2005 matches my current driver’s license weight and, therefore, became the goal for me. I have to renew that license by my birthday (exactly two months away), so I would love to finally get back to that weight and stay there with daily exercise and eating right.

The moral of the story is that I have been too focused on the numbers and need to look at results in perspective. My doctor confirmed my BMI is fine and a better measure — along with fitting into your favorite size pants and feeling good — than the number on the scale. He reminded me that few of us over 30 are the same weight we were in our 20s, and that muscle weighs more than fat and increases when you are training. As a diabetic who spends each and every day analyzing blood sugar readings and counting carbs, it is good to have permission to ignore some numbers now and then in the name of the bigger health picture.

But he understands my passion is very willing to help me too. We made some adjustments to bring that 6.9 A1C down to a lower 6, and discussed ways to safely lose those 5 pounds as my mileage increases by keeping calories the same. This, of course, requires the dreaded food log I came home with and ensuring I’m not letting my blood glucose get too low.

I am going to try the log to see what calories I am taking in and using up. Not because I’m obsessed with dieting or the scale (I don’t even own a reliable scale.) But because I am just not that far from my ideal weight — a healthy number and a reachable payoff for this project. After my appointment, I did two 20-minute Classical Stretch sessions on the television beach in Mexico to loosen up from Sunday’s long run.




One response

16 03 2010

You are amazing!!! If you could bottle up your attitude and determination, you could seriously change the world:-)

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