Friday, February 12, 2010

Others have said it better...

So Michelle Obama has unveiled an anti-obesity campaign. Salon's Broadsheet capture pretty much everything I would say about it.

I would add to it that the entire framing of "anti-obesity" already gets this program off to a bad start. Because fighting "obesity" is part and parcel with shaming "obese people." Our size is a body trait. Potentially changeable but a body trait nonetheless. Waging a campaign against the way many, if not a majority of Americans, look is pretty problematic.

That's why when Stef and I started this blog, it would be about the stuff we do not the way we look. This is not a blog about our shame on the way we look. The way I look may or may not be the result of what I do but what's important is the what I do part. Is it no less of a victory that I've been more conscious about what I put into my body and taken more control of my body in terms of exercise if I didn't lose a single pound?

Rather than waging a campaign against something, how about waging a campaign FOR something. Because once you get over that awful anti-obesity frame, the campaign makes sense. It's about not being sedentary and eating a variety of foods that are home cooked. It's about increasing access to healthy foods. All good things that could be packaged as healthy and active living as opposed to anti-obesity.

P.S. Where the campaign does go far enough is the access. While it would suck for monsanto, what about increasing subsidies for organic produce and small farmers? It wouldn't cost a damn thing if you took away 10% of what you give to industrial agriculture.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Thank Goodness for Diabetes

So I was in Minneapolis this week for work and I was sitting at a coffeehouse with my co-worker. I notice the man sitting next to me was really out of it and sweating profusely. In Minnesota. In the dead of winter. Then I noticed something - his blood glucose meter. Everything clicked and I realized the man was severely hypoglycemic.

I asked him if he needed something to eat and he said he was fine. Then everyone around him was asking him if he needed help and he insisted he was fine. My co-worker and i talked about what to do because we could both tell he was not doing well at all. My co-worker then wen to the coffeehouse staff and asked if they could check in on the man. While he was talking to the staff, two women sitting near the counter overheard and came with the management to ask the man for help. As it turned, out the women were nurses and insisted on helping out man.

While they were getting the man to drink orange juice, they asked me to check the man's blood glucose since I knew how to use the glucose meter. His reading was a scary ass 36. That is literally Shelby in a coma territory. Thank god the nurses knew how to be insistent.

In the end, the paramedics were called and they came and monitored the man's blood sugar as he drank more juice and ate a few brownies. After an hour, the man alert and able to take care of himself. When the EMT checked his blood sugar is was 140 so he was fine.

I have never been so grateful to be diabetic and be able to spot hypoglycemia. It's a blessing to have gone through extensive training on living with diabetes (however problematic) and get the support I did to understand the disease.

Thank goodness for my disease and hte knowledge it gave me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Building up to 9 miles

To the commenter who asked about how whether I was on a program to build up to running nine miles – yes and no. About a month ago, I told my sister’s boyfriend that I would be stepping up and running the Presidio 10 as a 10 mile race as opposed to a 10K. He emailed me a running schedule and training program for the weeks leading up to it and I’ve been doing that program for the last three weeks.

But here’s what led up to that. Before I say anything else, I need to point out I have a long history with exercise. I’ve always ran and was on the track team in high school. In fact, I was an aerobics instructor in college. As an aside, my classes always had waiting lists because both women and men thought I was great to learn from. For the women, they liked not having to compare their bodies to the person teaching them and for the men, they wanted to see a dude aerobics. This is all to say exercise and I have been old friends. I’ve run 5k’s and 10k’s my whole life.

Once I graduated from college, not having a sport to compete in or a class to teach meant that I would go on this binge-purge cycle of exercise. Running a lot for a month but then slacking off for a week which led to slacking off for a month. With the diabetes diagnosis, I had a huge incentive to exercise regularly – eating what I wanted. As I’ve said before, exercise lower your blood glucose level so exercising after eating means that you have a little more leeway about what you eat. Also, when I was losing weight, my nutritionist told me not to be concern about the fat in my diet since it was being burned off during exercise. Exercise = eating bacon. A win win proposition.

Here’s the progression:
A year and a half ago after the diagnosis, I ran four times a week on the treadmill for three miles per session. I was doing a 10 minute/mile pace.

After about three months, I increased my speed to about a 9:30 minute/mile pace and made one of the runs a four mile run at a 10 minute/mile pace.

The following month, I increased one of my slow runs to 5 miles.

When I ran my first 5 mile race in January 2009 and did great, I increased my short runs to 4 miles and increase my pace to 9:15 minute/mile.

Upon committing to do Bay to Breakers (12k or 7.4 miles), I upped my long run to 6 miles for a month and then to 7.5.

After Bay to Breakers, 9 months after the diagnosis, I reduced the number of runs to three per week but with increased intensity – a 9 minute/mile pace.

During the summer, with no race in the near future, I increased my short runs to 5 miles at the same pace and omitted the long run (just made it another 5 miles)

When I made my commitment to run Bay to Breakers AND do Presidio 10 as a 10 miler, I reintroduced the long run of 7 miles but would only do that twice a month.

And that leads us to this point where I am doing a set training program leading up to 10 miles.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Milestone acheived!

Sunday, I ran 9 miles - the furthest I ever ran in my life. It kicked my ass and I learned that I do need to start slow because the last two miles I was running at a 10 minute mile pace. My own impatience got to me and I really just wanted the run to be over. Lesson learned and I look forward to running the full 10 miles. The challenge is to do it slowly.