I pretty much know what I'm doing.
I mean, I THINK I know what I'm doing. In some ways. Regarding some things.
For example: I have Type 2 diabetes. I suppose it was inevitable. My grandfather had it... my mother has it... so heredity is one factor.
When I was pregnant with my second child, I developed what's known as 'gestational diabetes.' It went away (so to speak) after delivery, but that's another factor signaling that it's likely to develop.
My checkered history of gaining weight / losing weight / gaining weight / losing weight didn't help either.
Four years ago I was on Metformin - a tablet - and the dosage had been upped to the point where they prescribed a second medication, Gliclazide. (The spelling may be wrong; also, it may be only available in the UK, or it may be a British version and sold elsewhere under a different name. Whatever.)
Prescriptions drive me bats. I mean, besides the cost (or the drain on NHS / insurance resources), I just don't think artificially inducing 'health' is always a good idea. Don't get me wrong, you who are on daily medications. I am too, in my case for hypertension. My point is, IF you can self-manage a disease to the point where you can reduce or even eliminate medication altogether, so much the better, is all I'm saying.
So as I say, four years ago, I was taking two prescriptions for the diabetes, I was on a fairly high dosage of Lisinopril for the blood pressure, and I was well on my way to 300 pounds.
(It occurs to me I sound like one of those old people who drones on about aches, pains, and past surgeries, but bear with me. There's a point.)
One day - and it was almost literally 'one day' - I thought, I don't like this. I don't want to do this. I want to change this.
So slowly, bit by bit, I did. I haunted the doctor. I consulted the nurse who specialized in diabetes. I worked with the staff dietitian. I went to not one but two rounds of classes specifically designed for Type 2 diabetics.
And of course I started Sparkin'.
I became my own laboratory: I experimented with nutrition, reading everything I could get my hands on and learning as much as possible.
I worked to check my blood glucose almost fanatically. I would introduce a new food, check... try it a second day, check... and had notes and diaries and spreadsheets all over the place.
But the payoff was huge.
Today, I am a diet-controlled diabetic. (That's the medical community's label; myself, I believe the term 'lifestyle-controlled' would be more accurate.)
This morning, my fasting blood glucose was 84.6 / 4.7. That's pretty typical these days, and it's good numbers.
No medications except the minimum dose (still!) of Lisinopril for hypertension. I wear size 12 with the occasional - occasional, mind you - foray into The Land of Ten. T-shirts are often 'small' and never more than 'medium.' I have a few One-Size-Fits-All nightshirts and things that I could swim in.
Yes, it's grand. Yes, I'm pleased. No, I'm not bragging. Yes, anyone can do what I've done.
Just as I've got the successes, so too I've got the failures. You know, if you've read my blogs before, as this is my constant refrain: I don't exercise enough, and I need to move MORE.
I chip at it. I'm just not as motivated or committed or enthusiastic or OCD about that as I was about getting the blood glucose under control. It'll happen. One day I'll decide that I want to do it, and I will.
Until then, I'm okay.
Except for SparkPeople.
Yesterday, one of my fellow Sparklers said 'I can't find the such-and-such exercise on the Fitness Tracker.' And I thought, hmmm, I think I know where it is.
Now, I don't use SP's fitness tracker. Why? Because every time - every single blessed dagnabbed doggone (be assured the idiom was much saltier) time I do, it arbitrarily changes my nutrition guidelines. I mean, WILDLY changes them, way out from where I have them set.
I happen to use the 'diabetic version' of the nutrition tracker, but whether I use it or the basic version makes no difference. Whether I set it to 'custom' (which I do) or to Spark's meal plans makes no difference.
Start adding exercise and the system will 'automatically' adjust your caloric needs for you.
I've asked them to change that. Whether it's the defaults or a holdover from an earlier version or what, I don't know. I'm not enough of a techie to know.
The PTB (Powers That Be) have explained why it happens, and essentially tell me it's to be helpful, and supportive, and all that happy newspeak. They say that's the way the system's set up. They say it's been done that way deliberately.
Well, I say - STOP IT.
Because I never use the fitness tracker on here anymore. Never. Ever. Not a single minute, a single calorie burned, a single Cardio or Step or Strength, nada.
I got so tired of having to 'correct' my nutrition tracker that I finally started recording my (admittedly sporadic) fitness activities elsewhere.
So yesterday, as I say, I went looking for 'bowling' in the activities list.
I was pretty sure it was within the Cardio category. I couldn't seem to find a way to 'browse' the activities unless I indicated I wanted to (hah) do them, but I thought - 'Well, that should be all right. I'm not going to add any, just act as if I was considering setting up my own exercises and my own favorites, so I can explain where to find it.'
I ticked Cardio and that I wanted to do it on Wednesdays, but I didn't select any length of time or amount of calories I wanted to expend or anything. Just ticked it so I could access 'Browse' - which I did - and find 'bowling' - which I did.
Then I explained to the Sparkler where to find it, then unticked 'Cardio' and reset my fitness tracker to zero - that is, so that it wouldn't even remotely appear that I planned to do a bloomin' thing.
...and after supper, when I went to record my dinner into the tracker, what do I find?
ALL MY VALUES HAVE BEEN ADJUSTED!!!!!!!!!!
Thanx a lot, PTB. You obviously know what's better for me than I do. When it comes to nutrition, and exercise, and self-management of various conditions, you will make darned sure I have what you've determined is the right fit for everyone.
EYE don't try to foist MY behavior off on anyone else. Could be that what I do works for me and wouldn't work for others.
I often think that everybody needs a relatively customized program, one that's tailored to the individual. I mean, when you go to a gym, don't they take into account your age, your condition, whether you have certain problems (bad knees, etc.) and your current level of fitness? They don't just tell you to jump in the deep end and swim fifty laps, do they?
(And if they do, maybe you need a different gym / personal trainer.)
But according to SP, maybe I don't know what's best for me after all.
Or maybe it's time I start recording my nutritional data on the other site where I record my (sporadic) fitness data, because they don't have any strange links or defaults between the two that change my values without my say-so.
But I do so dread edging away from the SP community. And even more, I detest the idea of having to start all over to rebuild my list of foods not in the tracker.
[Yes, I know. Spark is free and so on and so forth. I know. But one of the things they promote most is how they strive to be convenient, to provide the tools that people can use to become healthier. Well, surely it's a simple IT matter to set a control or write a code for Sparkers to choose 'Yes, automatically synchronize my trackers' or 'No, allow me to manually adjust my trackers'? The same way we can currently choose 'pre-selected meal plans' or 'manually selected meal plans'? Dammitoll.]