Thursday, January 10, 2008

In Praise Of The 100 Calorie Pack

"No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut."

-Channing Pollock

Okay, the holidays are over, and Alan's birthday is over and now it's back to reality, so, it must be said. I am Carly, and I am a diabetic. I have Type 2 diabetes, and what that means is, I have to watch a little bit closer then most people, what kind of nutritional decisions I make. I was given some phenomenal news last November by my personal care physician, she told me that in just under four months I had managed to lower my A1c test result into normal numbers. Not normal for diabetics, normal for the average human. Did it mean that I was no longer a diabetic? No. It means that I have things well under control. It meant that with a little more time, and the same consistently lower numbers, I would no longer be considered diabetic, but I need to also be aware that now that I have had a taste of the disease, there is a higher then likely chance that I could once again be diagnosed with full tilt boogie Type 2 Diabetes.

Sounds a bit contradictory, but really it makes all the sense in the world. To live in the best health possible, it would be a good idea to live as if I have diabetes. So I do. I have found the differences I have made in my food intake to be very easy to manage. I don't eat at fast food restaurants anymore, well, ok, I do, but I plan for my visits. I don't just go there on a whim. I have a pocket nutrition guide that tells me the fat and calorie content of fast food, and if I know I might be eating out, I plan for it. I have been trying different convenience foods, such as the new line of food at Safeway, Eating Right. The frozen dinners are the perfect size for lunch, and they taste really good. Some of my favorites are the Spaghetti and the Salisbury Steak. Both fill me, and my blood glucose reading 2 hours after the meal has always been well into my target range of 140-160 mg/dl. Although most days it reads at a much lower number. And I always eat my meals with a time limit of 30 minutes maximum.

Like everyone else, I get the munchies late in the day. I thought when I was first told that I had Type 2 Diabetes, that it meant I had to give up the snacking I loved. I especially crave snacks when I am on a long walk, or when Alan and I are playing a board game. POUT. Well, my doctor told me that I didn't have to give up much as a diabetic, and she is right. I am thrilled with the 100 calorie packs which have been around for a couple years. When I first started seeing them in the stores, I thought it was just another diet gimmick, but then one day I decided to give them a try.

I found out, when I did a random check on my blood, that 100 calories seems to be a magic number for me. When I get a craving for, say, cookies, I grab a 100 calorie pack of, Keebler Chocolate Grasshopper cookies, and it fills that momentary need for a little something to tide me over to dinner. I rarely, if ever, see a rise in my blood after eating one of these packs, but I am careful about when I indulge. I only eat one of these if it has been at least 2 hours since I ate a meal, and if it is more then 2 hours before my next meal. I know, I know a piece of fresh fruit would be better for me, and a lot of the time, I do grab a tangerine or an apple, but it's not realistic to give up the "bad stuff" all together. So, I now I just make better decisions on when and where I indulge. As you can see, lol, we love our snacking!

I visited a few websites this morning to, see what's being said about these 100 Calorie packs, and for the most part they are being praised, but there is a downside as well. For one thing, the cost. It's true, they are a bit more expensive, which is always the way with anything that is packaged for convenience. Sigh. I could probably save a little bit and buy a big bag, and weigh the snacks, and put them in individual Ziploc bags, but it does take time to do this, and then there is the willpower factor. How difficult it is to not sample here and there while I am bagging them up. Willpower is something we all struggle with... right? Which brings me to the other negative factor... the 100 calorie pack doesn't fill you. But a snack shouldn't replace a meal. I tend to look at as snack as something fun until I eat my next meal. So keeping things in a proper perspective is key as well.

For now, this all seems to be working for me. Diabetes is a little different experience for everyone who has it, and I am one of the lucky ones who caught her diabetes early in the disease. As I get older, it will be more and more difficult to manage, but it seems like having all this information and resources available to me, has only made it all easier. Last weekend, I joined the Discovery Channel's 2008 National Body Challenge. Have you heard of it? When you get the chance, drop by and have a look around. There are healthy recipes, and tips for living a more healthy lifestyle. It's fun. And the other day, I found an adorable website called, Hungry Girl. On that site you can find all kinds of information on food, dieting and nutrition. It's one of my new favorite websites. See the links below.

Sigh.This is going to sound strange, but I think being diagnosed with diabetes is the best thing that ever happened to me. I am enjoying taking care of myself, and learning new things. It is really fascinating to find out what different types of food does to my blood. It has been a eye opener what stress does to my blood sugar, and how exercise makes me feel better. Stress seems to be my biggest trigger. Like I said, George Bush gave me diabetes. LOL. But no, I have to take the responsibility here, letting George Bush irritate me is probably what gave me diabetes. LOL. That's all I'm saying. LOL.

I have some struggles ahead, such as adjusting my calorie maintenance so I maintain my weight, another important factor in things, but right now I am having fun, and even on days like today, when my Fibromyalgia causes my hands to hurt so bad I can barely type, I am smiling at my blood glucose number when I woke up this morning. It was 94mg/dl. Yay! And thank you 100 Calorie Packs for keeping me sane! I just wish it was this easy to control my cat Elvis's diabetes. Sigh.


Discovery Channel 2008 National Body Challenge

100 Calorie Packs: Do They Help With Weight Loss? (ABC News)

Weighing In On 100 Calorie Snack Packs (Boston Globe)

Hungry Girl

"100 Calorie Packs"
Berkeley, California
January 10th, 2008


Anonymous said...

Dear Carly,
thank you for this very interesting entry! Thank you too for taking such great care of yourself!I think it is very interesting . The frozen food and the 100 calorie packs asound great!

Patrick said...

Honestly, Carly, I think we've reached a point in this nation's health that EVERYONE should live as if they have Type 2...because many already do and don't even realize it.

I had a taste of it, though not as bad as yours: when I started the weight loss plan last year, I was "pre-diabetic." That scared me, I must admit.

But with the holidays, I haven't been as good as I should have been, and I ended the year having lost only about 45 pounds when I had hoped to lose closer to 70. (Yeah, yeah, I know...45 is a lot more reasonable than 70.)

So I'm right there with you on having to watch things again.

As for the 100 calorie packs, my only problem with them is that I'm tempted to take two or three at a time! :)

And look on the bright side: if it really was Bush's fault (LOL!), then come next January, you should be able to eat whatever you like without worry! At least, we can hope.... ;)

fdtate said...

The 100 Calorie packs are a great idea -- not just for the one hundred calories, but for being an accurate indicator of a true serving size. I'm so tired of bags of chips and cookies and other snacks having 3 or 4 servings per bag.

I went into a local convenience store a couple of weeks ago. I was looking for a snack, but nothing looked too appealing until I ran across a Hershey's Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie. I didn't really realize what I had bought until I opened it. It was one cookie -- a chocolate cookie with chocolate chips and the back of the cookie was a layer of Hershey's chocolate. Man, it was good. But as I'm munching on it, I take a glance at the nutrition info. Not all that bad for all that chocolaty goodness. Then I noticed the fine print. Serving size: 1/2 cookie. Servings per container: Two.

A suggestion for the whole cost thing: Buy the big bag, weigh out a serving to get a general idea of the size, then keep to that size when you get ready to eat a serving. But yes, it does require a little bit of willpower to keep from eating five or six servings at one sitting.