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Of food rituals

A pink pig made of marzipan sweet almond paste in a plastic bag that reads "Good luck". Net weight 1.41 oz, 40 grams

Marzipan pig to celebrate the new year. (ignore the mess, we’d just moved in to our new house!)

This is my New Years piggy. If you’re not familiar with this tradition, Germans consume a pig on New Years Eve to bring good luck in the New Year. You can do this either by actually eating pork or by eating a marzipan pig  (Marzipanschweine).

Admittedly, it’d be a lot better for me as a hypoglycemic, or pretty much anyone, to eat the pork vs. marzipan, but a little indulgence now and then isn’t a terrible thing. Also, I’m not superstitious in any way, but it’s fun to keep some of these traditions alive.

But that doesn’t mean I have to eat the whole thing in one sitting.

In fact, I ate this little piggy over 4 days, and always immediately after a high protein meal (because that’s when it will impact my blood sugar the least). I also bought the smallest piggy I could find.

And that’s the trick with food traditions. You don’t have to give them up, but it’s not a blank check to stuff your face and trash your blood sugar & diet. Take a bit or two, savor the hell out of it, and walk away. It’s hard, but you’ll feel so much better overall when you do it.

Christmas workout

Christmas, for me, isn’t an excuse to skip out on my health. And since I took yesterday off (usually Sunday is my rest day), I had to squeeze in a workout today.  Most gyms are closed, I didn’t get home til after dark (so no outdoor workout for me), and I needed cardio, so I had to resort to the one full-length cardio video I had, TurboJam.

Trust me, this isn’t an ad for these videos. I find the instructor annoying and her martial arts skills scary bad, but hey, it makes me sweat and works my abs, and I only have to use the video 1-2 times per year, so TurboJam it is.

Yes, I know, diet is more important, but that can be hard when eating away from home so much, so my workouts help keep me semi on track, my blood sugar in  decent check (staying away from the sweets), and my stress level low.

 

 

Photo of Turbo Jam exercise video playing on my TV

Ohhhhh I’m not looking forward to this…

Photo of a BeachBody workout video warning that reads, "You should always warm up for a few minutes before beginning any workout, and you should never exercise beyond the level at which you feel comfortable.

I know what they mean, people can take it too far, but part of the point of exercising is to push your limits, slightly.

 

Stress impacts your body. At least, that’s what all of the research tells us. It also impacts your blood sugar, which makes it a very important topic for those of us with hypoglycemia. And, oftentimes, especially as hypoglycemics, we’re so involved in making the correct diet and fitness decisions, that our mental health, our personal well-being goes by the wayside. In this series, we’ll discuss a variety of ways to manage your stress and, in the process, manage your blood sugar.

So I have this friend. Let’s call her Lisa. And her and her husband are about to do something incredibly daring and amazing; they are moving to a foreign country at the end of this year.

That’s amazing enough, but here’s where the incredible part comes in, neither of them are fluent in the language and neither of them have secured jobs yet. But they are going nonetheless.

Right now, they are under quite a bit of stress, and understandably so. Everything about this decision seems very illogical. But you know what? I admire them for doing it anyway and I’m glad they are.

When I think back to the stories that older people have told me about their lives, those that they are the most proud of and those that are the most interesting to tell, it’s never “I worked hard, bought a house, raised a family.” Those are admirable deeds, but it’s the stories about throwing caution to the wind, taking a chance on life, taking a leap of faith, that make life so memorable and make for great stories. The tales of “We went backpacking across Europe for a year” or “I decided to spend two years in Asia volunteering for an aid organization” are the ones I, and I’m guessing we all, want to hear.

And here’s the thing about those stories, some don’t well, but you don’t hear any regrets. Sometimes people come back from backpacking across Europe and are so broke they had to move back in with parents. Sometimes they try something and it fails that they have to come home. But they recover, and they will still tell you it’s worth it. And, when the story is told later, you rarely hear someone focus on the end and what went wrong. They instead focus on the adventure along the way.

So Lisa, I’m 100% in your corner and cheering you on. If it helps to read this post when things become uncertain, it’d be an honor if you did so. Cheers to your new adventure!

Every time I’m in my office or somewhere else and I see other females get “the look,” then reach for their little bag or whatever it is that holds their tampons and go running for the bathroom, I desperately want to chase after them screaming “There’s another way! You don’t have to do this anymore!”

But, alas I don’t, and for the same reason I’ve avoided writing this post for a while, because it’s still a bit of a taboo subject to talk about. Thankfully for me, a friend did tell me about menstrual cups years ago and I’m passing on the favor by telling you all.

Benefits

There’s a lot of articles about benefits and such, but here are why I’m so madly in love with them:

  • On heavy days, I have to empty mine twice per day. On light days, once per day. So WAY less than tampons and way more convenient.
  • No leaky panic moments (see bullet above)
  • Partially because of the first bullet point, I’m sometimes capable of forgetting I’m having my period for hours on end. This could be a downside, however, if I forget to empty it.
  • My Diva Cup was about $30 and they last at least 5 years. How much have you spent on tampons and pads during that time?
  • Environmentally, think of all of the waste from tampons and pads
  • No leakage while working out

Functionality

But Nicole, isn’t it gross? I get this question a lot and if you get easily freaked out by the sight of your own blood, I get it. For me, blood isn’t a big deal, so it’s not so bad. They say to empty them in the toilet. I find that’s a pain and can be messy. So my solution? Take a shower twice a day when I need to empty it and dump it down the drain.

They can be a bit tricky to get out, I’ve pulled on the mine (which has the traditional stem style end) many a time and not had it just snap back like a rubber band on me. Ouch! But that’s because I have a hard time gripping it. Thankfully, Me Luna brand has ring and ball style handles that would work much better.

Feel free to comment below with questions and I’ll add to this. But you can’t say no one told you about them now 🙂

 

Stress impacts your body. At least, that’s what all of the research tells us. It also impacts your blood sugar, which makes it a very important topic for those of us with hypoglycemia. And, oftentimes, especially as hypoglycemics, we’re so involved in making the correct diet and fitness decisions, that our mental health, our personal well-being goes by the wayside. In this series, we’ll discuss a variety of ways to manage your stress and, in the process, manage your blood sugar.

Most of the time, I’m one of the most intense and cerebral people you’ll meet, oftentimes to a fault. So, I can see how it would seem odd, to my friends, family and coworkers, that, in the most intense situations, I’ll wander up them and make a big deal over savoring a cookie (a tiny, tiny piece for me), or a piece of chocolate, or a pretty flower or sunset.

Why do I do that in those moments? Because it creates a break in the tension, a moment of peace, and a reminder of something good.

I’m reminded of the scene in The Hobbit right after Thorin Oakenshield is killed; Bilbo is trying to process through his emotions when Gandalf sits next to him, and picks at his pipe. It’s somewhat comical to watch, but effective. Gandalf is by no means a simple person, but he uses the pipe to remind him, and others, to not always be so intense, to enjoy the small, good things in life.

In Zen Buddhism, there’s the story (the flower sermon) of the Buddha holding up a flower and only one of his disciples smiles.  The most common interpretation of this is that knowledge can be transferred without words or letters, but when I read this story, I can also see how this exemplifies the idea that, something so simple can bring a moment of clarity and peace.

In Christianity, I’ve heard several sermons talk about stressful situations draining your “bucket” and how you need to make sure you keep your bucket full (with love, things that bring you peace and joy, etc.), or at least not let it empty. With this interpretation, a moment of simple joy could be a way to refill the bucket, even if it is partially.

Whatever philosophy above works for you, I encourage you to give it a try. You may just find that that moment of simplicity may be what you need to get through a rough situation.

 

 

 

A grocery check out line with my groceries of fruit, vegetables, eggs, and Beanitos chips


I’m not anti-trainer, I do think they can help you on your path to health, but it’s important to realize that at most gyms they are employed as salespeople, not as trainers.

If you’ve ever been around a corporate gym franchise, trainers come and go like crazy; my coworker is on her fourth trainer in less than a year. Why? Most commonly because they didn’t meet their sales goals.

An acquaintance of mine recently lamented on how, when he was a trainer, he dreaded the end of the month, because if he didn’t meet his sales goals of renewals and new clients, he’d get pulled into a meeting, reprimanded, and threatened with being fired.

I’ve personally walked through trainer-only areas (because those of you that know me know I think rules are suggestions) and seen the sales goal boards I am so familiar with from my early career days selling advertising.  The goals weren’t caculating how they’d helped their clients reach their goals, they were calculating how many clients they’d sold more training packages.

So, speaking from a sales perspective, their best strategy would be to have you see improvement and teach you a few things, but not see enough improvement or learn so much that you no longer need them.

So go to them if you need help with your fitness routine, but don’t lose sight of the fact that they make money the more you come back to them.