Weight Training Defeats Insulinaemia

I’ve talked several times before about the impact lifting weights has on my insulin issues. I’m probably being annoying, but I think it’s crucial to emphasize cardio alone won’t cut it. I’ve done cardio for years and saw little or no impact on my insulin symptoms. Weight training though has made a huge difference. I’ve gone from shaving every other day to shaving once a week. The facial hair is finer and lighter. Yes, I realize that my insulin issues have more important consequences, but the facial hair has been major for me. Other women on the FitCysters board have talked about a reduction in acanthos nigracans. (AN is the darkening you get on the back of your neck or underarms from insulin problems.) I, fortunately haven’t struggled with that particular symptom, but know plenty of folk who have. 

I follow the Body for Life regimen and do about 45 minutes of weights three times a week. I also do cardio three times a week and Pilates a couple of times a week. In my opinion, weight training with dumbbells is far more effective than machines. I have five sets ranging from 3 to 15 pounds. If nothing else, do squats and deadlifts. They work the largest muscles of the body (glutes, quads) which help metabolize insulin faster. Deadlifts will also give you the ass of a goddess. 

Quiet as it’s kept, I adore Marilyn Monroe, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is one of my fave movies. It’s great to know she lifted weights even when it wasn’t cool for women to do so. I also read an article where Jackie Kennedy talked about lifting weights as well. I think it’s ironic that two women who are considered the pinnacle of femininity both lifted weights. Especially since so many women won’t lift because they fear losing their femininity.

Insulinaemia and Facial Hair

I’ve mentioned before that one of the many side effects of insulinaemia (BKA the hardest damned word to spell in the English language) is facial hair. Lots of facial hair. I’d always been told that losing weight would help with this, but since insulin resistance makes it damned near impossible to lose weight, I thought this was one of the many cosmic jokes this particular syndrome likes to play on you. 

I started lifting weights because I read that weight lifting helps your body use insulin better. Especially if you work the larger muscles (quads, glutes). Okay, good enough, and I happen to enjoy lifting weights, so I bought a cheap weight bench and picked up some cute little neoprene-covered weights at Wal-Mart. Get this, I’ve gone from having to shave every other day to maybe shaving once a week. And keep in mind, it’s not like I’m power lifting or doing the snatch clean and jerk. I mainly work with little five and ten pound dumbbells three times a week. I do a circuit from the Body for Life for Women book. Bottom line is, if you’ve got insulin issues like me, weight-lifting is better than any drug. I still take Metformin (BKA The Worst Drug in the World), but I’ve seen more impact from weight-training than anything. Besides, I might even get Madame Obama arms. Does it get any better than that. 

Yes, I know you guys think I shouldn’t tell folks that I have to shave like a man. Several people have been horrified that I would disclose such embarrassing information. First, I’m not embarrassed by it. It’s a symptom of a medical problem that I didn’t cause. Why would I be ashamed? Plus, I talk about it because if what I see every day out in the stores and such is any indication LOTS of women have this problem. I shave because it’s easier on my skin and less likely to cause ingrowns than plucking or waxing. Some day I hope to get laser, but that’s so not in the picture right now, unless someone wants to give it to me for free. 

I’ve also gotten lots of questions about my shaving method to prevent ingrowns. First, you need to invest in a product called Tend Skin. I deliberately use the word ‘invest,’ because this stuff isn’t cheap. Y’all know I’m all about the budget, so you know if I’m willing to spend 35 bones on a cup of anything it must be worth it. Here’s the other crazy pricey thing, I use a new blade every time I shave my face. I know, I know, those things are insanely expensive, but I use the disposable Quattros and it’s so worth it. I know you’re only supposed to shave in one direction, but my facial hair doesn’t grow like a man’s. It’s super curly and grows every which way, so I shave vertically, diagonally and horizontally. I also shave in the shower so the steam has had a chance to soften the very coarse hair. I use a shave gel on my face as well. 

Immediately after shaving, I use the Tend Skin, apply Neosporin and hydrocortisone cream and then moisturize. I also exfoliate at least once a week, but not the same day I shave. TendSkin has salicylic acid so it does some exfoliation, but I like a mechanical scrub as well. I know this seems labor-intensive, but as someone who gets ingrowns like crazy and has the scars to show for it, I promise you, it does help. The regular exfoliation has also helped with the scarring as well.

Pilates

Pilates

 

I love this book like damn and whoa! I’ve had a reformer machine for about ten years or more. I bought it at QVC and I’ve been hooked on Pilates ever since. I’ve never liked doing Pilates to a DVD because body positioning is so crucial and difficult for me to see on a video. This book is full of very precise images AND descriptions of exact body positioning. I can pick up the book and look at the pictures carefully to ensure I’ve got it just right. It is incredible and reasonably priced. It’s like having an instructor in my living room. (I still think it’s crucial to have a few lessons with a certified instructor from time to time, because form is so important.)

This book covers both mat and the various reformers including the cadillac (I want one so badly I can taste it.) I like the mat, but definitely prefer my reformer, it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made (now if I can find somewhere to put the darned thing!!!) If you’re interested in Pilates, it makes a great addition to your fitness library. 

As we age especially, strength and flexibility become even more crucial. Pilates will give you strong, taut muscles and abs to die for. And absolutely awesome flexibility, I’m actually more flexible in my forties than I was in my twenties. Even as a teen I couldn’t touch my toes, now I have no problem doing downward dog!!! I would do it every day, but I generally try to do it after weight training, as my muscles tend to get tight after I lift and Pilates lengthens them back out.

Jillian Michaels is the Hotness

So, in my eternal quest to achieve Michelle Obama body (Okay, just the arms, I have no chance in hell of getting the whole body, but hey, a girl can dream.) I’ve been doing Michaels’ routines on Exercise TV. (Yep they’re FREE On Demand). She’s on that show the Biggest Loser, but I haven’t seen it because I don’t do reality tv. I heard about her on FitCysters (link below), yes, someone had to tell me there were free exercise videos on my tv. I’m an idiot, I know.

Have I mentioned that she’s a sadistic bitch, and more than a bit butch, besides? But man, that chick brings rain. She doesn’t do choreography or any of that stuff, which is great because that’s so not my steelo. Nope, old girl kicks your ass old school, with jumping jacks, push-ups and mountain climbers, stuff I haven’t seen since boot camp circa 1982!

I really like her, she’s realistic about how hard you’ll have to train and how much work you’ll have to put into it. I do three days of cardio, three days of weight training from the Body for Life book (also the hotness), and Pilates at least two days a week. It’s taking forever, but then I AM in my 45th year, but I’m confident that I’ll make my goal 32 by 45.

Oh, and have  I mentioned how much I really, really hate jumping jacks?

Truvia Tastes Like Butt

I think I’ve made it clear on this blog and pretty much everywhere else on the planet that I’m not down with fake foods. I won’t even eat low-fat cheese. But, given that I’m insulin resistant and sugar is verboten, I thought I’d give Truvia a try. I’ve used Stevia before and didn’t care for it. It tastes like licorice, and though I love licorice, licorice flavored tea is so not the hotness. Splenda makes me sick as does Nutrasweet. Well, I bought a few packets of the crazily expensive Truvia this past weekend. Giving it a first shot in my morning cup of Awake tea. It’s a definite no-go.

Fit Cysters/32X45

So, I’m sure y’all have seen the link for Fit Cysters in my blogroll and wondered, “Who does that heffa think she’s kidding?” I am insulin resistant. It goes by many names including pre-diabetes. Some women with it also have cysts on their ovaries which means they have Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. I have no cysts, thus I’m just insulin resistant. (The term pre-diabetes is too scary for me to deal with.) The cysts are just a symptom of the insulin issues, anyway, so for the most part, insulin resistant is probably the proper term.

I’ve learned to modify my diet to emphasize protein over carbs, but the most crucial component to reversing insulin resistance is exercise. I’m sure I don’t have to tell you I HATE exercise. I’ve never been particularly athletic, and hate making an ass of myself in public, thus, I’ve always avoided physical activity. Not anymore. I’ve decided to work out an hour every day five days a week. No excuses. Interestingly enough, I’ve kept it up (more or less) all through the holidays and Luke’s walk in the shadow of death. Normally I would’ve thrown in the towel by now, but I’m sticking with it. Mainly because I’m tired of the specter of the Grim Reaper, generally known as Dr. Oz, looming over me with his tape measure of doom. 

So, here’s my commitment. I’ll be 45 on September 3rd. I’m determined to have a 32″ waist by then. 32X45 is my mantra. That means I have to lose 6″ off my waist. Focusing on weight training will really help. For whatever reason, lifting weights helps the body process insulin better, and I actually enjoy weight training.

I’m very fortunate that Whit’s in this with me. He comes from a Kennedyesque family full of athletes and has always been athletic. We’ve decided to work on fitness together. Now when he goes for a run, he comes back and watches Luke so I can do one of my DVDs. I’ve discovered Exercise TV, thanks to the support network at FitCysters, and I’m really loving Jillian Michaels. I also do Denise Austin DVDs. Yay me.

Bummed

So last week I joined the folks over on Monica’s board on a fourteen day no carb/no booze challenge. Quite reasonable considering that I’m insulin resistant and am not supposed to be eating carbs or drinking booze anyway. I knew going into it that I was highly unlikely to lose weight. That’s the bitch of being insulin resistant, losing weight almost always reverses it, but it’s damned hard to lose weight. I’ve been trying to lose the same 20-30 pounds for almost five years now. Even when you take the drug of death, also known as Metformin the weight simply won’t come off. 

For me anyway, the worst part about diet failure, besides the obvious, is other people’s responses. They absolutely cannot comprehend that you can adhere to a diet diligently yet not lose weight. They always analyze what you did wrong that caused the failure. So this time I made sure I didn’t violate in any way. I haven’t had so much as a taste of booze or sugar. Not so much as a crumb of corn bread, potatoes or pasta have crossed my lips. And guess what? Haven’t lost so much as an ounce. 

I hate being fat. Even worse, I hate the fact that I hate being fat. I mean, in the scheme of things there are much worse catastrophes. And worst of all, I hate the fact that even though being insulin resistant will eventually lead to diabetes and possibly death, I’m far more concerned about my physical appearance than I am my health. That level of shallowness is appalling and disgusts me. 

So, I go into another holiday season avoiding the camera as though it is the kiss of death. More than anything, being fat aggravates the introvert in me. From the top of my head to the bottom of my feet, I don’t want to leave this house. And certainly I don’t want to go to yet another holiday gathering being the biggest woman in the room. 

I cannot accept being fat. I’m not comfortable in this skin, probably because for most of my life my weight was never an issue. Now, it’s THE ISSUE. Shopping is a nightmare. Plus size clothes look like absolute crap, and the upshot is they actually expect you to pay MORE for shitty clothes that make you look like you’re hiding bin Laden on your ass. 

Bottom line is, I’m done.