Shannon Fennell's Blog

My life, art, travel, make-up, cooking and the occasional rant!


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One year

It has been a year of huge change for me – for the better.

It was one year ago today, December 22, that I was told I had Type 2 Diabetes.

I was left to figure out what to do by myself – my doctor prescribed Metformin and sent me off to the pharmacy to get that and the rest of the paraphernalia required.

In order to get my blood sugar under control I changed my diet. I immediately cut out sugar (which was not an issue at all for me.)  Then I had to deal with the carbs, ultimately discovering through trial and error that my system could not handle them.  So I made the change to Low Carb High Fat which enabled me to get my blood sugar numbers down.

As a side effect of the diet change I have lost over 70 pounds, so far .

I started going to Curves to improve my fitness level which helps with the diabetes control.

Unfortunately it was discovered my eyes had deteriorated due to Diabetic Retinopathy requiring injections into my eyeballs to clear up the bleeding.  As of this month my left eye has cleared up, requiring no further attention, but my right eye continues to need treatment.

I now have normal blood sugar levels – normal normal, not diabetic normal.

My blood pressure is also normal – I actually was 120/80 at my last doctor’s appointment.

I took a watercolour painting class and spend evenings painting for fun.  Watercolour is so much less effort than other mediums (for set-up and clean-up) and a relaxing activity.

I visited family in Toronto and got to see Niagara Falls…

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…and go indoor skydiving!

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Making inroads on the hypothetical bucket list – although I don’t think skydiving would have been on mine.

I am in a good spot with my health and keeping busy, finding new interests, doing different things and planning for next year’s adventures.  So overall it has been a positive year – even though events were triggered by bad news.

 


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Cookies!

I’ve been missing cookies quite a bit lately – it being the season and all.  And my sister is providing a play-by-play of her baking which makes me miss them even more.

Just something about the crisp crunch with a cup of tea, ya know?

I check out recipes all the time for low carb cookies – they invariably contain sugar substitutes, which I don’t use.

A recipe for “gluten free” cookies showed up the other day – which looked like something that I could alter.

I adjusted things to suit myself and I am so happy!  They turned out really well – like shortbread.  I’m really hoping they stay the texture they are and don’t soften up.  I have to stop eating them for the day though – as I added 70% chocolate chips to them and don’t want to go over on that!

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Pecan Chocolate Chip Cream Cheese Cookies

1 cup butter (8 oz.)

1/2 cup cream cheese (4 oz.)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla (or any flavour extract you like, almond, etc. – next time I am going to use lemon zest!)

2 cups almond flour (16 oz.)

1/2 cup coconut flour (4 oz)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped pecans (4 oz)

1/2 cup 70% dark chocolate (or higher if you can find them) chips (4 oz)

Cream the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time.  Continue beating to incorporate each before adding the next.

Add in the combined dry ingredients a cup at a time, beating well between additions.

The dough will be pretty sticky.  Lay out some plastic wrap and dump the dough onto it, shape into a roll, wrap and refrigerate for 4-6 hours (overnight is good.)

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cut the roll into slices a little less than 1/2 inch thick – thinner tended to break-up due to the nuts and chocolate chips.  Lay on a parchment lined baking sheet.  They won’t spread so you can fill it up pretty tight!  If any break or crumble just press the dough together to shape it.

Bake for 10-12 minutes – the edges should just be turning brown.

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Let them cool on the sheet, then move to a container, or eat them.  They stay together to hold in your hand but crumble when you bite into them!

Next time I am leaving out the chocolate as I really like the ones that ended up with only nuts in them.  Then I can eat more of them without worrying about spiking my blood sugar levels!

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Healthy. I’m getting there!

Today I was recognized at my Curves club as having won the Healthy category of the Curves Strong Women Challenge  at our local level!

I chose to enter the Healthy category (description below) – the other two were Inspiration and Transformation.

Healthy Curves Strong Women of the Year – A Curves member who, during the period 01/01/2015-11/11/16 has overcome a health ailment(s) and has maintained healthy living with Curves Complete and/or regular exercise at Curves*. Members must have 10 consecutive weeks of 3 workouts per week.** Curves may require proof of pre-existing medical conditions and current health in order to validate the entry. A full body before picture must be submitted, along with an after picture taken by a coach in a designated area of the Curves club.

My entry  now moves on to the national level where there are three more rounds of judging with the grand prize winners being announced at the end of the month.

http://strongwomen.curves.com/

I am pretty happy and pleased with myself.

I’ve lost 70 lbs since last Christmas (by switching to LCHF,) I have my blood sugar at normal (non-diabetic) levels consistently, my blood pressure is perfect (120/80), my eye treatments are working and one eye is “fixed” and I’m hoping the other will be after the next treatment, the gall bladder is gone and I’m feeling great.

Here I am (on the right) this afternoon when the winners were announced, with my Curves coach Debbie.

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The new me, to-date

Had my monthly weigh and measure at the gym on Friday.  And we took some “after” photos… well, it isn’t after really, as I am still doing everything I have been so let’s call them “progress” photos!

This shows me in 2002 around the time I was told I was pre-diabetic – I had already lost a bit of weight at the time of the time of the photo; middle was in October 2005 and my weight was documented at 274.6 lbs; and third is Friday at 173 lbs.

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We figure I probably maxed out around 375 when I was at my largest… but no weight records exist… but compare the above to this photo taken in 2000, shortly after I arrived in Grande Prairie:

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That means I’ve managed to lose about 200 lbs. since moving up here almost 17 years ago.

Initially it was just a change in lifestyle – no more lattes or second breakfasts on the way to work, packing a lunch as going out to buy it wasn’t convenient, jobs with some physical activity involved.  Then, a more conscious effort to control my health by cutting out excess sugar, etc. The loss of the first 100 was not a specific diet, just a collection of changes that resulted in the loss over a period of about five years.

Over the next ten years my weight would fluctuate depending on my activity level, which was directly tied to the jobs I had.  Working graveyard shift on my feet netted a drop of about 30 lbs over a couple of months.  Working in retail also caused weight loss and better fitness levels.

Stress would change my eating habits too, causing weight changes.  After Neil died I dropped some, and both times mom was in the hospital I lost quite a bit.

Then since December 2015 when I completely changed my way of eating to Low Carb High Fat to control my diabetes I have lost another 62 lbs. (so far!)

The weight loss has slowed considerably now, which is what I was expecting to happen. I’m now only dropping a couple of pounds a month, rather than the 10 I was losing to start with.  With the slower drop I am noticing that some of the loose skin is tightening up a bit and my muscle mass is increasing with going to the gym regularly.

In my photo from Friday I am wearing my size 12 yoga pants and a medium top!  That’s pretty exciting for me.  I get teased at the gym as I tend to wear oversized (XL men’s sweat pants and 3XL t-shirts!) to workout in, but I have them so I am wearing them until they are ready for the garbage or won’t stay up!  I only wear the skinny clothes for measuring days and photo ops!

My regular wardrobe is all new – all old items have been donated, recycled or thrown out. I still need to get a new heavy winter coat for -40C.  What I have now are not rated for that, but I wanted to wait until I needed it to make sure I got a nice fitting one. I used to always wear men’s winter gear – this year I am getting women’s!