Drug Companies: A Rant

This blog is going to be something of a rant.  A rant about the way things are in the US.  I’m not attacking this country.  I love it here.  But I really hate the way some things are.  When I turn on the television if I had a nickel for every time I see an ad for a drug company I would be rich man very quickly.  It seems every channel has them.

“Ask your doctor about this.”

“Ask your doctor about that.”

“This drug can help you with…<insert illness of choice.>

Then they very quickly go through a list of side effects. And those side effects are often many and serious.  I’m not saying drugs are never the answer.  Sometimes they are needed.

But sometimes you can help yourself with a simple lifestyle change.

I was diagnosed a type two diabetic in August 2008.  I was immediately put on Metformin.  To be honest I don’t really know how much Metformin really helped me.  My A1C was never lower than 6.6.  My fasting sugar never averaged below 120.  The GC Control shakes made a much bigger difference than Metformin, bringing my sugar down when it was high.  Metformin never did that,

But what really turned things around was changing my lifestyle.  When I started counting calories, when I started losing weight, when I started RUNNING my A1C came down to 5.8 and my fasting sugar now averages in the 70’s and 80’s.

Metformin never did ANY of that!

For many of us, our lifestyle is what’s hurting us.  Mine certainly hurt me.  Once I got that in my thick head, once I changed my lifestyle I helped myself more than ANY drug ever could.

Yet on our screens we are not told that.  We are told “drugs are the answer.”

“Ask your doctor about…”

BULLSHIT!

Instead, ask your doctor if a healthier lifestyle might help.  I think often doctors decide to go with drugs because they don’t trust us to make a lifestyle change that we can stick with.  And they often get a kickback from the drug companies.

When my doctor told me my blood test results he asked me how I did it.  When I told him, he seemed almost as happy as I was.  His assistant came into the room my doctor proudly told him what I’d said.  Doctors want us to be healthy.  It’s their job to help us.

But drug companies don’t make money out of us when we are fit and well.  So they will keep peddling their junk on us, trusting in us to keep relying on them instead of doing one thing that can really make a difference to our lives.

Get off our asses and MOVE MORE!

End of rant.

Difficult Anniversaries

mummum as teenagermum as a young girlMum and Dad in their 20's

It’s funny how life works out sometimes.  Today, (the 12th September, I wrote this blog late) is the 18th anniversary of the day my mum passed away.  She had leukemia.  This date is always a tough day for me to deal with.  I lost my dad when I was just 14 and my mum when I was 29.  They were great parents who, to be honest, spoiled me when I was a kid.  I was an only child and they made sure I wanted for nothing.  They certainly made sure I knew I was loved.

I know they would be proud of the way I’ve turned my health around.

Anyway, the reason for this blog is I just received a PM from someone on Facebook who is an old friend of Mum’s family.  She saw a post I made earlier on Facebook about the anniversary and a tribute site I had set up a while ago for Mum.   She sent me six photos of mum in her childhood.  Two photos I’d seen before, in fact I’d had them but lost them years ago.  So it’s really nice to see them again.  But getting these photos was just the boost I needed to blast me through my depression.  It’s funny how these little synchronicities can happen just when they’re needed.  Or maybe it’s Mum, smiling down at me and sending me something she knew would cheer me up.

Setting And Reaching Goals

weight loss pic

When I started my health journey in March this year, I set myself two clear goals.

  1. Get off diabetes medication by getting my sugar under control.
  2. Get down to wearing size 32 pants.

The first goal I achieved as early as June.  The second one I finally accomplished yesterday.

In March I was wearing size 38 / 40 pants.  I was at that borderline stage where some pants fit at 38 but some only fit at 40.  Clothes can be weird like that.

My wife, Christine, and I went shopping yesterday, as we both badly need new clothes.  We’ve undergrown the ones we currently own.  I like to say that.  It’s definitely better than overgrowing them.  In June I had tried on a pair of size 32 jeans but couldn’t get close to doing them up.  I was down to size 34 at that time.  Yesterday I finally fit into a pair of size 32’s.  I didn’t even have to struggle to button them up.  No breathing in or squirming.  They just fit.  So I am now the proud owner of two brand spanking new pairs of size 32 jeans!  Christine also found she had dropped a whole pant size.  Needless to say we are both very happy.

Now I can’t help looking back at far I have come in a short space of time.  To think in December 2014 the doctor wanted to put me on a second diabetes drug and now I’m not on any!  I still can’t quite believe that.  I monitor my fasting sugar every morning.  I average in the upper 70’s to low 80’s.  I have noticed when I have a good workout my sugar usually responds by being in the mid to upper 70’s for a couple of days.

At my heaviest I weighed 215 lbs.  Admittedly that was a few years ago now.  I wore size 40 pants in those dark days.  I almost went up to size 42.  That was a trigger for me to lose some weight.  I managed to get down to 190 and size 38 pants.  While I still wasn’t happy with the way I looked, I maintained that weight for several years.  Until a medical necessity gave me the push to continue my weight loss journey.

Which brings me to an important factor in getting healthy.  Motivation.  Losing weight, getting fit, they take time and a lot of effort.  As I’m often reminded on the MyFitnessPal site I belong to, I didn’t gain that weight overnight and I won’t lose it overnight either.  Especially if I want to sustain that loss.  Motivation is key to sustaining any weight loss.  It can be long, slow and very frustrating.  I went through a phase where I didn’t lose a pound for three or four weeks.  That can be enough to derail some people.  But I knew I was doing the right activities.  I knew I was losing inches even if the pounds didn’t move.  And then I lost 3 lbs in the space of a week and, just like that, I was off and losing again.

Many factors have contributed to my weight loss.  Counting calories.  Running.  Lifting weights at the gym.  And I’m going to mention the products our Wellness company makes again, because they have also played a part.  GC Control helps regulate my sugar.  Peak Performance vitamins give me more energy.  Our Pro Flex protein shake is always a good way to finish a strong workout.  But on their own they’ll only carry you so far.  You still have to put the effort and hard work in.  Which I have.

Diabetes used to be a slow death sentence.  But it doesn’t have to be, these days.  I’m only going to talk about type 2 diabetes, because I realize type 1 is a whole different dynamic.  I don’t really know much about type 1, though I imagine exercise would probably give some benefit there, too.

Just moving can make a big difference.  A daily walk, lifting weights, running.  Losing weight is all about burning more calories than you’re consuming.  Which with the western diet is not as easy as it sounds.  Even as a diabetic I can still have pasta, pizza, bagels and all the other high carb foods.  In moderation, of course.  I just make sure they fit in my calorie count for the day.

Now that I’ve reached the two goals I originally set myself I have to set new ones.  Because it’s all about moving forward.  Without goals we just stagnate.  So the obvious goal is to maintain what I’ve already achieved.  In a way the hard work is just beginning.  I’m close to my goal weight now.  I’m at my goal size.  Now I want to improve my body shape, work on getting my fitness up.  I might run a 5K in the Fall.  At the moment the temperature is in the low to mid 90’s outside and humid.  Not good running weather.  When the cooler Fall weather (hopefully) arrives I’ll be ready to get out and run at least every other day.

I know I’m not cured of diabetes.  I know if I let myself slip back into old habits my sugar will start to creep back up.  But we’re both committed to our new healthy lifestyle.  I may have reached my goals but the fun is only just beginning.  I’m committed to a life of healthy living.

The photo at the top of my blog was an attempt to show the difference between my old size 40 and my new size 32.  I don’t think the photo captured it quite as well as my own eyes did.  I’ve lost 50lbs altogether since my heaviest.  I’m proud of that achievement.  But I’m also sad I let myself get that way.  Especially as I was a skinny teenager.  In fact I was skinny into my mid 20’s.  I guess I slowed down but still ate as if I was still running around a lot.

I make this vow now…never again will I ever wear size 40, or even close to it!  I finally like the way I look and I love the way I feel.

Winning The Health Battle

gc control (2)

The past few months have been immense from a health and fitness perspective.  The biggest thing was getting off diabetes medication.  I’ve been on Metformin since August 2008 and in June 2015 I was finally told I don’t need it any more!  My fasting sugar has gone from averaging around 170 to averaging middle 70′s to middle 80′s.  I have lost a total of 50 lbs since I was at my heaviest.   I’m now at a weight I haven’t seen since my mid 20′s, about twenty years ago.  I’m also fitter now than I have been since my teenage years, since I took up running.  Life is pretty good.

I have to say I have had a little help.  My wife and I shop with a Wellness company and some of their products have made a huge difference health wise.  The GC Control shake has helped me for a couple of years.  It’s designed to stabilize your blood sugar and it really works.  I’ve been using it since January 2013 when my fasting was in the 170′s.  Our products have played a big part in helping my wife with her asthma, eczema and high blood pressure.

We’re looking to help fellow diabetics as well as people who have asthma, eczema, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and many other health problems, including weight loss and people who are just looking to get fit.

It’s never too late to take back your health.  Even the simple act of getting active can make a world of difference.