Keeping Your Resolve

Zig Ziglar

Yes, I know I already posted a blog today but sometimes a topic for a blog comes to you and you just have to get it out there.  So I was thinking, it’s the season of the Resolutioners.  Those people who pack a gym for anything from 2 weeks to 2 months, determined to get healthy.  Then they quickly drop away.  But why do people find it so hard to stick to something that they know will do them good?

The first thing is you just can’t put a date on something like this.  If you decide, probably some time in December, that on January 1st you’re going to lose weight, quit smoking, work out, get a new job, whatever your resolution is, when that date rolls around you’re going to feel obligated to do it.  Because you said you would.  So this new thing comes from a sense of “I have to do it because I said I would.  It doesn’t really come from a sense of I want to do it, even though you probably DID want to do it when you made the resolution.  Basically it quickly becomes a chore.  Something you HAVE to do.  And nobody enjoys doing chores?

Am I right?

My becoming a runner didn’t come from a new years resolution.  I didn’t even plan to become a runner.  It just happened.  The running evolved slowly.   I used to walk laps around a small park just five minutes from home.  Then I began to run the last lap.  Then the last two laps.  Before long I was running more than walking.  By the time I called myself a runner I already had the habit of running.  Now I can just lace up my shoes and go out the door without really thinking about it.  I found I actually like running so keeping it going hasn’t been a chore.

If you’re going to wait for motivation to strike before getting out there and exercising, you’re not going to exercise very often.  Motivation is what gets you started.  But it’s fleeting and unreliable.

HABIT is what keeps you going.  When I started exercising last March it came from necessity.  Being diabetic and having the doctor wanting to put you on a second drug – one that’s strongly linked with causing liver problems – is a great motivator!  I went out to my local park every day, whatever the weather.  No excuses.

Timing is everything!  You can start every January 1st and give up by February or March 1st.  Until one year it clicks.  That one year your desire for change becomes stronger than your force of habit that keeps you doing what you always did.  When that spark happens you become unstoppable.  The doctor wanting to put me on a medication that could cause other serious health issues was a powerful enough spark to get me out of my comfort zone and make me change my habits drastically.  If that hadn’t happened I wonder if I would have lost that weight and started running.

If you’re the type who makes resolutions every year but can’t seem to keep them, you need to change your inner dialog.  Stop telling yourself I HAVE to do this.  Start saying I WANT to do this.  I WILL do this.  When you feel you WANT to do something you will find it much easier to keep it going.  Let’s face it we’ll always prioritize what we want to do over what we have to do.  It’s just human nature.

And look for the little victories.  When you’re trying to lose weight it’s easy to become obsessed with the scale.  If that scale doesn’t budge or, the horror, the scale starts to go up, it’s all too easy to just say “I can’t do this” and quit.  But the scale doesn’t tell the whole story.  People often go through a slight weight gain when they first start exercising.  But it usually comes off pretty quick.  It can be from water weight.  Pay less attention to what the scale tells you and more attention to how your clothes are fitting, or how you look in the mirror.  Clothes start to become loose, you can drop sizes pretty quick.  Your collar bone starts to poke through.  And your hip bones.  Nothing motivates more effectively than seeing success.  I was lucky.  Once I started running the pounds just seemed to fall away.  I went from size 38 jeans to size 32 in about 8 months.  If I didn’t have the success I had, then I can’t say for certain I would have stayed the course.  I became a runner for specific reasons.  To lose weight.  To get fit.  To get off diabetes medication.  The last one I achieved in just two months.  The rest fell into place.  Now I’m a runner for life because I SAW the results and I KNOW what running has done for me.

What running is continuing to do for me.

Whatever your resolution is try to pick something you can enjoy.       Not everyone will enjoy running.  Maybe you like to walk, run, dance, play football, play basketball.  Basically, just move.  Any movement beats sitting on the couch.   Maybe this year you will find your spark.  When that happens you will be unstoppable!

New Year, New Goals!

So 2015 has passed and is one for the record books.  It was a mixed year with a lot of stress and I had to go through eye surgery to remove cataracts twice.  But from a health point of view, other than the eye surgery, it has been a very good year.  We’ve both lost weight and we’ve both gotten much more active.  Now it’s time to ramp it up.

In order to make sure I don’t lose my focus I have set myself a goal of running 700 miles this year.  As someone on Twitter pointed out, it’s the equivalent of me running to Pittsburgh and back!  It’s a daunting number but my runs are starting to get longer now so I know it’s doable.  I’ve already run twice this year.  I ran 6 miles on January 1st, to start the year off right.  And then on the 3rd I ran 8 miles.  So I only have 686 miles to go.

Christine loves working out at the gym.  When she first started going she could only lift 20 lbs.  Now on some of the machines she can lift 90 or even 100 lbs!  I’m going to have to work to keep up with her!  While I also use the weight machines, I spend more time doing cardio, especially the Dreadmill.  For some reason I have a block with that.  I ran 4 miles on it last week and that took everything I had.  I can run further outside than I can on the treadmill.  Maybe it has something to do with boredom.  I need to buy something so I can listen to music while on the treadmill.

We both want to wish our followers a Happy New Year and we look forward to sharing our health journeys over the coming year.  Do you have goals set for the year ahead?  We’d love to hear them!

Happy New Year!

running shoes.jpg

I would like to wish all my followers a happy new year.  Thank you for reading and I’m looking forward to sharing my running adventures in 2016.

It’s funny how this blog has evolved from being a business related blog to something that is basically a journal of health and wellness.  I couldn’t be happier that this has happened.

As we prepare to bid adieu to 2015 I can’t help feeling a little sad.  This year has been good to us, and to me personally.  It has been a while since I could say that.  We’ve had a few rough years previously.  But I’ve gone from being on the verge of taking two drugs for my type two diabetes to taking no drugs at all.  My sugar is under control.  Only this morning my fasting sugar was 76.  I owe it mainly to two things.  MyFitnessPal and running.

Running especially has transformed me.  I’ve lost over 30 lbs.  I’m much fitter and happier with the way I look and feel.  When I first started out in March I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile.  But a few days ago I ran my first 8 mile run.  I still can’t believe I actually ran 8 miles.  It shows my fitness is coming up.

For Christmas I finally got a proper pair of running shoes.   I went with ASICS because I’ve read a lot about them on Twitter and in Runners World magazine and they seem very popular.  I had my first run in them tonight.  A 4 mile run on the treadmill.  They certainly felt much more comfortable than the cheap pair of sneakers I’ve been running in up to now.  I will give my new running shoes their inaugural outdoor run tomorrow.  I have to run 5 miles to reach a new milestone (pun fully intended.)  This will be the first time I hit 50 miles in a single month.  That 8 mile run certainly helped.

It’s also a nice feeling to know I’ve inspired my wife, Christine, on her own journey to health.  She has lost 22 lbs since July and gone down 3 pant sizes.  She is also a demon at the gym.  She’s stronger than she used to be and loves to lift weights.  She’s giving me a run for my money!  Her blood pressure numbers are coming down.  When you have someone who’s on the same journey it makes a huge difference.  We encourage each other.  We push each other when one of us doesn’t feel in the mood to exercise.

So it’s goodbye to 2015 and hello 2016.  I have so many running goals to hit next year.  To keep increasing my distances.  To finally run my first official race.  Maybe to answer the question that keeps lurking at the back of my mind:  Can I really run a marathon?  I have my Twitter followers to thank for that.  I’m following so many people who have run marathons and the way they talk about it makes me want to do it!  It probably won’t happen next year.  Maybe 2017.  Who knows?

Whatever I decide I will be sharing on this blog.  So, again, thank you for following my journey and I look forward to sharing more.

See you all next year!

Dave

My Fastest And My Longest Runs

I had a pretty good weekend from a running point of view.  Saturday I went for what has become my standard 4 mile run.  My speed is definitely picking up as I ran the first 2 miles at a 9 minute mile pace.  The last two miles were 10 minute mile pace.  So my total run time was just 38 minutes.  Considering I used to take 48 to 50 minutes to run this same distance, that was pretty fast.

Sunday my wife came with me to the same park.  It was meant to be another 4 mile run.  She dropped me off at the entrance and I ran the two miles to my halfway point.  She parked halfway up and then walked up to where I turn around.  I then planned to run back down to the entrance, then walk back up to meet up with her again.  But as I approached the entrance I knew I still had something left in the tank.  I knew I could keep going.  I took a breath for five minutes then turned round and ran back up the course.  I planned to run just one more mile and meet her where she’d parked.  But as the car came into view I wasn’t ready to stop.  So I ran the full two miles again then turned round and ran back 2015-06-28 12.04.47another half mile.  By now I was feeling twinges in my left knee so decided to leave it at 6.5.  The last thing i want now is an injury.  Especially with the holidays fast approaching.  I need to keep running so I  can burn off the extra calories!  So the day after my fastest run I go on my longest run.  I ran 10.5 miles in total.  My legs were pretty stiff after yesterday’s run, but a long soak in the bath sorted that out.  They feel good today.  I may get to the gym later.  If I do I’ll run another 2 or 3 miles on the treadmill.  Or not.

The other great thing about the weekend is the weather was amazing!  Mid 60’s temp on both days.  I was able to run in shorts and a t-shirt in mid December!  I could get used to that sort of winter weather.  Of course, it won’t last.  I have no doubt the cold and snow will be here before we know it.  But it’s good to know I took full advantage of the good weather while it lasted.

Seeing In HD

fire in the skyI decided to share something that I went through recently.  I just had cataract surgery on both eyes.  My right eye three weeks ago and my left eye yesterday.  I keep hearing that at 47 I’m fairly young to need this surgery.  I guess my diabetes has been the main cause, even though it’s under control.  My sugar was high for years before I got it under control.  And that takes a toll.

My right eye was the worst affected.  I think I was about 80 % blind in that eye by the time I had surgery.  When I covered my left eye I could barely see any details.  When I looked at someone’s face with just that one eye all I saw was pretty much an egg.  I saw the oval outline of a face, but I couldn’t see the details; the eyes, the nose, the mouth.  Think about what you see in a car on a humid rainy day when the windshield is all fogged up and all you can see is the vague shape of a car ahead of you.  That’s what I saw through my right eye.  It seemed to affect me really suddenly, deteriorating in just a few months.  The left eye wasn’t nearly as bad, though I had a cataract in that one too.  Things got so bad I had to use reading glasses and a magnifying glass to read a book.

I’ve always had a severe phobia of anyone doing anything to my eyes.  I won’t even wear contact lenses for that reason.  So I dreaded the first surgery, despite being assured it was safe and one of the most common surgeries.  I had to be at the out patient hospital at 6 15 in the morning.  Which was good, because at least I didn’t have it hanging over my head all day.  The worst part of it was the eye drops.  Before you go in for the procedure they give you six eye drops in quick succession.  Then after five minutes another round of the six eye drops and after another five minute break yet another round.  I’ve always hated getting eye drops and the last one of each set stings and burns.  The procedure itself was a breeze after that.  I definitely have no regrets at my decision to have this done.  Though I pretty much didn’t have a real choice.  The surgery happened on a Wednesday morning.  But it wasn’t until the following Sunday that I really appreciated the difference.  I had noticed I was able to sit at the computer and watch television without needing to wear glasses.  But that Sunday morning I went out for my first run since the op.  It was amazing.  As I walked to the park I usually run in, I looked around me and was amazed at how sharp and clear everything was.  And the colors!  The sky was such a vivid shade of blue.  The color of the leaves in the trees.  The detail!  It was as if I’d switched from an analog television to watching in HD!  That whole run was the most amazing experience and I couldn’t help looking around in wonder.   And this was with just ONE good eye!

So I didn’t dread my second procedure yesterday.  I dreaded those bloody eye drops!  They were just as bad as I remembered.  The procedure itself didn’t really worry me.  It’s fast.  It’s simple.  And it’s painless.  For anyone who is thinking of having surgery to remove cataracts I say go for it.  You won’t believe the difference.

I plan to go for my first run since my second procedure on Saturday.  I’m looking forward to that run.  Now I’ll have HD vision in BOTH eyes!

 

An Update

I haven’t blogged for a while.  I’m sorry about that.  I really need to do better.  I have some cool updates to share.

I still run.  I can run four miles now.  I run in a local park.  The scenery is nice and someone was kind enough to mark out the mileage so I can tell exactly how far I’m running.  The other day the temperature was in the low 60’s with a clear blue sky.  I took advantage.  I can’t believe I was able to run outside in shorts and a t shirt in late November and I didn’t even feel the slightest bit cold.  During the second half of my run I happened to glance down.  The sun was behind me casting a shadow ahead of me.  For a moment I wondered who the shadow belonged to as it was so skinny!  Then it dawned on me.  It was my shadow!  This was a great affirmation of how far I’ve come and how much weight I’ve lost.  When you look in the mirror and you’re looking at yourself it can be hard at times to see just how much progress you’ve made.   I swear there are times I look in the mirror and my stomach looks almost the same as it used to look when I was much heavier.  Then there are times I look and I can really see how much I’ve lost. I still have a bit of a belly.  It’s the one thing that’s holding me back.

Why is it the stomach is the first to grow and the last to go?

Weight loss is a funny thing.  It’s a psychological challenge as well as physical.  But seeing my skinny shadow really brought home how well I’m doing.  My legs looked so thin and my sides are so much narrower.  That was a nice moment.

I’ve already blogged about how in December my A1C was 7.2 and then in June it was down to 5.8, the top end of the normal range.  Well last month it was down to 5.5 so I’m well inside normal now.  I’ve now lost 27 lbs since I started in March.  The weight is coming off slower now.  I’m sitting here typing this in size 32 jeans and they fit perfectly.  Just a few weeks ago they were too tight to wear. In March I was in size 40.  That’s quite a drop.  I want to lose another five to ten pounds, while firming my body up.  We both go to a gym and I run outside 3 to 4 times a week.  The challenge is going to be keeping my running going through the winter.

This is my life now.  I really wish I’d started this twenty  years ago when I started to gain weight.  But I can’t change the past.  All I can do is make the necessary changes to ensure my future is as fit and healthy as possible.

Challenge accepted!

Running As A Stress Buster

runners fuelrunners relief

Tomorrow I go for what is now going to become a regular 3 mile fun run.  I want to beat my previous time of 31:04.  Hopefully going on these runs with my running club will push me to improve, to get stronger, faster.  It’s going to be chilly tomorrow so I get to wear a new pair of sweat pants I bought last week.

I also intend to use running to help me deal with a new health concern I have.  I have a cataract in my right eye.  My vision in that eye is seriously impaired.  I can see shapes and colors, but I can’t see a lot of detail.  I have a cataract forming in my left eye, too.  I know cataract surgery is one of the most common and simple surgeries.  But it’s still scary.  I hate the thought of anyone messing with my eyes.  I don’t think anyone likes that.  Since I was diagnosed a diabetic, the idea of going blind is the one thing that scares me the most.  Even more than the idea of dropping dead from a heart attack.  Diabetes is a truly horrible disease and it can cause damage to so many parts of the body.  The frustrating thing is my sugar is under control right now.  My fasting sugar is still averaging in the 70’s and 80’s.  Yet this cataract has been getting steadily worse for over a month.  I get surgery on my right eye on the 11th November.  On the 2nd December I go back to get the same procedure on the left eye.  It has been so frustrating lately.  I have to use reading glasses and a magnifying glass to read a book.  I just can’t wait until it’s all over so I can see clearly again.  The doctor told me that cataracts happen faster with diabetics.  She also said getting outside and exposing my eyes to extra sunlight because I’m out more with my running could have sped up the process.  Unfortunately I’ve never been the type to wear sunglasses.

At least I can still run.  Running will help me deal with the stress of my impending surgeries.  It’s bad enough having to go through it once, but knowing that just a few weeks later I have to do it all again with my other eye just makes it so much worse.

Talking of running, the pics above are of products I’m using that help me with my running.  The first pic shows the Access bar.  This is a delicious bar I eat about fifteen minutes before I start to run, or before I start any kind of exercise.  It helps fuel my workout, giving me energy for whatever workout I’m going to do.  It also helps the body access fat stores.  I wouldn’t want to run without eating one first!  The protein shake is delicious and it’s something I look forward to drinking when I go home after a run.

The second pic shows the products I use for my post workout.  There is nothing better than a long soak in the bath after a good workout at the gym or after a hard run.  The essential oils are especially soothing.  The Pain-A-Trate is great for soothing sore leg muscles after my run.  All these products are available from an amazing online Wellness company we shop with.  Running is so much better with them!

Partnering Up To Keep Motivated

fun runfun run 3 fun run 4

I blogged recently about how I’ve joined a running club.  This has turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made since I started on my health and fitness journey.  I went to my first meet with them on Tuesday at a school track.  It felt so weird going back to a school as it has been a long time since I last set foot in one.

I won’t say how long.

The group meets there every Tuesday for a track run.  The track runs around a football pitch and the school team were training on the pitch.  This just added to the feeling of being back at school!  We spent about 45 minutes running around the track, while avoiding the occasional football player who crossed the track to either catch the ball or to move one piece of equipment or other.

I made the mistake of keeping up with the leaders for nearly three laps.  I say mistake because I obviously hadn’t thought this through.  They run a lot faster than I usually do.  I tend to run a 12 minute mile and they were running about an 8 minute mile.  As you can imagine this is a lot faster and takes more effort than I’m used to.  As I rounded the halfway point of the 3rd lap I started to feel the pace and they began to edge further and further ahead of me.  I then slowed to a pace I’m more used to.  I still ran faster than normal, though.  I managed to complete 3 miles on this track.  Three miles running faster than I’m used to.  I’m quite proud of that run!  My legs were sore the next day, though!

Every Saturday the group has a fun run in a local Staten Island park.  The park is Clove Lakes and as you can see from the photos, it’s beautiful.  I usually run in Great Kills park, which is close to where we live.  The fun run is a 3 miler.  The course is a bit twisty and I was afraid of taking a wrong turn and heading in a completely wrong direction, so I concentrated on keeping up with a couple of runners ahead of me.  We had to run one twisty circuit and then go round again.  My legs were burning from the exertion of once again running faster than I am used to.  Although this is not an official 5K race, we still have someone there with an official timer and I came to the finish with a time of 31:04.  This put my running pace at just a fraction over a ten minute mile.  That’s almost two minutes a mile faster than I usually run.  I’m starting to realize how beneficial it is to belong to a running club.  I tended to run a 12 minute mile because it’s more comfortable and an easier pace to maintain.  The running club is starting to put me in a discomfort zone, and making me a faster runner in the process.  The fact our local newspaper covers this group and published our names and running times the next day was a bit surreal.  I haven’t run any races yet so this was my first experience of seeing my name and running time in print.  It made me feel like a real runner.

These two weekly runs are going to be part of my weekly running routine from now on.  I made the right choice and I obviously chose a good club.  My fitness level is going to sky rocket now.  The fact I’ve lost 25 lbs since March and I’m off diabetes medication through running means running is a huge part of my life now.  There is no going back.

Because of the Chicago marathon I’ve seen no end of posts on Twitter and Facebook from people who ran the marathon.  I have nothing but admiration for each and every one of them.  Running 26.2 miles is a huge achievement, whatever their time.  As for me, I have no plans currently to run a marathon.  I can run 3 to 4 miles currently and then I’m burnt out so I can’t even fathom running a full marathon.  But six months or so ago I couldn’t fathom running a mile so one thing I know right now is never say never to running a marathon.  As I say, I have no plans to run one but who knows.

Maybe one day….

Stepping Up My Fitness

leg pic

I really love what running is doing to my body.  Since I started running I’ve lost 25 lbs.  My sugar is much better,  My A1C is in the normal range and I’m off Metformin, a drug for diabetes.

I have joined a local running club.  I went to a track workout last night.  That workout really kicked my butt.  I ran three miles.  But I really picked up my speed.  The first three laps I ran with the leaders of the group.

Which was fun.  But probably a bit of a mistake, too.  I ran an 8 minute mile pace for about six minutes before I felt my pace start to flag.  It was exhilarating to run that fast.  I usually average a 12 minute mile.  It might have been a slight mistake though because my legs felt so heavy for the rest of my run.  It’s a good experience for my first 5K race, which I think will be happening in the next few weeks.

Don’t start too fast.

And run your own pace.

Still, it was a great workout.  I felt it this morning.  But today I’m having a new problem.  I seem to be having a low sugar day.  My fasting sugar this morning was 69.  I tend to average somewhere between mid 70’s and mid 80’s.  So this was a little lower.

Three hours after breakfast my sugar was 72.  I’m used to it being around 120 -130 at this point.

Two hours after lunch it was 85.  That’s definitely on the low side.  Half hour later it had dropped to 78.  I haven’t been active today to cause my sugar to be like this.  It’s worrying because I know over the coming weeks and months I’m going to be running further and probably faster.  I’m going to have to watch I don’t have any sugar crashes while I’m running.  We’re also planning on going to the gym later so I have to worry that my sugar might crash while I’m working out.

I know I pushed myself hard last night, but Sunday I ran 4.5 miles and my sugar was fine the day after that.  This is a new situation for me.  I test every morning anyway, but I’m going to monitor my sugar carefully over the next week or so.  Saturday I’m running a three mile fun run with my new running group.

At least I have GC Control to stabilize my sugar.  I’ve always used it to lower my sugar when it’s high.  Now I’m going to be using it to normalize my sugar when it’s on the low side.  That’s what GC Control is meant to do.  Stabilize your sugar level.  This is a new way to use it.

Does anyone have any advice on how to manage sugar levels and prevent crashes when running or working out?

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.

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.

The Highs And Lows Of Weightloss

Breathe

Since nearly being put on a second medication for diabetes in December, 2014, I have been on a journey to better health.  They say the hardest part of starting on any major journey is the first step.  But when the motivation is high enough that first step is the easy part.  The harder part is staying on course.  I’m a member of a site called MyFitnessPal.com.  It’s where I learned about calorie control.  It’s where I became inspired to take running more seriously.  I’m active on that site every day.  It keeps me motivated.

On the MFP forums I often see posts from people who are ready to throw in the towel because the scale hasn’t moved for a week.  Or two weeks.  It’s easy to get frustrated when you’re not seeing results.   I recently hit a plateau and I learned the value of patience.  Even when the scale isn’t co-operating, you will still see results in other areas if you keep doing the right activities.  My weight stayed the same for about a month.  Seeing the scale stay the same day after day is tough.  But I’m still losing inches.  I’ve dropped from size 38 pants to 34 and even those have become loose.  Then two weeks ago, after a long frustrating month, I dropped a pound.  Then two days later, another.  Then another.  In fact I’ve now lost four pounds since my plateau came to an end.  I guess sometimes your body has to catch up with itself.  After losing nearly twenty pounds in a couple of months, my body needed time to drop any more.

Two things I frequently read on MyFitnessPal have helped me keep my calm and stay on course during my plateau.

Weight loss isn’t linear. 

Meaning you aren’t necessarily going to lose weight in a steady and predictable way.  Weight loss happens in fits and bursts.  You may have to wait a week or two and then suddenly you might lose a few pounds in a short time.

You didn’t gain the weight overnight so you won’t lose it overnight, either.

We live in an increasingly instant results driven society these days.  People simply don’t want to wait for anything any more.  But some things can’t be rushed.  Sure, you could jump on whatever the latest fad diet is and maybe lose a few pounds.  But you’re more likely to gain most if not all of it back over time when that fad diet ends.  Part of the problem is people tend to go on diets.  Meaning they take steps to lose weight and then go back to their old habits when they’re satisfied.

But it’s those old habits that caused you to gain weight in the first place.  So doesn’t it follow that returning to those ways will cause you to gain those lost pounds back?

Anyone can lose weight.  But keeping it off requires a new mindset.  You have to be prepared to make changes.  You don’t have to cut anything out.  Eating in moderation, eating within a certain calorie limit is often all it takes.  If you can learn to do that then you have more chance to keep your waistline trim.

Getting active also helps.  I had a good month in July.  I ran my first 40 plus mile month.   I average 3 to 3 and a half miles per run now.  I did manage to run four miles for my best run.  I’m a runner for life now.  Getting off my diabetes medication is the best thing that has happened to me in a long time.  My fasting sugar is averaging in the 80’s, even in the 70’s some mornings!

If you’re struggling to lose weight don’t be a slave to the scale.  While we all want to lose the pounds, just pay attention to how you feel.  How your body looks in the mirror.  How your clothes are fitting you.  Those little non-scale victories are often sweeter and more rewarding than seeing you’ve lost another pound.  My collar bone has become more prominent.  My face is thinner.  My legs are thinner, and they now have muscle definition.  A few months ago I couldn’t run a block without being winded.  Now I can run three to four miles and I’m not really out of breath.  My heart rate after running is averaging between 150 beats per minute to 170.  It used to be near 200.

It helps when your partner is on the journey with you.  My wife was inspired by seeing my success and she also joined MyFitnessPal.  She has lost several pounds and we go to the gym together.  Having a support system makes a huge difference as we can motivate each other.  She has a love / hate relationship with the Elliptical machine at the gym.  She is doing great.  She has already lost a few inches and is at her lightest in about thirteen years. She has lost a total of fifty pounds since her heaviest.  We’ve both made a vow of never again to gaining so much weight.  Losing weight and getting healthy together is a wonderful way to bring us closer together.

Bottom line, the scale isn’t the only indicator of weight loss.  It’s the one we all obsess about the most.  But getting into better health brings about all sorts of extra benefits.  You’re on a journey.  Savor every milestone of this journey.  Celebrate every success, not just the pounds lost.

Added Benefits Of Running

Watching The Sunsetdeer06-02-11_0935sunset boatwater sunset

Besides the obvious benefits of running, fitness, weight loss, getting off medication, another advantage is getting out there and seeing something of the world.  These photographs I took are just on my doorstep.  They are all moments I would have missed if I didn’t go out for my run.  There is a beautiful world out there.  Go and run it!

GC Control In My Coffee

As I’ve blogged in the past, one of the tools I use to maintain my sugar levels is the Attain GC Control Shake.  I’ve been using this product daily for two and a half years now.  I consider it an essential tool in my fight to control diabetes.  I’ve taken to sprinkling a teaspoon full of the powder in my coffee in the morning.  It’s delicious and it’s really helping me keep my sugar levels down during the day.  I can’t remember the last time I saw my sugar go anywhere above 180, even an hour or two after eating.  My fasting sugar is averaging in the 70’s and 80’s.  This morning it was 83.  Losing weight and running are definitely helping, but this amazing product is still an essential part of my daily routine.  And I always have a full shake in the evenings, about two or three hours after dinner.  This helps keep my sugar at a normal level at night as I sleep.  As always, this is my personal experience and I cannot guarantee you will have the same result..

And finally, as I’ve blogged before, I am officially off my diabetes medication, Metformin.  My A1C came down from 7.2 in December to 5.8 in June.  This largely due to major lifestyle changes, especially taking up running and losing weight.

Life is good!

You Want Me To What???

100_1081

Suggest to most people that they would get any kind of benefit from running and this is the response you’re most likely to get.

“You want me to what???”

Yet you can derive so many health benefits from running.  You can even get off medication in some cases.

I did.

Last week I went to the doctor for a check up and my A1C was so good he told me I don’t need to take Metformin any more.  Metformin is a drug I have been on since August 2008 to treat type two diabetes.

All I did different was lose some weight from watching my calories and take up running.  Now my heart rate is down, my blood pressure is perfect. 110/70, and my blood sugar is under control.

All because I took up running.

As we get older we seem to develop a serious aversion to running.  We only run when we absolutely have to.  Yet look at children.  Their natural instinct seems to be to run.  They must be really impatient to get to where they want to go.  And sure, they have more energy since they are young.  I know I was the same and I’m willing to bet you were, too.  Running is a natural instinct.  When you’re young you go out and play.  You play sports.  You play tag.

You run.

Then when you become an adult you put away such ‘childish’ pursuits.  You ‘get serious.’  You get a job.  You sit behind a desk all day.  Then you go home, eat dinner, put your feet up and watch television.  For the most part.  After a while your fitness drops because you don’t run.  So when you end up having to run, to catch a bus, to catch up with someone, because you’re running late, you get out of breath.  And you tell yourself you can’t run any more.

Because you’re out of shape.  Because you haven’t run for so long.

Your body is a machine.  You get out of it what you put into it.  If you neglect your car, if you don’t put enough fuel in the tank, your car eventually runs out of gas.  The human body is the same.  If you don’t exercise enough the body weakens, your fitness level begins to decline.  To add to this, the average diet these days  is mostly junk. Fast food.  Fatty foods.  Excess sugar.  As you age, health problems begin to plague you.   You might put this down to getting older.  But aging is only part of the issue.  If you work on your body, the way you might work on your car, you will get more mileage out of it.  You only get one body.  Isn’t it time you looked after it better?

My victory over diabetes didn’t come easy.  And it didn’t come at all until I changed my attitude to myself.  Until I started to look after myself better.  I’m still a work in progress.  I could still improve my diet further.  But I’m active most days now.  I run four or five times a week.  I’ve also started working with weights.  Because I’ve gotten serious now about my health.  Because I’ve come to realize that I only get this one body.   It’s time to start looking after it better.  I read some running magazines.  I read about people running marathons in their 60’s, in their 70’s.  Even in their 80’s.  Those stories are so inspiring.  Those stories happen because those people understand what has finally sunk in to me.  Look after your body and you can have a long and healthy life.

So now I’m off Metformin I intend to stay that way.  Now that I live a healthier lifestyle I have more energy, more vitality.  I get more out of each day.

I’m somebody who couldn’t run half a block to catch a bus without being out of breath and breaking out in a cold sweat.  Now I can run three miles.  I’m not that fast, but I can work on the speed later.  I’m slimmer, fitter, healthier and generally happier.  Running is still not easy but is anything worthwhile ever easy?

I run because I can.

I run to be fit.

I run to keep the weight off.

I run to stay drug free and keep my blood sugar levels under control.

What about you?

Winning The Fight With Diabetes

blood test results

I’m having a pretty good week!  The kind of week that you wish you could bottle so you can enjoy it when things aren’t going so well.

First of all my fitness is coming up.  Previously I was struggling to run a mile.  On Tuesday Christine and I went to a gym.  I ran three miles on a treadmill.  That’s the first time I’ve run so far in one go probably since I was a teenager.  Yesterday I ran two and a half miles outside.  Running on a treadmill definitely seems to be easier.  I guess because the treadmill is moving and so does part of the work for you.  The frustrating thing is I know I could have run the full three miles or maybe more because I still had the legs to go further.  But I developed a twinging pain across the bridge of my right foot around the two mile mark.  It got worse around the two and a half mile mark, enough to stop my run dead.  Even walking was painful for a while.  I think I’ll have to invest in a better pair of running shoes.

But the biggest news of the week is I’m officially off my diabetes medication!!!

As I’ve written in previous blogs, I was diagnosed a type two diabetic in August 2008.  I’ve been on Metformin ever since.  I’ve been battling the disease all these years.  Sometimes I would be okay, other times my sugar would be raging out of control.  By January 2013 my sugar was raging.  My fasting sugar was averaging 170.  It would surge well over 200 every time I ate.  Nothing would make it come down, other than a long walk.  Even then it would soon surge back up.  I’ve already blogged about how a shake called GC Control lowers my sugar every time I drink it.  I still drink one or two a day.  I always will.

In December my A1C was 7.2.  The doctor prescribed a second medication.  I forget the name of it but I was supposed to take it in the morning.  It can also mess up your liver.  We checked the side effects.

Uh Uh.

I was done.  I was determined I wasn’t going to be put on more medication.

It was time to get serious.

The Wellness company we shop with came out with a new vitamin and supplement pack called Peak Performance.  It has been shown it can lower the markers doctors check when you go for a visit.  Blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol etc.   The photo above charts the differences in our health markers between December 2014 and June 2015.  Improvements all across the board!  It certainly seems to back up the results of a recent study on the effects of Peak Performance.

You can read about the proof on this website:

http://www.freiburgstudy.com

We had been taking them for a few months already.

The past winter was brutally cold.  I more or less hibernated.  But as soon as spring came around I was out there.  I started walking, graduated to running.  My fasting sugar came down from the 120’s.  I started averaging 70’s and 80’s.  I even stopped taking Metformin as my fasting sugar at that time started dropping to the low 70’s and even upper 60’s at times.

I knew something good was happening.

Last week I had a blood test and Tuesday it was time to go to the doctor to see how I was really doing.

My A1C was 5.8!

It hasn’t been lower than 6.8 since I was diagnosed a diabetic.  The doctor seemed almost as happy as I was.  Especially when I told him I had even stopped taking Metformin for the past two months.  He told me I don’t need to take Metformin at all.  So it’s official.  My diabetes is well under control.

I’m winning the fight!

I know I can’t get complacent.  I don’t think of myself as “cured.”  If I let my efforts slip, if I fall back into old habits again things can turn around in a hurry.  But since it was my old habits that got me there in the first place, why would I ever want to go back?

I love my new life.  I love the way I feel.  I love the way my legs look.  The products I take are helping but the effort still has to come from me.  They don’t make running any easier.  It still takes hard work, dedication, determination.  I have all that in abundance.

I’m diabetes free right now and I’m determined to stay that way.

I Hate Running!

100_0963

I HATE running!

Let me clarify that.  I hate the way I feel while I’m running.  I hate the way my legs burn and having to fight through the discomfort and that desire to stop.  Maybe when my fitness increases a bit more that discomfort will lessen.  Or maybe I’ll just find it easier to deal with.

So why do I run?

Because I LOVE the way that I feel after my run.  That glow, that satisfaction of knowing I’m doing something good for myself that will have long term health benefits,

I LOVE the way my legs are beginning to look.  I have runners legs now.  My thighs are firmer, my calves have muscles.  I have visible hamstrings!

I LOVE the fact I’m losing inches.  Since I took up running I have dropped two (maybe three) pant sizes!

I LOVE the fact my sugar levels are much better.  As a diabetic this is crucial.  Since I started running my fasting sugar has been averaging in the 70’s and 80’s.  Even today after my run my sugar was 80.

I LOVE the fact my fitness and stamina are improving.  A year ago if I had to run half a block yards to catch a bus I would be panting for breath, my heart would be racing and I would break out in a cold sweat.  Now I can run a mile and while my heart rate is elevated, (it comes down much quicker) I’m not panting like I used to be and no cold sweats.  In fact, no negative reaction at all.

I LOVE knowing I’m getting healthier.

I LOVE looking in the mirror and not hating what I see.

I LOVE discovering new things about myself like that I have the mental toughness to keep going through the pain and discomfort when my body just wants to stop.

So in a nutshell there are a lot more reasons to LOVE running than there are to HATE running.  No, running is not easy.  But have you ever noticed how nothing truly worthwhile ever is.  The good far outweighs the bad.  That’s why I am a runner for life.

Running To Improve Your Mood

inspiration_PNG

It’s amazing the power a well written television show has to affect you.  I watched two episodes of a tv show today.  Both were very dark.  Both dealt with family and loss.  Having lost both my parents I’m vulnerable to being affected by those kind of stories.  Grief is a strange thing.  It never fully goes away.  Yes, you learn to live with it.  Yes, time dulls the pain.  But that pain can so easily be brought back.  Sharply.  A certain song.  A certain scent.  Or a plot in a television show or movie.  Even a stray thought can trigger depression.

So basically I was in a real funk.  I couldn’t seen to shake this mood off.  So i decided to go for a run.  I’ve heard plenty of times exercise can improve your mood.  So I took myself to our local park.  I walked a mile as a warm up.  Then I started my run.  I only intended to run one mile.  But as I came to the end of the mile I realized I still had something left in the tank.  So I continued my run.  I managed an extra half mile.  It’s still hard.  I guess running is never going to be easy.  But my stamina is definitely increasing and my will power is getting stronger.

So did it improve my mood?  Yes, it did.  I do feel much brighter now.  Next time i get into a state of depression or a bad mood I know what to do!

A Great Recipe Book I’d Like To Promote

A few weeks ago I was approached by one of my followers who has written a soup recipe e-book.  She asked me if I would give her a review in exchange for a free copy.  I agreed of course.  Especially as I have been looking to get more creative in the kitchen.  I can make a mean stir-fry and great mashed potatoes.  But I’ve never made a home-made soup.

Until now.

Unfortunately things got in the way.  We were at a convention for a week and were still busy when we got back.  So tonight was the first real chance I had to try one of her recipes.  Her book is the Groovy Green Kitchen volume two.  It has several great soup recipes.  The one I chose to make tonight was the Groovy Green Broccoli soup.  It was so simple to make and so delicious!  My wife and I both loved it and I know I will be making this soup on a regular basis.  There are several other soups I’m looking forward to trying, not least the mushroom and the tomato soups.  I definitely won’t be waiting long to make those.

So I thought I’d promote this lady and her blog and her book.  Because the soups in her recipes will rival anything you could expect to taste in a restaurant and you can make them yourself!  To borrow an old phrase from a well known company “They’re so easy a caveman could make them!”

Her name is Geraldine and this is her blog…

https://veggiesyarnsandtails.wordpress.com/

And this is her e-book…

I don’t usually advertise things on my blog but when something is this good it would be a shame not to!