A Lifestyle Change: The Key To Your Health

my goal

This time four years ago I went to the doctor for a check up. My A1C was 7.2 and the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication to get my diabetes under control. After doing research we found one of the COMMON side effects of this drug was liver damage!

Enough was enough. This was the trigger for me to start my weight loss journey. Now here I am 70 lbs lighter and off all medication for 3 and a half years.

Sometimes you need a trigger. Something to make you wake up and realize you have to change the things that are not good for you.

Or you can just decide to do it before you hit a crisis. I’m sure that doctor had no idea his “simple” decision to put me on another drug was going to be the catalyst for me to change my life so drastically. But I will always be grateful to him for giving me the kick I needed.

It’s easy to just take a pill to deal with what ails you. But often all you really need is a lifestyle change. Most drugs are designed to treat the symptoms, not the disease. After all, why would Big Pharma want to cure you? You’re no good to them if You’re not buying their product.

Most drugs are also not designed to be taken for a long period of time. So eventually You’re put on a stronger drug, or a second medication. More money for Big Pharma.

Changing your life isn’t easy. Old habits are hard to break. But with the right motivation you can do anything you set your mind to.

January is just around the corner. The month where we make new years resolutions. And just as quickly break them. But why wait until January. Today is Monday. The start of a new week. Make small changes that you can easily maintain. Small changes, over time, can add up to a big difference to your health. And to your life.

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Do It For Yourself

Everything you do

This post is for everyone who is overweight, or who is on medication for high blood pressure or who is a type 2 diabetic.

I’m 50 years old and I’ve just run 8.25 miles. Not bad considering I only started running 3 years ago and for the first 47 years of my life I’ve never been particularly athletic, even when I was a skinny teen.

If I can do this, so can you.
I’ve been overweight for nearly half my life. I didn’t decide to do something about it until I turned 47.
The point of my writing this is it’s never too late to start. Age is nothing but an excuse. You are never too old to lose weight or get active. Today is Monday. The start of a new week. A new opportunity to make positive changes to your life.

I feel like I wasted 20 years of my life being overweight when I didn’t have to be. I was also diagnosed A type 2 diabetic and put on Metformin. Now I’m off all drugs forc3 years and my diabetes is under tight control. All this happened when I made up my mind to get active, to lose weight. When I found the motivation to change my life, it was actually pretty simple. But if I can inspire just one person to do what I have done, if just one person comes to me and says “because of you I’ve…” then what I went through in those 20 years wasn’t for nothing. There will be meaning to it.

It’s your body. It’s your life. It’s your choice. Do you want to be comfortable in your skin. Or do you want to feel the aches and pains of carrying extra weight. The back ache. The knee pain. The lack of energy. I’ve been through all that so I know how it feels.

I may be 50 but I feel better and healthier than I did when I was 40. Which isn’t hard, because that’s when I was my heaviest. Right now I am 67 lbs lighter than I was at age 40.

It’s up to you. All I can do is share my story. I can supply the inspiration. You have to bring the motivation and the dedication to get it done.

You can do this. I believe in you.

If Not Now, When?

biggest challenge

Before I started my fitness and weight loss journey the only time I really ran was if I had to catch a bus and if it wasn’t more than a block or two.  And even that simple act of sprinting for a bus would leave me red faced and gasping for breath.  When I sat on the bus I’d catch fellow passengers giving me looks out of the corner of their eye.  I’m sure they were afraid I was about to keel over with a heart attack.

I had to push myself through a lot of barriers before I got to where I am today.  I had my share of aching lungs and burning legs.  You need a lot of willpower in the early days.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It took hard work and dedication. But it was worth every ounce of sweat.  When it comes to your health there are no shortcuts .

As you get older your health becomes more important.  I learned that the hard way. I was diagnosed a type 2 diabetic just 4 months after I turned 40.  It took me several more years to figure out how to get things under control.

It’s easy to tell ourselves we’ll get round to taking better care of ourselves one day.  But that isn’t a promise.  Or a plan of action.  Or any kind of commitment.  “I’ll do it one day” is an excuse, pure and simple.  As the saying goes; “tomorrow never comes.”  And it’s unlikely you’re going to wake up one day exclaiming “today is that day!”

So if you have been putting off losing weight or increasing your fitness level, if you have been delaying, telling yourself you’ll get round to it one day, ask yourself this one question….

If not now, when?

Mindset Is Everything

mindset is everything

What you think of yourself has far more impact on your life than you realize.

There’s an old saying; “If you think you can, you’re right. If you think you can’t, you’re right.”

This may not seem to make sense. But look at it this way. When you start a project, whether it’s weight loss, or getting fit, or training for a marathon, when you believe you can do it you put all your energy into it. You are 100% focused. You are driven and setbacks are seen as just obstacles to be overcome, not barriers to stop you.

When you believe you can’t you put much less effort in. You are not focused, you are not dedicated. And at the first setback you are likely to just give up. You see that setback as proof you are right. You can’t do it so why even try.

When I’d had enough of being overweight, when I’d had enough of being on diabetes medication, when I’d had enough of having no energy, I decided to do something about it.  I didn’t think “I’ll give it a go and see what happens.”  I put everything I had into it.  I watched what I ate, I controlled portion sizes, I went walking every day, which soon led to running.  And the weight fell off me.  Now three years later, I’m maintaining my weight loss, I’m off all medication and I intend to stay that way.  I didn’t achieve this by being half hearted.  I made up my mind to do it.  And I did it.

Your mind can be your most powerful ally.  Or your most formidable opponent.
I’d like to leave this with another old saying;  “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

No.

Believe it. Then you will see it.

It’s all in your mind.

The Best Kept Secret Of Medicine

best kept secret

I have been off the diabetes drug, Metformin, three years this month. This is after the doctor wanted to put me on a second drug in December 2014 when my A1C was 7.2. That drug was strongly linked with causing liver damage. In fact in June 2015 when I went back, the doctor ordered a test of my liver function before my visit.

What did I do? I made simple lifestyle changes. I watched what I ate. I monitored my calorie intake and I started walking. Which led to running. My weight fell off. I have lost almost 70 lbs from my heaviest weight. Diet change and moving more will do more for you than any pharmaceutical pill. Drugs are designed to control your symptoms, not cure your illness. After all, Big Pharma won’t make any money off you if you’re healthy. If you want to get well make small changes daily so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Small changes lead to big results over time.

Say No To Drugs

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It’s amazing and disgusting how many drug commercials there are on television these days urging you to “ask your doctor about” their latest drug and then reeling off a list of horrible possible side effects. Yes, sometimes Big Pharma is necessary. Yes, some illnesses can only be treated with some kind of medication.
Many of today’s common ailments can be treated by a simple lifestyle change. A good diet and getting off the couch can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, help lower the rate of heart disease and reverse diabetes.
I was on Metformin for several years to “treat” my diabetes. It wasn’t until I figured things out three years ago and started losing weight through watching what I eat and running that I actually started to see an improvement. Most times drugs are designed to treat symptoms, not the cause of any disease you may have.
You can presecribe yourself a healthier life simply by changing the way you live. Below is something I tweeted.
“Instead of asking your doctor if the latest “wonder drug” from Big Pharma is good for you, why don’t you ask your doctor if a healthy diet and active lifestyle is good for you. Side effects include well being health and happiness.”

A Short Cooking Video

So we’re venturing into new territory.  I’m not really comfortable being on video, but vlogging seems to be the big thing and we’re looking to share our health journey so we’re probably going to be making more of these.  Future vids will be longer and, hopefully, better than this one.  We’ll call this one an experiment.

I’ve been thinking for a while that I need to upgrade my diet.  Good nutrition is vital to a healthy life.  We’re eating more whole foods now, and less carbs and upping our protein.  This is having a huge affect on my sugar levels.  I test my sugar an hour and two hours after eating and my sugar is amazingly stable.  The highest number was 108 and it’s averaging around 90 to 100.  As a type 2 diabetic, this is fantastic.  Since this is working so well I’m going to continue eating this way.  I will be sharing more of my experiences.

April is a huge month for me.  First, I will turn 50.  And I will be in the best shape and fitness of my life.  In fact I have a new hashtag ready to roll out…#FitAt50.   Also in April I will have been medication free for 3 years.  Big things are ahead and I will be sharing them right here.

 

Three Year Fitness Anniversary

transformation

 

I started my health and weight loss journey three years ago this month. Right around the beginning of March. I was a type 2 diabetic and after a check up with the doctor in December 2014, my A1C was 7.2 The doctor wanted to put me on a second medication for my diabetes. I’d been on Metformin since August 2008. I don’t remember what this second medication was, but when we did our research we found it was strongly linked with causing liver problems, even outright liver failure.

Enough was enough.

I didn’t even want to be on any medication never mind another potentially health threatening drug. That winter was brutally cold, but around the beginning of March 2015 the weather turned milder and I went out every day walking. At first two miles, increasing to three. Then I started running, just very short distances at first using a personalized version of Couch To 5k. I hadn’t even heard of C25K at that time. At the time I started running I also joined a calorie counting app called MyFitnessPal and started tracking my calories. As I started getting serious about running my weight started to fall off. My fasting sugar numbers also started coming down. At the start of all this my fasting averaged 120. By early April it was dropping into the 60’s. I cut my Metformin dosage in half. My FS was still in the 60’s so on April 21st 2015 I stopped taking Metformn all together, but kept monitoring my daily fasting sugar, which stabilized into the low 70’s to low 80’s.

In about 12 months or so I lost 50 lbs, a total of 60 lbs from my heaviest. All through running and counting calories. No special diet. Especially no gimmicky fad diet. And I didn’t have to give up any of the food I enjoyed. It was all about calories and portion control.

These days people seem to be looking for some magic formula, or a magic pill to help them lose weight without putting in any effort. But it doesn’t work like that. Not if you want to maintain your weight loss. I’ve been maintaining for two years now and I am not going back to who I used to be. Not ever.

I created this group to share my story and to encourage and hopefully inspire anyone else who is looking to do the same and who is not afraid to put in some effort. Losing weight is a simple enough process, though I wouldn’t say it’s easy. It starts and ends with the mind. As the old saying goes…

“If you think you can, you’re right.
If you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Your mindset will determine your success. Once you get your mind set right and develop a “no-matter-what” attitude, the sky will be the limit. Let me help you get off to the best possible start.

To join my group The Weight-Loss Mindset on Google+, click here:  The Weight-Loss Mindset

To join my group The Weight-Loss Mindset on Facebook, click here:  The Weight-Loss Mindset

For more information about our coaching services for groups, 1:1 and 2:2, click here:  Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life Program

The Decision To Start

Two years ago I decided to start running for my health. It was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. Because of that decision I lost 50 lbs and got off diabetes medication. I could have just stayed as I was, wishing I was slimmer, wishing I could get my sugar levels under control.

Instead I made a choice. I started small. The first day I ran I couldn’t even run a quarter of a mile. But I was out there every day. Walking and running. At first walking much more than running. Gradually I increased my running time and distance until I was running more than I was walking. Then one day I didn’t need to take a walking break at all. Now I run a few times a week. I run anything from 4 to 6 miles. Sometimes I can run longer distances. It may not seem much compared to some runners but my running has taken me to a totally different place, emotionally. 


I no longer wish I was slim.

I am slim.

I no longer wish I was off diabetes medication.

I am off diabetes medication.

All this because I made a simple choice.

One day while I was walking I chose to run.

Whatever you are thinking of doing, whatever you wish you could do, just start.

Start now.

Start small.

Start while you’re afraid.

Just.

Start.

 

Two years from now you’ll be so thankful you did.

 

running

My Continued Fight Against Diabetes

So after a 5 mile run I came home to great news. I got my bloodwork back before my latest doctor visit tomorrow. My A1C was 5.2. December 2014 my A1C was 7.2 and my doctor wanted to put me on a second medication, one that’s strongly linked with causing liver problems.

No, thank you!

I had already been taking Metformin since August 2008. Well, that was the kick up the butt I needed. I joined @MyFitnesspal and started running and by April 21st (my birthday) I was able to stop taking Metformin altogether. I have been drug free since then. I lost a total of 35 lbs since I started that health journey. I have had no problem maintaining my weight loss.

In June 2015 my A1C was 5.8. Last August it was 5.3 and now it’s down to 5.2.  For those that don’t know, the A1C is a blood test that gives a three month snapshot of how your body’s blood glucose level is.  There seem to be some slight disagreement on the exact numbers but generally if your A1C is 6.5 or higher you are considered diabetic.

To anyone who is type 2 diabetic: You CAN beat it. You CAN get off medication. You CAN live a healthy life. But it isn’t easy. It requires a serious lifestyle change. It requires hard work. It requires dedication. The only question is…are you willing to do what it takes to turn your health around? I did. I’m living proof that you can do anything you set your mind to.IMG_20170627_145423_787

So you’ve just been told you’re a type 2 diabetic. Now what?

Dave before and after.jpg

My first piece of advice:

Breathe.  Don’t panic.  Don’t freak out.   Don’t shut down.

Yes, it’s a scary diagnosis to be given.  Yes, it’s a life-changing moment.  Gone are the days when you could eat whatever you wanted without giving it a second thought.  Now you’re going to begin a system of trial and error.  Finding out what sends your sugar into orbit and what doesn’t.  The bad news is there’s no one size fits all.  A food item that spikes one diabetic’s sugar might not really affect you much.  The only way to find out is to keep testing after every meal.  You need to know the worst foods to avoid.  I can tell you common problem foods are pizza, white bread, potatoes and white rice.  And of course cookies, chocolate, cakes, pasta…and the list goes on.

Depending on the severity of your diabetes, there are a range of treatment options your doctor may choose.  You may be put on an oral drug, like Metformin.  That’s the one I was prescribed. There are a range of other pills your doctor may choose.  Or you may be put on insulin.

This is important.  Your doctor is going to give you a ton of advice.  Listen to it.  The absolute worst thing you can do is bury your head in the sand and just ignore your diabetes.  It’s a serious problem and it isn’t going to just go away.  With the right attitude it can be managed, and in some cases it can even be reversed,  I know this because I reversed mine.

There are two main causes of type 2 diabetes.  Genetic and lifestyle.  If your diabetes is genetic then there are fewer options, but it can still be managed.  My diabetes was caused by my lifestyle.  This is the one that can most likely be reversed.  By changing your lifestyle.

Basically I gained a lot of weight and was very inactive.  I didn’t really bother with any kind of exercise.  I was diagnosed in August 2008.  For several years I battled my disease.  At one point it got out of control and my fasting sugar was averaging 170.  That’s another thing.  The best way to see how you’re doing with your diabetes is to test your sugar in the morning before you eat or drink anything.  This is when you’ll have the most consistency.  Because your sugar is affected by not only WHAT you eat but also by HOW MUCH you eat.  That first thing in the morning test will give you the greatest consistency.

In December 2014 I went for a check up.  My A1C was 7.2.  The A1C measures your blood glucose over a 2 to 3 month period.  Non diabetics should have a number less than 6.0.  The higher the number the worse your diabetes is affecting you.  If you’re managing your diabetes you need to aim to keep that number as low as you can.  Mine was high enough the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication.  When we investigated this drug we found it’s strongly linked with causing liver issues.

No thanks!

This was the kick up the butt I needed.  I resolved to lose weight and get active.  In many cases simply losing weight and getting fit can be all you need to do to reverse your diabetes.  I joined an app called MyFitnessPal.  It’s a calorie counting app that lets you track the calories you’re burning.  It also helps you track the amount of nutrients; carbs, sugar, fiber, protein etc you’re eating.  A lot of people dislike the idea of calorie counting but I found it very effective and so simple to do.  The great thing about it is it makes it incredibly easy to maintain your weight loss.  Much better than the usual method of “going on a diet” by denying yourself certain foods until you lose the weight and then going back to your old eating habits…which is what caused you to gain weight in the first place.

A brief word about carbs.  You’re going to hear a lot about carbs.  Too many carbs will spike your sugar.  But your body needs a certain amount of carbs as they give your body energy.  Complex carbs are best.  There are plenty of sites out there that go into simple and complex carbs as this blog is going to be long enough already!  Switching to wholewheat bread and wholewheat pasta is a better option if you simply can’t give up those foods.

The other thing I did was start walking daily.  Walking led to running.  I followed a system called Couch To 5K.  Google it.  It’s a great way to start running if you think that would be a good way to go.  It’s a great calorie burner and the weight just seemed to fall off me once I started running.  Within a couple of months of this my fasting sugar was dropping into the 60’s!  I halved my daily dose of Metformin and my fasting was still in the 60’s.  I came off Metformin in April 2015 and I have been off it ever since.  I can’t guarantee you will have the same results I have but there is every chance you can get control of your disease and maybe you can also get off medication.  Good luck and I’d love to hear how you’re getting on.