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?

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.

Making Lifestyle Changes

Dave Celebrating Dunkin

I haven’t blogged for quite a while.  I know that is something I need to work on.  My life has been busy these days, but that’s no excuse.

I’ve blogged a lot about how the Attain GC Control Shakes have helped me lower my sugar when it’s high, and that’s still true today.  I drink them every day and they still work wonders.

I joined a site called MyFitnessPal.com and learned a lot about nutrition and exercise from reading their message forums.  I now watch my calories and go for a walk virtually every day.  I even run now!  I can’t run for long at this time, but my fitness level is definitely improving.  Just a year ago if I had to run half a block to catch a bus I would break out in a cold sweat, my heart would be hammering and I would be literally gasping for breath. It would take me ten minutes to return to normal.  Now I can run a lap around our local park, which is probably about two to three blocks in length.  No cold sweats and while my heart rate is elevated, it returns to normal within a few minutes.  I walk fifteen laps of our local park pretty much daily.  I run the first lap, walk three or four laps, run a lap, walk a few, finishing up by running the last lap.

I’ve lost 17 lbs in the space of about six months.  I want to lose about another ten lbs then I will be at a good weight.  But the biggest impact my new lifestyle has had is on my sugar.  I went to the doctor in November.  My A1C was 7.2.  The doctor wanted to put me on another medication.  More drugs.  These ones stronger than the Metformin I’ve been taking since August 2008.

No way.

I have not taken the new drug he wanted to prescribe me.  Instead I looked into what I needed to do to get healthy.  For the past two weeks my fasting sugar has been averaging in the upper 70’s to the low 80’s.  Down from the 120 average I had in November.  I go back to the doctor in June.  I’m really hopeful that my A1C will be drastically lower.  My ultimate hope is it’s down enough for me to be able to get off Metformin.

Actually, I have a confession to make.  I haven’t taken Metformin in nearly two weeks.  I test my fasting sugar daily.  If I start to see a rise in my fasting levels then I will start taking the drug again.  Now I just need to add some form of weight training to my fitness regime.  I know extra muscle helps the body absorb sugar.  I have some free weights at home.  I intend to join a gym soon.

Being diagnosed a diabetic isn’t necessarily a slow death sentence.  There are things you can do to improve your situation.  It’s just a matter of wanting it  enough and being motivated enough to maintain a new healthy lifestyle.  I am determined to get my body back to a healthy weight and keep it there.

The first picture was taken about five years ago when I weighed about 215 lbs.  The second picture was taken a few weeks ago when I weighed about 176 lbs.

With enough will power you can achieve anything.

My Further Update on my GC Control and FiberWise Experiment

This blog continues from my last post, My Latest GC Control Update

I stated in my Saturday post that I would continue this experiment today and that I would test the FiberWise further.  My FiberWise test starts with my War On Diabetes blog.

I had the same breakfast today as I’d eaten that day, (two cups of Wheaties.)  There were no cookies though, <sob> so that’s all I ate.

My fasting sugar this morning was 97, so better than the 106 I recorded on Saturday.  As soon as I’d finished my breakfast I drank the FiberWise.  One hour later my sugar was 219.  The same as on Saturday.  I guess if Im going to go on eating cereal I have to accept my sugar is going to have that initial surge.  It seems like nothing will stop that.  Most of the diabetes advice I’ve read or been told state that it’s not worth testing until two hours after eating anyway.  I’ve also heard that diabetics should aim for sugar levels under 180 at the two hour mark.  If anyone has heard different, feel free to let me know.  I’ll always welcome any feedback.

So my sugar two hours after eating breakfast was 160.  That shows the FiberWise is doing something, as I usually start testing two hours after eating and my sugar was almost always in the 200 range.  That’s three times now that my sugar has been well below 200 at the two hour mark, although to be fair, on Saturday I had the Attain shake one hour after eating.  But there does seem to be some consistency there.

What I’m hoping is coming through with these blogs is the amazing consistency of the Attain shakes.  They have never failed to lower my sugar levels.  Sometimes the drop is good and sometimes it’s spectacular.

I guess for one way to look at these two products, Attain GC Control and FiberWise, I could use a sports analogy.  The Attain shakes are like the flashy goal scorer, (yes, I like soccer, or rather football to any European readers) the one who grabs all the headlines and wins you the game.  Meanwhile the FiberWise just quietly gets on with its game, that quiet dependable player who gets the tackles in and just keeps the opposition at bay.  He may not win you the game, but you’d miss him if he wasn’t on the team.  Together they make a winning combination.  Okay, that’s enough sports analogies!

I prefer to do these experiments in the morning because there’s the greatest chance of consistency.  You wake up empty.  You can test your fasting sugar to see where you’re starting from.  I start with a bowl of Wheaties more often than not.  But obviously as the day goes into night you’re going to eat different foods that will affect your blood sugar differently.  For instance, pizza and pasta will not only raise your sugar levels, but they will keep it high for a few hours after.  Especially pizza.  So the morning represents the best time to conduct these sort of experiments as you’re pretty much starting the same.

I want to repeat for the benefit of anyone reading this who hasn’t read any of my other blogs: I’m not claiming these products offer any “miracle cure”.  But it’s becoming increasingly clear that they can be used as a valuable tool in helping to control diabetes.  Before I started taking the Attain shakes some three months or so ago, my fasting sugar was consistently in the 120’s.  My sugar used to be in the 200’s after eating and would stay high.  The only thing that would bring it down was vigorous activity, like a brisk walk.  The trouble was it would start to slowly creep back up an hour or two later.

Now the GC Control shake not only brings my sugar back down fast, I’ve noticed it stays in the normal range.  My fasting sugar is much better.

Disclaimer:  While GC Control lowered my sugar when it was high, it didn’t help with my A1C.  The reason I am off Metformin is because I concentrated on weight loss and on running.  It is those life changes that helped me get my sugar under the control it is today.  If you decide to give GC Control a try I strongly recommend you keep taking any medication you are on and consult closely with your doctor.  I would also advise you to keep testing your sugar as you try this product to see what affect it is having on your sugar.

 

Thank you for reading!