You Are Stronger Than You Think!

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The beautiful thing about fitness is how good you feel about yourself on your journey.  It’s not just about the better health you gain along the way.  It’s the things you learn about yourself.  Like you realize you are stronger than you ever imagined you could be.  I just ran five miles.  That’s something I could never have imagined doing two years ago.  For some it might be just a short run.  But for me it’s a reminder of how far I have come and that I can never go back to who I used to be.  And nor will I ever want to.

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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 40 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.

 

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Why Not Just Start Today?

Chris Before and After with words

Dave Before and After with words

We know that it isn’t easy to start something or if you start something to actually stick with it.  Believe us, we know.  We have been there, tried it and failed.  Yes.  Failed.  So many times we would say, “oh, one day I will try again.”  But, you know what?  Don’t just try.  Just start.  Just do it.  Grab a partner or friend and do this together.  Stick with it.  This isn’t lose 50 lbs in a month quickly.  This is a health journey and it is for life.  It doesn’t matter when you start, it matters that you do.  Remember, the years will be passing by.  The question is: will you be healthier in five years or at the same weight and fitness level that you are now, (or worse)?  We are continuing on our health journey and would love to take you with us!20431268_10155099919073853_1005647030163866610_n

With Inspiration And Determination You Can Get Results

15940461_10154478448933853_3879399576321855286_nHello everyone!  As you can see, this is a blog from me, Christine, Dave’s wife.  I know you have been reading about Dave’s journey into his health, fitness and taking up running.  I promise, he will be getting back to writing.

It’s been about a year since I wrote about my  journey.  I have struggled with my weight since my teenage years.  I have tried everything.  Some worked but as soon as you stop having a focus, guess what, the weight slowly starts creeping up again.  Sure, people always saw me as ‘the life of the party’ as I was always an extrovert.  But, deep down inside I knew what I really looked like.  I mean, I would hate to look at myself in the mirror.  I would wear baggy clothes.  Heck, when you are a size 26-28, I think all clothes are made baggy.

My inspiration, always first to God, is my wonderful loving husband, Dave.  You know his story.  He took up running, watched what he ate and was able to lose a lot of weight, get fit and be off his diabetes medication!

I saw how focus and determined he was.  And he kept sticking to it.  I first joined My Fitness Pal in June 2015 and started logging everything I ate and drank and the exercise I did.  Hey, walking counts!  I realized, it is about portion control.  You can eat almost what you like, as long as you don’t go over the calories they say you should have daily.  (You would think that because I have been a vegetarian for 25 years that I would weigh 100 lbs!  No, that isn’t the case!)  Then, in mid July 2015, we joined Planet Fitness.  Guess what?  I fell ‘in love’ with the weight strengthening machines.  At that Planet Fitness, I worked out on 16 machines.  We joined a new PF where we moved to and I do 18 machines.  I started with being able to do 20-25 lbs on the machines and now, I average 150 lbs!!  I also have a love/hate relationship with the darn Elliptical machine.

I do try to walk whenever I can.  In the winter, when it is too cold to go out, you will find me jogging in place watching a TV show or dancing around.  I hope no one is watching me through the windows!

It has been a struggle during the last 1 1/2 years.  Sure, frustration kicks in when you are staying at the same weight, or you might fluctuate between 2-3 lbs like a yo-yo.  Then, Dave took my photo last week, (the one on the right), and I actually really liked how I looked!  I realized the frustrations are all well worth it!

Sometimes, I still look at myself in the mirror and I guess I might see a glimpse of who I was.  I remind myself, that the only thing that changed is me on the outside.  I am still the nice and extroverted person on the inside.

The photo on the left is from Oct 2005.  The one on the right was from last week.  That’s 75 lbs lost, numerous inches, and a total of 5 -6 pant sizes down!!  And I lost 60 lbs and 4 pant sizes just in the last 1 1/2 years.  It took a lot of determination, sweat, patience and my husband Dave, who was my inspiration!

It doesn’t matter how old you are to finally do something and stick to it!  (Can you believe I just turned 49!  I feel like I am 29 years old.)  I am still on my journey.  I want to inspire others, especially women who struggle with their weight.  Lets do this and get healthy!

Latest Updates On Our Health Journey

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I’ve just realized I haven’t blogged in quite a while.  Sorry about that!  So here’s my latest update on our health journey.

We went away on a sort of working vacation in May.  Although we managed to eat within calories most of the time, we were eating out every day.  We were also too busy to get in any real exercise until the last day or two.  After we came back I guess I slacked off on my running a little bit.  My weight crept back up around 5 lbs and I noticed my pants were starting to feel a little snug.  Having gone from size 40 to size 32 I am in no mood to undo all the hard work I’ve put in!

So we made a recommitment to get back to the grindstone.   I tightened up on my calories and got back to running.  Our local parks department is hosting a weekly 2 mile fun run.  I’ve been on three of them and each time I have been faster.  Last night the temperature at the start was 85 degrees.  Luckily the run happens at 8pm so the sun is close to the horizon.  At least I don’t have to deal with the full heat of the sun during my run.  This was still my hottest run ever and somehow it was also my fastest ever 2 mile run.  I came in at 17 minutes and 1.9 seconds.  My legs were like rubber as I crossed the finish line!  Last summer I did all my running on the treadmill.  I will still do a lot of my running on the treadmill but I am committed to doing as many of these fun runs as I can no matter how hot it gets.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Even on the treadmill I am pushing my fitness.  I now run 3 miles on the hill function.  Which involves a lot of hills!

The net result of this is not only did I lose those extra 5 lbs but I am now .2 lbs away from my goal weight of 155!  Now I have to decide if I want to maintain at a range of 150-155lbs or 155-160lbs.  I’m not sure about that just yet.  I love that losing weight through calorie counting has allowed me complete control over my weight.  If I start to gain weight I know exactly what I need to do to get rid of those unwanted extra pounds.  I don’t need to panic or freak out and go back to my old ways.  I am committed to this for the rest of my life.  And my sugar levels are still great.  This morning my fasting sugar was 77.  I’m hopeful I can stay off medication for the rest of my life.

And Chris is doing great, too.  She is a BEAST at the gym!  She loves lifting weights and I am seeing a real change in the way she looks.  I’m proud of her for sticking with this.  She has struggled with her weight for most of her life and knowing I have inspired her to do this makes me feel proud of myself too.  I haven’t been an inspiration to many people in my life.  I love that we are in this together.  We hold each other accountable.  She doesn’t let me off with anything and I keep her going too.  Our relationship is stronger than ever.  We are both in this for life.  And I will post more often to share our journey.

Seeing Is Believing!

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So I just turned 48 a few days ago.  On the 21st to be exact.  The photo on the right was taken that day.  I can’t stop looking at it.  Not because I’m vain or anything.  But because that one photograph sums up everything I have achieved in the past year.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  Just after I had been diagnosed a diabetic.  Looking back at my life then it seems it was almost inevitable that I would become diabetic.  Poor diet.  Lack of exercise.  Serious weight gain.  Becoming diabetic was a serious wake up call.  It took me a while to hear that call.  It was only when the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication that is linked with causing liver problems that I finally woke up and realized I had to do something about it.

So I took up running.  And watched my diet.  I have lost 35 lbs in the past year.  Sometimes when I look in the mirror I can’t see the weight loss.  I know I’ve lost weight.  I know my stomach  is a lot smaller, (I think I just have loose skin issues now which is really annoying because every other part of me is slim.)  But the brain seems to take a while to catch up with the eyes.  Judging from posts I’ve seen on the MyFitnessPal forums this seems to be a common phenomenon.  But in the photo on the right I can SEE how much my face has changed.  For me it sums up everything I’ve achieved in the past 12 months.   It’s a face I haven’t seen in over 20 years.  You see, I wasn’t always overweight.  In fact, all my life up to my mid 20’s I’d actually been pretty skinny.  I guess I slowed down, but didn’t change my eating habits to match.  So the weight gained.  Slowly at first.  But in the past ten years I had a dramatic weight gain.

But now I see my old face looking back at me.  A little older, perhaps.  A few wrinkles starting to show.  A few crows feet around the eyes.  But it’s ME.  The real me.  Not the bloated puffy face I’ve had to look at for a while.  It’s like looking at an old friend.  And I like what I see.  I like how I feel.  I’m so much more confident now when out in public.  This healthy lifestyle is amazing.  I just wish I’d started twenty years ago when the weight started creeping on.  I can’t change the past.  But I can make sure the old me stays the new me for the rest of my life.

What I Have Learned About Weight Loss

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I’ve been on a health and weight loss journey for the past year.  In that year I have lost over 30 lbs, gotten off Metformin, a diabetes medication, and gone from not being able to run a block without breaking out into a cold sweat to being able to run 4 miles with no adverse affects.

I have learned a few things along the way.

1.  Be patient.  This is probably the hardest lesson to learn.  We all want instant results.  But I didn’t gain the weight in a day or in a week and I won’t lose it that quickly either.  Nor will you.  There are many fad diets out there.  Juice diets, shake diets intermittent fasting, etc.  They almost always promise quick results.  They almost always cost money and almost always are not worth it.  They may help you lose weight initially but when you come off them if you go back to your old eating habits you’re just going to gain that weight back again.  All I did was join a site called MyFitnessPal.com and log my calories.  Every day.  It sounds like a chore but in truth it just takes a few minutes a day.  It keeps me accountable.  I keep track of what I’m eating.  More important, it works!  And it doesn’t cost me a thing.  It taught me so much about my eating habits and how to keep my eating under control.

2.  A bad day shouldn’t derail you.  We all have bad days where we just want to binge.  If you have a day like that just pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start again tomorrow.

3.  It’s all about calories.  If you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight.  It’s pure science.  If the weight isn’t coming off there may be a prevalent medical condition that is derailing you.  If you aren’t losing weight but you’re convinced you’re doing everything right get yourself checked out by your doctor.

4.  Weightloss is a simple process.  But it isn’t easy.  It takes determination.  Discipline. Patience.  Have I said that word already.  You will learn.  Patience is key.  But if you want it badly enough you will achieve it.

5.  Dieting is simple.  Keeping the weight off is the challenge.  This is the journey I’m about to embark on.  I’ve lost the weight.  I’m determined to keep it off.  Never go back!

6.  The most effective way to diet is not to go on a diet.  Sound confusing?  How many people do you know who go on a diet?  Then come off the diet and go back to their old eating habits and wonder why they’re gaining weight again?  If it’s your old eating habits that caused you to gain weight then of course you’ll regain the weight if you go back.

7.  The scale can lie!  When we want to lose weight we want to see the number on the scale drop like a stone!  Sometimes we hit a plateau and the scale stubbornly refuses to budge.  Don’t get disheartened and give up.  Look for other signs of success.  Look for NSV’s (non-scale victories).  Even when the number doesn’t drop other things are happening.  Maybe your clothes are fitting better.  Or getting looser.  Maybe your collar bones are starting to pop out, or your hip bones.  Maybe you find yourself able to do things you couldn’t do before.  Walk further or run without getting out of breath.  These are all signs you are on the right track.  Just keep doing everything right and the scale will start to drop again.

Through the past year I have learned a lot about myself.  I have patience and if I want something bad enough I can achieve it.  That’s very empowering.

Before And After

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Sometimes when you look in the mirror it’s hard to see just how far you have come when you’re looking to lose weight.  The best way to really judge your progress is take photographs.  If you’re starting out on a weight loss journey I’d advise you to take several photos before you start.  It’s always good to have something to compare.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  The photo on the right just a couple of months ago.   Here I can really see the difference.  I’m almost at the weight I want to be.  It’s time to start maintenance.  I have made a vow to never again look like I did in the pic on the left.  I wasted 20 years of my life looking like that.

Never again!

The past year has certainly been eventful.  Getting off diabetes medication.  Losing over 30 lbs.  Getting fit.  Running.  And this is just the beginning.  I intend to start lifting weights more now.  I’ve lost the weight.  Now I want to tone myself up and get myself in better shape.  The weight loss journey may be ending.  But the healthy lifestyle is just beginning!

My Home Workout Routine

I thought I’d share my home workout routine.

I start with this one.  I don’t know what to call it so I’ll share the video the idea came from.  It’s the very first exercise.  I can testify you really feel it in your abdominal area.  I do 10 of them.

Then I do 10 leg raises, where you lie flat on your back and raise your legs, then lower them so your feet are just off the floor.

Then still lying flat on my back I lift the weights straight up and slowly lower them.  Again I do ten of these.

Still lying on my back  I lift the weights and stretch my arms behind me, before slowly lifting them back up and down to my side.  For the last one I also lift my feet off the floor slightly for a count of ten seconds.  Another set of ten.

I do five sets of each of those routines.

I then move off my back for the next round.  On all fours I stretch my left leg back out so it’s straight out behind me and back down for a count of ten then do the same with my right.  This works on your glutes and thighs.

Then a 50 second plank.  I’m working up to doing a minute plank.

Then ten push ups.

Again, five sets of this section.

For the final round I’m upright.  I do ten squats (although I’m going to increase the number.)

Ten bicep curls.

I lift the weights from my side straight outwards and back down.  Ten of these.

Then what I call my stretch and bend.  Where I lift the weights straight up above my head then bend to touch the weights to the floor.  You guessed it, I do ten!

Then it’s twenty Jumping Jacks.

Then I run up and down the stairs ten times.

Once more I do these in five sets.

The whole routine takes me one hour.

I finish with a delicious protein shake.

This is especially good when I can’t get to the gym or go for a run.

Plateau’s And How To Bust Them

“Weight loss is not linear.”  I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read those words on the MyFitnessPal forums.  And it’s so true.  Most people when trying to lose weight are ruled by the number shown on the scale.

The scale doesn’t move for a few days, or weeks.

Frustration.

The scale goes up a pound.

Freak out and reach for the nearest donut.  This is obviously not working!

But the scale doesn’t tell the full story.

And the scale lies.

I’m close to my goal weight now.  For the past two weeks or so I’ve been fluctuating up and down a pound.  Then I gained an extra pound.

I did not worry about it.  I did not stress out.  And I did not reach for a donut.

It’s all part of the game.

There are other ways to see the changes happening to your body.  Changes that are often more motivating than the number on the scale.

Your clothes start to fit better.

You can see changes in your face.

You start to feel bones you never felt before.  Or not for a long time, anyway.  Collar bones, hip bones.

If you work out, your fitness level starts to increase.  You find you can do things you couldn’t do before.  You can go longer.  You have more energy.

These are the things you need to look for when you’re on a weight loss / health journey. These are the things I used to keep myself motivated when the scale didn’t move.  No matter how frustrating a plateau can be, just keep doing the right activities.  Keep exercising.  Keep counting calories.  Plateau’s are just tests of your willpower and your determination to succeed.

My weight had gone up two pounds.  My wife and I went to a Zumba class on Saturday.  We had an hour of intense movement. And yesterday we had pizza for dinner.  Sunday I dropped a pound.  Today I’m another pound less so I’m back to my lowest weight since I started my journey a year ago.  In fact we’ve both lost two pounds!  Sometimes plateau’s happen because we get into a bit of a rut.  Our bodies get used to our routine.  The old saying, “a change is as good as a rest” is especially true when it comes to a healthy lifestyle.  Doing something different seems to shock the body into getting back on track.  Now I’m looking forward to resuming my weight loss.  I only want to lose another five pounds or so and then I’ll be in maintenance.

For those of you who are frustrated if your scale isn’t moving I hope this helps motivate you to keep on track.  And to stay away from those donuts.  Unless you can fit one into your weight loss plan, that is.

Zumba

One Incredible Year!

Chris before and after

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The Runner.jpgWhat a year it has been, health-wise.  I started my health journey around the beginning of March 2015 after my A1C was 7.2 and my doctor wanted to put me on a second diabetes drug.  I’d already been taking Metformin since August 2008.  That second drug is strongly linked with causing liver damage.  I knew enough was enough.  It was time to take my health seriously.

After a brutally cold winter, March finally ushered in milder temperatures and off I went.  I walked at least an hour every day.  I slowly introduced running, using a variation of Couch To 5K.  My first major milestone was running my first mile.  By late April I was able to stop taking Metformin.  In June my A1C was 5.8.  In October it was 5.5 and I was told I was out of diabetic range.  I’ve lost nearly 40 lbs in the past year through a combination of counting calories and running.

My wife watched my dedication and it inspired her to join me in July.  We joined a gym and we love working out together.  She has lost 40 lbs and she is addicted to lifting weights.  We’re both in this for life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my parents lately.  They both died way too young.   My dad passed away aged just 38.  He had a brain hemorrhage.  It was so sudden.  My mum died from leukemia at age 54.   Losing your parents so young makes you think of your own mortality.  Neither of us want to die young.  So going on this health journey is the best decision we could have made for our health.  We want to grow old together.

Being active is addictive.  I did an hour workout this morning.  Planks, squats, push-ups, leg raises, weight exercises and running up and down the stairs.  It was energizing!  I’ve actually done this same routine for the past 8 days.  I did each exercise in 5 sets.  For the planks I raised each one from 30 seconds to 45 seconds.  The last plank was for a full minute.  Each week I’m going to slowly raise the bar.  That stops the workout becoming stale.

If you need to lose a few pounds, or if you just want more energy I highly recommend some kind of exercise.  Your body will thank you for it.  It isn’t easy.  It requires commitment, dedication.  But the more you push yourself the better you feel.  And exercise becomes so addictive.  I can’t imagine not doing some sort of activity at least 4 or 5 times a week.  If I miss a few days I feel the difference.  My body becomes sluggish, lethargic.  And it can be a very sociable thing.  I’ve met a great bunch of people on Twitter.  Especially runners.  They are a great group of people and really encourage each other.  If motivation doesn’t come easy for you, finding someone to work out with might be the answer.  Christine and I motivate and push each other.  Accountability can be a powerful motivator.  I’m grateful that the doctor wanted to put me on a drug that’s linked with causing other major health issues.  Whether he intended to or not, he gave me all the motivation I needed to get my ass in gear and get moving.

If I Can Do It, So Can You!

Chris before and after

(The following blog is from my wife, Christine.)

I know many of you have been following our journey into health.  Especially Dave’s personal journey to losing weight, getting fit, taking up running and getting off his diabetes and heart medications.  I thought that it is time I finally wrote from my own perspective.

Last July, I’d just about had it and decided to lose weight and get fit at age 47!  I know that many people would agree with this.  Heck, so do I!  Sure, I have struggled with my weight since before time, (well if it *was* before time I would weigh nothing!) Ok, so it was as far as I can remember well into my teen years!

At first, I was only 30 to 40 pounds overweight.  Not so shabby!  I looked good in those size 14 jeans!   But, with the years and the stresses of life, came the stretches of fat!  Yes, I have tried most things.  Yes, even Weight Watchers.  Yes, I lost weight but then guess what?  Ah, you guessed correct!  More years, more stress and more stretches of the dreaded three letter word that begins with ‘F’!  (At least, I didn’t say a four letter word that begins with ‘F’! *grins*)

Fast forward to last July.  One day I will write a bit more about my struggles and life.  Now, I am very happily married to Dave, for nearly eleven years.  In the last year I have seen him take real charge of his health and fitness, kicking his diabetic and heart medications to the curb!  I have never been more proud of him than when he wrote his first novel.  He has taken up running and uses My Fitness Pal to log everything.  He has lost weight and is fit!  I am watching him and loving what I see and more importantly, what our doctor said to him, ‘you do not need to take your diabetes and heart medications anymore!’ I want the doctor to tell me I don’t need to take my high blood pressure meds anymore.  I want to look good and feel great!  I want to join my wonderful husband in our journey together in getting healthy!

Dave was my inspiration!

It isn’t easy, (who said life is easy?), but using a calorie tracker, My Fitness Pal, joining a gym, eating healthier, taking the Peak Performance Pack and of course with Dave by my side doing this with me, I have lost a total of 69 lbs and 8 inches from my waist and 6 inches from my hips. I am down 5 pant sizes. I am turning my fat into muscle and I feel great!

Dave was going through some old photos and found one of me from October 2005. I was at my cousin’s daughter’s one year old birthday party and dancing away. (This photo on the right is from Dec 2015.)

For other people struggling with their weight, it is never too late to get started! I am willing to help anyone who asks.

So, stay tuned.  The best is yet to come!

When Your Need Is Greater Than Your Want?

 

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the health journey I’m on.  About how far I have come in less than a year.  And how much easier it has been than I thought it would be.  As a teenager I was a skinny little thing.  People used to try to fatten me up and just give up!  Then in my mid twenties I started to gain weight.  I didn’t notice at first.  Then when I did notice, I didn’t find the will to do anything about it.  I feel like I wasted two decades, the best two decades in my opinion, being overweight, when apparently I didn’t need to be.  Because when I found the willpower to actually change my health it came easily.  Okay, I shouldn’t exactly say easily.  After all, I’ve put a lot of sweat and effort into my transformation.  No tears, though!  But as I gained the weight I always thought it would be too hard.  I made a few half-hearted attempts to lose the weight.  I’d go on a diet.  It always ended in failure.  I just couldn’t find the motivation to see it through.

Then in December 2014, while sitting in the doctor’s office, I faced a tough choice.  My A1C was 7.2.  The doctor wanted to put me on a second medication.  I’d already been taking Metformin since 2008.  When Christine and I researched this second drug and found it’s strongly linked with causing liver damage I knew I had to make a change.  I vowed to never take this drug.  Up to this point I’d only wanted to lose weight.  Now my want had become a need.  And it turned out to be pretty simple.  Not easy.  Not with all the running miles I put in.  But it was simple.  I started walking, walking led to running.  And I counted calories.  I’m so glad I joined MyFitnessPal.  It’s a great app that lets you track your calories.  It even lets you track your exercise.  It definitely made my efforts easier to log.  Losing weight comes down to one simple equation.  Calories out have to be greater than calories in.  In other words to lose weight you have to be eating less calories than you’re burning.  Exercise is a great way of boosting your calories out.  Running especially burns a lot of calories.

I guess the bottom line in all this is need will always trump want.  Wanting to lose weight through reasons of simple vanity wasn’t enough to motivate me to succeed.  What ever you attempt to do in life will always be much more successful if you NEED it more than you WANT it.  Need is a great motivator.  And when it’s a health need, that’s the greatest motivator of all.  From being on the verge of taking two drugs for diabetes, I’ve been off ALL medication for ten months now.  I stopped taking Metformin in April 2015 when I realized my fasting sugar was actually getting too low.

If that visit to the doctor hadn’t taken place, if he hadn’t decided to put me on a drug that could potentially harm my health even more,  I might still be overweight.  And I might still be on Metformin.  Now I’m fitter than I was even in my twenties.  Now I’ve dropped from size 40 pants to size 32.  My weight is more or less where I want it to be.

I still have a need.  My diabetes is under control.  But I’m still diabetic.  I don’t think that will ever change.  We went out to eat Saturday night.  I ate more than I have been recently.  I also had fries.  My sugar two hours later was 168.  Which isn’t bad.  A year ago it would probably have been 200 or higher.  My fasting sugar was 91.  Which a year ago I would have been thrilled with.  But it’s a sign of how far I’ve come that I wasn’t happy with that number.  These days my fasting is always in the 70’s and low to mid 80’s.  Now, 91 is still just about at the normal range.  But I wasn’t happy.  So yesterday I made conscious efforts to eat less, to eat healthier.  My fasting this morning was 75.  Much better.  But it served as a reminder that I have to be vigilant.  That I still have to be conscious of not over eating and I still have to be active.  It’s easy to imagine that if I spent a week eating like that my sugar would be into the 100’s.  It’s all good, though.  It just reminds me I still have a need.  And as long as that need is there I will have all the motivation to keep on this healthy lifestyle.

Whatever you want to do in life, whatever you want to achieve, make sure your need is as great as your want and you can achieve miracles.  Just like I have.

Heart Health Awareness

So February is National Heart Health Awareness month.  In honor of that this blog is to help raise awareness of one of the biggest killers in North America.  High blood pressure is known as the Silent Killer.  There are no symptoms.  Millions of people across the country have high blood pressure and don’t even know it.  High blood pressure can lead to strokes.  It’s also the leading cause of heart disease and heart attacks.  Poor diet and lack of exercise are the biggest cause of high blood pressure.

I’ve blogged extensively about how I’ve managed to get my diabetes under control through diet and exercise.  What I haven’t talked about so much is a few years ago I had heart palpitations and was on a heart medication.  For several months even walking up the block was enough to have my heart racing.  My resting heart rate was in the 90’s, often higher.  Exercise and weight loss were the key to getting healthy.  My resting heart rate now averages in the 60’s.  No more medication.  No more palpitations.  No more fear.  Once I took up running everything just fell into place.  I’m almost at my goal weight and am healthier now than I was when I was in my 20’s.

Christine has had high blood pressure for several years.  She’s on medication.  She has joined me on my health journey.  She works out at the gym.  She walks.  Her blood pressure has improved.  She was taken off one of her medications.  We’re working on getting her off the other.  She has lost 68 lbs so far.  I’m incredibly proud of what she has achieved so far.

If you’re overweight or if you’re simply inactive invest in your health now.  Once your health starts to go you’re on a slippery slope.  Your body will thank you for it later.

We are fortunate to be able to shop with a  Wellness company that has several products that give our heart health an additional boost.  Products like Provex CV, designed to naturally lower blood pressure.  FiberWise, fiber in a drink.  Delicious, too!  Phytomega, designed to help lower  cholesterol.  The Peak Performance Heart Health pack is a range of vitamins and supplements designed to keep your heart ticking along nicely.

We are partnering with Bankers Healthcare Group on this post today, a group dedicated to getting awareness of heart health to the general public.  We are proud to be associated with such a great cause.  I hope I have given you the inspiration to get healthy.  Because life is not much fun when you don’t have good health.  It can also get pretty expensive too, with doctors bills, surgery, etc.  It’s worth investing a few dollars to get healthy and save thousands on surgery.

This is their site if you want to learn more about them.

Bankers Healthcare Group

BHG_heart_health

 

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!

MY Health Journey – One Year And Counting

It’s hard to believe that it was a year ago this month I received the final kick up the butt I needed to make healthy changes to my life.  Last December my A1C was 7.2 and the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication to control my diabetes.  As I had already been on Metformin since August 2008, I did not want to take more drugs.  Especially when research showed that drug was strongly linked with causing liver damage.  That was when I knew I had to change my habits.

Fast forward to March 2015 when the weather finally thawed after the frigid winter from hell.  I started walking every day, then began incorporating running into my new regime.  The running built slowly, but now it’s an integral part of my weekly routine.  I try to run at least 3 times a week.  Last month my A1C was 5.5 and I’ve been off Metformin since April.  I still test my fasting sugar almost every day and it’s averaging in the 70’s and 80’s.

My cataract surgery has slowed up my fitness routine as I’m not allowed to lift anything over 20 lbs for two weeks after surgery.  Next Wednesday will be the two week point after my second surgery so I’m planning to go to the gym and begin to lift weights again.  I can’t wait!  (Play on words fully intended!)

It’s always the way.  When you know you can’t do something you want to do it more!  I hadn’t realized how much I’ve come to enjoy lifting weights, but I really miss it.  It makes me push the cardio more.

I lost another pound today.  I’m now 30 lbs lighter than I was when I started this journey in March.  I just want to lose another 5 lbs and really firm up what’s left.  My fitness lifestyle is so ingrained into who I am now that I really miss it when I can’t do any one part of it.  I just wish I’d started this 20 years ago when I started to gain weight.  I can’t change the past.  All I can change is what I do today.  And how I affect tomorrow.  Fitness and health are part of what defines me today.  I know I will never go back to who I was.

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.

Finding Inspiration

Dory

You find inspiration in the strangest places, sometimes.

Like tonight.  I was on the treadmill.  I’d already run two miles and I was just starting my third.  My legs were burning but I kept going.  And then Dory popped into my head.  You know Dory.  The fish from Finding Nemo.  The flaky fish that tends to sing things over and over out loud.  There she was swimming back and forth in my mind.  And singing!

“Just keep running.”

“Just keep running.”

“Just keep running.”

And I did.

Somehow that third mile felt easier with Dory cheerleading me on.  I didn’t look at the digital display for a while.  When I did I was already a quarter of a mile into my third mile.

“Just keep running.”

“Just keep running.”

“Just keep running.”

And I did.

Next time I looked at the display I’d run a half mile.  This was going well.

“Just keep running.”

“Just keep running.”

“Just keep running.”

And I did.

The mile passed fairly easily.  So I kept going.

“Just keep running.”

“Just keep running.”

“Just keep running.”

And I did.

For another half mile.  Somehow Dory’s encouraging singing gave me the will to plow on with my run and even made it a little easier.  Now I know what to do when I’m on the treadmill next time.

“Just keep running.”

“Just keep running.”

“Just keep running.”

Thanks, Dory!

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.