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.

Added Benefits Of Running

Watching The Sunsetdeer06-02-11_0935sunset boatwater sunset

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

You Want Me To What???

100_1081

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

“You want me to what???”

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

I did.

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

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

All because I took up running.

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

You run.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I run because I can.

I run to be fit.

I run to keep the weight off.

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

What about you?

Winning The Fight With Diabetes

blood test results

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

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

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

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

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

Uh Uh.

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

It was time to get serious.

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

You can read about the proof on this website:

http://www.freiburgstudy.com

We had been taking them for a few months already.

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

I knew something good was happening.

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

My A1C was 5.8!

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

I’m winning the fight!

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

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

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

Running To Improve Your Mood

inspiration_PNG

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

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

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

One Foot In Front Of The Other

One foot in front of the other.  That’s a mantra I’ve seen repeated many times in blogs on WordPress and from other runners on Twitter.  I put it to good use today.  After the 80 degree heat on Monday, today was overcast and in the upper 60’s.  Perfect running weather.  So off I went.  I’ve gotten into a routine of running a mile, walking a mile and then running half a mile.  That was my plan for today as I headed for the park.

I started out with a brisk walk for three laps before launching into my run.  The usual heavy legs started to set in around lap three, but I pushed through it.  It didn’t seem as bad today as I settled into lap five, the lap that takes me to a mile.  So I decided to keep going.  I usually run a mile and a halfway with a walking break after the mile marker.  So I figured I could get the mile and a half in one go.  As I headed into lap seven I still felt I had more in the tank so I just went for it.  I’ve never managed to run two whole miles in a single workout before.  I got close once but had to stop running one lap short of the first mile.

Heading into lap 10 I hit The Wall.  My legs just wanted to stop but I pushed on, refusing to come up short this time.  The One Foot In Front Of The Other mantra chanted over and over in my head as I followed word with deed and I completed my first ever two consecutive two mile run.  It was such a good feeling. I managed to complete my two mile run in just 21 minutes.  I’m really pleased with that time.  It shows I pushed myself hard.  I guess my fitness level is coming up.  I’m glad I took advantage of the cooler weather to push myself as I know the 80’s will be back after today and we’re going to a convention next week.  As long as I see progress that will give me the push to maintain my new healthy lifestyle.

When I got home I tested my sugar.  It was 88, a good number.  I love how my body is responding to my healthier lifestyle.  Getting more active is a great way to get diabetes under control.  I really feel upbeat and hopeful that I can get off medication altogether.  That’s my goal.  I’ll find out how close I am to achieving that when I go back to the doctor next month.  Running is part of my life now.

I am a runner!

Feeling The Heat

I had my first taste of summer running today.  It’s 80 degrees outside.  And it kicked my ass!  I still managed to run a mile, walk a mile and a half and then run a last half mile.  So I wasn’t too shabby!

It actually didn’t feel bad when I left the house.  The sun was hidden behind a cloud, there was a nice cool breeze.  It felt like the 60’s.  Perfect running weather, right?

I walked two laps of my local park to warm my legs up and then went into my run.

And the sun came out.  It was a different world then.  Now it FELT like 80 degrees.  And the sun kept me company throughout my mile run.

Wasn’t that thoughtful?

By the start of my third lap (I already wrote in an earlier post that five laps equal one mile) my legs were already feeling heavy.  But I followed two mantras:

One lap at a time.

And:

One foot in front of the other.

The second one I learned from reading running blogs on this site and from runners tweeting.  They helped me through it.  I then walked and managed one last run at the end.  I had a bottle of water with me so I stayed hydrated.

One issue I have is my body is not as good at regulating its core temperature as it used to be.  I had a virus a few years ago that got into my heart.  My resting heart rate was over 100 and I had palpitations just walking up the road.  This went on for six months.  My body overheating seems to be an after effect from that.  So if I overheat I tend to become lightheaded and feel faint.  I was okay today, but I definitely felt the heat far more than I should have.  When the real heat kicks in I may have to find an indoor track.  I’ll run outside as much as I can but I don’t think I’ll be able to cope when it’s 90 degrees and humid.

I’m definitely addicted to running, though.  More specifically I’m addicted to the way I feel after a run.  I feel energized and my legs feel great.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my best bet is to run every other day.  I didn’t run at all yesterday, though I went for a two mile walk.  So my legs felt great at the start.  I just need to find a way to cope with the coming summer heat!

Positive Reinforcements

I thought I’d share a nice Non Scales Victory i had today.  But before I do, a little background info so this becomes clearer.

I moved to the US from England in 2005.  When I moved here my pants size was 36.  Within 4 years I was up to size 40.  I managed to get the size down to 38 for a long while.  Then after I started watching my weight a little I managed to finally get back into my size 36 jeans, though at the time they were tight.

Since I joined MyFitnessPal.com and started really watching what I eat and exercising a lot more, I have lost five pounds.  But my waist line is visibly smaller.  And today at a store I tried on a pair of 34 jeans.  And they FIT PERFECTLY.  I didn’t even have to struggle to zip them up.  I’m wondering if I could get into size 32 jeans, but they would probably be too tight to wear comfortably and I didn’t want to spoil a great Non Scales Victory.  Another great thing is I tried on two pairs of exercise shorts, medium and small.  Guess which ones fit best?  That’s right, the small fit perfectly, while the medium were loose.  I still can’t get my head round being able to wear size 34 jeans and size small shorts.  It’s a great vindication that all my hard work is paying off.

My wife also had a great result as she now fits in jeans two sizes smaller than the ones she has been wearing.  She’s not into running (yet) but she is walking more and, like me, she’s watching what she eats more carefully.

I went for a run today.  Just a short one, about ten minutes.  After running my first mile yesterday I wanted to go easy on my legs today.  I’ll probably do a longer run tomorrow.  My calves were a bit tight this morning when I first got up, but they’ve loosened up and feel fine now.  I need to research that a bit more before I up my running game. I need to know how much is too much and how to make sure I don’t suffer any injuries.  I’ve been reading running blogs on WordPress and watching some inspirational running videos on YouTube.

I think for now I’ll do a longer run two or three times a week and maybe walk two or three times as well.  I might have one rest day a week.  I’ll see how that goes.  I’m looking forward to sharing my running journey on this blog.

Pushing Limits

I have just smashed my personal best. I’m getting more serious about running. I’m even following some blogs about running. I just went for my workout in our local park. I walked the first two laps. Then I ran four laps in a row without slowing. I wanted to do five as five laps in that park is one mile. But I just didn’t have the legs. So I slowed to a walk and walked the next four laps. Then I just went for it. I managed to run the full five laps. That last lap was the hardest ever but I made it. I ran almost two miles. My new personal best!

They say “no pain, no gain.”  Well that last lap was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  My legs just wanted to stop.  But I pushed through the pain barrier.  That feeling of accomplishment is worth all the discomfort.  And knowing I’m doing this for the sake of my health just makes it all the better.   I’m taking running more seriously now.  I want to push my comfort level and see just what I can achieve.

My fasting sugar this morning was 83.  I had oatmeal and toast for breakfast.  I went for my run two hours after eating.  When I came back my sugar was 88.  My sugar levels are so much better now that I’m active.  For anyone who is diabetic any activity is better than nothing.  From my personal experience the more active you can be the better your sugar levels will respond.  Getting active is one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Getting Serious About Fitness

A body in motion stays in motion.

This saying is never more true than when you adopt a new healthy lifestyle.  The more you move the more you want to move.  I go for a long walk and a run every day pretty much.  If I don’t have time to go for my walk then I run up the stairs for ten to fifteen minutes.  Either way I have to move.  I’ve incorporated sit ups and stomach crunches now as well as a routine with free weights.  I always feel so much better after a workout.

After any workout I enjoy a delicious Pro Flex protein shake.  This one is classic vanilla flavour and it’s delicious.  I also take Peak Performance supplements from our Wellness company. These supplements are largely responsible for giving me energy to fuel my running.

Talking of running, yesterday I achieved a personal best.

For the past month or so I’ve been walking and running more or less daily in our local park. I’d upped my session from 12 laps to 15 laps and I’d gone from running 1 lap to 4 laps in total, but never consecutively.

Until yesterday.

I ran the first lap, as usual. Then I walked 3 laps and ran the next lap. Then I walked the next three laps. Then I just went for it. I ran the 9th lap and didn’t stop until I’d run the 10th lap. Yep, for the first time I’ve run two laps consecutively.

But wait, there’s more!

I did it again, running the last two laps in a row. Oh, and I added an extra lap, running the 15th and 16th lap. I’d found out that five laps equal one mile, so I’ve walked over three miles and run over a mile in total! My personal best workout.  My goal is to increase my fitness until I can run all the laps.  It will take time but I know I will get there.

The one thing I do know is this new regime is my life now.  I have a goal to lose another ten pounds.  Once I get there I will work my butt off to make sure I don’t gain that weight back.

Fitness, it’s a lifestyle, not a fad.

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.

A Life In Balance

I created this blog and my Twitter account mainly to promote our home based business.  But my blog seems to have morphed into something bigger.  I have written several blogs about the GC Control shakes that I still drink daily.  They are still doing a great job in lowering my blood sugar level when it’s high.  I’ve been drinking them for a year and a half now. Note, I am not touting the shakes as some sort of miracle cure.  I know diabetics are often targeted by snake oil salesmen offering some form of miracle cure.  But the GC Control shakes are an excellent tool to help you control your blood sugar levels.

Recently I became a vegetarian.  I then quickly moved on to become a vegan.  My reasons are mainly ethical:  As an animal lover I could no longer just I ft to myself eating meat.  I’ve already written blogs that go into this.  But I have noticed that there are plenty of health reasons for making the switch.  I’ve already lost a few pounds and I find I have more energy.

As my blog is called 4 Paths To Wellness I feel this would be a good time to delve into what those four paths are:

1. personal.
2. Physical.
3. Environmental.
4. Financial.

More people these days are looking at their diet and realizing there is a connection between what they eat and how they feel.  The vegan lifestyle is becoming more popular, as evidenced by the growing number of vegan foods that are becoming available in mainstream grocery stores.  I was amazed the other night at the array of vegan options in our local Stop and Shop.  Vegan cheese, butter,  mayonnaise and even ice cream!

Gyms have always been popular.  People want to get in shape.  Obesity has become an epidemic.  Diseases like diabetes are consquently on the rise.  There is a definite need to take care of our health.  We need to take back our Wellness!

Diet and exercise are part of two paths to Wellness.  Personal and physical.  But so many people overlook the third path; environmental.  This can have more of a detrimental impact on our health than we realize.  We don’t pay enough attention to the cleaning products we bring into our homes and use daily.  Products that contain so many harmful chemicals and toxins.  We have a real toxic stew in our homes and we don’t even realize it!  Respiratory illnesses, like asthma, and skin conditions, like eczema, are on the rise.  Most of them are triggered by the chemicals in the store bought cleaning products.  We’re conditioned to go on buying them.  Mainly because everyone else does and because we don’t know any better.

There is another way!

While most people are thinking more about two paths to Wellness, personal and physical, we offer a way to align all four paths and help you to create a life in balance.

Spring Into Action

Image

According to the calendar, Spring starts on Thursday.  Although having just been outside it’s hard to believe we haven’t slipped back in time to the middle of January.  The average high right now is supposed to be around 50.  According to my Weatherbug it’s currently 29 degrees.  Only 21 degrees below normal.  In the middle of March.  This has been a long harsh winter.  It’s time for Old Man Winter to get his grumpy butt out of here.  It’s time for some warmth.  At least we’ve missed out on several snow chances this month.  There have been a few snowstorms around, but they’ve all been shunted to the south courtesy of the media flavor of the month, the good old Polar Vortex.  How many times have we heard about the PV this winter.  Way too many times if you ask me.  The PV can bugger off back to its polar home where it belongs.  Bring on the 60’s and 70’s. 

When it gets as cold as this, we tend to hibernate.  I have to admit, I don’t like extreme cold and I don’t like extreme heat.  Am I too fussy?  Just give me 60’s and 70’s, and if we want to head to the beach, some 80’s would be good.  Yes, I admit it, I’m a wimp.  I’m from Britain, where it rarely gets too hot or too cold.  More often than not, the temperature is just right.  Why do I suddenly feel like a character from the Goldilocks fairytale?

Anyway, I have to admit, I could stand to lose a few pounds.  As I’ve already indicated, I hibernate during the winter. And working from home makes it all to easy to hide yourself away.  Thankfully I’ll be able to take advantage of our Vitality range with our company.  We have products that help us have a good workout, that gives us plenty of fiber and products that help us lose weight.  Once we get some decent mild weather we’re going to go walking.  We have an amazing snack bar that is scientifically designed to allow our body to burn excess fat.  And it tastes great!  Bonus! 

So bring on the warm sunny days, when the girls wear fewer clothes and I can get my legs out again.  I’m ready to walk!