The Truth About Dieting

Lifestyle

There is a myth that diets don’t work.  The truth is diets do work.  But only while you’re on them.  It’s what you do when you come off your diet that measures whether you will maintain your weight loss, or see that weight creep back up.

Most people go on a diet after looking in the mirror and seeing they have gained weight, or when their clothes become too tight.  Then they decide to lose weight by going on a diet.  Which is just another word for Denial.  I can’t eat this, it has too much sugar. I can’t eat that because it has too many carbs.  I can’t eat that because it has too much fat.  

So you become more fixated on what you can’t eat.  You eat like a rabbit for as long as you can stand or until you reach your goal.  Then you come off your diet and go back to your old eating habits.  Which…

…is why you gained weight in the first place.  And what do you think is going to happen?  This is the very essence of yo-yo dieting.  It becomes a self perpetuating vicious circle until something changes.

The other problem with the standard method of dieting is when you focus on what you can’t eat, you set up cravings.  Have you ever noticed how when you go on a diet most of the television commercials seem to focus on food?  And usually high calorie foods.  They’ve always been there but you didn’t notice because you’ve always been able to freely have them when you want.  Then you go on a diet, or a Denial, and suddenly you notice these ads every time they’re shown.  Because you are craving those foods and you’re telling yourself you can’t have them because…diet.  The worst thing is once you come off your diet suddenly you can satisfy all those cravings so you’re most likely to eat these foods over the next week or two because you can.  You could easily regain 5 or 10 pounds in the first week or two just satisfying all those cravings.

Giving up foods because they are high in sugar or carbs is not the ideal way to keep weight off.  It does work, but it has to be sustainable long term.  Portion control and tracking calories is the best and most effective way to not only lose weight, but keep it off.  I’ve been with a calorie tracking app, MyFitnessPal, for three years now.  I’ve successfully lost the weight I wanted to lose and I’m maintaining very well.  Simply because I know how many calories I should be eating daily and how many calories I am eating daily.  I haven’t had to give up a single food item I enjoy.  I also exercise almost daily.  I run, I walk, I work out at the gym.  I’m 100% focused on keeping my healthy lifestyle.  Because that’s the secret of maintaining weight loss.  By making it a lifestyle.  If I go over calorie once in a while it’s ok.  I don’t panic.  I am not going to derail all my efforts because I eat unhealthy once in a while.  And we have to live.  You have celebrations, parties, birthdays, the holiday season.  You have to be able to enjoy life.  And I do.  I eat under calorie probably at least 80% of the time.  And the funny thing is once you’ve been at this healthy lifestyle for a while your binging habits change.  Overeating for me now looks very different to how I used to eat when I was being bad.  You find you don’t want to eat crazy after a while.  You don’t enjoy it and it’s not worth the uncomfortable bloated feeling you get the next day.

There will be people who will say there has to be more to losing weight than eating less and moving more.  They are right, of course.  It’s a psychological battle most of all.  The most critical ingredient is a healthy mindset.  It’s a process and you have to commit to it.  Yes, you can have crazy days if you want, as long as the rest of the time you make a serious effort to stay under calorie.  But you have to be determined and keep your eyes on the goal.  There will be frustration.  There will be times it doesn’t seem to be working.  The scale doesn’t move.  Or worse, the scale ticks up.  That’s when you will be sorely tempted to just give up.  That’s when you need to have other weapons in your fight to lose weight.  Measure yourself once a month.  Measure your waist, your hips.  Compare the numbers each month.  Take photos before you start your journey so you can make comparisons.  Pay attention to how your clothes are fitting.  Nothing boosts your confidence more than dropping a pant size.  All these things will keep you motivated and show you the process is working even when the scale isn’t co-operating.

Be aware there will be temptations along the way.  Someone brings donuts in to work almost daily, or a friend keeps inviting you out to eat at high calorie places all too regularly.  You have to learn to pick your battles and know it’s okay to give in sometimes.  It’s a lifestyle, after all, and you you have to be able to enjoy your life.

Diet Is A Four Letter Word!

Lifestyle

Diets only work when you are on them.  There’s a reason diet is a four letter word. When you go on a diet you are more focused on the foods you “can’t” have.

You “can’t” have carbs.

You “can’t” have sugar.

You “can’t” have fats.

So you eat salads for as long as you can until you’ve reached your goal weight or, more likely, you just can’t take it any more.  Then you go back to your old eating habits.  

Which…. Is the reason you gained weight in the first place.  This is the essence of yo-yo dieting.  Going back and forth between going on a diet and your old eating habits.

Anyone can lose weight. It’s keeping the weight off that’s the real trick.  An easier way around the problem is to make a simple lifestyle change.  Portion control or counting calories through an app like @MyFitnesspal can make a huge help.

Many people think counting calories is obsessive, unhealthy or too hard.  The truth is a repeated cycle of weight gain and dieting is much more unhealthy and harder.

Through MyFitnesspal, I can eat what ever I want.  It’s all about portion control and exercise.  Because of this I have maintained my weightloss for two years with no sign of going back.

But exercise isn’t just about being able to eat more food.  Exercise gives you a healthier, fitter body.  

Remember:  you lose lbs in the kitchen and you lose inches in the gym or on the road depending on what exercise you choose to do.

What ever your exercise of choice is, make it something you enjoy.  Now you’ll never have to “go on a diet” again!

Look For The Non-Scale Victories

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The scale lies! When you step on a scale it throws out a number and says you weigh this much. But that doesn’t tell the full story. If you ate something high in sodium the night before, or if you worked out the day before your body could be retaining extra water weight. There’s nothing more demoralizing than stepping on the scale and seeing you’ve gained anything from a pound to fi’ve pounds. Especially when you know you did everything right.

To avoid burn out look for those non-scales victories. The extra energy you’re feeling. The way your clothes fit better. Dropping a pant size gives you a huge boost. If you’re just starting out take lots of photos. Those “before” pics can give you a clear idea of how far you’re coming. Especially for those times when the scale refuses to budge. And take measurements. Waist. Chest, arm, leg measurements. Check them at the beginning of every month to truly see how far you have come.

 

Training Your Mind

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If there is one thing that is holding you back from taking action to make your dreams a reality, what is it? Sometimes, it helps to write it down and then turn the negative tone of ‘I can’t do this’, (insert the word what you can’t do), into ‘I can do this and I will do it’, (again insert the word what you will do).

Watch the mind take over and boost your confidence and positive feelings. You will start to believe that you can and will do it. Then, the next step is to turn the word, ‘I will’, into ‘I am’ doing the thing that I thought I couldn’t do.

It is important to acknowledge the struggle by writing it down and talking out loud. It is also equally important to write down and talk outloud the ‘I am’ aspect of it too.

It really is all in the mind. Once you realize the importance and power your mind has, you can start to believe anything is possible and you can take action towards making your dream a reality. ❤

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.

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!

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.

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

 

A Great Recipe Book I’d Like To Promote

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

Until now.

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

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

Her name is Geraldine and this is her blog…

https://veggiesyarnsandtails.wordpress.com/

And this is her e-book…

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

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.

Veggie stir fry with eggplant

image

We had the best dinner tonight.  So good I had to share it.  Well, share it digitally anyway.  Sadly there isn’t enough to go round for all my readers…

We had eggplant stir fry.  The eggplant was a bit of a cheat really.  It was something that had already been prepared.  In place of oil (as we’re trying to keep that to an absolute minimum) we used a can of tomato and basil soup as the base.  We added kale, broccoli, pearl onions, peas, zucchini, chick peas, we added some crumbled veggie burger and some seasonings.  We also added organic brown rice from Trader Joe’s.  Altogether, the meal came together perfectly.  We have a new go to meal.  The whole thing took about half an hour to prep and cook.  Next time I’d love to add mushrooms as I love their flavor. 

The meat eaters can keep their burgers, bacon and hot dogs.  They don’t even begin to compare to meals like this!

This would be good for anyone trying to follow #MeatlessMonday…

And We’re Off!

Momentum leads to excitement.

Excitement leads to anticipation.

Anticipation leads to expectation.

Expectation leads to action.

Action leads to results!

Those words came to me a week or so ago.  We’re really starting to see the power in those words.

 

Guest Blog: Battling Cancer with Physical Exercise

I’m sharing a blog today from fellow blogger, Melanie Bowen. Her blog is about using fitness as a tool in battling cancer. As someone who has lost loved ones to this horrific disease, I am always eager to help any way I can in the fight against cancer.

Melanie is currently a Master’s student with a passion that stems from her grandmother’s cancer diagnosis. She often highlights the great benefits of alternative nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those diagnosed with cancer or other serious illness. To read more from Melanie, visit her blog for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. In her spare time, you can find Melanie trying new vegan recipes, on her yoga mat, or spending time with her family.

Battling Cancer with Physical Exercise

Whether you are recuperating from a diagnosis of breast cancer, mesothelioma or prostate cancer, you will surely want to rely on physical exercise to regain your former strength. In all cases, you will need to progress from light to moderate to advanced activities. As long as you give your body time to adjust to each new level of exertion, you will find the benefits to be quite spectacular. Before taking up new cardiovascular activities, you should speak with your personal physician to make sure your body can handle the task.

Light: Breathing Exercises

In the immediate aftermath of chemotherapy or radiation therapy, you will likely still feel a bit sluggish. By beginning with simple breathing exercises, you can slowly coax your lungs back into action. Breathing exercises will also improve your blood flow and circulation, which will be an immense help in your perpetual battle against fatigue. If you have had one of your lungs removed because of mesothelioma, you might engage in deep breathing techniques for several minutes at a time. As your respiratory system begins to function better, you will find yourself able to perform more of the essential tasks of daily living. By regaining some of your cherished independence, you can also give family members a bit of a break from attending to your needs.

Moderate: Yoga

As your level of fitness continues to make strides, you can eventually move on to yoga, which is considered a moderately strenuous activity. Yoga traces its roots to Eastern philosophical traditions that emphasize the melding of the mind and the body. In addition to increasing flexibility, yoga is also superb for the psyche. In fact, yoga enthusiasts have long found the activity to help with insomnia. If you are still suffering from quite a bit of pain, yoga has a remarkable ability to refocus the mind. Because a cancer diagnosis can also lead to anxiety, you will likely be looking for ways to relax. Yoga, in fact, can actually prevent the release of stress hormones within the body. The activity is excellent for men and women who have been suffering from mental distress.

Advanced: Weight Training

Once you have become a true expert at yoga, you can at last move on to weight training. Because weight training is specifically designed to build muscle mass, individuals who are underweight will likely benefit the most. If you have recently been battling stomach or prostate cancer, then building muscle mass will be especially important to the health of your body. To get started, you might want to join a gym. Most good gyms have a fair number of weight machines that will work well for beginners. Once you’ve become more confident that you are using the proper techniques, you can progress to free weights. By working your chest, back, shoulders, arms, and legs, you should be able increase cardiovascular health and regain strength that will help you continue your recovery.

As a cancer patient, you should develop an exercise blueprint before you begin any kind of physical activity. By starting with breathing exercises and gradually progressing to yoga and then weight lifting, you can give your body a chance to adapt to each new level of exertion. Exercise can ultimately lead to a renewed passion for life and a closer bond with family members and friends.