The Best Kept Secret Of Medicine

best kept secret

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

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

Say No To Drugs

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

It’s Never Too Late To Start

 

If you think you are too old to start again or why bother, I say ‘you are too young not to start again’.

After struggling with my weight since I was a teenager and trying everything – Slimfast, Weight Watchers, going to the gym, I was a human yo-yo. I would lose a little and then gain more.

In July 2015, after watching my husband Dave lose weight, taking up running, joining My Fitness Pal and getting off his diabetes meds, I decided to join him on our health journey.

I joined MFP, joined and went to the gym regularly and watched what I ate and took my Peak Performance Packs of vitamins and supplements.  In one year, I lost 75 lbs and went down 5 pant sizes!  I feel great and have more energy!

The point I am trying to make is that it’s never too late!  I started my health journey at the age of 47.

I am now 50 and feel and look better than I did at 30 and 40.

The journey never ends.  Since I have been stuck at the same weight for a year, two weeks ago I started a 6 week plan to re start my metabolism and drastically reduce carbs and sugar.  I can’t wait to weigh and measure myself tomorrow morning.  I am feeling fabulous now!

***Edited on Friday, March 30th to add that in the last two weeks on my new weight loss plan, I lost a total of 4.2 lbs and a total of 8 1/4 inches!  Yes, feeling like I am on fire!  

Never. Quit.

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Never quit.  Whatever you have started, keep pushing forward.

If you stumble, catch your footing and keep going.

If you fall, pick yourself up and keep going.

If you have to crawl, keep going.  Any progress, no matter how minimal, is better than just giving up.

You started this because you cared enough about yourself to get on this road.  Now care enough about yourself to carry on the journey. No matter how arduous it becomes.

One day you will be so grateful to yourself that you didn’t stop.

Until you reach that day… Keep. Going.

 

Nutrition For Life

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I am living proof of this. I have been off the diabetes drug, Metformin, for almost 3 years now.  All because I made simple lifestyle changes through a healthier diet and becoming more active.

So many common illnesses are connected to our modern lifestyle.  High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes etc.  Our bodies are designed to move.

With Big Pharma being so prolific on our televisions these days, it’s easy to think “I’ll just take a pill and everything will be ok.”  But most medications are not meant to be taken over a long period of time and can end up doing more harm than good.  Also, most medications are designed simply to treat the symptoms, not the cause.  I’m not saying Big Pharma is never the answer.  Some illnesses that are genetic can only be treated with drugs.

There are so many instances where living a healthier lifestyle can drastically improve and even reverse diseases.

I. Am. Living. Proof. Of. This.

Three Year Fitness Anniversary

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

Enough was enough.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Truth About Dieting

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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.

Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life Program

Change Your Mindset,

Change Your Life Program

Have you ever felt frustrated with how you look and feel?

Have you ever been on so many diets that you should take stock in the word “diet”?

Have you ever started a diet or program and get excited when you see the results, but afterwards, your weight starts to creep up and up and before you know it, you weigh more than when you started?

Have you ever wanted to join a gym but felt intimidated by the people working out in there and walked right out the door?

Have you ever felt like ‘why should I bother with how I look and feel because I am in my 40’s and married and so what’?

Have you ever been to the doctor’s and they rattle off the rap sheet list of all your medical ailments and you just stare and blindly accept it because you figure, ‘hey I can’t do anything about it, right’?

If you can answer yes to any or all of these questions, you are not alone!  We have answered yes to every single one of those questions!

What changed?  Something finally clicked and we both said, enough is enough! 

For Dave, who is a type 2 diabetic and was on Metformin, the doctor wanted to put him on another medication because his A1c number was 7.2 and was not coming down.  This was in December 2014. 

This new medication was so strong, it was going to destroy his liver.  Dave finally had enough and started to walk and tried to run a bit. 

It wasn’t easy!  He also joined the free My Fitness Pal and he logged what he ate and exercised.  Eventually, he was able to run a mile at a time, then two, then four and now he can run ten miles! 

He also lost a total of 60 lbs and his pant size went from size 40 to size 32! 

And the best part?  The doctor said he didn’t need to take his diabetes medication because his A1c was 5.8 in June 2015!

Dave Before and After with words

In July of 2015, Christine saw all the positive changes that was happening to Dave.  She had always struggled with her weight since she was a teenager. 

She tried everything, from the Medifast diet, to fasting, to Weight Watchers, to joining the gym.  She would lose weight but guess what? 

Eventually, the weight would come back and then some!  It was more like an overstretched yo-yo where the toy goes up and down and then just gets stuck and overextended! 

She finally said, ‘enough is enough’ and at age 47, joined her husband and made a pact to do this together.  She also joined My Fitness Pal and started to log everything she ate and exercise. 

Yes, that dreaded word – exercise!  She started to walk here and there and she joined a gym with Dave.  She loves the weight strengthening machines and she pushes herself to do more. 

She has lost a total of 75 lbs and went down 5 pant sizes!!

Chris Before and After with words

So what changed? 

It is a life long health journey and more importantly, we are doing it together.  We have realized that the most important muscle in all of this is our brain. 

That’s right.  That little three-pound organ plays an important part and we discovered what it takes to get the three-pound organ to control what the rest of your body does. 

This is where we come in.  We have the tools to show you how to develop a positive mindset and get great results.

What we love to do is help other people who are just like us:  ordinary normal people who understand what you are going through and want to help you be on the path to your best health. 

This is not a miracle cure that you will blink and lose weight.  (We all wish that can happen!) 

But, in the next six weeks, we will guide you with the right tools to help you motivate and inspire you to be the best that we know you are!

We offer 6 weeks of group coaching!

 

  • You will be in our private Facebook Group.

  • Daily mindset and motivational tips to help you start the day with the right mindset to tackle almost anything.

  • Daily posts of ideas to eat healthy and exercises to do.

  • Daily Group accountability. Report what you accomplished for the day.

  • Opportunity to ask questions in the group and receive positive answers.

  • Two (2) weekly Group calls via Zoom on Monday and Friday.

  • Receive the PDF of Dave’s booklet: “10 Things To Know About How Having A Positive Mindset Can Help You With Almost Anything In Life!” for FREE.

All for the introductory price of just $77!!

Pay $77 securely here with PayPal!

 

Are you someone who needs a personal coach to motivate and inspire you to be and do your personal best?  Then, upgrade to our 1:1 personal coaching!

Receive all the Group details above plus:

  • Exclusive Facebook messenger or Voxer communication with your coaches.

  • Daily verbal mindset and motivation tips via Facebook messenger or Voxer.

  • Have a personal plan for your eating and exercising goals.

  • Personal daily accountability with your coaches to report what you accomplished for the day.

  • Two (2) 30 minute private calls weekly. (Besides the two Group calls.)

  • Your coaches will be available for private support whenever needed, (via Facebook text or voice messaging, Voxer or email, etc.

  • Receive four PDFs of Dave’s booklets for FREE:

  1. “10 Things To Know About How Having A Positive Mindset Can Help You With Almost Anything In Life!”

  2. “10 Things To Know About Running”

  3. “10 Things To Know About Weight Loss”

  4. “10 Things To Know About Exercising”

Normally the price for this exclusive 1:1 coaching is $1,821, but for the first 4 people to secure the spot, it is just $777!! 

That is a savings of $1,044 which is 57% off the price!!

Pay $777 securely here with PayPal!

 

If you have any questions, feel free to contact us!  Contact Form

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer

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!

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. ❤

You Are Stronger Than You Think!

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

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The Decision To Start

Two years ago I decided to start running for my health. It was one of the most important decisions I have ever made. Because of that decision I lost 40 lbs and got off diabetes medication. I could have just stayed as I was, wishing I was slimmer, wishing I could get my sugar levels under control.

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


I no longer wish I was slim.

I am slim.

I no longer wish I was off diabetes medication.

I am off diabetes medication.

All this because I made a simple choice.

One day while I was walking I chose to run.

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

Start now.

Start small.

Start while you’re afraid.

Just.

Start.

 

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

 

running

Why Not Just Start Today?

Chris Before and After with words

Dave Before and After with words

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

I Am Proud Of Me!

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This is a big moment for me.  This is how proud I am of myself.  Yesterday, I bought a new bathing suit. I haven’t bought one in about 10 years and the last time I wore one was about 5 years ago.  I would never like showing a photo of myself in one.  Of course, it would be a one piece with the ‘skirt like’ bottom.

Yesterday, I bought a two piece. Ok, it isn’t a bikini and it has the ‘skirt like’ bottom.  But, today, I am baring my soul because I took a photo, (actually to show my mom on Sunday), and compared it to the old me.  I know I still have more to lose, but I am proud of myself that I did lose 75 lbs and went down 5 pant sizes.  I am proud of me.

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!

latest comparison

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.

The Yoga And Meditation Center

I like to promote local businesses and we just recently found out about this Wellness center so I’m sharing it for anyone interested in learning about yoga and meditation.

This is a relatively new business based on Staten Island, NY.  We met with the owner the other day and got a look at the place.  The center offers beginners as well as advanced yoga.  The main area is a pretty decent size and the owner of the business, Dan Globus, is passionate about helping people.

Here’s the website for anyone interested in learning more.

http://www.thecompassioncenter.com/

The Compassion Center is located at:
4116 Hylan Blvd., 2nd Floor
(corner of Glover street and Hylan Blvd.)
Staten Island, NY 10308

There is a parking lot that can accommodate around a dozen to twenty cars.

The Compassion Center currently offers Meditation classes on:

  • Mondays: 7:45-9:00pm
  • Thursdays: 7:45-9:00pm
  • Sundays: 9:30-11:00am and 11:30am-1:00pm.

Dan can be contacted at: 347-770-7096

email: info@thecompassioncenter.com

For anyone who is looking to get started with yoga this would be a good place to start.

What I Have Learned About Weight Loss

Breathe

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

I have learned a few things along the way.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before And After

before and after

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

Never again!

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

My Home Workout Routine

I thought I’d share my home workout routine.

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

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

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

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

I do five sets of each of those routines.

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

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

Then ten push ups.

Again, five sets of this section.

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

Ten bicep curls.

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

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

Then it’s twenty Jumping Jacks.

Then I run up and down the stairs ten times.

Once more I do these in five sets.

The whole routine takes me one hour.

I finish with a delicious protein shake.

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

Plateau’s And How To Bust Them

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

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

Frustration.

The scale goes up a pound.

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

But the scale doesn’t tell the full story.

And the scale lies.

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

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

It’s all part of the game.

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

Your clothes start to fit better.

You can see changes in your face.

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

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

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

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

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

Zumba

One Incredible Year!

Chris before and after

before and after

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

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

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

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

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

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

If I Can Do It, So Can You!

Chris before and after

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

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

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

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

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

Dave was my inspiration!

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

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

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

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

When Your Need Is Greater Than Your Want?

 

inspiration_PNG

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.