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How I’m winning my War on Diabetes

A little while ago I wrote my piece on the dietary regime I’ve been following to combat Diabetes. I was diagnosed with the condition on 15th April 2007 and spent a week in hospital. Since then I’ve been trying to live as healthily as possible, and it’s had a marked effect on my life. For the better. My goal was to combat the disease through a combination of healthy eating and exercise. I wanted to lose 10Kg of weight each year for three years.

Well, the changes to my lifestyle and my attitude are really paying off big time. In seven weeks I’ve lost 8Kg – that’s about 18 lbs, or 1 stone 4 lbs in old money. Without feeling hungry. And while enjoying my food even more than before. Different food, sure, but it certainly isn’t boring. Maybe one meal a week is forgettable, but that’s just down to bad planning, or experimenting to find a new dish.

The weighing scales I bought that can calculate the proportion of body fat, water and muscle also show big improvements in the kind of weight I carry. Fat down from 35% to under 30%, with muscle mass up from 34% to 37%. When I lose my next Kilo I will officially no longer be considered obese! Man, that feels good.

Before my change to a healthy lifestyle I had got to the stage where just getting up off the floor from playing with my one year old was a struggle that needed all four limbs to lift me up – tragic I know, but so many people have similar problems. Now, I almost float up stairs, and relish the next staircase to walk up. Getting up off the floor is easy again – no hands needed! Because I’m not on a fad diet I’m not just losing weight, I’m also getting stronger. My neck is thinner and more muscley, my paunchy stomach is much, much smaller, and my muscles glow even when I’m sitting still, so I am burning more sugar just because there are more of them.

I’m also doing well on the medication front. Within a very short period of time after leaving the hospital I managed to give up insulin, although I am still taking Metformin to help my body deal with the sugars better. Just last week I gave up the blood pressure drugs that had been necessary when my blood pressure was 140 over 90. Now it is pretty stable around 105 over 70 – without any medication at all to reduce it.

My seven day average blood sugar level is 5.7 mmol/L which compares nicely with a non-diabetic value of 3.9 to 5.5 mmol/L. I’ll stay on the Metformin a bit longer though, it seems to be helping, and I have to lose quite a bit more weight yet. But I’ll get there.

Of course, I’m lucky with the weather at the moment. Spring and summer are here, with mostly dry, sunny days in which it is really easy to cycle or walk just that little bit further. But winter lies ahead and I have to prepare for it. I need an exercise machine.

I looked in a couple of gyms at the equipment they have, and compared it with the normal consumer stuff you see in sports shops. Mostly the consumer stuff is a pale comparison of the serious equipment a gym can provide. But I haven’t signed up for a gym yet. Most gym memberships fail after two months. In fact, for some people just signing the application form gives them more of a workout than they ever get in the gym itself.

I asked around at a couple of manufacturers at the prices of new kit – too much for me – but they sometimes get in reconditioned stuff after gyms have had the kit for three years on a contract before they renew with brand new equipment. I found I could save 75% off the cost of new gym level equipment, fully refurbished and with all the latest software just by waiting a little. Delivery should be just around the time the weather changes and outdoor exercise becomes less easy, and I’ll be paying about the same as I would for a top level consumer item that would actually give me less back.

I’m going to get a bike, rather than a rowing machine or treadmill for no other reason than that of space saving. For exercising the rest of me I’ll continue doing those circuit training exercises I learned all those years ago when as an athlete I tagged onto the weekly rugby training sessions, together with some isometrics.

Isometrics are easy to do, build muscle mass quickly, and take very little time. They also have the benefit of being possible anywhere. The basic principle is that you push against an immovable object so that your muscles try and try to move it, but instead just stimulate their own growth.

One example of an isometric exercise is to stand in a doorway, place the palm of each hand on either side of the wall so that if the wall were not there your hands would meet palm to palm with elbows bent so you push them together, trying to squash the wall. Another good one is to stand with bent legs for as long as you can manage, rest for a minute or so, and then repeat two more times. It’s amazingly effective.

Just don’t do isometrics without something to get your cardio-vascular system going as well though – that means one of cycling/swimming/walking/jogging so that your heart rate reaches a level sufficient to burn off fats, about 120-130 for me from what I can gather (see previous post about this).

Equipment that has helped me
I get paid nothing for saying this, and have no connection with any of the companies concerned other than my positive experience as a customer.

I’ll write some more another time and let you know how my regime goes. I’m quite enjoying life at the moment though, and I am so pleased something like Diabetes came along and shocked me out of my apathy. I’m enjoying life a whole lot better now, and feel a lot more positive about myself too.

As the song goes “Always look on, the bright, si-de of life! Da-dum, da-dum die dum die dum…

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One comment on “How I’m winning my War on Diabetes

  1. Wow, that’s a detailed track record you’ve got there.

    Remember that the only way this diet and exercise works is through making it a lifestyle. If you give yourself an “out”…usually you’ll take it.

    I know for myself, the only way it’s stuck…is through a complete life change.

    Keep up the good work. (and the art garfunkel version of that song is the best!)

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