a reformed diabetic talks about food, fitness training and life after diabetes
Sorry everyone. I meant to post yesterday, but life and work got in the way. The trip home to see Mom went well. She just kept patting my face and telling me my face looked so thin (in a good way). I did fear that she was going to channel her mother any minute and pinch my cheeks, but she resisted.
Today’s topic—exercise. (I realize that to some of you this is actually a 4-letter word disguised as an 8-letter word.) Eating changes aside for a minute, the other half of the success I’ve had over the last seven months is because of the amount of exercise I get every week. The trick is to find something that you like to do that involves moving your body in a way that will make you get warm and maybe a little sweaty. (Okay. That last sentence didn’t quite come out right.)
I may be a little weird. I really like working out. The harder it gets the more I smile and crack jokes (although 90 second planks apparently make me start whining halfway through.) This morning a trainer I don’t know came up to talk to me. He thought I needed dumbbells to push my arms more. Of course, what he tried to hand me were tiny things that weigh less than my hands. I started laughing and told him that I’d need a lot bigger dumbbells if he wanted me to take him seriously. I’m not sure he believed me. He did note that I seemed to be having an awfully good time for someone who was breathing so hard. Another trainer I know had watched all of this and came up to me laughing and said it was obvious this guy had never seen me train.
The point is I’ve found the type of exercise that I think is fun and makes me happy. For me it’s lifting free weights (the heavier the better) and body weight circuit training with a little cardio on the resting days. For you it might be playing soccer, rowing, riding a bike, or just a brisk walk in your neighborhood. The goal is to just get moving. The more you move, the better you feel, and the more you move. See a pattern here? The bonus: it brings your blood sugar down.
You can turn anything into circuit training. Take 3-5 exercises you like that move you in different directions: up and down (i.e., squats), side to side (i.e., side step on a raised step), forward and backwards (lunges), push and pull (bench press or pushups), add a set of crunches or v-ups; do 8-10 reps of each exercise, string them together without stopping and you’ve got a circuit. Rest for a minute or two between sets. Then do it again. As it gets easier (and you get smaller and stronger), add some weight.
This is really simplified but there are a lot of good books and blogs out there. I like New Rules of Lifting for Women in the book category. It’s a really easy read and it has workouts that you can follow with pictures and descriptions of all the exercises in the book. Both me and my trainer/training partner are seeing improvements in strength and endurance after four months of using the book as a loose guide. It started out as an experiment to see how two women, one who was already very fit and one who was somewhat fit but overweight, could benefit from this type of training. Neither one of us could do a full set of “man” pushups when we started in January, now we’re both knocking off 3 sets. And six months ago I couldn’t do even one pushup. For workout information online, visit Stumptuous. Krista has a lot of good information on her site—and she’s funny to boot.
And don’t be intimidated by the meatheads at the gym. You have every right to be there regardless of your size or fitness level.