a reformed diabetic talks about food, fitness training and life after diabetes
Category Archives: Eating
Oh…2011. It was a year of experimenting on myself three years after my initial 97 pound weight loss.
- What can I eat?
- What foods should I really stay away from?
- Can I get away with 30 minute workouts three times a week?
- Is walking the dog enough exercise for me?
- Who’s more “right”—Gary Taubes or Michael Pollan when it comes to what we should eat, how much, and which foods we should shun? Or are they both right depending on a person’s metabolic make up?
And of course, being human, I had to learn the hard way. Which means I have a bit of weight to lose. The difference now compared to when I let myself get to 260 pounds is that I didn’t let it get so out of control that there’s no way back. And I know how to get the weight off now. The hard part is having the discipline to do it.
Here’s what I learned about how my body uses and stores food and my issues with food:
- My body does not like processed or refined carbohydrates. Period. So that means limiting carbs to those come from veggies and some fruit.
- My body needs to be worked out for 45 minutes or more, 5 or 6 times a week.
- I have the aging process working against my fitness and weight goals and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. (I haven’t quite accepted this one.)
- I still have same issues with food that I had when I weighed 260 pounds. Which means I have to make good food choices every time I eat.
I had several false starts on losing the 20 pounds I gained during my experimentation. I’d get the food right, but not the exercise, or vice versa. Since the beginning of 2012 I’ve hit on the right combination of food and exercise and the weight is slowly coming off. I’m averaging about 5 pounds a week right now. I realize that will probably taper off to a couple pounds a week. And I’m good with it. The important thing is the number is going down and my clothes are fitting better.
Everyone’s metabolism responds differently to food and exercise. The trick is finding the combination that works for you and gives you the results you’re looking for.
It’s also important to find the thing that motivates you to keep going when you’re faced with the “fun” choice vs. the “right” choice at restaurants and potlucks and on those nights when you just have the munchies.
My motivation is that I never want to have to take insulin or metformin again. And the other motivation is to continue inspiring my training clients and others who are struggling with significant weight issues. I feel a responsibility to be a good example of a healthy lifestyle. And I’m honest with them about my struggles with eating right.
So, what motivates you to make good food choices or go to the gym when you really want to sit on the couch and eat potato chips? Do you know what foods trigger insatiable cravings in you?
Your muscles require protein to work and grow properly. Eat high-quality proteins such as whole eggs, organic pork or chicken, and grassfed beef; or drink a protein shake made with whey protein before intense activities to help your muscles work hard and recover quickly.
Protein stays with you longer than carbohydrates, too, so you won’t get as hungry between meals.
Hi, everyone! I’ve had my head stuck in a book for the last couple of weeks. I’m getting really close to being able to take the fitness trainer exam through NASM. My head is full of anatomy and human movement science and exercises and most of it would bore you to tears if I were to talk about it here.
So did anyone see Andy Rooney’s rant about what’s in our food on 60 Minutes tonight?
I have a conversation similar to this with at least one person a week because the minute people find out I’ve lost so much weight in less than a year the conversation invariably turns to what I eat—and what I don’t eat. And then we start talking about the evils of processed foods. And how little actual food is in processed foods.
Well, I have to say I’m pretty pleased with my lab results. I got a 5.4% on my Ha1c, which is .2% lower than 12 weeks ago. And last time I was taking 2000 mg of Metformin a day. This time around I was only taking 500 mg. Maybe by the next go around I won’t be taking any. That’s one of my goals, anyway.
I’ve talked briefly in the past about the paleo (or primal) diet. We were designed to eat meat, vegetables, berries and nuts. When refined grains and sugar were added to our diets, humans as a species started developing problems, like diabetes and heart disease. Study after study has indicated that when these refined grains and sugars are introduced into native diets, populations who’ve never shown signs of these diseases start getting them at an alarming rate.
When we eat animals, we eat what they eat. So if you feed a cow grass (which we can’t digest)—and which is what cows are supposed to eat—we end up getting the benefits of what’s in the grass. For example omega-3s and leaner, tastier beef.
If you feed a cow corn, which is the norm now thanks to those horrendously inhumane feedlots all over the Midwest, along with lots of government subsidies for growing the stuff, the cow will eat the corn. But the cow will not be a happy, healthy cow because its digestive system isn’t designed to eat grains. So the cow requires lots of antibiotics to combat all the beasties growing in his tummy caused by his diet and his living conditions. When you eat this cow, or drink milk from this cow, you get a dose of antibiotics with every serving, whether you want it or not. Which is why, in many a parents’ opinion, girls are getting their periods as 8-year-olds instead of 12 or 13 and young boys may develop breasts. How sick is that?
Now, yes, botanically speaking, corn, wheat, rye and oats are grasses. But we don’t eat the leafy green part of the grass and neither does our livestock. When you eat corn and other grains, you’re eating the seeds.
Then there are all the weird things that come out of corn as byproducts made in a laboratory somewhere. The worst of which is high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). This stuff is amazingly cheap to produce and a lot cheaper to use in processed foods than sugar. Remember back in the eighties when Coca Cola came out with New Coke? Well, the new part was that they stopped using cane sugar and switched to HFCS. Candy bars used to actually have sugar in them, too.
Fast forward 20+ years and a good portion of us are twice our normal size now. So as a culture did our diet really get that bad in 20 years or is maybe HFCS to blame for some of it? Personally, I think the stuff’s addictive in some form, if my problems with processed foods were anything to go by.
I warned you this was a ramble. I have no clever way to wrap this up. Just something to think about.
I do apologize for not keeping the blog updated. I appreciate those of you who, ever optimistic, keep checking back.
While I won’t go into any details here because it’s not an appropriate place for it, I will say that the last nine months have been exciting because of the changes in my body and health and also difficult because of the problems it caused in my relationship. I have never experienced a break up like this and I had no idea how much it could hurt emotionally and physically. Amazingly, through all of this I’ve managed to continue to eat healthy, workout 4-5 days a week, try to deal with the situation with as much integrity as I can, and run my business.
I’m Eating Really Well These Days…
Since my last post at the beginning of the month, I’ve had a chance to eat some of the organic pork and grassfed beef I purchased at the end of May. It’s surprised me to discover that I’ve eaten more of the pork than the beef and I’m now thinking I’ll add a half-hog order to my beef order this fall. Regardless of the health benefits I’m getting from eating organic meat, it just tastes better. You can’t even imagine how much better unless you try it for yourself.
The farmer’s market in my neighborhood started up for the season a couple of weeks ago so I’ve been able to add pasture-fed chicken eggs directly from the farmer to my diet along with fresh, organic greens, asparagus, etc. The growing season here has been a little strange this year so there’s not a lot of variety in the produce yet. I’ve only been to the grocery store twice since the beginning of June—and I don’t miss it.
And Going to the Gym…
On the work out front, I have been working on getting my squats lower. Kristn has let me get away with not getting my butt all the way down where it’s supposed to be for a long time, and she challenged me to reduce the weight I was squatting and work instead on flexibility and form. This was a hard one for me because I really like throwing the big numbers on the board where we keep all our stats. But after a few weeks of working on this on my own on our off-training days, with just the 45-lb. barbell, I am seeing the results. I’m getting down further and squatting more weight than I was before. I feel like I have more power to push the weight up when I get a little lower, too. I’m deadlifting more weight, as well. And I’m noticing a difference in the musculature of my upper legs.
And Getting My Bloodwork Done.
Tomorrow I get to have my next Ha1c. It’s been 12 weeks since I pulled a 5.6% and since then I’ve reduced the amount of metformin I take by 75%. My fasting blood sugars are consistently around 80 or so in the morning. It will be interesting to see the results. I’m also getting my vitamin levels tested to make sure I’m getting enough vitamin D3 to offset the lack of sun here in gloomy, gray Seattle.
So that’s it for now. I’ll be back in a couple of days to share my lab results.
Note: Just a reminder to readers that this blog is about a very specific (and small) part of my life, i.e., learning to beat/live with diabetes, in the hope that it might inspire or help other people.