Diabetic Education

When I was first diagnosed with Type II Diabetes, the doc and dietary nutritionist worked with me to understand what my health risks were, along with the changes I’d have to make in my eating habits.

I think for those of us that have been on this planet for a while; we understand what a struggle it is to lose weight, once your metabolism and/or life-style has changed significantly. It’s difficult enough to take the weight off; but then to maintain the habits that got you there; there-in lays the problem. You’ll hear folks who have studied the subject say that your body’s inclination is to return to your previous weight; even rebound beyond that to a new celluloid high. This yo-yo effect of dieting; sometimes referred to as ‘weight cycling’; is what awaits many of us if we fail to find a way to incorporate the healthful aspects of our culinary and exercise life-styles into a habit; on a long-term basis.

My initial foray into the world of Diabetes was initiated by informative, but too few, nutritional and dietary classes through my doctor. They seemed to think I got the concept of my disease and how to control it, rather quickly; but I beg to differ.

Years later; sparse memory of my insufficient education leaves me with these main points the nutritionist tried to instill (of course I’ve read lots of med info since).

  1. Regulate your carbs: 40-65 at each meal/15 for snacks between meals and after bedtime.
  2. Watch your sugars; closely!
  • I was given a print out called ‘78 Ways Sugar Can Ruin Your Health’; as I read the list, my unspoken answer to each stated effect was yup, yup, yup; it was quite the eye opener.
  1. Learn the Glycemic Index; which carbs are good, which are bad and why it’s important. Simple carbs vs. complex carbs, why does it matter?
  2. Study all the pertinent dietary issues: detox, fat intake, fiber, hydration, muscle maintenance, heart health, hunger taming, weight-loss plateau, portions, alcohol usage, vitamins/minerals, emotional weight gain, binging & purging, BS highs & lows, BMI, and so much more; and of course; exercise.
  3. Test your blood sugar regularly, at both regular and varied times; and note down which foods, what eating patterns and how exercise effect your glucose levels. The more aware and comfortable you become with BS testing and gaining info along with understanding how to lower your A1c; the closer you’ll get to your weight-loss goals and a positive trend towards a non-Diabetic future; or at least learn how to mitigate some effects of the disease (These thoughts are generally for non, insulin-using Diabetics; they, in some ways, apply to insulin usage but that is a different ball game for which I am not informed).

During my last semi-annual check-up in March, I showed the doc an Excel spreadsheet I’d been keeping of my weight, blood sugar testing, eating habits, exercise and other notes that I’ve kept. I thought it interesting; he ran down through the blood sugar readings quickly and without comment, and nodded in approval when he got done. It seemed like he did this kind of indifferently, so it raised curiosity in me and I asked, “Boy; you ran through that in a flash, so what do you think?” He said; well your testing numbers look really good, but I’m just glad that you’re testing.” This elicited further curiosity, “So why; are there folks out there with Diabetes that don’t test?” He said; “You’d be surprised!”; and that I was!

Coming up; I will try to focus more on dietary habits and some personal tips that worked for me. (Sorry; promised this last time 😦 ) Please try to give me some feed-back, ask questions or let me know what interests or relates to you; I would love to create a productive dialogue!

– Bill

How I Incorporated Exercise

A turning point; early in December, 2016, a parishioner friend from our church, asked me if I’d like to come out and play Pickle Ball. To that point, without a shred of sustained exercise; I had lost 20-25 lbs; just through diet. I said Pickle-what; and he went on to explain the game and its inner-workings. So; the second week of December, I went out to give Pickle Ball a shot. I figured that since I hadn’t actively exercised regularly in probably 20 years, that it might be a good idea to warm-up, flex a little bit before I played. So I stopped in at the local rec center, paid my $2, and started my own personal, far-from-professional workout routine; prior to PB. My routine began with 30 minutes on the treadmill with a 5 minute cool-down period (you can certainly start out for less time), at a steady 2 ½ – 3 mph pace; heart rate below 120. After a month or so; I started adding a light jogging speed of 5 mph every few minutes; raising my heart rate from a starting 70-80 BPM to between 125-140; prior to cool-down. Weeks into my pre-PB loosening program, I added lifting to the ritual, post treadmill; which included the Chest Press, the Leg Extension and the Lateral Pull-down. I extended my routine over a couple of months as seemed fit, and worked from 30-40 lbs, up to 60-120 for the later two lifts.

  • Note: It’s vitally important to consult your physician along with an exercise specialist before you excessively increase your heart rate or lifting weight. I went into the exercise with a limited range of motion issue in my shoulders; diagnosed by my doc; previously. Seven months later; my left shoulder feels better, however; my right shoulder’s noticeably worse. Maintaining a sustainable amount of lifting weight to avoid injury; even though you may feel you can lift more; is important.

One of my goals included trying to build back muscle I’d lost during the couch-potato days between 35 & 55. So my routine included 20-40 gms of protein prior to my workout; and a similar amount post-workout. If you look on-line; there are varying degrees of opinion as to the proper protein input; dependent upon your goals, health status, age, etc. Also; throughout the exercise routine, during Pickle Ball and for my daily diet; I drank lots of water. I’ve seen various recommendations, such as 1/2 an ounce for every lb that you weigh, however, for me; 130-140 ozs of water per day wasn’t going to happen. I worked consciously, to consume enough water to keep hydrated and reduce some of the effects hunger will cause while consuming less in your diet; usually 6-9, 8 oz bottles of water/day. This meant for me; carrying a water bottle or two; everywhere.

After ‘loosening-up’; I’d join the Pickle Ball crew a few times a week for some rousing doubles competition; most of the sessions were two hours. This was as good a cardio boost as the warm-up exercise, sometimes better; depending on the competition!

Next post I will begin detailing more about my diet; and little ‘tricks’ I used to keep focused on my goals.

– Bill   7-12-17

Health Risks-my concerns

My excessive weight gain, lack of exercise, indiscriminate eating habits, insufficient sleep, and the health issues they presented over time, in hind sight; seem very obvious; I’ll call it a no-brainer. But I realized; the willingness to own up to my excesses and recognize what they may lead to down the road, health-wise; was an important first step in changing my life-style and dietary choices. This was my list of health concerns, at the time of diagnosis, and in the few years following:

  1. Obesity
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Sluggishness and tiresome in the middle of the day/occasional, unplanned cat-naps
  4. Gout-random, 3-4 times a year
  5. Neuropathy-beginning signs of tingling in feet
  6. Blood pressure, without medication-high
  7. Cholesterol, without medication-same thing
  8. Restless leg syndrome-occasionally
  9. ED-look it up, if unsure
  10. Limbs going numb-falling asleep while in bed or while in funny positions
  11. Aching chest-couldn’t sleep on left side-random, frequent pains while in church, theater and wherever
  12. Ankle swelling-growth on ankle swollen occasionally
  13. Sleep Apnea-diagnosed with moderate to severe sleep disorder/probably had for well over a decade
  • Breathing stops occasionally during sleep
  • Wake up with chest pains & anxiety
  • Interrupted sleep patterns
  • Lethargic days
  1. Dental issues-losing bone/not necessarily related to Diabetes for myself
  2. Heart disorder-30% aortal blockage
  3. Atrial Flutter – 2010

. . . and more

A death sentence, possibly not; on the road to disaster; surely!

Diabetics Guide to Unscientific Weight-loss and Improved A1c

As of the penning of this unscientific documentation of my personal weight-loss tips, I was on my 4th year; following a diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes, near my 53rd birthday. Living unconcerned; with Pre-diabetes for several years and a blood sugar that wasn’t off-the-charts; things abruptly changed when my A1c came back over 7, and a fasting blood sugar test of 179 caught the eye of the doctor in the fall of 2012; official diagnosis, Type II. So I was prescribed more medications than I’d ever cared to know about; this being the cost of complacency. In the summer of 2016, I came home from a heavenly pig-fest, having gained over 10 lbs on our week-long family vacation to WV; roughly 80-90 lbs overweight; with a digital weight reading of 285. This ridiculous weight-gain along with knowledge of living with a diabetic disease, spurred my resolve to try to reduce and minimize the effects of the ailment, or outright reverse it; if possible. I recalled during my annual check-up at the end of August; the assisting nurse (or doc, can’t remember), told me, if I wanted to reverse the effects of the disease and wean myself off of the medications; my target weight was probably in the 230’s. That meant a weight-loss of over 50 lbs, which frankly, sounded like a ridiculous prospect at the time. With some help from my wife and family, from a friend at church, and a mindset to reduce my physical footprint; I embarked on an amazingly half-baked, self-imposed program to look better in a bathing suit and reduce my BMI (Body-Mass Index). My initial goal; lose 50 lbs, reign in a few belt loops, lower my daily blood sugar levels and A1c, gain some stamina, and begin a regiment tied to a healthy diet; little of it had I attempted before. So I set course, with a mission . . .