I’ve received quite a bit of support over the past week since I “went live” with sharing my new reality. I guess with 86 million of us out there, it stands to reason that there will be supportive people I haven’t contemplated. The comments and personal messages I received after my last post have been incredibly encouraging and uplifting.
I spent my week since that post diving into self-education and making changes to my diet and exercise regimen. I’m not where I want to be yet but steps have been taken. The one thing I’ve found in studying how to improve my life is the complexity of information out there. The internet is a wonderful thing but it’s also a formidable opponent. The information and recommendations for diabetics is frequently contradictory. “Eat whatever you want, just in moderation.” “Don’t eat carbs.” “It’s okay to drink.” “Better stop drinking.” It’s all very confusing.
It’s the same with exercise. Cardio vs. Resistance training, etc. I’ve concluded that I need to read as much as I can but take it all with a grain of salt. After all, I know myself and my body better than anyone else.
I also found some incredible support through a couple of Facebook groups. I joined them earlier this week and wrote some introductory posts for each. The response and support was overwhelming. One person was quite direct with me about taking this seriously. I’ve had other health issues in my life that have been “solved” by medications. For instance, I’ve had high blood pressure for about twenty years. I actually think it’s more like thirty. When I found out, I was “scared straight” for a while. I cut caffeine, salty foods, etc. But my medication controlled it and so I eventually went right back to my poor habits.
I started the same way with diabetes. But the reality of both situations is that this approach is not a good solution. Real changes need to come. Lifestyle changes. I need to change the way I even think about food from an emotional and/or “boredom” standpoint. My wife has always been a great cook who makes healthy meals. She takes care of herself and exercises 3-4 times a week. Me? Not so much.
My food issues are multi-faceted. As I mentioned last week, I’m not so much a sweets guy but I love my fried foods and chips. But it also goes beyond that. One problem I have is that I eat way too fast. This creates an overindulging habit because I will eat until satisfied in the moment but will frequently be uncomfortable 15 minutes later. Obviously, I need to slow down.
Not only do I need to slow down, I also need to eat LESS! I tend to eat WAY too much.
Intuitively, I know what I have to do. I just need to practice mindful eating. Until recently, I have been hitting the Trifecta of diabetes. Eating too much of the wrong stuff, too fast! All the poor habits have led me to being 100 lbs. above my high school weight and about 70 over my college graduation rate. Changes have to come.
Going forward, I’m going to cut certain foods out of my diet. But cutting too much, too fast, will lead to backsliding. I know how I operate.
So, for now, I’m going to work on greatly reducing my carbohydrate intake. It’s all well and good to carbo-load if I’m a finely tuned athlete and will burn the carbs during exercise. But I’m not. And that leads me to the second lifestyle change I need to make. More exercise.
This past week, I did pretty well. I went to an indoor cycling class at a venue owned by a friend of mine, I walked 3+ miles on my treadmill in my basement and I did a bike ride of a little over 12 miles on the roads this weekend. Basically, cardio exercise every other day almost. However, I’ve long had a flawed view of exercise. My mentality has always been if I can’t ride/walk, etc. for at least an hour, it isn’t worth the effort. Wrong answer. I’ve read a multitude of times that as little as 30 minutes several times a week is a good amount. If I can translate that into 30 minutes on my “off” days and stick with my 60 minutes on other days, all the better.
I’ve for too long used too many excuses. “I’m tired.” “I don’t have time.”, etc. No more excuses. If I am going to be successful in this fight I have to prioritize me. I’ve long known that I to make my own health and fitness a priority but, like so many other areas of my life, I didn’t take it seriously. Perhaps I need to put it on my calendar and in writing at home.
Regardless of the methods I use to motivate myself and make real lifestyle changes, I need to get my head clearly focused on one singular goal. In the past, when I’ve taken on a new goal or hobby, I’ve been able to become very focused on learning as much as possible about it. Why not make my health my hobby?
I read recently (can’t remember where or from whom) that the body is a machine. Why put low octane fuel in it? Isn’t it better to use clean fuel for best performance? Makes sense to me.
Again, thank you for your support and comments either on the blog or through direct messages or other social media. You cannot imagine how much your support means to me. Please feel free to share your tips, stories and any other comment you wish. And if you know someone who you think can benefit from my journey, by all means, share this with them too.