Showing posts with label diets. Show all posts
Showing posts with label diets. Show all posts

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ten years is nowhere near enough!

Back in February I went to the doctor for a check up.  I wasn't sick as such, but I wasn't feeling particularly well either.  

I had put on a lot of weight.  I was retaining fluid.  I was tired, lethargic and unable to stop eating all the wrong foods.  I craved sweet sugary starchy foods and fresh white bread with lashings of butter.  Plus my exercise regime consisted of 30 minutes per week with a personal trainer and a walk with a friend.

She sent me off for some blood tests and I figured it would be the same as usual ... everything would be okay but my thyroid medication would probably need adjusting, explaining the tiredness and lethargy.

A few days letter I received a call from my doctor's surgery requesting I come in to discuss my results and not to panic it wasn't urgent.  I ate more chocolate and white bread to ease my worry.

Two days later I was sitting opposite my doctor hearing the words "pre diabetes", overweight, life expectancy".   Okay, now you have my attention ... "life expectancy, what do you mean?  It's not like I have cancer or anything?"

She told me that diabetes would take 10 years off my life expectancy and if I changed nothing about my lifestyle I could expect to be a diabetic within two years.  Ouch!   She also measured my waist, with one of those special health tape measures and I was at the high end of the red area ... red meaning "danger".

Her advice was to change my lifestyle by eating a more balanced diet, exercising more and losing 10 kilograms.  She also referred me to a weight loss clinic.

I left feeling a bit overwhelmed, okay I'm lying ... I was a lot overwhelmed and all I really wanted was a hot chocolate and a piece of banana bread.    Instead I went to work and pushed it to the back of my mind, that is, until I was driving home later that evening.

Ten years off my life expectancy ... is that a big deal?  Should I be worried? I started to work it out in my head.  So, if diabetes would reduce my life expectancy by ten years that means living a reasonably healthy and active life until 80 would now become 70.   She also mentioned that the last 10 years of my life would be spent dealing with the myriad of diabetes related illnesses that I would now have.  That takes me back to 60 ... I would be relatively healthy until I was 60.   Given I'm currently 50 ... THAT IS ONLY TEN MORE GOOD YEARS!!!!!!!!!!  

Yep.  That.  Changed my life.  Changed my outlook.  Changed my eating habits.  Changed everything.  Ten more years is not good enough.  I've too many things I want/need to do and ten years will go by in a blink. 

That was the last week in February and from that night everything changed.   I had been toying with the idea of quitting sugar for the  few weeks before that and had even inquired about joining the "I Quit Sugar" program, but I'd just missed the close off.   Never mind, I ate some more chocolate while I thought about it some more.  However, the game has changed and the time for thinking about it has been and gone.  It was now time for action.

So, here we are two months on and I can say I've successfully changed my lifestyle and am definitely feeling better.  On 27th February I gave up sugar (fructose) and find I'm no longer craving anything sweet, including my beloved chocolate.  I'm not missing out on any food, I'm not hungry and most importantly, I'm not dieting.   I've also just given up gluten, which has never really been any good for me, and I've found that harder than giving up sugar.  I do feel better for it, but I miss bread ... even though I'd progressed from white bread to grain bread!

I've lost 5 kilograms over the two months and have stopped retaining fluid.  I am fitting into clothes I haven't worn in ages and I'm baking more brownies and treats than I've ever done!!   I'm growing my own salad and smoothie greens and I'm exercising 4-5 time per week.  

I hardly know who I am anymore.  I haven't found this change as difficult as I have in the past and I believe there are two reasons for this.  One, I want more than ten years of good quality life and two, I've made one change at a time and done it slowly until I no longer have to think about it.  Not eating sugar and going to the gym or the park to exercise is now just part of my day, like cleaning my teeth or having a shower.  It's true what they say about taking 21 days to make a habit.  I've just never exercised or followed a sustainable eating plan longer than 21 days in a row to let it become a habit.

Whenever I've dieted in the past it has been on a program that is not sustainable in the long term.  I have an under active thyroid and this can be problematic when trying to lose weight and also when exercising.  If I go for a hard core exercise program like that advocated by 12WBT I end up crashing half way through because I come down with a virus and I can't recover.  Also, when I reduce my calories to 1200, I start to lose weight but then nothing.  A very slow metabolism caused by my under active thyroid is exceptionally good at holding onto fat.  

I've been seeing a trainer since June last year and she is training me in a way that keeps my thyroid happy and I have not been sick at all.  I've recently upped my exercise regime by adopting High Intensity Training (HIT) or Tabata Training and this has made a significant difference to my strength and fitness, again without the stress a hard core exercise program puts on my body.   By hard core I mean training for in excess of 30 minutes six days per week.  I currently train 4 days each week and it looks like this:  

Monday:   HIT hill runs 4 x 30 secs & 4 minutes of tricep dips & pushups & bicep curls (not 4 minutes each - a total of 4 minutes) and a ten minute walk.   I also combine this with walking the dog so will generally get a much longer walk.

Tuesday:   PT session - 30 minutes

Wednesday:   Rest day

Thursday:  1 hour walk with a girlfriend

Friday:   Gym session - 30 minutes - cardio and strength Tabata Training or training in the park after walking the dog.

Saturday:  Rest

Sunday:  Rest - or sometimes a Gym session

When I go out or go to a friend's home to eat I don't go with a list what I can't eat ... I eat whatever is available or cooked for me in moderation.  I don't want to be "that" person who doesn't eat stuff and makes it hard for my friends to prepare me a meal.  I find the next day I'm not very hungry and I eat light foods all day.  I'm no longer obsessing about food and I'm only eating 3 meals a day.  No snacks at all ... not because I'm dieting ... but because my body doesn't want them.  

I don't proclaim to have the answers to a healthy lifestyle.  But what I do know is I've made a conscious effort to find what works for me and I've done it.  I'm someone who needs a big incentive or a deadline to get things done ... seems like losing ten years was my incentive this time.

It has been a total lifestyle change.  I still have 5 kilograms to lose and I'm sure over time it will go ... I'm not pushing it because I don't want a short term fix.   This is the rest of my life I'm talking about here and I want that rest to be MUCH longer than ten years.

I want to be that crazy 85 year old lady you see on the news jumping out of a plane ... I'll be sure to wave to you!    


Monday, April 9, 2012

Fist Pumpiness is Not My Style

As I sit here, wondering what to write, I eat another chocolate.  It has truly been an Easter blow out, starting with the baking of Brownies on Friday.  Admittedly I have not eaten a single Easter egg, but have had a few chocolates and at least half my body weight in hot cross buns.

Those who know me will know I'm on the Michelle Bridges 12WBT (12 Weeks Body Transformation) program and I've been going okay with it over the past 8 weeks.   I've had a few slip ups and bad days, but generally I've been eating well and exercising, which in itself is a huge improvement on my non existent prior health and fitness regime.

However, I've not been able to fully embrace this program, just as I've never been able to fully embrace any weight loss, healthy living program in the past.  And believe me, I've tried a few!    I've listened to all the motivation video's Michelle sends us, I've read the blog posts and forum discussions.  I've seen photos of people who have lost some amazing amounts of weight and have transformed their lives.  But still, I'm not inspired enough to fully embrace it.   By "fully embrace it" I mean living and breathing everything about it.  I follow the food plans, somewhat and I follow the exercise guidelines, albeit loosely.  I think about what I'm going to eat and I make sure I do some exercise everyday, but I am not fanatical about the program.  Not like many of the others who are on it.

Why?  That's exactly what I've been wondering.  Why?  Do I lack willpower?  Probably.   Do I eat for comfort?  Yes.  Do I love food?  Yes.  Do I believe I should give up my favourite things and become obsessed with what I put into my body?  No.   I think that last question is the key for me.   I've never been a fanatical type person and I don't think I ever will be.  And as I've come to realise lately, nor do I want to be.

I don't really like the "fist pumpiness" that comes with these programs.  I feel like it is all or nothing, and if you can't give your all you are somehow failing.  There is no middle ground, no grey area.   You either want to lose weight and get fit and you commit to follow the rules religiously or you will fail.  Simple as that.  This doesn't sit well with me.  When I watch shows like biggest loser and the trainers yell at the participants and make them feel bad because they are giving up, it bothers me, a lot. I know why they do this and I know it is meant to keep the participant going, but to me it feels like the trainers have the power, the answers and the fat person must obey them or forever stay fat.  Like I said, the "fist pumpiness" of it all it is a bit too much for me, if I don't follow the leader, I will not be saved.   This is not my style.  

I'm definitely feeling better and I've lost 6 kilos since I started this particular program.  I would ideally like to lose 4 more kilos and I'm sure if I was focussed and disciplined I could do it easily.  I also know, when I finish losing the 4 kilos and I go back to my old habits they will creep on again very quickly.

I don't want to be obsessive about my weight and I don't want to be the one who is always saying, "no I can't eat that, I'm on a program".   I want to be fit and healthy and I also want to enjoy good food on my terms.   Whilst I'm not sticking religiously to this program, I'm using elements of it and adapting them to fit into my life.  I have found an exercise routine that I enjoy and for the first time ever I'm making exercise part of my daily routine.  I am not prescriptive about it though - I do whatever I feel like on that particular day.  The difference now is I do something every day.

Clean food is definitely appealing and I try not to buy things that are processed or pre made.  I am learning to only eat when I'm hungry and for the most part I only want to eat healthy things.  However there are times when I really feel like a chocolate brownie or a hot cross bun and I want to be able to eat these without feeling like I am "bad" or a "failure".  I'm noticing more than ever how often I say "I've been bad" or "today has been a food fail" and I'm increasingly becoming uncomfortable with this.  I'm measuring my worth by what I've put in my mouth - this is wrong.  Am I really bad because I ate something delicious?

Life is too short to spend the rest of it eating low fat, low carb, no sugar all the time.  When I want to eat chocolate, I shall eat good quality dark chocolate.  When I want a brownie, I will either make them myself or buy one from my favourite organic shop.  I definitely don't want to put rubbish into my body, but I certainly want to be able to eat foods I love without feeling like I've failed.

If I was to measure my success on this program by my stats and my ability to follow the rules, it would appear that I have failed.   This is not true.  Whilst I may not be "fist pumping", I am happy that I have learnt a lot about myself and it is more important to focus on how I'm feeling as opposed to how much I weigh.


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