It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?
I haven’t been writing much. Wait. That’s a lie. I haven’t been writing at all. I’m taking some time off to make some significant changes in my life.
A few months ago, I was battling high blood pressure, and my doctor was concerned that I was (at the very least) pre-diabetic. I weighed in at 275 lbs. — the heaviest I’ve ever been. Not good. I’m only 5’7″, folks. I was beginning to resemble a beach ball. Plus, I was listless — it was hard to get out of bed. Or off the couch. I was pretty good at sitting or lying down. Anything else — anything that took effort — was getting harder and harder to do.
I paid little attention to what I was putting in my body, and things were getting worse and worse. Exertion equaled sweat and sometimes shakes. It sucked, and I was getting depressed. Like, clinically depressed — not just feeling down a little.
But seeing the numbers (275 lbs., BP 160/110, etc.) made me realize some changes were in order. And if I didn’t make those changes, I might not see my son grow up.
I was ordered to take a blood sugar test (which sucked), and then I would have to discuss the results with the doc.
Before I took the blood sugar test, I took a couple of weeks to begin eating right. I also began to exercise daily. I dropped fifteen pounds and took the test. I kept working my butt off and kept eating better. By the time I went back to conference with my doctor, I’d lost 35 lbs.
The numbers were astounding. Somewhere in the midst of all this weight loss, I ran out of blood pressure meds for about a week. Oops. I monitored my BP, though, and the changes were amazing. Without meds, my blood pressure had dropped to 130/77. When I got back to the doc, I was back on my meds. Blood pressure on the medication? 112/70.
Huge difference, right?
My doctor came into our meeting prepared to put me on several medications. My body is still producing insulin, but I was definitely at-risk for pre-diabetes. But the difference in my weight, in my blood pressure, and in my resting heart rate, made him change his mind. We talked for several minutes, and at the end of our conference he told me one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard:
“There’s nothing I can do for you that you’re not already doing better for yourself.”
No extra prescriptions. Nothing like that. I’m just gonna keep doing what I’m doing — and things are getting better.
I feel better. I have a ton more energy. My family and I went on vacation recently, and one of the things I was able to do was go on a 12-mile bike ride. I would never have been able to do that three months ago. Or if I did it, I would’ve been laid up for days afterward. Not so much anymore.
My last weigh-in was yesterday. I’ve gone from 275 lbs. to 238 lbs. I want to lose 20 more pounds before the end of the year. (Okay, I’ll be honest. I’d like to be under 200 lbs. before the end of the year, but I’m concentrating more on losing the weight correctly — and permanently — more than the speed at which I lose it.
And I’m not doing this alone. My wife is working on her weight loss as well, and I take a lot of encouragement and support from her determination and her own success. I hope I give back as much as I take.
I’m going to give you an example of what I’m doing differently. This isn’t something I recommend for anyone — it’s just what is working for me.
Eating: I have been using a Base Metabolic Rate calculator to figure out what my caloric intake should be. My wife and I both use My Fitness Pal. Right now, I start with 1,660 calories each day. The calorie count changes, though, because you factor in the calories you burn during exercise. So you can eat more. 😀
Exercise: I use an elliptical machine because it’s easier on my knees. An hour on the elliptical usually equals 1,000+ calories burned. I set the resistance level to 10, and try to keep my strides per minute above 150. That means I’m burning 100 calories every six minutes. Yes, I’m tired when I get off that damned machine. Usually the distance I hit is just over six miles. I’m trying to vary things up lately, though, so I’m also doing some walking and swimming. If the weight-loss and activity continue at this pace, I’m going to try to run my first 5K in the fall.
Exercise, part 2: I’m about to start adding some weight training to my workouts to help burn off fat and tighten up my core. My weight loss will probably slow down some, but the actual fat I’m burning will increase.
That’s where I am. Hopefully I didn’t bore you too much.
I’ll get back to the writing, but right now I’m doing something that will make a lasting difference in my life and lifestyle — and loving it.