Pointers to Ponder about Diet and Exercise

Update about my diabetes: I have had 5 days of 120 or less fasting blood sugar readings on basically dietary changes alone. I am working up to a real workout but it goes a lot slower. Even walking with my walker pushes my heart rate up beyond aerobic levels, and I can only do a few minutes on the stationary bike.
The weight front goes a bit slow too probably because I am not able to maintain a 20 to 30 minute workout yet. However with gaining a bit losing a bit and so on I have managed about 9 lbs (just over 4 kilos) in 6 weeks.

Goal is to keep from having to go on medications when I get my next A1C test done. Also to lose 20 lbs in 3 months.
A few pointers I would like to make based on my struggles:

1. It is more than just sugar, I was not a major sweet eater BECAUSE I knew that I was at risk for diabetes in a major way. It was starches that did me in, especially white pasta, white bread, white potatoes which used to consist about 65 % or more of my diet. Plus of course being overweight and family history. Eating more veggies is crucial, and get away from white food and processed food or at least eat them in moderation.

2. Do not just rely on fasting blood sugar test that is the usual testing done in the blood workup. My fasting blood sugar was 98 when tested. Doc was able to diagnose me long before that went up to dangerous levels via the A1C test. Think of it like the difference between a snapshot (a fasting blood sugar test or glucometer reading), and a movie that covers 3 months of all blood sugar activity (the A1C). My A1C was 6.5, which means that over a 3 month period my blood sugars were averaging around 140 or so. With the fasting of 98 that means I was having readings well above 140. If you have family history at all, or find yourself with symptoms you think might be diabetes have your doc check A1C as well as standard blood work.

3. Small changes can make BIG results. If you are overweight and have diabetes, pre-diabetes, or at risk, by making small dietary changes small increments in activity level, small weight losses (5 to 10% of body weight can make a HUGE difference in diabetes,) you can improve your health. Say you weigh 200 lbs a 5 to 10 % would mean a weight loss of 10 to 20 lbs. You can of course lose more and it will help your overall health of course, but even a small but maintained weight loss has big benefits. What is not healthy is losing a lot, gaining it back, and so on which is called the yo yo effect and is really bad for your health.

4. Find ways to move more. Of course the maximum benefit comes from a full workout, but even moving more helps a lot. I move my legs when I sit at the computer periodically. This helps the circulation which is good since I have issues with lower leg swelling, and it gets a bit more movement in, Sometimes I “chair dance”. This is an activity I can do while on the computer and listening to music and I can maintain it for over a half an hour.
If you are basically really out of shape because you have not seen exercise in years DO NOT start trying to jog, or full work out at a gym or whatever. Take time to build up to a full work out slowly. Especially if you are very overweight, trying to jog or so on can lead to injuries and quitting not to mention could over strain your heart. Park further out and walk. Walk around the block, Go to a mall and sign up to walk the mall in the mornings before they open if weather is an issue. If you have a pool you can go to, try aqua exercises or swimming.

Alternate exercises like walking sometimes with stationary bike or swimming to use more muscles differently and give some a rest. If you lift weights do so 3 times and skip a day in between each work out. Or do upper body one day then lower body other day.
Most of all listen to your body. Your breathing and heart rate will tell you when you are doing too much or too little. If you can talk with some effort but only a few words then breathe you are doing aerobic, if you can’t talk and are gasping, then you are doing it too hard, and if you can talk in full sentences without having to stop and breathe then its a bit low and you need to kick it up a notch.

 

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