I’ve never been the type to make New Year’s Resolutions, but the first of the year is a good time for backstory and benchmarks. In particular, I’ve been working on my physical health somewhat more aggressively over the past four months, and I’m long overdue for sharing some of the results. So here we go:
Some history: I think my all-time high weight was about 315 lbs. That was about fifteen years ago. In 2000 my father died, and around a year later I was diagnosed with the onset of Type 2 Diabetes. I was already hypertensive, victim to chronic and crippling back pain, and in such poor physical condition that walking a block would leave me breathless and exhausted for the rest of the day. I was also mostly unemployed. I spent the next year making changes in my life. I began walking for exercise, which in turn led to joining a gym as I developed some stamina and working out more strenuously. I lost some 65 lbs. My creative powers took a huge jump forward as well, and I got a part time consulting gig working for the medical center where a former graduate student of mine was CEO. All in all, it was a damn fine year but it had a surprise ending.
After ten years of marriage, my wife asked me for a divorce. I moved out of our house (which we eventually sold for a modest profit). I paid off all of my credit card debt, and I was suddenly single. Despite an amicable divorce, it’s clear in hindsight that the dissolution took an emotional toll on me, which I dealt with at the time by falling back into old patterns. Within a couple years my weight was back up 275 lbs, and slowly climbing. I dated a bit, and in time remarried. Valerie and I have been together now for nine and a half years, and during that span I managed to bump my weight back up to 300 lbs.
A few years ago she lured me to Pilates classes which over time have done tremendous things for my stamina and flexibility, and more importantly rid me of the debilitating back problems that previously would leave me bed-ridden for weeks at a time. The downside of this though was that I had the illusion of feeling great, all the while not realizing that my Diabetes had gotten out of control. My A1c score (a measure of glucose in the blood) was nearing 8.0, and that was with medication. Not good.
Near the end of August of 2014 (let’s call in a month after my 55th birthday), I made some changes again, aided in part though some self-hypnosis work. My weight at that time was fluctuating a bit. For months I’d kept in the 290s, but it could creep up across 300. For purposes of personal logs, beginning the morning I began tracking things I weighhed in at 293-ish. Now, let’s look at where we currently are:
WEIGHT: I weigh-in every morning and while many sources say this is less than an ideal thing to do, I find it works well for me. Today the scale read 266.2, or more than 25 lbs. from where I was last August. In pragmatic terms, I’ve shifted two notches up on my belt (I could do a third, but I thought I’d hold off on that until I hit 265 or less for a few days in a row) and shifted to smaller waist-size in slacks. Shirts are fitting much better. I have more energy.
EXERCISE: I still do Pilates classes, typically twice a week. I also spend several days each week (sometimes six days, sometimes as few as three) putting it at least two miles on the elliptical before I start my day.
DIET: I still eat pretty much whatever I want, but I don’t want the same things I used to, and/or in different quantities and frequencies. I typically limit myself to no more than 1800 net calories (i.e., calories after deducting calories burned through exercise), and usually it’s closer to 1400.
SUGAR: Last summer, the physician I’d had since I first moved to Pennsylvania retired and I went in search of a new doctor. In September, I had my first diabetic check-up with her. My hemoglobin A1c score at that time was 7.6, still way too high in my opinion. A couple weeks ago I had my quarterly follow-up. The new score: 6.4! Technically, that puts me in the “pre-diabetic” range, but that’s also while still being medicated. Moving forward, my intention is to take that down to 6.0 or less, and then begin decreasing my medication. I’ll never stop being diabetic, but through diet and exercise I can get ever more control on the disease and that’s my goal.
That’s the important stuff, healthwise. But as long as I’m here, I’ll update you on the social media stuff too, as I’ve done in the past. Numbers in parentheses are the scores form the last update, back on August 1, 2014:
Followers – 104 (102)
Friends – 2145 (2112)
Tsu (the newcomer on the block):
Friends – 31
Followers – 17
Tweets 4082 (3563)
Follow – 91 (80)
Followers – 590 (547)
Fans – 64 (64)
Friends – 1562 (1558)
2015 Reading Challenge 1 out of 50 (I finished a book this morning)
And that’s where I am on the first day of this glorious new year.