Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Diet and Exercise
So, when I went to the doctor back in April, he agreed that I needed to lose a significant amount of weight. My cholesterol had been elevated for two years and it was time to get things under control. Of course, I was additionally motivated because I was tired, Dennis was sick, my friend Steve was suddenly sick, and my legs were aching.
My weight on the official scale was 150.3. He wanted me to go on an immediate diet and as he talked with me about it I nearly fell apart. I didn't know if I could do what he wanted, didn't know if I could manage the diet, the weight watching. And for exercise? Well, I could commit to walking the dog - but that was about all I had time for, with work so busy. I was discouraged.
He ordered blood tests for Insulin absorption, Vitamin D, and B12. I went and had my blood taken, and had to drink some dreadful concoction. After 30 minutes I was feeling sick, and they took my blood again.
I went back to the doctor's office after four weeks. The good news? I was at 143.2. Down 7.1 pounds! Whoo Hoo! I was smiling a good bit, until we got to the blood work. I didn't have a single normal test result. Nice.
Apparently I was entirely too fast in my insulin absorption (needed too much insulin to manage my intake, I think), low in my B12 levels, and super low in my Vitamin D levels. Gah. So we started on multi-vitamins and a significant Vitamin D supplement (pills, not shots), and a diet that included mostly foods that were low on the glycemic index.
The low glycemic diet is not only a diet, but refers to a system of ranking carbohydrate foods according to how much each food raises blood sugar levels. The diet was originally developed to help people with blood sugar challenges manage their weight, but apparently it is now the basis for many popular diet plans (like the South Beach Diet, and The Zone Diet). Specifically, the glycemic index measures how much a 50-gram portion of carbohydrate raises a person's blood-sugar levels. Almost all carbs are digested into glucose and cause a temporary rise in blood glucose levels, called the glycemic response.
Leaving the doctor's office, I had a whole new list of foods that I couldn't eat, along with recipe ideas for fast breakfasts and lunches. I needed to eat protein at every meal, and some of my favorite things (watermelon! fresh corn!) were on the No list.
I spent another 4 weeks working through this new diet challenge and I can't say that it was fun. But I am much more aware that I am eating to get healthy, not so much eating (or not eating) to lose weight. I have increased my exercise, and just this week started riding the bicycle again. I am feeling better, my legs aren't aching like they were. I fit much better in my clothes, and seem to have a little more energy. Mr. Bryant is riding with me, and we are starting to be more active in every way. Good stuff.
I had my doctor's visit this morning. Kids, I am down to 136.1. All right! Heading in the right direction, toward better health and fitness. My next visit is in 4 weeks, and we should have lots more physical activity, hopefully stronger muscles, and maybe even a few more pounds gone.