Saturday, October 25, 2008

It's time to reassess

I've officially lost my first 10% of my body weight. Besides having lost 40 lbs., what have I achieved so far:
  1. I am completely controling the type 2 diabetes - My last A1C was at 6.3, down from 6.9. This is great! I'm that much closer to having control over insulin resistance, which should make weight loss that much easier. My goal is to get my A1C under 5.5, which is the top of the normal range for non-diabetics.
  2. My cholesterol levels are also in a much better range - HDL is just over 40 (supposed to be over 50) and LDL is 86. I don't know how much I'll be able to raise my HDL level, but the ratio between the two is pretty damn good! It's supposed to be over .4, and I'm at .465.
  3. I'm exercising regularly, a routine of weight resistance, flexibility and cardio. I exercise four to five times a week, 60 to 90 minutes each time. I'm concentrating more on cardio for fat-burning effect. I'm seeing success in my efforts to build up my quads, in order to preserve my knees more, and my shoulder strengthening therapy is paying off and I'm back on with biceps and triceps, but only with lots of reps and 3lb. weights.
  4. My blood pressure is under control with medication. I have found the medication that is working for me with minimal side-effects. I don't like the side-effects (excess edema around the ankles, and it costs me $80/bottle!), but once I lose enough weight, this will all go away as well.
  5. I am consistently managing depression. I get out often for that hour of direct sunlight every day. I make sure to connect socially, face to face, with people outside of my immediate family, at least twice a week. (Unfortunately, the 'virtual' friendships that I maintain online, as much as I totally enjoy them, don't do as much for me emotionally as the more palpable variety.) The exercise really helps (and I'm beginning to feel a euphoric effect with cardio), and I'm taking SAMe, which might be stirring up my ADD just a little more, but it really helps me be alert and active all day. I'm also seeing some leveling off with mood-swings.

I've been losing weight at a rate of 5 lbs./month. This is healthy and safe, but I'm not satisfied with this rate, of course. I wish I had lost twice as much weight by now. I've been bumping into a series of plateaus, life has been busy, I'm having some personal family issues that I'm dealing with now that are really taxing, and there are moments when I'm dangerously close to giving up.

But I really, really don't want to give up. Giving up is absolutely not an option. By mid-January, I will have been actively working on weight loss and optimum health goals for an entire year. I want to break past the 300 lbs. by then and want to have achieved a 50lb. loss. It's my goal for the next year as well. I need to refocus, do some tweaking and manage my motivation so I don't lose momentum.

What I propose to do first is to really tweak my diet. Here in Kazakhstan, it is my biggest challenge. The range of fresh vegetables is depressing! I have to be creative, and I have to stay on top of it at all times. This last week I found some of the last of the sorrel, zucchini and eggplant, some cauliflower, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes and I'm now seeing lots of winter squash. There's always beets and carrots, parsley and basil. It's going to have to do. At the supermarket, there's frozen brocolli, green beans, yellow wax beans and peas. I have started some bok choy in my AeroGarden (but it's not growing very fast), and I've got brocolli sprouts going. I had been avoiding fruits because of the type 2 diabetes, but I think since my A1C is so much better, I'm going to start eating apples on a daily basis. They are plentiful here.

I was reading about eliminating gluten from the diet. I'm not allergic to it, I don't think, but I just wanted to see if doing this for a short period of time, three weeks, would have any effect on me. It will also help manage some recent urges to binge on bread. I made some really amazing bagels this last week and while they were completely healthy and fat-free, I gained about eight pounds in the last few days!

Another thing I'm considering eliminating from my diet for the next three weeks is all animal products. Again, this is to manage some of the recent binging. Butter has crept into my diet again, so I have to get on top of that. I've been eating a lot of beef, chicken and lamb recently, eggs, cheeses, salami. I tend to use more salt when I'm eating these things. So animal products are banished for now. I'll continue to eat fish, when I can find it, as well as pro-biotic yogurt, which will help with my digestion. I've been having a lot of intestinal stress recently, which seems to affect my rate of weight loss as well.

I'm still taking my SAMe, as well as cinnamon capsuals to manage blood sugar, and a blend of vitamins and minerals that aid with diabetes. It's getting really cold here, so bean soups are a regular meal these days. I'm back to including brown rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat and steel cut oats in my diet. A really good olive oil is the only fat I'll use. And water is a constant. Since I'm trying to eliminate unproductive caffeine as well, I stopped drinking coffee. I'm still taking green tea tablets, however. At night, before I go to bed, I'm drinking a generous cup of chamomile, made with two tea bags, so I can get a start to a good night's sleep every night.

I'm going to take a week or two off from exercising, except for the stretching and low-intensity walking. I just need a mental break from it. I'll reassess my routine after the break, to see what I can do to mix things up.

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