After my annual checkup, my doctor, The Schwartz, announced to me that my blood sugar and glucose levels were right on the cusp of being too high. This of course, meant that if things were to go on along the same lines I would be in a lot of trouble. I kind of already suspected that if I didn’t make a change in my lifestyle that would be the case.
I asked him how you go about beating this, as he told me that it could be beat, and he said lose a lot of weight, start exercising regularly and start paying more attention to what you’re putting into your body in terms of sugar, carbs, fat and protein.
Drugs & Supplements
He also put me on Metformin and Coversyl to help control blood pressure and cholesterol. I was already on Crestor because there is heart disease in my family. And he suggested low dose aspirin as well. My daily supplements include: Multivitamin, Vitamin 12 (500 mg), about 400 units of Vitamin D.
This news had a pretty profound effect on me. It kind of struck me right up against my mortality and put a big hitch in my plan to basically live forever.
However, what really gave me the most motivation of all was when The Schwartz told me that if I could do all that successfully, it would be a minor miracle. He told me that he deals with people every day who have the same diagnosis and 99% of them don’t ever manage to work their way out of it.
Well that was all I needed. Being as obsessive compulsive as the next nerkle, I sucked that left-handed challenge into my brain and all of a sudden I had a new hobby. Re-building me, in a much smaller, healthier, more compact version.
Point 1. Knowledge Is Power
The first person I talked to about this was my wife. She was well along the process of doing what I had to do and I picked her brain for secrets and tips. She had also started seeing a nutritionist and was a font of knowledge. And she was on WeightWatchers, which she considered to be the most effective weight loss program out there.
She knew I could not handle the rigours of being part of WeightWatchers, so instead she bought me a little WW calculator which allowed me to set up a points chart and calculate the point values of everything I was eating. She also encouraged me to keep a physical journal of what I was eating, because if I didn’t I would never make it. So I went out and got myself a little binder and a special pen and a magnifying glass so I could read all the small nutritional value labels. From a technical perspective, I was good to go.
Point 2. You Have To Make Sacrifices
I made a list of all the stuff I normally consume that I thought could eventually kill me.
This included a lot of candy products, pizza, fish and chips, donuts, ice cream, fried potato chips and the like, pop, juice drinks, corned beef hash, white bread in all its various forms and a lot of soups (high salt). The list goes on. Yeah, I was a bad boy.
I then started to make another list of all the stuff I ate that was good for me – ie didn’t contain crippling amounts of fat, carbs, grease, salt and sugar. Much to my surprise, I found that this was quite a substantial list. Then I went to the supermarket and walked around looking for new things that would be good for me and I was able to add even more stuff to the positive list.
After that it was kinda like putting together a jig saw puzzle. But I was so caught up in trying new stuff that I pretty much forgot to miss the old stuff.
Point 3. It’s OK To Think About Evil Food, Just As Long As You Don’t Eat it.
The hardest part of this process is the shopping. Walking by all the stuff you used to throw in your cart without questioning. No matter how much you have convinced yourself that this stuff will kill you, your life long fondness for it is something that pulls at you all the time. Like any addict, you are constantly longing to be back there in that comfy place with a bag of Cheetos and a Coke.
But the counterbalancing factor is your mortality. Would I rather die young, eating the foods I know will kill me or live to see my young grandson grow up and be in good enough shape to keep riding my bike forever?
Shifting priorities like that is a very hard thing for most people to do, which is why The Schwartz told me that maybe only one in a hundred ever manage to pull it off. I was determined to be one of those people and it turned out that I simply had more reasons for wanting to make this work than I had for not wanting to make it work.
Point 4. Stick With It Through Thick and Thin
I’ve been very lucky, in that I have managed to drop 35 lbs in just over 3 months. But it’s because I figured out what to do, and I did it. The figuring out part is easy but for a lot of people the doing it part, not so much. But if you don’t have to true deep down desire inside you, it won’t happen.
Point 5. Look On The Plus Side
There are a bunch of things I can do now, that I could not do so much before. I can cut my toenails without straining to reach over my mid section. My endurance and stamina have improved and I can ride my bike up virtually any hill in Toronto, except for maybe Silver Birch Road. That one’s a bugger.
I am starting to sleep better. I am getting back into my natural rhythms and have started writing at night again. I am not hungry all the time, because I suspect my stomach is shrinking. My nervous condition, knows as tic syndrome, is much more under control. And last week I tried on a pair of pants that I wasn’t even able to do up in June and they were so loose they actually fell off. I can’t tell you how good that felt. Fortunately I kept a bunch of clothing in anticipation of this and am not wardrobe challenged.
Point 6. It’s A Life Long Journey.
A lot of people make the mistake of treating weight loss as an event, when it’s really a process. It’s a big change, but it is a change for the better. I’m eating well now all the time and feeling good all the time and not feeling hungry all the time. So I’m concentrating on really appreciating those things, because we all need incentive to accomplish the goals we set out to achieve.
I never used to be the most goal-oriented guy around, but I am now. Because my life and its quality, depend on it.
Post Script: Now this has just been my experience. Everyone embarking on this path is going to have their own. By the way, The Schwartz was actually blown away that I had managed to do everything I said I was going to do. And I did not get a call back regarding my blood sugar and glucose numbers, which is totally the best case scenario.
This article was written in September 2012. It is now 2015. At the time I began this process, I weighed approximately 288 lbs. Today I am approximately 225. My blood sugar and glucose levels are in the normal to very good range. My stamina has improved dramatically. I sleep better. I don’t snore. And I feel 20 years younger than my actual age.
I’m not as religious about adhering to all the rules I set out. I have deliberately slowed down my weight loss. But I have a goal of being 200 lbs next summer and I have every confidence that I will get there. And, it really has not been anywhere as difficult a process as I thought it would be. You have to think about food that will kill you the same way you thing about anything else that will kill you, like cigarettes or drugs. Because these foods are every bit as lethal.
The Bottom Line
I’m Italian I love to eat. But moreover, I love to enjoy life. And I am enjoying it now more than I have in a long time. And oh yeah…if I can do it, you can too.
I have been a writer pretty much all my life.
For most of my adult life, including now, people actually pay me to do it. They pay me to art direct a lot of the stuff I write too. I am also a mentor, blog post editor and a pretty decent photographer.
I write to help people and companies large and small with their marketing and I blog primarily to help people get better at communicating. In today’s world, that’s almost a public service.
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