Just before Christmas I received some pretty sobering news from my GP; I am pre-diabetic. Truth be told, the news didn’t come as that big a surprise. Let’s face it; I drank too much, I ate too much, and my exercise regime could put statues to shame.
When Adam and I first met, I weighed in at a respectable 85kg (187lb to my American friends). Admittedly it wasn’t a healthy 85kg – again, lifestyle was more party than health-conscious – but at least my arse could fit into a chair without bulging obscenely over the sides.
In 2008 we moved to Vancouver where we were aghast to discover that almost everything we ate contained sugar in one form or another…even bread. Here’s a quote from my diary at the time:
“We’re setting into Canadian life ok. Although the food is starting to get to us. Everything is loaded with sugar. I don’t mean sugar added, I mean sugar with food added. Even seemingly innocent juice sends you into a sugar induced frenzy – complete with sugar come down. It’s getting to the stage where both Adam and I are starting to crave something sour. (Thankfully our Aussie house-mates have Vegemite).” – August 31, 2008
To begin with it wasn’t too bad. We were out exploring the city and surrounds and snowboarding in winter and were generally getting some – albeit limited – exercise to counter the sugar intake. Our planned three month stay in Vancouver turned into nine months. Six extra months of eating all that sugary food, only by then we had discovered cheap 2L (half gallon) bottles of cider and our lives had become much more sedentary. Before I knew it, I had hit the all-time heavy of 113kg (250lb). Even Adam, who has always been a skinny guy, had put on weight by the time we left Vancouver.
Realising this was not a good situation to be in, I decided to do something about it and once we arrived in Montreal, I was determined to walk the 20 minute trek to work every day (even in the coldest of blizzards – which, incidentally, can make you burn calories up to 30% quicker). Coupled with the fact that the food in Montreal was a lot less sugary, I managed to get myself down to a slightly more respectable 105kg (230lb). That was 6 years ago and, up until recently, I was still 105kg.
Just before Christmas I went and had a blood test. I suffer from gout and so had tests to see how my gout treatment was progressing. The doctor called me in and sat me down as he went over my blood tests. My LDL (bad cholesterol) were dangerously high, my HDL (good cholesterol) was low and my triglycerides were through the roof, and the kicker, I was insulin resistant. He rattled off a bunch of numbers gravely and asked me: “do you understand what that means?” Not really. “In short you’re suffering from Metabolic Syndrome, and as such, we can’t really do much about the gout until we fix that”. Apparently the gout was the least of my problems. He told me flatly that I’d be type two diabetic by this time next year, if not sooner, if I don’t change my ways.
Right then, says I, I reckon I’d best be changing them ways.
Serendipitously, our awesome neighbours, Em & Marky, are getting married in April and were about to embark on the Atkins diet. So as of the 9th of January I joined them and have been logging my weight every morning since (see graph below). Even though the scales can (and do) lie, it gives me a good indication on what’s happening.
I’ve also started exercising (shock horror) and while I had a few false starts I’m now walking about 9-10km (5.5-6.2 miles) per day four days a week as well as utilising the fancy gym equipment that the Regional Rail Link has installed down by the Maribyrnong river (probably as a bribe to the people of Maribyrnong for all the disruptions they’ve caused) – but hey! It’s there, it’s free and it seems to be working (you should see my guns, man!) As is common with this style of diet, there was a dramatic decrease in weight and then a shift to steady decline. Initially I was concerned about the fact that my weight has been jumping around since Jan 30th, but as I read recently, this is perfectly normal and as long as there is still a declining trend, all is going according to plan. As you can see, it’s a slight decline, but still a decline. I’m happy with that.
The up-shot of all this is that I feel a hell of a lot healthier, much more energised, and a few of the less savory issues that go hand in hand with being over-weight (excessive sweating, chaffing etc) have all but vanished. I’m only half way to my goal, and have a follow up blood test in a couple of weeks to see how things are progressing, but so far, I’m pretty bloody impressed with myself and the way things (me) are shaping up – also, as an aside, I’ve had only one minor gout attack since I began all this – and that was in the early days. Who’d a thought diet and exercise could make such a difference?