Sunday, November 8, 2015

Facing A Pre-Diabetes Threat - And Acting

Type II diabetes is currently wreaking havoc on this nation's health system as virtually everyone not living under a rock knows. It would be bad enough if  diabetic nerve pain or slow-healing wounds were the major concern but they aren't. If little or no counter action is taken, blindness - a result of diabetic retinopathy - often follows, as well as kidney failure. My late brother John probably died of heart failure two years ago- but diabetes was also a major burden for him, including diabetic -caused blindness.

My wake up call arrived soon after getting back from Europe and having a full  battery of blood tests at my doctor's behest. She sent me a letter with the lab results and they weren't good. I won't go through all, only to note the triglycerides at 247 and the hemoglobin a1C at 6.3%. For those who don't know the lab and  most physicians define diabetes at 6.5% Needless to say, Janice freaked and I realized I had to act and soon - especially to avoid the fate of other family members including my aunt Polly and maternal grandmother - both of whom fell to diabetes.

My weight was also too much - at 192 - a result of eating 3 weeks worth of rich eastern European foods (goulash, sausages, fish soup, enormous breakfasts with multiple choices, and the desserts like Czech Tiramisu, Viennese apple strudel - and ice cream). But even before that I'd been gorging on all the wrong foods, like Ritter dark chocolate bars (I argued that dark chocolate is 'good for the heart' -  but I was gulping down a large bar each week). Plus chocolate chip cookies (4-5 gourmet large ones from Whole Foods), and chips.

Faced with the alarmingly high a1c, however, the time had come for action.

I informed wifey of my plan of action and naturally she was dubious at first. It included:

- Cutting out all packaged white and brown 'quick cook' (in 90s)  rice I'd been eating with almost each main meal - at 88 g of carbs each. To now be replaced by black rice  (also known as 'forbidden rice' or purple rice) with an extremely low glycemic index.

- NO more white, baked potatoes at the main meal, replaced by sweet potato halves instead.

- Breakfast of avocado on toast and 1 egg - replacing ham and eggs and fr. fries

- No more ordinary French fries at main meals -  now replaced  by sweet potato fries (they're in the frozen food section of your grocery)

- More fish meals (salmon, Mahi - Mahi) as opposed to burgers, steaks etc.

- Added sugars cut out by more closely looking at products with sugar in - like replacing regular catsup (with 4 g of sugar per spoonful) with reduced sugar catsup at 1 g.

- Elimination of junk foods, e.g. chips, chocolate chip cookies and candies as well as desserts, ice cream etc.

A true test came with Halloween when not one kid showed up and we ended up with two pounds of chocolate bars (mainly Snickers). I told wifey we would take a few out to eat over time, and bag the rest for next year. Since Halloween I have eaten one small Snickers and no more. (Wifey has eaten three but then her numbers are better than mine anyway.)

The main change was in carbohydrates - the quantity consumed as well as the type.

But even changing eating habits isn't enough so I began a more intense exercise program to, now going to wife's 'Planet Fitness' gym and doing a cycling cardio workout of 30 minutes three times a week  Each time going at least 5.6 miles with 193- 195 calories burned off. (No more speed walking after my doc had my right big toe x-rayed and found it was broken  - since that fall in Budapest over two months ago. So now I have to stay off it - or try to - while using an orthopedic shoe.)

The result? My weight as taken this a.m. is now 182, ten pounds less than what it was around Sept. 20th after getting back from Europe.

I didn't believe it at first so decided to try to get into a pair of waist 36 jeans I was about to give away. Pleased to see they now fit, I plan to keep them!

Meanwhile, my doc wants the a1c redone in January with other tests such as the triglycerides and fasting glucose. We will see, but I am now confident those numbers will be lower.

No comments: