Overcoming T2 Diabetes – An Update

I thought I would give an update on my quest to reversing this diabetes that I happen to have. The short update is that I am not there yet, in fact I am a little further away than I would like to be but I am learning a lot along the way.

Photo by Sydney Troxell on Pexels.com

Discipline has not been my strength

The reality is that if I just get into the habit of preparing my food over the weekends or at least the day before, I know that I will reach my goal a whole lot faster. Preparation is key and I have just not made the effort. One thing I have changed is that I do cook from scratch almost every day now. Prior to this I ate fast food at least 3 to 4 times a week. This actually created a new problem. My cholestrol levels were starting to rise. Thankfully, eating home cooked meals and lots of avos seems to have done the trick and I have gotten my readings back under control. Phew.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I actually enjoy exercise

I had made a vow that I will achieve my vitality goals every week this year and I did up until last month when I was not well for a few days so I couldn’t exercise. Of course with the rising cost of living, a new gym membership was out of the question and I don’t want to spend on petrol where I can avoid it so I turned to the FitOn app. I love the diverstity of the workout types and intensities. I have my favourite instructors that I follow like Jeanette Jenkins who has such a sense of humour so I have a good laugh here and there while working out. Sadly, I haven’t lost a gram and in fact, I have gained a bit but I tell myself that is muscle mass as I can see some muscle definition peeping through my fat. It gives me hope that I will get there and who knows, maybe I will have a toned body like I did in my 20’s soon. I am clearly getting fitter as well as the workouts that took my heart rate to 80% -89% of my max heart rate a few months ago now only get me to 70-79%. It’s a bit of schlep because now I have to work out more often in order to achieve the same amount of points…lol. I now have to work out 5 times a week instead of 3 in order to achieve the max number of points I need for the week but this is not a bad thing.

Photo by u0410u043bu0435u043au0441u0430u043du0434u0430u0440 u0426u0432u0435u0442u0430u043du043eu0432u0438u045b on Pexels.com

Sleep is my friend

Don’t ever underestimate the knock on effect that a break in your sleep has on your blood glucose levels. A good night’s sleep is so important. Those nights where I have a broken sleep for whatever reason, always result in higher blood glucose levels in the morning.

So, while things have not gotten better, they have not gotten much worse but they definitely are not where I wanted them to be by now. The fault does lie with me and, at the end of the dusty day, it lies with my diet. There is no way around it. I have got to change my diet or I will not achieve my goal. I have to cut down on my carbs in order to reduce the amount of insulin I produce and the amount of glucose in blood ant any point in time. I have not stopped Intermittent Fasting (IF) by the way. I just eat way too often during my 8 hr eating window and too many of the wrong things. IF on it’s own is just not enough. It worked well initially because I only ate twice, max three times, in those 8 hours and I actually kept that window at 6 hours and not 8. I let a few bad habits creep in during lockdown that I am battling to shake. I guess I just haven’t committed to leaving them behing yet.

So that’s where I am currently at. I will succeed. In fact, you know what, I commit to succeeding. Snacking stops here and now. I am not a snacker anymore. That is no longer who I am. Watch this space for more updates 🙂 The news will be better next time.

Ciao for now!

Intermittent Fasting-14 months and 3 weeks later

I knew within a month of starting that I would not be going back to the way the things used to be. So here I am, almost 15 months done an dusted and I have no regrets. I am constantly learning about my body and how it reacts to food, stress, sleeping patterns and exercise. I am fascinated! So what have I learnt:

Food and exercise

Photo by Iina Luoto on Pexels.com

As a person living with diabetes I definitely have to control my carb consumption. No surprises there. The biggest no-no has been baked goods although I still treat myself from time to time. I only live once after all. What lockdown has taught me is that the 8 hour eating window is to be treated with respect at all times. My home is pretty small. I found myself stuck at my desk in back-to-back Teams meetings every day and the only time I moved away from it was to go to the bathroom or to get something to snack on. Most of those snacks were pretty unhealthy too. My son also used the time at home to teach himself to cook so he kept me supplied with tasty goodies. Naturally, I gained 4 of the 6kgs I had lost in the first 3 months of fasting and I found that the odd trip to the mall left me exhausted. My blood glucose readings were slowly creeping up again as well. I needed to make some changes. I started in October by ensuring that there was at least a 2 hr gap between anything that I ate within the 8 hr window, which helped stop the constant snacking. I began working out with a personal trainer 3 times a week at the beginning of November. By the end of November I could see that a lot of the inflammation that I was seeing in my ankles had disappeared and I just felt more energised! My blood glucose average also started dropping so I knew I was on the right track. The only thing that hasn’t changed is my weight. It has see-sawed within a 1kg range since November and I have no idea why. If you do know please share the reason in the comments. I have lost a few (much needed) centimetres around my tummy and waist thankfully but just a few. One thing I must add about exercise is that walking makes a difference. On the days after I get in 10 000 steps, I see a difference in my blood glucose levels. Walking is definitely something I need to do more of.

The power of sleep and the devastating effect of stress

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

My exercise sessions are done at home via Zoom as my personal trainer is in Johannesburg and I live in Durban. I chose to schedule them during my lunch hour so that I least got the circulation going during the course of the day. My friend had joined me half way through November and in December, she needed earlier sessions as she was travelling and didn’t want to miss out. This is where the lesson kicked in for me. I am an owl. She is a lark and so is my personal trainer. Getting up to exercise at 6am was the worst kind of torture for me. The two of them were positively buzzing at that hour of the morning. Initially I was fine with it as it meant I got it out of the way early and I started the day feeling pretty good. I made the mistake of continuing with 6am sessions during my leave in January. Worst mistake ever! I was miserable! My blood sugar levels started rising in the morning and by the time I went back to work, I felt like I hadn’t had any leave at all. We immediately went back to 12pm sessions. To make matters worse, I hit the ground running at the end of my leave. I was exhausted by the end of my 2nd week being back at work. I am not a sickly person. Suddenly I was getting migraines every weekend. (I haven’t had a migraine for years) Then my face became swollen on one side. I had to change my eating patterns for that week so that I could take the medication in the morning and at night. Within about 3 days the head fuzz was back. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. As soon as I started fasting again, the head fuzz disappeared. What a relief! That was not the end though. About a week later, a shingles rash appeared. It has taken 4 weeks for all the scabs to fall off! Fortunately I did not feel the pain that everyone talks about and the itching was only unbearable (at 3am!) in the last week. Needless to say, these days I rest more and I am feeling way better. One of the mornings last week I had my lowest reading ever in the morning. It was below 6. I was so excited! I am making progress! Slowly but surely I will get off my meds. The lesson here though is to work within your natural biorhythms, and set boundaries for yourself. I was so busy trying accommodate everyone’s needs that I forgot to look after myself.

On the plus side, I did end the year lighter than I started it. My HBA1c levels dropped and were in a good place and, my optician was very impressed that my eye health was still very good despite the diabetes. All of this serves as excellent motivation to keep on working on my health.

Let me know how your journey is going. Any tips and tricks to help me on mine are welcome too.

Thanks for reading. Don’t forget to wear your mask and sanitise your hands (often) when out in public. Stay safe.

Book Review: 3 books in 4 days-Diet, Surrender and Inspiration

Wow, 3 books in 4 days and I have 2 others open😱. I am on a role! 😂 In all honestly, each book had me captivated, entertained and a little wiser. Thought I would share a review of each while it is all still fresh in my mind. Besides, with covid infection rates rising, home and reading is the safest place to be right now.

Image created on PS Express

1. The Surrender Experiment: My Journey into Life’s perfection by Michael A. Singer

How does a man go from just wanting to be on his own in a cabin in the woods to being a CEO of a multi-million dollar company (while still living in a cabin in the same woods)? He surrenders to life’s flow, that’s how. If you think back to the times when you just followed your instincts and things just fell into place and everything turned out way better than you could have ever expected, that’s surrendering and following life’s flow. Michael Singer discovered his ego voice (my words not his) by chance one day and became obsessed with trying to silence it so he could enjoy inner peace. The book details how this obsession led him on a journey that he could never have foreseen. It teaches us the power of faith in a higher power/life’s flow and how important it is to get out of your own way and not overthink things. Accept that everything and everyone is in your life for a reason and that if you are focussed on the right things, the right people, experiences and even money will appear just as you need it. It’s a very powerful story.

2. A Recipe for Miracles by Jeanne Danielle Brooks

I was so inspired by this book. This is the founder story of Wicked Donuts, a hand crafted gourmet donut brand that is available in Durban, South Africa. The author takes you on the roller coaster ride that was her life until she found her calling. My heart broke for her, then I got excited for her and next thing you know I was punching the air in sheer joy. If you find yourself in a space where you feel like nothing ever works out for you and you don’t know what your next step forward is, pick up this book and let the author inspire you with her story. The last 20% of the book is filled with tips and tricks for budding entrepreneurs which the author learnt along the way. I am sure that she and her brand will only go from strength to strength in the future.

3. The New Keto Friendly South Beach Diet: Rev Your Metabolism and Improve Your Health with The Latest Science of Weight Loss by Arthur Agston, M.D.

I remember buying the original book when low carb diets became the in the thing back in the day but I didn’t follow it at all. I don’t even think I got very far into the book. This time round, I didn’t put it down until I was done. This is probably because I am far more invested in my health now than I was back then. (Oh how wish I was still that weight. That was about 30kg ago🙈🤪) The science is so easily explained that each time you put an item of food in your mouth, you are making an informed choice. There is no space for excuses. I bought it because it was only $2 on the Hay House Sale and because I knew I needed to be more serious about my nutrition and I was looking for a ready made eating plan that I could just start using. I find creating one for myself overwhelming so I end up procrastinating and, next thing you know I am a few kg’s heavier instead of lighter because my eating goes off on a tangent. 🤦🏽‍♀️ I got way more than I was expecting for my $2.29/R34.66. I received an invaluable education in nutritional science and the eating plan I was hoping for. I cannot begin to detail the where, why’s and how I have diabetes today but I am grateful to finally have a better understating of where I went wrong and how I got here. The authors aim is really to help you prevent diabetes but the science was very relevant to me as well. Science has come a long way in a very short space of time in understanding how we ended up overweight and pre-diabetic/diabetic and how to turn the tide. If you are looking for links to scientific papers to back him up, you will be disappointed but hey, he even references Dr Tim Noakes who essentially woke South Africa to the benefits of the low carb Lifestyle and Banting. Dr Tom Noakes does science! He also incorporates Intermittent Fasting into his recommendations so he ticked all my boxes.

Each of this books happened to catch my attention at just the right time and the message in each was just what I needed to hear at this moment in my life. I am so excited about 2021 because I feel better equipped by them to achieve the goals I have set for myself. I could have ignored them and told myself I have enough books to last me a good few years (which I do) and I don’t need more but they tugged at me so I followed my instincts and purchased and read them anyway and I am really glad that I did.

I hope you enjoy these books and find them as enlightening as I did. All are available on Amazon right now. 50% of the profit from A recipe for Miracles will be donated to Gift of the Givers who do amazing work throughout the country and the world.

Stay Safe! Happy Reading!

%d bloggers like this: