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

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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

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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!

Intermittent fasting – 12 weeks in

Four days into lockdown in South Africa but as importantly… 12 weeks of Intermittent Fasting done and dusted! I am so excited to have made it this far and even more excited at the results that I am now seeing. Guys, this lifestyle change is worth considering! Don’t believe me? Read on…

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The Benefits

Where shall I start…ok, lets start with the one benefit that everyone wants to know about…the weight loss. Yes it is happening and not very fast at all but the I have lost approximately 6kg’s thus far. I seem to have stagnated at this point on the scale or I just need a new scale. (It’s been very inconsistent lately.) I doesn’t really phase me though. What does excite me is that I have lost the weight and I have dropped 2 dress sizes! Yes you read that right! ok, lets call it a dress size and a half because I would hover between and 18 and a 20 and now I fit back into a 16!!! How times change…the first time I ever bought a size 16, I was mortified at how fat I had gotten and now I am thrilled to be wearing that size.

My energy levels are definitely up. I have started running up my stairs now that we are in lockdown and it feels good. I definitely need to exercise more to get my fitness levels going . I have been working from home for 2 weeks now and I suspect that the lack of movement around the office, which is where I would normally get 5000+ steps in, is also slowing down my weight loss. My head is still clear as well which is brilliant. I never want to go back to that foggy head feeling again.

Lastly, and most importantly, I have seen a reduction in my blood glucose levels. I was so excited by today’s reading in particular. I had my lowest reading this morning since 2016 and I was shocked to have my lowest readings after 2 helpings of dessert this evening. I know I shouldn’t have but I couldn’t help myself, my son had made the must delicious apple cake which we had with cream. Besides I had my morning reading to celebrate. 😉 The reading was almost normal. My doctor is going to be pleasantly surprised when I tell him.

The secret?

I am religious about fasting for a minimum of 16 hours every day. I usually start eating at around 11:30 am or 12 am and have my last meal by 7 pm at the latest. I am not as good about watching what I eat but I try not to snack during my eating period and I stick to black coffee these days. I do need to increase my water intake again as well. i have slackened off on that. I don’t really miss eating during that fasting period and, even when I feel hungry, I don’t stress about it because I know that those pangs will subside as quickly as they rose up whether I drink something or not. The real secret is to commit to making the change and to always remember why you made that commitment in the first place. What is that benefit, that life changing benefit, that you are committed to achieving? That is what will make you keep your commitment to yourself. As Simon Sinek says; “Start with Why”. Here’s the other thing to remember, you will only be committed to the change when you are ready to make it. You will know when is that time for you. For me, I have a sense of “it’s now or never” and then I know that it’s time to make the change, I commit to it, the universe sends me who and what I need and then it is a done deal and there is no turning back. I do my part and God does the rest. I don’t believe He is done with me yet! What’s your “commitment” moment?

I hope you are all staying at home and keeping yourselves and your families safe. Let’s do our part to #flattenthecurve

Until next time…#staysafe

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