Living with diabetes: Taking the next step to keep improving

Jul 21

There’s one thing I have finally realized with this whole diabetes thing – it’s a lifelong battle.

See, when I was first told I was a borderline diabetic, I didn’t take it seriously, which is probably why it continued to escalate. That’s not to say I wouldn’t be where I am even if I had done something, but at the same time, who knows?

But I kind of laughed it off. It wasn’t full-blown, I told myself. And, despite going to a workshop of sorts and meeting a few people who didn’t take care of it and what it could do (one guy also taking the class, to learn how and eat better, had said he once went as high as like 600 on his blood reading and was blind – yes blind – for a few days), I still thought I had it under control.

Despite a spike a few weeks back, things keep improving, as seen here.

Despite a spike a few weeks back, things keep improving, as seen here.

I was younger and dumber then. In fact, I don’t even know when that was, but it was after college, so I was probably right about 30 or so, give or take.

Checking blood was done sometimes, but I often shook it off. Or I said I had, and I hadn’t. I was completely stupid about it and I’m probably quite lucky nothing major happened.

Let’s fast-forward a few years to current day. I’d love to be able to go back and time and swat myself in the face and say to take it seriously. I’m really lucky that I don’t have any serious complications right now with how I let things go. I’ve written about how things have gone and how I’m getting back on track.

From medication to watching my diet to seeing what other things do to me and to adding in more exercise, I’m starting to push forward.

However, it’s time to take the next step.

The one thing I keep learning is you don't have to knock stuff like this out of your life -- you need moderation and understanding of what it does.

The one thing I keep learning is you don’t have to knock stuff like this out of your life — you need moderation and understanding of what it does.

See, diet and such can work for a while. But you need to be active. There’s no secret that I’m not in the best shape in the world. So I need to move to the next level and start doing more to make sure I keep improving.

What’s that mean?

First, in regard to diet, I need to now start watching calories and things like that. As I’ve gotten things under control, I have watched what I eat and what it does. And though I’ve slowly cut some calories away, I probably haven’t been doing as much. But, I’ve also noticed I don’t feel the need to snack as much.

That’s a start – making sure I am eating right and also making sure my portions continue to shrink as I’ve slowly been doing. That will help as I keep looking to shed some pounds.

One thing I also have to realize is though the weight isn’t always coming off, sometimes the fat portion of the body is. I’ve definitely lost some inches (my pants don’t fit as well anymore) during this span, but the weight comes off slower.

Then, there’s the exercise factor.

For starters, softball season is ending soon. That takes away twice a week where I get out and am moving more than other days. So I need to replace that with something, as well as add more items.

Going to the gym, as of now, isn’t an option for me. I buy a membership, go for a little whole and then piss away the money because I never use it. So I have to find ways to do things without the gym. (Honestly, the winter is what scares me, because if it’s cold, I don’t want to really venture outside to exercise).

Therefore, I’ve come up with these goals, which I am slowly starting to implement:

  • Walk more (which is going to mean starting to add in strolls at times I usually might not, such as at night etc.)
  • Start riding my bike again (I can go out for an hour-long ride, cover several miles and burn a lot of calories)
  • Getting back into disc golf (a truly great sport where you are moving a lot of the time and always walking)
  • Geocaching more in areas where I can go on small hikes
  • Trying to get out and find places to take photos, where, again, walking is better.

The activities part of this is just making it so I get out and go. Things like disc golf aren’t easy because there isn’t a course too close. This will likely be my replacement for softball when the season ends. I’d like to get to a weekly league a friend runs. That’s about an hour or so from where I work on Tuesdays, so it’s possible to pull off if I plan right.

My FitBit has helped me push a little extra for exercise. And badges don't hurt, either!

My FitBit has helped me push a little extra for exercise. And badges don’t hurt, either!

With the walking aspect, I have a hard time just going for a walk – so I need to make sure I have things to do when walking. Maybe it’s taking some photos. Maybe it’s running errands.

For example, I am going to be getting some of my personalized postcards made again and get back into Postcrossing. It’s truly a fun hobby. How does that help? If I send a postcard out each day or two and force myself to walk to the Post Office to mail the card, it gives me a reason to get out and walk.

I’m also trying to find some spots around my areas with some trails where I can go and place some geocaches. The idea, of course, would be so I can get out, hike and hide and then maintain the caches. There are some trails and public lands around, so I just need to find the best spots for them. I have plenty of containers, too, so I am ready to go.

In the end, it’s fully up to me to make sure this continues going in the right direction. Hopefully these ideas will help me do just that.

Recent look:

Since my last report, I’ve been pretty steady on my readings. I had two or three spikes, which, of course, dropped my 100 percent in-range readings down (I was at 96 percent during that time). But, that changed in the last day or so as I’m now back in the 100 percent range. Those spikes, too, weren’t too crazy, but enough to pretty much piss me off as I’ve worked hard. But, I realize there will be setbacks.

Numbers can jump, but in recent weeks, things have continued to improve.

Numbers can jump, but in recent weeks, things have continued to improve.

I’ve had a couple of lows, once being a 76 at one point over the weekend. I think the key to maintaining is making sure I have that eating six times a day thing under control and making sure I actually do it. It’s hard during the weekends, sometimes, as I attempt to sleep in a bit more and that sometimes messes up my schedule. I need to learn to adjust it some so I don’t go extended times without something.

Here’s one thing I’ve noticed, too: my fasting levels were kind of higher. I finally figured it out. I know the amount of carb servings I’m allowed and thought I was in that. However, one of the proteins I was adding also had nearly a full carb serving, so I was basically having an additional serving each time. Now that I’ve adjusted that, the numbers (for the most part) are coming down even more. Score one for me!

In the end, I can’t complain. Compared to where I was a few months ago, this has been nothing short of amazing in my eyes. I meet with the diabetes educator again at the end of August, so hopefully I’ll have a better snapshot and ideas of other things I can do to make sure I keep moving in the right direction.

This is part of an ongoing series of posts about me living with diabetes and what I am doing to try and improve my situation. I’ll try to post these updates once or twice per month. You can read past posts about this by clicking here.

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  1. Keep up the good work my friend. I read an article recently in the LA Times. Based on several reports, Americans, (on average) are not consuming any more calories now than they were in the 70s and 80s.

    What Americans aren’t doing now that they did back then is exercise. There’s the key right there.

    I recently went to my doctor and had him prescribe for me an exercise regimen I could follow. He gave me an option of biking, swimming or running. Swimming is the best, but it’s also the most time intensive.

    Running is boring to me, so I opted for biking. Here’s what he gave me.

    5 miles in 30 minutes. 4 to 5 times per week with no two day breaks. It doesn’t matter where you bike, because no matter what, you’re going to go uphill and downhill. For me, I have a slight uphill run on my bike to start the run and then I come back down hill. But I pedal faster trying to get as much exertion out of the session as possible. With the two routes I have taken so far, I either ride 5.83 miles or 6.54 miles. I can do the 5.83 miles in half an hour and the 6.54 miles in just slightly less than 40 minutes.

    He says that’s moderate, but what I need. I suspect when I come back in a couple of months for a checkup (which btw, was for higher blood pressure), he’ll probably up what he wants me to do. Who knows? I might up it myself anyway. I started this on the 6th of July and I call already see my stamina improving. I hiked 6.61 miles today instead of biking because there were geocaches to be hidden and found and I didn’t feel winded at all. That hike would have kicked my butt a couple of weeks ago.

    I’m with you my friend. My plan is to stay around awhile and if this is what we need to do, then we need to do it. Keep up the good work and good luck in this endeavor.
    Paul Myers recently posted..Sometimes, things happenMy Profile

  2. That doesn’t shock me one bit, Paul. Americans are definitely bigger and eat more — but also the food is more fatty and has more calories. Ever look at the calories on a McDonald’s Big Mac? Don’t!

    I don’t mind the exercise, but it’s doing it — getting up the inspiration to go. I like mixing things, so that’s what I need to do. If I get myself on the bike, I can go for a while. But I always hold off. One of these weekends, I’m going to get somebody and hit up this one rail trail near me. The one part of the trail is about 15 miles, I think. My goal is to do a serious geocaching trail. It won’t be an easy thing to do as there will be walking or biking — but I think in the end it will be very much worth it. Plus, if things come up missing … it’s an excuse to bike out.

    I like the way you’ve done things. And I’ve read some of your blog posts about it. Keep it up and stay healthy!I know with just what I have done, I’ve seen a massive improvement and hope it keeps up!

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