Friday, 5 April 2013

Almost entering the terrible teens ... lost, that is

Another week is in the books - - week # 62 of exercising, and the 45th consecutive week without missing a single workout. The focus this week was on proper nutrition, and in particular, managing down my sodium levels.  So far, my efforts have been pretty successful.

This week I lost another 1.6 pounds, for 112.9 pounds lost in total (almost 113 down!).  I now weigh 221 pounds, about what the Nerd weighed last July (he's now down to 177 pounds). I am still on track to hit my goal of 165 pounds sometime around Jan-Feb of next year. 

For the past couple of weeks I have been monitoring my sodium consumption and actively working to bring my levels within Health Canada's guideline of 1,500 mg - 2,300 mg per day.  As you know, my numbers in the past have been higher than the recommended amount, occasionally much higher (my highest reading was more than 6,000 mg!).  Although my recent numbers were not so far off the charts that I needed to dramatically change my lifestyle (I was running around 2,400 - 2,600 mg on average in the past few months), I need to pay attention to sodium and make smarter choices - - both in purchasing and when selecting what foods to eat.

It has been a couple of weeks now, and my work is paying off:
Both my past 7 days and month to date averages are well within the recommended range, and with time (and work), I hope to keep the numbers on the lower end of that range.  Thankfully I do not have hypertension so I do not need to maintain a super strict sodium-reduced diet, but it's still good to keep sodium from getting out of hand - - which is tough to do, since the damn stuff is in everything.  Well, everything delicious, anyways. 
Even more promising, my fasting blood sugar levels have been absolutely fantastic in recent weeks.  I finished off March with a couple of normal results, dropping my average fasting blood sugar for the month to 5.6 mmol/L (where normal is 5.5 mmol/L and under), and I had 9 normal readings in the month (just less than 1 in 3).

So far for April, however, my fasting blood sugar levels have been almost entirely normal - - 4 out of 5 normal readings, in fact, bringing my average fasting blood sugar to 5.4, or in the normal range.  (!!!)
I can't tell you how happy I am with these numbers, as I have been working very hard on nutrition and exercise to bring my numbers into the normal range.  Knowing my double-barreled family history of Type II diabetes (thanks again, Matriarch and Patriarch!), I need to keep working on my lifestyle to get my fasting blood sugar levels down, and keep them down.  I am under no illusions that I will have dramatically improved numbers from this point onwards since this is really a long term objective, but each normal reading represents a positive step in the right direction. The long term trend has been steadily downwards into the normal zone, so I am hoping that my normal readings this month are not outliers, but rather, harbingers of positive trends in the future.

After this week, I am only 16 pounds away from light heavyweight, and 18 pounds away from being merely overweight.  That will be such a huge accomplishment when I get there - - I can't wait!  And Onederland is only 21 pounds away - - - sooooooo close!

To avoid the inevitable plateau, and because my workouts have felt pretty good recently, this week I am taking my workout program up a notch, and adding another 2 pounds to my ankle weights (1 per leg to 3 pounds per leg), and putting the crossramp on the elliptical machine to 7 (or about 50%), up from 6.  I am keeping the tension the same on the elliptical for now, at 5 (or 25%), because I can comfortably do my 130-145 stride rate at that tension.  I think I will also take the reps up on my free weight routine, to do 4 sets of 12 reps (instead of 10 reps) using the 8 lb weights. 

Looking back on what I was doing this time last year, I am amazed - - I was doing 12 minutes on the recumbent bike 3 days a week along with 2 minutes on the rowing machine, and then 15 minutes on the bike plus 3 minutes on the rowing machine the other 2 days a week (I only worked out 5 days a week at that point).  That's a whopping 14 or 18 minutes of cardio, and even that small amount almost killed me.  I was completely blown after getting off the rowing machine, which is perhaps to be expected of someone who at that point weighed around 313 pounds.

I thought I was never going to be able to do much more than that, and now here I regularly do 60 minutes on the elliptical machine, and my only concern is not whether I can finish the workout, but whether I will get too bored.  It is so true that the healthier you get, the more you can do.  My body is simply more able to handle physical exertion now than it could last year, and I love that.  It's important to remember how far I have come on those mornings when the workout is a little tougher, and I have to celebrate that.

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