Today is 6 months since I began my diet and exercise plan. I weighed in at 206 pounds (93.4 kg) and that is a total weight loss of 49.6 pounds (22.49 kg). My fasting blood sugar (FSB) was 87. I have not taken any medication since I began, and I am hoping the next time I see the doctor he will certify me as being normal . At least non-diabetic.
The return to bike riding has been awesome and later I will post some more about this summer and some of the things that were accomplished. It has been a great summer with a lot to feel good about.
Today is 60 days since I began my diet and exercise plan. My fasting blood sugar has been more volatile then I would like, coming in today at 88. I really would like to see it consistently below 80 but so far I have not been able to achieve that. The good news is I am below 220 lbs for the first time in probably close to 10 years. That means a total weight loss of 36.2 lbs. It feels great, and the biking feels great. The only thing I would complain about is that in the week leading up to Annie's arrival, and the two weeks she was here I lost almost no weight. In fact at one point I gained almost 7 lbs back. But now I am back on track and aiming to be below 200 in the next two months. Finally some of my clothes are starting to feel loose and I can begin to see progress in my shape.
My Polar watch began having problems again but I picked up a new sensor strap and now it is working again. The watch is really important to me as it allows me to not only track my workouts for later analysis, but I can track my workouts in progress. I know when to step it up in order to keep my heart rate at a specific level. The treadmill was a huge help in the beginning, but now I really have a hard time using it. I cannot get my BPM up without running, and just walking on it really makes my knees uncomfortable. I am thinking of reactivating my Lifetime Fitness membership but I hate to spend the money right now unless there is some real benefit. For the moment I ride the bike as often as I can, and most every day that it is not raining. In the back of my mind I know winter is going to bring a whole new set of issues with exercise, but for the moment I am just moving forward.
Today is slightly over 30 days since I began my diet and exercise plan. I have lost 29.8 lbs and this morning's blood sugar was 83. I recorded one day last week where I was in the low 70's but that has not repeated, at least not yet. I am happy both with the weight loss and the blood sugar results. I have stuck to a very strict plant based diet, but I have had sashimi on two occasions and a lobster tail (steamed at home with lemon juice) one time. Being at 225 lbs is something that has not happened since at least 2003, so I would guess 9 years? The only disappointing thing is that for some reason my waist size has not changed and the gut has only shrank slightly. The workout routine consists of treadmill, bike riding, free weights, an aerobic/martial arts class and situps.
I have found one good vegetarian cookbook and I am looking for others. Anyone who has looked at the cooking section on this blog knows how I used to cook, and how much a part of my life it is, especially in China. I know I am going to have to make some big changes in what I do in the kitchen, but for now I am maintaining this diet plan until I get below 200. Ideally I want to weigh in around 185 - 195 by October, and be fit enough that I can buy new clothes that look good. I have some old stuff in the guest closet that I can bring out when my waist and belly shrink down a couple of inches, so that is what I am working on right now. The situps are only 50 per day, so I think I need to at least double that in the short term. This week refinishing the deck has been a huge project and I am beat at the end of the day. I hope to have this completed by Sunday and I can look at the current routines and make some adjustments.
It is getting harder to push my heartrate up above 140 which is good news, but it makes workouts more difficult. I did a 6.23 mile MTB ride yesterday and you can see the heart rate was varied, and a lot of times dropped down low.
Date: Jul 3, 2012 8:10 pm
Distance: 6.23 miles
Elapsed Time: 45:23.9
Avg Speed: 8.2 mph
Max Speed: 16.1 mph
Avg Pace: 7' 17" per mile
Min Altitude: 790 ft
Max Altitude: 876 ft
If you take a look at the chart below here, you see the workout from this morning where I crosstrained with the treadmill and free weights. The average heart rate is higher, and I did a burst at the end to bring the average up. Working out on a stationary piece of equipment makes it much easier to control your heart rate, but the downside to the treadmill is it is really hard on my knees.
This morning's fasting blood sugar was 96 and I have not taken Metformin for 20 days. My weight is down to 240.2 lbs (109 kg) making this a total loss of 15.2 lbs (6.9 kg) since 5/20/2012. It is hard to say when I was last under 240, but I would guess pre 2004.
Here is my weight and blood sugar chart for 2012. I took these measurements earlier this year to monitor my health while in China.
My fasting blood sugar (taken on wake up) was at 116 this morning. This is a really big improvement, and this is without medication. My blood sugar during the day was only 125 taken one hour after my lunch juice (carrots and beets). My weight is at 244.4 and that matches my low of last year that I hit while building the barn/shed. The diet is really tough to maintain, and I lost it today. I steamed a head of broccoli for dinner, and ate it with lemon juice and salt. I really wanted to push through with only raw fruits and vegetables, but I was struggling after working all day. Not a big deal (it is still a veggie) but I want to peel off the weight as fast as possible. Here is picture of breakfast - oranges, apples, strawberries and mango. This creates about 30 oz (887 ml) of juice. I also had a half a cantelope at 11 AM. I just cannot seem to give up eating something, even if it is fruit. But if I am not below 240 by next Wednesday I will bear down harder. I have not weighed less than 240 for at least 4 years, maybe more. It is a good first goal - that and a FBS below 100.
The daily workouts are building my stamina and increasing my ability to hold higher heart rate levels for a longer period. I began working on the treadmill around June 6th, but I was not following a daily routine. The fact that my old TV from 1997 does not pick up digital signals from Comcast anymore did not really help with the motivation factor (its in the basement with the treadmill). Once I had the basement cleaned and my weight bench assembled I started to put together a daily cross training program with the treadmill and free weights. Below is the HRM (heart rate monitor) data from 6/14.
And then here is the file from yesterday, 6/17.
There is a nice increase in average heart rate from 126 to 135 bpm. The most important thing is to spend more time in the 'Hard Intensity' zone, and that is above 140 bpm. This is where calorie burn occurs, and this is where I am actually pushing hard enough to break a sweat. Everyone's zones are different, these were calculated back in 2009 at Lifetime Fitness with a CardioPoint LifeLab test. Mine have probably changed since then, but this is a good starting point. Maybe if/when I get my weight somewhere down in the 220's I will go have it done again. At this point my Lifetime Fitness membership is still on hold, and I working out with my own equipment and routines.
I put together a quick juice for dinner and called dad for Fathers Day. I showed both him and mom my glass of dinner but they did not seem to be very overwhelmed with my choice. I think they are much more impressed with some ribs, or my pork chops with cream sauce :) But they encouraged me to do what I could to improve my health, and we all understand the dangers of high blood sugar and cholesterol.
This pic shows how much I put together to get 4 glasses of juice for dinner. Total prep time is about an hour, but cleanup is only about 10 minutes. This batch was ok, but not nearly as good as the Mango Salsa juice I made a couple of days ago. For some reason I could not recreate that. It does take a lot of produce to juice, and finding space in the fridge is an issue. But I am going through some things like apples and oranges so quickly I do not need to refrigerate them.
I was flipping through Hulu again and found another documentary called Forks over Knives. This was a really intense movie that attempts to correlate most of the chronic, modern diseases to the western diet. Dr. T. Colin Campbell is a nutritional scientist at Cornell University who has spent a considerable amount of his career looking at plant based diets and their positive effects. He participated in something called the China Project, which is considered one of the most comprehensive studies of health and nutrition ever done. It was a collaboration between Cornell, Oxford and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine. The other guy is Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn who was a surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic and specialized in breast cancer treatment. Both of these men make a very, very persuasive argument that switching your diet can prevent or even reverse a lot of modern diseases.
I am not sure I can buy into it totally, but a lot of it makes sense. I certainly think between this, and results shown in Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead are enough to convince me to try something new. I have the time right now because I am not cooking for Annie, and I have no social obligations that require me to eat out. I just need the willpower to push it long enough that it will be possible to see actual results.
I am still not fully switched to a plant based diet. Yesterday I consumed some dairy and grilled chicken breast to try and finish off what is in my fridge. I did not want to waste the food I had picked up last week, and even though I froze a lot, there were still some things left. The refrigerator is going to be a real trick, because ours no longer defrosts. I know most people would just buy a new fridge, but I have repaired this thing several times, and I wanted to try and wait until I can remodel the kitchen.
This morning I weighed myself and I am now at 246.4 pounds (111.7 kg). This is approximately a 9 pound (4 kg) drop from where I was on 5/20/2012 when I arrived back in the U.S. I have not been able to test my blood sugar because I am out of lances, but I will pick some up at CVS later today. I will probably try and chart this out so I can monitor progress. My exercise pattern is not as busy as I would like. Right now I am doing between .75 to 1.5 hours per day in cross training with the treadmill and free weights. I am noticing changes, for instance my sleep pattern has improved. The whole thing is difficult though, I have slight headaches and my body feels "strange". I do not know how else to describe it, it is almost like aches and tension in the muscles. Mentally it is difficult, food has a very deep grip on any persons mind, and for me as a guy who loves to research, prepare and eat food - the hooks are pretty deep.
It takes quite a bit of produce to make enough juice to substitute meals. Not a ridiculous amount, but you do need to prep. The trade-off is that even though there is some clean up, you do not clean pots or pans, or the stove etc. Basically you just clean the juicer and the bowls. But for me I drink about 4 glasses per 'meal', and if I do that I am not hungry.
This morning I juiced 4 apples, 3 oranges and a handful of strawberries. It took about 45 minutes from start to finish, including clean up. That yielded 4 each 10 oz glasses of juice that I drank until about 11.