Here’s where things began for me:
Before I started overhauling my diet & exercise
I was probably born somewhat insulin resistant, as my mother had gestational diabetes when she was pregnant with me. I was born at 11 lbs. 12-1/4 oz. (approx. 5.4 kilos kilos) — high birthweight is typical for babies born of women with gestational diabetes. When I entered puberty I also showed signs early on of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), though it was not diagnosed as such until 1982, when I was 23. In about 2001, I was diagnosed as prediabetic, & my naturopath told me that PCOS was almost always associated with insulin resistance. I made half-hearted & what proved to be temporary dietary changes at that time, but not until last December, in the aftermath of my mother’s death from complications of Type 2 diabetes in November, did I make a wholehearted commitment to permanently changing my diet & overcoming my tendency to be sedentary.
Changes beginning late December 2005
First things I did: purchased a glucometer to measure my blood glucose. Learned from a book called How to Prevent and Treat Diabetes with Natural Medicine about the glycemic index &, upon further research, began to eat low glycemically, with immediate benefits. Began to get daily exercise, averaging about a half hour per day, combination of aerobic & light weight training. Began to lose weight; from late December to about mid-March I came down about 10 lbs (from 200 to 190), & even after going into a weight loss plateau for several months I seem to have been improving body composition through exercise — didn’t test body fat, but did notice my waistline shrinking & my butt & legs especially becoming firmer & more muscular.
My fasting blood glucose was hovering around 95 to 105 mg/dL. By conventional definitions, this is on the low end of prediabetic, which begins at 100 mg/dL. So, I could be in worse shape than I was. I think one factor that’s greatly in my favor is that I’ve never been a dieter. Had I been, I probably would have yo-yo’d my way into a metabolic black hole, as so many people I’ve talked with about fat loss/weight loss have done, thanks to unfortunate beliefs in every fad diet that comes along.
I listened to Tom Venuto (Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle), Diana Schwarzbein (The Schwarzbein Principle books), & my glucometer, & eventually landed upon a diet plan that I have been following ever since, which has tended to work well for me. On the exercise front, I have been participating in a workplace “Start Walking” program which has the goal of getting us into the habit of walking 10,000 steps or doing equivalent exercise (per a conversion chart) every day. This has greatly increased my levels of exercise. Besides walking, I’ve also biked, lifted weights, & danced.
I haven’t been able to test blood glucose since mid-March due to being broke in combination to the high cost of test strips, but with a move to a cheaper apartment at the start of this month, I’m beginning to have cash again for such important needs. I will also be purchasing a Swiss ball, body fat calipers, & a gym membership. I’m down to about 182 lbs (18 lbs. lost) since late December, & 2-1/2 inches lost from around my waist. I currently eat as follows:
Five meals per day, each meal comprising:
- About 20-25 grams of low glycemic carbohydrates
- About the same amount of protein, including lots of fish (sardines, kippered herring, salmon, tuna)
- Healthy fats (extra virgin olive oil, fish oils or the oils in the fish I’m already eating, occasionally flax seed or its oil, coconut oil)
- Lots & lots of nonstarchy vegetables
This diet plan is pretty much as advised by Diana Schwarzbein. Most food is whole foods, most is organic, locally grown when possible. (Which is really practicable only in the summer: I live in Alaska, & our growing season is short.)
Besides fat loss, (probably) improved blood glucose control, & general better energy & sense of well-being, I’ve also benefited from no longer having problems with acid reflux, which used to be a problem about 5 to 6 nights of the week. I attribute this to no longer eating refined high GI carbs & unhealthy fats. I feel that since late December, I’ve very much improved my body composition & probably my insulin sensitivity as well. But I’ve still got some ways to go.