I’m feeling a bit bleh today. I’m feeling old. Tired. My joints ache; I feel heavy – not as in literal weight but in the degree of effort it takes to move myself around. My vision is blurred and my brain fogged. My mood is low. I feel sad, lethargic, almost tearful and the prospect of sliding dolefully into a pool of self-pity is rather tempting.
But I won’t be doing that ;)
I have just scanned through the previous entries under this goal. Scanned and sighed… So many pointers there: so many half-hearted attempts to improve things but very little to show for it. I’d even invested in a blood glucose meter… Perhaps things had to get worse before they could get better, but they have got better. Maybe not today, but overall – there have been enormous improvements. Hurrah!!
What I describe in that opening paragraph had become the norm by the beginning of this year. I’d more or less resigned myself to it remaining the norm; I felt like I was fifty-something going on eighty. The catalyst was a pre-diabetes diagnosis in March. It wasn’t a surprise: we have diabetes in the family. Statistically one of Dad’s daughters was earmarked to contract diabetes purely on genetic grounds. Add lifestyle and a history of hormonal idiosyncrasies into the equation and the odds tipped heavily towards me.
So although the diagnosis brought with it a heaviness of heart and a degree of self-recrimination it also brought validation: I felt bad for a reason. It was a red flag, an early warning, a wake-up call and it was the motivation I needed.
Things have improved since then :)
My current weekly target for exercise is not too onerous and still focuses on walking though it’s evolved over the months and no doubt will do so again. For now I aim at 3 gym sessions on the treadmill using a hill-climbing programme and 2 brisk outdoor walks. At some stage I should probably add some variety and some strength training but for now it’s enough.
Diet too has undergone some significant changes over the past 6 months. The initial, and standard, UK advice for diabetics is to eat low GI. That was easy enough to achieve but had little impact beyond some weight loss. There was little change in fasting blood glucose readings, and continual, (rather scary) spikes after eating. Going low-carb has been the key. Stable fasting bg readings, minimal changes throughout the day, no spikes. All good in itself – but the remarkable thing for me has been the disappearance of all those symptoms I described in my first paragraph. Within days they had vanished!
The effects were immediate and revelatory: I feel hugely better if I limit my carbohydrate intake. I have energy. Nothing aches. My brain works. My vision clears. My mood stabilises. Amazing difference! The change in mood was totally unexpected. It’s hard to describe this as it’s such an internal thing but I know there has been a dramatic internal shift; it’s not just down to external events and life being good in general.
And this is further reinforced at the moment because I’ve lost that internal stability and there are absolutely no external life events which could be contributing to this unwelcome change. All that has happened is that I’ve let the dietary and exercise lifestyle lapse for a few days over the weekend – which itself followed a lapse while we were away barely a week previously.
So – returning to the opening paragraph – right now I have all the old symptoms back with a vengeance including the low mood. And it’s dawning on me once more that these changes really must be for life – which is a bit of blow with Christmas looming. I do love mince pies… Christmas pudding …. chocolate….
But I have a choice and there’s a price to pay if I give in and take the easy road. How I feel today is a reminder of that :) 8 months ago