Wednesday, December 2, 2009

This blog has moved!

Hi everyone. Reformed Diabetic has moved here.

See you there!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just want to wish everyone a happy, healthy Thanksgiving! I will post a proper blog entry soon!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Life After -90

Today is a bit of a ramble.
As most of you know, I’ve lost more than 90 pounds from my heaviest weight over the last year-plus. Recently, I've had people who know me walk right by me without recognizing me. That’s kind of a cool thing. But you want to hear something kind of sick? I feel pudgier now than I did when I weighed 260 pounds! I’m a lot more aware of the areas of my body that are the last to show the loss. You know what I’m talking about—those evil grandma wings on the upper arms and right around the middle. And no amount of tricep exercises or ab exercises is going to solve the problem. I just have to keep losing and wait for my skin to (hopefully) catch up. As a matter of fact I’ve actually over-developed my triceps in a desperate attempt to get rid of the wings (it didn’t work). So now, after much whining to my workout partner, I’m working on just enjoying the success I’ve had instead of feeling frustrated about the last 18 pounds or so I have to go.

What does the TMK stand for?
I've had a couple of readers ask me why I use TMK instead of my name? Well, for many years I was part of someone else’s blog. It turned into kind of a running gag because I was always referred to as “K” and my picture was never shown on that blog or anyone else’s (that was part of the gag), just parts of me that wouldn’t be recognized. The first time I left a comment, I signed it “The Mysterious K” as a joke and it just morphed into TMK. (The photo in my profile is the first photo of me that’s been published on a blog anywhere that I’m aware of. I decided to “out” myself a few weeks ago.)

I told you this was a ramble.
I was flipping through some photos over the weekend. Trying to find some “before” photos of myself. There aren’t very many because I’ve pretty much avoided being on the lens-end of a camera for the last 15 years. I did find one of me with a very popular Seattle Mariner who was the subject of a photoshoot I was art directing a few years ago. I didn't realize how fat I was until I saw myself standing next to this very large athlete and I looked bigger than him.

And some diabetic content.
I got my quarterly lab results back and my Ha1c was 5.4% for the second quarter in a row, on 75% LESS medication. I’ve had completely normal blood sugar levels now for 9 months! I’m waiting for my new doctor to get back from her sabbatical so I can discuss getting off the meds altogether. The other thing that was interesting is that while eating a very high protein diet my kidney function has improved. I was told by the doctor I fired last year that I would destroy my kidneys if went down this dietary path. Not!

P.S. A shout-out to Dorothy. I walked right by you on the stairs this morning and didn't realize it was you leaving the studio.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Well. I did it! I'm officially a certified fitness trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Now what?

I've spent the last week arranging to rent studio space, designing forms (lots of forms in this business), and getting mentored by Kristn. I start with my first two clients next week and I'm really excited to get them going.

(Shameless self-promotion starts here.) If anyone in Seattle is interested in early evening training, email me at snappydawg at comcast dot net. If you're interested in training in the morning, I think Kristn has a couple of spots open. We have very similar training styles and philosophy so you'll definitely benefit from working with either one of us. (End of self-promo.)

I ran into a friend at the gym yesterday. She's been interested in my progress towards this goal, so I gave her a mini training session while we were talking. I was also watching various people on machines and such and one of the things I noticed is that people don't seem to go through the whole range of motion when they're using lifting machines. So just a reminder to push/pull all the way up/out and all the down/in when you're using machines so that you use the entire range of your muscles.

Weight Loss Update
I've continued to lose weight and keep my blood sugar at fairly normal levels. I'm down 92 pounds from my heaviest now. I've gone from a size 26 a year ago to a size 12. (I'm still surprised when I pull my jeans out of the dryer and they seem so small. I never expect them to fit, but they do.) The weight loss has definitely slowed down. I'm losing about 2 pounds a month now. And I'm fine with that. It's not like my eating is going to change when I get to the magic weight. I fully expect my body will decide when it's happy and the weight loss will just stop.

I have my next Ha1c in a couple of weeks. This will be the first test since I reduced the metformin by 75%. So it will be interesting to see if my numbers stay below 6%.

Losing the Bread
When people find out how much weight I’ve lost, and the dramatic improvements to my diabetes management, they always want to talk about it. They ask a lot of questions. But the minute they find out I don’t eat bread, I get this stunned “Oh, I could never give up bread.” Every. Time.

I realize that the way I eat is a little extreme for most people. But this is what has worked for me. I have emotional issues with food and I just have to stay away from the things that trigger overeating or binge eating. Unfortunately for me that pretty much includes anything that contains grain, primarily wheat. And since a lot of processed foods contain wheat, plus sugar and high fructose corn syrup, I avoid processed foods.

The amazing thing to me is that the bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, etc. were not that hard to give up. I saw weight loss and blood sugar improvements within a week. So it was really easy to keep going because I was definitely getting huge rewards.

Even if you can't give up the bread, just reducing the amount of processed foods and sugars in your diet and eating more vegetables can make a huge difference in how you feel. And the better you feel, the easier it is to eat healthier and the more likely you are to start moving more.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Is There Any Food In Our Food?

Hi, everyone! I've had my head stuck in a book for the last couple of weeks. I'm getting really close to being able to take the fitness trainer exam through NASM. My head is full of anatomy and human movement science and exercises and most of it would bore you to tears if I were to talk about it here.

So did anyone see Andy Rooney's rant about what's in our food on 60 Minutes tonight?

I have a conversation similar to this with at least one person a week because the minute people find out I've lost so much weight in less than a year the conversation invariably turns to what I eat—and what I don't eat. And then we start talking about the evils of processed foods. And how little actual food is in processed foods.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It’s A Process

As everyone knows, changing bad habits is never easy, or fun. And if you change too much at once your head may explode. The changes I made last October were a byproduct of conversations I had during training sessions last year.

My trainer Kristn and I would talk about nutrition and health studies that were in the news, pros and cons of eating certain foods, etc. And the more we talked about it, the more I started coming home and doing my own research about topics we’d discussed. Which is how I ended up here, writing a blog about beating diabetes, of all things.

So today I was talking to someone who had recently lost 30 pounds on Weight Watchers and was beating herself up for having a bad day last Friday instead of being happy about the weight loss. The bad news is her pantry won for a little while. The good news is she was able to recognize a pattern and stop herself before too much damage was done.

It was at this point, she told me, that she realized she had lost control of her life. She looked around at her house and realized she did not recognize the chaos that had become her home, her body, and it was time to take some control back. We talked for a long time about eating strategies, the mental part of eating a healthy diet and basically just learning to ignore the cravings for crap that your body sends to your brain. You just have to get out of the habit of reaching for the cookies or the ice cream or the potato chips. The more times you're able to win that internal battle, the easier it gets.

She was also a little discouraged because she had gotten out of the habit of going to the gym and had not been for a couple of months. She was thinking there was no point in going back because she'd just have to start over again. It was good to be able to remind her that the better shape you're in, the easier it is for your body to heal and/or get back to where it was before you stopped working out. So the gains she'd made over the last 4 or 5 months wouldn't be for naught. She'll be able to get there a lot faster because her body is stronger and she has muscle memory going for her.

This was also a good reminder for me. I'm struggling with the same thing right now as I have an injury that has kept me from working out for the last week and it's driving me completely crazy not be able to lift anything and to be assigned as the official recordkeeper at workouts, although I am getting in some practice at being the trainer. (That has its own small rewards.) Anyway, I'm finding that the injury I have which would usually take six weeks to heal will probably take just a week or so because of all the resistance training I do. I was able to perform a couple of push-ups this afternoon after not being able to lift my arm to shoulder height or even laugh without a lot of pain a couple of days ago. And while I'll probably be lifting half of my normal load tomorrow morning, I'm guessing that by the end of the week I'll be pretty close to where I was before the injury.

So just a reminder that even if you fall off the workout wagon, your body remembers what it can do for a long time, and it doesn't take nearly the time to get back where you were after a break. And if you have a bad night of eating, don't beat yourself up about it. Figure out what caused it so you can start recognizing patterns and avoid the temptation to eat crap the next time the eating trigger tries to go off in your head. Also, try to come up with an alternate activity for the next time you feel like diving into the junk food. Having a plan beforehand is never a bad idea.

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Gym—The Path to the Stuff You Really Like To Do

I got a heck of a workout this weekend, but I never set foot in the gym.

I spent a total of 15 hours out in the garden edging my lawn and catching up on the weeding. Sounds doable until you find out I've got a 1/4-acre lot that I've landscaped over the last 11 years. It does require quite a bit of maintenance. And because of our very strange spring, the weeds were germinating faster than I could pull them and they had pretty much won the battle. I had not cleaned up the edge of the lawn in 3 years so it was really overgrown into the flower beds.

Here's what I learned:
  • Being able to do a full squat is extremely useful for cutting sod with a flat blade.
  • Being in that squat over and over again for 8 hours or more gives your legs a great workout.
  • Having to go out the next morning and finish the last 60 feet of lawn edging, after spending the previous day doing the same thing, is somewhat painful.
  • Having strong shoulders and arms makes slicing under the sod go a lot faster.
  • Being fit makes it possible to do three weekends worth of yard work in one weekend.
I am amazed at the number of hours I worked in the garden. I don't think I've ever been able to dig and weed and haul sod for that many hours without stopping before.

When I started getting really serious about all this exercise and eating right stuff to try and control my diabetes, that was my only goal. But there have been some fabulous benefits from eating well and working out that I hadn't anticipated.

Like losing a ton of weight.

Or being able to run short distances in preparation for playing some soccer this summer.

Or having marathon gardening sessions and still having the energy to go play afterwards.

And feeling strong and healthy and being happy in my skin for the first time in a very long time.