I spent most of my life working as an industrial mechanic. I have no “DR.” before my name or any fancy title that follows. I’m just an average guy who has had some experiences, and who has learned a little in my 67 years of life, and would like to pass it along.
Obesity in the United States is close to reaching epidemic proportions. When I was young my mother would feed me breakfast and boot me out the door for the day. “Be back in time for dinner”, she would say. We didn’t have a lot of money so my breakfast usually consisted of oatmeal, corn flakes, or maybe a dish of prunes. In today’s world, this might be considered child abuse. We didn’t have things like Pop Tarts, and Captain Crunch. Donuts were popular, but back then I had the metabolism to burn them right off. We went out and played ball, or explored the woodland areas. We were almost in constant motion until the day’s end. My dad and grandmother oversaw a pretty sizable garden, so we always had a lot of fresh vegetables. A TV snack was typically a raw carrot, or the like.
Things have changed, and not for the better. Children are now caught up in television and electronic games. Literally, everyone has a smart phone that sees continual use all day long. Children don’t get the same amount of exercise, and are frequently lacking in social skills. Electronic devices are nice, and people need to stay abreast of technology, but we are raising a generation of couch potatoes. I believe the human body goes through change every 7 years, or so. Most of the time these changes are so subtle they go unnoticed, but over the years the sums of the changes become apparent.
When I went into the service I was 6’ 3” tall and 180 pounds; a string bean. Today my height is the same but I’m 230 pounds, what happened? I worked hard every day and came home tired. I always thought I was in shape. I had a little belly, but so did mostly everyone, and with my height, I never felt I looked fat. Until one day I realized I reached 270 pounds. I didn’t look much different. The changes happened so slowly that I was not even aware. I thought to myself, it’s time to do something, I can’t continue like this. Using the logic available to me, I deduced that food was the obvious problem. I’m eating too much food, so I cut back to one meal a day [dinner], and tried to cut down on my snaking at night. I dropped 30 pounds almost immediately.
It was about this time when my doctor told me I was diabetic. Type 2, that’s what most people get, and a large number of people in my age bracket (and younger) were being given this diagnosis. A1C is the indicator used to determine the severity of your disease. My A1C was 7. Typically, it should be around 6. Diabetes should not be taken lightly, and I knew it. I immediately cut out all the sugar I could. The doctor put me on Metformin, a drug to help control the condition. I started jabbing myself in the finger every day to take blood readings. A good reading is about 100. I kept track of my readings, and even made up charts hoping to plot the changes. I soon discovered that readings were all over the place. Take a sample now, and 10 minutes from now, it has radically changed. I told my doctor this was a useless practice. I wasn’t learning anything (If you have type 1 diabetes taking blood samples is a must, because you use your reading to regulate your medication dosage.) He agreed with me and we decided to start using the A1C as our indicator. A1C is like taking an average of the readings over a period of time. I had blood work done every 3 months. In a very short period I had my A1C down to 5.5. That’s when he warned me not to let it get too low. I have kept it in control ever since. You may be thinking this was a little off track from the original weight loss subject, but you will soon see that it is right on point.
I was married for 42 years before my wife’s untimely death. Her hobby, or more like her passion, was cooking and baking, and she was good at it. I used to make her angry because I cut way down on all the goodies she prepared. But now that was all over, and I was retired. I noticed that when I got on my knees to clean, or the like, I found myself crawling to a chair for
assistance to stand back up. I couldn’t tolerate this situation, I knew I had to strengthen my legs if I wanted to enjoy the time I had left. So I joined a gym.
I joined Planet Fitness. It’s not the most elaborate gym around, but their policy is, “No Harassment”, and it is strictly enforced. People can be cruel, and the kind of pain they can dish out can
force you to get off track and possibly quit, so this is important. In addition, the cost was reasonable, and within my budget requirements. I had never been in a gym before, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure I should be in one now. The trainer interviewed me to find out what my goals were. Then he took me around, showed me each of the apparatus he recommended and how to use them. He said, “This is not the only thing I needed to do; I also needed to eat right”. Eat right. What did that mean? Instead of eating 3 donuts and a glass of soda for lunch I should cut down to one donut. Of course, that was just an analogy. I was off sugar due to the diabetes. But that must be what he is talking about. No worries, I was already there. I worked out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I peddled a stationary bike for 8.0 miles (1/2 hour). The other apparatus was 4 sets of 10 repetitions on each. Counting the bike, I used 10 machines and spent about an hour of my time. The gym is open 24/7 and I could have chosen any day or time, that decision was completely up to me. I worked as hard as I could during this period. I wanted to see results. I did this for approximately 2 years, only missing a few days, and increasing weight on my apparatus when it seemed appropriate. I saw my mussels start to build, but in that time I only dropped about 5 pounds. Something was wrong, but what? I’m going to leave you hanging until my next entry….