Thursday, May 28, 2009

More than being slim

I am concerned with my pre-diabetic condition.  I was told two years ago that I was pre-diabetic and insulin resistant.  The advantage to this diagnosis is that with careful diet and exercise one can hopefully turn the tide of that disease.  It is a complex one.  It involves the cardiovascular system, the lymph system, the pancreas, the liver, and even the fat cells play a roll.  

My approach included a many pronged attack.  I am somewhat fanatic about my cardiovascular exercise.  Its not that I always want to do it.  Its that they told me in my pre-diabetes class that cardiovascular exercise is the one thing that reverses insulin resistance.  I took that bit of information to heart, literally.  I aim for 60 minutes in my target heart range 6 days per week.  My intensity is high.  I work between 150 and 185 beats per minute according to my heart rate monitor.  I vary my workouts.  I cross train.  I walk, hike, do step aerobics, hi/lo aerobics, jump rope, jog, and use a stationary bike.  Its an intense exercise regime.  I tried working out every day, but I found that my body really needs one day to repair.  Also, I vary between steady state workouts and interval style workouts.  

One of the methods that I use to address my blood sugar issues is yoga.  Stress reduction is very important both in weight loss and also in helping the body to disengage from a hyper stressful state.  The liver (according to what I have read on releases  sugar when there is adrenaline present.  I have noticed a reduction in my weight when I was practicing yoga.  I am inclined to conclude that is a result of less sugar, and thereby less insulin, floating in my blood stream.  The problem with excess insulin is that it is a storage hormone, it stores fat.  It also has other ramifications beyond obesity, but I will leave it at that for now.
Yoga (according to a story on NPR) also immediately puts the body into fat burning mode.  I'm guessing thats the "fiery krias."  If you have ever performed yoga at a slightly advanced level, then you know what a fiery kria (spl?) feels like.  It feels like you are on fire.  I have experienced that feeling during an interval run or a tough Cathe Friedrich step workout.  

Nutrition is key when fighting the onset of diabetes or trying to avoid it entirely.  I am working towards being more adherent to a very low carb lifestyle.  For me, the biggest obstacles are the occasional grain or milk craving, fruit cravings, and the effect on my cardiovascular output.  When I'm on ultra low carb, I also don't seem to lose weight very effectively.  My body temperature takes a dip and my energy level hits the skids.  I do best between 30 to 60 grams of carbohydrate per day.  Thats not garbage carbs either.  I can't tolerate juice or soda.  I can't tolerate white bread or donuts.  I should probably eliminate dairy and grain, its more of a behavioral issue than a nutritionally sound way of eating.  I try to keep my carbs to whole fruits (portion controlled) and steel cut oatmeal (just 1/2 cup cooked) as well as healthy low glycemic fruits.  Tomatoes, cucumbers and avocados are my favorites.  I still occasionally make myself a bit of home made pizza with a hearty bread as the crust, whole milk mozzarella, olives and mushrooms.  I make sure I only have 1-2 ounces by cutting it up into iddy bitty bites.  I know that is a bit of a mind game.

I also take a few supplements.  I take fish oil, evening primrose oil, and calcium/magnesium.  I also take a broad spectrum multi vitamin.  If I have had too much sugar/carbs I will take gymnema.  

I have been using the calorie cycling method for a while.  It helps me with my weight loss.  I just skip my dinner every other day.  Its simple.  Not rocket science.  I'm not likely to get into trouble with breakfast or lunch.  Those are usually small bowl of oats, 1/2 to 1/8 cup fruit, 2 eggs, lunch is a big salad with plenty of olive oil, avocado and protein.  This works so long as my carbs aren't too high or I've eaten something from my "Do NOT EAT" list.

I don't know if anybody reads this thing, but if they have insulin resistance, PCOS, or are pre-diabetic, they should.

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