Stand if You Can

I became a believer and purchased a stand up desk, I am actually standing now as I write this. I am 57 years young with type 2 diabetes, taking 1000 mg of Metformin daily. My doctor just recently doubled my dose from 500 to 1000, and that’s when I decided to take this disease seriously. My new year’s resolution for 2016 is to lose 30 lbs. I actually started a few weeks early so I have a month’s experience. What does the doctor always say to us, “Diet and Exercise” but my Uncle had a saying that hit the nail on the head, “If you want to lose weight, the first thing you have to give up is you’re Friends!”   Most activities involve eating and drinking, right? Like most diets I started out gung ho, I checked my body mass index 29.16 borderline obese! I have to admit it shocked me, I know I am chunky but I see people that make me look underfed and I mean a lot of people, what is there BMI. I then wanted to find out how many calories that I needed in a day just to maintain my existing weight. To maintain my current weight: 2204 calories a day with a sedentary lifestyle. 2526 a day with light activity which is usually described as 150 minutes of exercise a week. Now it becomes a numbers game. To lose one pound, a body must have a 3500 calorie deficit. So let’s say I’m exercising and eat @ 2000 calories a day, in a week that adds up to 3500 calorie deficit and equates to 1lb a week lost. I’ve been trying to lose 2 lbs. a week (suggested maximum weight to lose safely) so I’m eating @ 1500 calories a day. I’ve actually lost 9 lbs. in 4 weeks but not because I’ve stuck to 1500 calories a day. I think that out of the first 9 lbs. a lot was water weight, I have noticed that I have reached a plateau now. That seems to be the way it works for most people. They will lose a few lbs. and stay stuck at a weight for a week and then drop 2 lbs. overnight. My job is sedentary, I’m in front of a computer all day. I go home and hit the treadmill @ 4 – 5 times a week. I have built up to burning 300 calories in 35 minutes. Then my life becomes sedentary again. I eat dinner with the family, work on the computer a little, watch television and go to bed, pretty boring. Last night my friend called and asked me to meet them down at our local pub to watch the national football championship. I had to decline, when I told him that I was trying to lose weight and get my blood sugar under control he laughed (he is also type 2 diabetic) and replied, “ All you have to do is drink Tequila,  they have found out it lowers blood sugar. I don’t know about that, but what about all the chips and fried food I’m going to eat? I don’t know about you but drinking weakens my will power, I think a large portion of our birth rate could involve drinking in some shape or form. The good news in Ohio, if you can get past the eating a drinking with your friends, there’s not a lot of anything else going on, so it’s easier for me to find time to exercise. In the summer I golf 4 times a week, sometimes 27 holes and according to my doctor, “That’s not exercise, because you ride in a cart”. Even if I wanted to walk it’s not going to happen, the guys I play with love burning through the course in 3 hours and my gambling addiction is stronger than my will to lose weight, I have to admit. Let say that you can’t exercise and your sedentary. How hard is it to eat 500 calories a day less than your break even number? For me it’s not too bad, my biggest problem is portion control. I have always eaten everything on my plate. It just seems strange to me that when I go out to eat with someone and they leave food on their plate, my parents would have blown a gasket, “People are Starving Out there”. I also eat extremely fast. I remember my first date with my now wife, she had a forkful of food and by the time she finished talking, I was done with my meal (this still hasn’t changed in the last 15 years). I have been practicing on slowing down my pace and leaving something on the plate. You’ve probably heard of the 20 minute rule, but I’ll repeat it. It takes 20 minutes after eating for the stomach to feel full. So even if your still hungry after eating your limited calories, if you wait 20 minutes you should feel fool. It seems to work for me, or maybe I just stop thinking about it after 20 minutes. Being Diabetic makes dieting more difficult, we also have to watch what we eat. The big no no’s are sugar, pop, juice, potatoes, rice, bread, beer, alcohol and pasta. God, “Why does Beer have to be loaded with Carbs”? I’ve been doing well on the carb maintenance and my blood sugar shows it. In fact I had a little scare yesterday. I usually check my blood sugar every other morning. Yesterday morning my blood sugar was 95 (fasting) and I didn’t work out the day before. It was The NFL Playoff Sunday.  When I get home from work on Monday,  I feel like I need to check my sugar again, I never do this but I was curious, it’s been 4 hours since I have eaten lunch. My meter shows 61, I think, something must be wrong, check again – 61. I really didn’t feel strange or weird but I eat some strawberries, blueberries and hit the treadmill. Later that night @ 8:30 I drink my protein drink – 30 grams protein and 4 grams of carbs. This morning the meter reads 100, which is good. What I can’t explain and maybe you can help me understand is, why after a 4 hour fast my blood sugar goes low to 61 but after 11 hour fast at night its 100? And the other thing I question is, if I am going to cheat on my diet, it is almost always a Sunday. No work, and the refrigerator is right there. So I cheat on Sunday, don’t exercise and my blood sugar is lower the next morning than when I don’t cheat and do exercise?

Why Stand Up?

They say you can burn an additional 50 calories an hour standing vs sitting. My little mind tells me, 15 minutes on the treadmill is hell, all I have to do is stand for 3 hours a day. I have just discovered the holy grail of weight loss! I order my stand up desk pronto. It is just like anything else, you have to work up to it. I started walking a mile now I’ve built up to 3 miles. Standing is similar. There was no way that I could stand up for three hours straight, my ankles, knees and back were killing me. At age 57 you learn patience. First thing I do is get a pair of custom orthotic shoe inserts. Now I know everything is in alignment and weight distribution is correct. This means a lot as you get older. The orthotics adjust the foot so that the bones in the ankles, knees and back now ride a position that is able to hold the weight correctly. In my case I have a knee with worn cartilage, the orthotic has changed where my knee joint makes contact, virtually eliminating the pain. Next I purchase a anti fatigue pad to stand on, I think this helps. I have found that standing for an hour at a time works well for me. I stand first thing in the morning from 8:00 – 9:00 am then 11:00 to 12:00 pm and then 2:00 to 3:00 pm. Start standing 10 minutes at a time if that is all you can do. We carry a complete line of ankle, knee, and back braces if needed. If you have sciatica that is aching, don’t let it stop you, wear a brace. You’ll find these pains the first hour that you attempt to stand!

What I Have Noticed:

When I climb the steps at work, I am not winded now. I can now stand for @ 3hrs straight. A technique that works well for me is to move a little. When I first started standing I was perfectly still, like a statue. The pain in my knees and hips would become unbearable. Now I’ll rock from side to side, walk in place a little and occasionally take a walk to the coffee pot or water bottle. Doing these little tricks has helped me double my standing time.  I know I have a long way to go but my blood sugar is lower than it has been in years and I’m thinking of reducing my medication back to what it was. When you stand you use muscles and this helps burn excessive glucose, studies say by as much as 30%.  My energy level is much higher, I work around the house much more. I even helped my wife take down the Christmas Ornaments, first time ever! I have been less grouchy, according to my wife.  I am anxious to see if this will manifest to even greater levels when I lose another 20 lbs.

Think of What You Can Do, Not What You Can’t

If I can emphasize one point it would be, “START SOMEWHERE”. Stand for 5 minutes, walk 10 feet. It’s a beginning to build on. I once read, being at rock bottom is a good place to start, you now have the most solid foundation to build on!             Everyone is going to falter. If you fail one day, two days, a week, start the process over again, this is not a race. If you average ½ lb. a week that’s still 26 lbs. in a year.

Good luck and please share exeriences!

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