The OF Blog: A little personal update before resuming reviews

Friday, May 29, 2015

A little personal update before resuming reviews

As I've said before on a few occasions, 2015 to date has been devoted much more to improving my health (2014's kidney stone and back injuries wreaked havoc on my body shape and health) than reading or translation work.  Back in January, my work held a company-wide weight loss challenge, where groups of 4-5 employees were paired up and the winning group (selected by average percentage of weight lost per team) would divide the pot.  The competition ended on May 5th and my team won.  During that span, I lost 42 lbs., so it was nice to have monetary motivation to lose the necessary weight.

Also in January, I had blood tests done to see if progress was being made in lowering my cholesterol and triglyceride levels, both of which were around the 300 level (>150 is considered normal/good for both) back in October (I was placed on simistatin then).  Although both had dropped some due to the medication, they were still elevated.  So I made a goal then that by the time that I had my next round of tests (today), that I would have lost 50 lbs.

In order to do this, I gave up drinking anything other than water; ate leaner cuts of meat and only occasionally fry/saute them; ate more nuts and dried fruits; only had two meals with any sort of meat a day, if possible; lifted weights (only up to 65% of my known maxes) at least once a week and usually 2-3 times; and tried to walk at least 20 miles a week.  It was at times grueling, having to relearn muscle movements while my stomach felt hollow, but it was interesting to see the changes.  Within a week of giving up sodas, I had a lot more energy and I only needed 5.5-6.5 hours of sleep a night on average to feel rested the next morning.  I started to feel less hungry due to drinking 3-4 liters of water a day and my chronic dehydration went away.

In March, I purchased a fitness band, the Garmin Vivofit, and began using My Fitness Pal to track what I ate.  On the latter, I was able to set goals (namely a 2 lbs./week loss) and by inputting what I ate and seeing roughly what their caloric contents were, I found myself eating less in order to meet those daily goals.  With the Garmin watch/band, I started trying to walk more and more each day, especially during the late hours at work after the residents were asleep.  This combination of tracking items and conscious effort on my part to meet the goals set out led to a very rapid weight loss in late March/April, when I lost nearly half of my weight before the competition's end.

So it was with some confidence that I went to get my blood tested today.  Turns out that my cholesterol and triglyceride levels are now in the 130s and that my HDL and LDL levels have improved greatly.  No imminent threat of Type II diabetes setting in and the anemia that showed up on the January tests had disappeared (maybe due to the further healing of my left kidney after my October procedure, or maybe also due to taking vitamin supplements regularly).  If things are much the same in four months, I get to come off of my medications, so I still have motivation to work even harder to get my body healthy and toned.

And yes, there have been days where the squirrels have pushed me to the brink...

But at least now I can rest a little bit.  No, wait, I'm going for an evening walk in a few minutes.  Maybe later this weekend I'll write my first review in a few months.


Bibliotropic said...

While it sucks that your health wasn't great before, it's awesome to hear that it's on the rise. And inspiring, too, since weight loss and chronic dehydration are things I've struggled with for years now. The only time I've managed to lose a decent amount of weight was when a tumour was giving me hell; every other time, it seems that no matter what improvements I try to make, my body's determined to hang on to all its fat reserves.

You make a good point about drinking more water. I have a hard time getting enough liquid through the day. I'm rarely thirsty, and sometimes it feels like my throat's trying to close off if I drink too much in one sitting, so it's pretty much habit at this point to drink far less than I need. And that's not doing me any favours. :/ So yeah, seeing your improvement like that kinda gives me hope that maybe I can make more of those changes in my own life, too.

Larry Nolen said...

It takes a lot of changes to accomplish even 1 lb./week loss, I've found. But I like the challenge. Instead of finishing 10 books in a week, I try to walk say 14 hours, or roughly the same amount of time devoted to the former. Or maybe it's discovering a new way to cook something that is "lighter" for me yet might taste wonderful. It's an odd balance between routine and innovation that seems to help me do this, as otherwise I might become bored and/or frustrated and everything would falter.

But the rough part is ahead, as I seem to have lost more muscle mass than I intended and I need to slow down the loss in order to rebuild the muscles for better toning for the winter work I want to do. However, I am glad to hear that this update has given you hope! :D

Gabriele Campbell said...

The worst offender isn't meat but that horrible white bread stuff so common in the US. Try to find German rye bread or some sort of whole grain bread. For me, less white bread rolls (and less sweetmeats) made a difference without cutting down on the meat (though I never liked meat with too much fat to begin with).

Sodas are the devil incarnate. Worse than the evil chicken. :-) I'm lucky that I never liked the stuff and always prefered water or unsweetened tea to coke; for me it was the beer I had to cut down on.

And I bought a new bicycle. I live in a hilly area and the old one with no gears did not get used enough.

Larry Nolen said...

I've never liked bread of any sort, so that's one thing I've never had to cut back on, since it's impossible to go below zero consumption :P

But I do agree with what you say, especially on the sodas. Once I broke my habit of drinking them, all sorts of good things like rapid weight loss and energy gain returned.

Too bad bicycle riding is impractical here where I live, where there are so many highways and everything is too far out for cycle travel to be worthwhile.

Bill said...

Thanks for the update, Larry. Good to hear your health has improved significantly!

Look forward to hearing about some of the books you've been able to squeeze in between walks.

By the way, I use a stationary bike a lot; one advantage is I can read while I'm exercising.


Foxessa said...

Congratulations on your many health improvements! Excellent indeed.

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