I have become a walking advocate for this program with my own success of losing 30 pounds since September, moving back to the healthy weight of my 20's and 30's. I never dreamed I would be so successful. I struggled too and couldn't fathom why that weight hung to me, I finally hd almost decided it was going to be the way it was until the doctor gave me that alert that my fasting blood glucose levels were rising. I vowed to do all I could to avoid further escalation or getting across tht line to diabetes. Although my program goal was losing 15 pounds that I surpassed and doubled it amazed my doctor and me. It was slow some weeks only half a pound but it came off. For the first time in I don't know how many years I did not gain weight over the holidays in November and Christmas and through it all I was not anti social.
I've written before on this blog about the Y's national link to the Diabetes Prevention program, a national effort, which starts with an hour at a weekly meeting for 16 weeks where some aspect of nutrition and or physical activity is discussed along with the dreaded weigh in and review of the past week's food diaries (logs.) After 16 weeks (19 for my group due to holidays and the facilitator being away one week) for the rest of this year long program, which includes a YMCA membership one attends a maintenance class once a month led by another facilitator who is usually a certified nutritionist/dietitian.
While I have met others who have not been as successful, it does not take long hearing their woes to understand why they struggle. I have a genuine sympathy for those who cannot persevere for whatever reasons and for those who really ask for help but I have little tolerance for whiners, when they complain that it's not working I ask them if they log their food, and invariable they say, "no I don't like to do that." Don't like it, then to me they are saying they prefer fat and diabetes; it's their choice. Life is all about our choices despite how it's framed or who's blamed. Along with my lack of tolerance for whining is even less for those who kid themselves and want pity. Most complainers want magic, the quick fix, the stroke of a wand. Don't we all? No such magic wand exists for health maintenance and certainly not for weight loss. Long ago a friend and I talked about how much harder we work now to try to stay fit; don't ever recall it being this much work.
Sure as there are any number of diets that work in the short term, the nefarious yo yo dieting, which affects the body far worse than just staying overweight is often the result. It has to be a way of eating that one can follow for life. Think of it, will you exist from now on eating only cabbage soup or no carbs or no whatever as suggested by certain diets of the month? Weight Watchers is a healthy choice and works for many people so long as they stay with it. Any weight loss program from which one cannot wait to get back to the foods they left behind for a lower number on the scale are sure to create rebound to packing back the pounds and then some. It must be a lifestyle change. I have met many who regained all the weight they lost and it is not a mystery why that happens.
|5 pounds of fat compared to muscle..gross|
I am keeping off the weight, doing what I did to lose that fat of which we were reminded with a visual a 5 lb blob of yellowish matter resembling 5 pounds of fat at yesterday's Maintenance meeting. Yuck the blob was passed around; as I held the gross looking plastic rubbery clump I was so glad to say, "I lost 6 of these!" Medical research shows that one pound of fat has approximately one to two miles of blood vessels so each extra pound strains the heart pumping that much more. Each pound of fat on your body has roughly 7 miles of capillaries (smallest blood vessels) that deliver nutrients to the tissue. For every ten pounds of fat gained, your heart has to pump blood through an additional 70 miles of blood vessels! Consequently, it is not difficult to see why obesity and heart disease go hand in hand. The more I learned the more I became vehemently committed to ensuring my health.
This program is a lifestyle change, not a diet and is based on a few simple keys:
- daily food tracking, writing it down for me in lieu of electronic gadgets which abound. One participant said she did not want to do homework and record; she did not lose much weight. Her rebelliousness hurt no one but herself. Every participant has an individually calculated personal daily fat gram allowance based on age, weight, medical data, etc. Mine limited me to 33 fat grams a day and the facilitator often admonshed me to consume all each day to avoid yo yo rebounds. Now keeping it at or below 33 grams a day is my goal because above that I have determined that i my weight would begin to increase. Along with that calories are recorded but not the I would begin to add weight. I have also learned that high fat foods = high calorie foods.
- the program recommends 30 minutes a day or 150 minutes a week of physical activity for me it is from one to one and half hours physical activity each day even in this tundra arctic where we have been confined all winter. My physical activity occurs now mostly exclusively at the Y unless I am shoveling the blasted snow while Jerry's back heals. I have always been active so this was a no brainer for me. But I sure do miss outdoor walks in this so too cold winter.
- weighing every day faithfully and recording it on the food log. That's paying attention to what the old enemy, never my friend, the scale has to say. I weigh in every morning now. This is a big change for me; I would avoid the scale in every way possible before, kidding myself that I could tell when my weight edged up by my clothes. I no longer shudder when I go to the doctor's and they weigh me in first thing.
The Y program director asked me to share my story which I readily obliged by writing a three page article which she loved and sent on to the national headquarters. The next thing I knew I became a rock star of the Y Diabetes Prevention Program; my story is to be featured in their national publication. I will soon post what I wrote here on this blog describing my entry to the program with all the skepticism I could bring... I was also asked to work on a team for this year's YMCA annual campaign which will feature our prevention program. One thing keeps leading to another and last week I was interviewed for television here in the LaCrosse area, WKBT-TV to publicize the campaign. I am not shy nor tongue tied and have had extensive experience in public speaking in my career and in organizations everything from live news interviews, cameras to legislative testimony in Sacramento and in Washington, DC, so it was old times for me. Actually I am more of a natural born ham. I knew the Y loved personal stories but didn't think mine was any big deal, however I am learning that it is indeed.
At my ripe age of 69 years to regain my lifestyle healthier than before, through this program has been a blessing and if I can share this to help others including the YMCA I am more than willing. My fasting blood glucose which was showing red warning flags is now low normal and my cholesterol decreased 17 percent. My doctor is so pleased and proud that he gave me the flyer about this program; he said he wished he could have me talk with so many patients who just cannot get on the wagon to improving their health. .
I will not say it's easy but it's achievable. And when one values health one will commit to doing whatever it takes. I thought I was a fairly healthy eater, I do not eat fast foods nor overindulge in red meats nor sweets. In fact I prefer sour or salty crunchy to sweets. But my weakness is cheese, oh I love cheese, melted, hard, grated, there is not a cheese I do not like and cheese is so good because it's heavy in fat. A grilled cheese sandwich has always been my very favorite lunch. And so where do I land in retirement but right across the river, Cheese-head Wisconsin country...heaven for me. It was here I discovered cheese curds, another delicacy for me. I love them raw or even better coated and deep fried, melty. Almost daily my quick lunch had been cheese and an apple or other fruit and perhaps some triscuit crackers or a fast quesadilla. Healthy right? Wrong! One ounce of cheese has between 8 to 10 or more grams of fat. I ate a hunk of cheese way more than an ounce, more like 5 ounces and through the day it was also a favored snack for me. You do not have to be a math genius to calculate that I could easily exceed my daily fat gram allowance on cheese. So now I know, yikes I learned something about nutrition. I never thought of this before despite my constant pursuit of education in nutritional eating. I have counted calories and carbohydrates, never before fat grams. Now I can eat cheese but never again the way I used to; one ounce of cheese which is about a one inch square is an allowance for a snack, carefully monitored and recorded. I found the culprit and it was me! Besides cheese, ice cream and frozen custard were almost daily evening treats and well, now you have the keys to my success. Awareness and admitting, that I was doing this to me. The same with nuts that had been a favorite snack. Nuts are healthy and so a handful now and then when passing by the counter didn't hurt, so I thought. And wrong again. Nuts may be nutritious but they are full of fat. Now my favorite snack is pretzels which provide the crunch and salt and no to very little fat. And my glass of wine has no fat either.
But back to the program and my spokesperson role. Besides the interview the film crew followed me around though the gym on my workouts on the elliptical and the recumbent bike after the interview. At least I had my hair combed and was not as "just got out of bed looking" as I routinely am when I go to the Y. Why dress up and clean up to sweat it all off? We appear with a brush through the hair grooming and begin our workouts.. But on interview day I was looking a bit better still, not aware that I'd get the full paparazzi treatment which had folks in the busy sweaty gym pondering, "who's she?" I did admonish the camera man that it was not necessary to get butt shots from behind me as he laughed he wanted every angle. I refused to don my swim suit for them and allow the film to show the water logged me as well. Just when I thought we were done, they asked if I would return to the lobby and entry to the Y so they could film me walking in and talking...another natural talent for me, talking to as I told the reporter, I can talk to anybody about anything and or to anybody about nothing, which way do we go!" They later told Nate that they had not had so much fun on an interview for a long time and proclaimed me, " an awesome natural." Aww, watch out now I'm puffing up!
But the kicker was yesterday at Zumba class--Monday morning with my hair combed and reverting to my "just out of bed au naturel look" as we rehearsed a new Zumba routine, Nate, the Y's marketing director, appeared with the same film crew, pointed me out and there they were as was I, film at 11. What could I do but keep on dancing! The instructor told the class, "we have a celebrity in our midst, blame Ms P M." I have been explaining to the ladies ever since. Now we have our viewing celebration party coming up soon as it shows on TV and the news which will be sometime in March. I have a lot of explaining to do all the time now just like today at Yoga, "hey did you bring the film crew along?" Glad to say, no it's just us. But it's a;; abput working it and it's all good for the Y and for ourselves.
For more information talk to the YMCA near you to learn about this excellent program based on extensive national research through the National Institutes for Health. . It's healthy for you. http://www.ymca.net/diabetes-prevention/