in Markel!

Health Check: 2018

Fair warning: this post is going to be pretty personal, and if you don’t care about my struggles with my weight and food, then you should probably just skip it and move on to the next post.

In fact, I’ll add a cut link here to encourage it unless you really do care about me, in which case, please proceed.

tl;dr, even for those of you who have clicked through this far: I’m doing all right. Not great, but all right.

Now, onwards. (Seriously, this is going to be wordy. I don’t really feel like editing it tonight.)

Weight Loss

This is the slowest downward-trend chart of all time and really illustrates the challenges I face in dealing with my weight. I guess my main happiness is that it really does illustrate a trend downwards, but it’s so slow that in the day-to-day I barely notice it.

Because of that, I often find it hard to keep going and (as you can see) tend to backslide here and there. The current trajectory I’m on is significant, though, and I’m fairly dedicated to keeping it going. Which leads us to:

Diet

Good things first:

I have been off all diet soda for around a month now—with the exception of rare special occasions such as restaurants—and I think it’s sticking. I didn’t see a radical change in my weight, but it seems to have been responsible for something like 3 or 5 pounds. I’m getting my caffeine intake from cold-brewed tea instead.

I’ve nearly eliminated fast food from my diet. I say “nearly” because I fell off the wagon with this on the weekends a couple times in a row. I had a good run of about three weeks where I didn’t get anything at all and even stuck mostly away from convenience foods. I was spending a fairly ridiculous amount of money on this stuff, so I’m happy I’m trying to leave it behind. And when I have had it, I find that I can’t eat nearly as much of it.

I’m back on intermittent fasting (16/8) and it’s feeling good. I’m not having as much trouble getting up in the morning. My glucose readings are still a bit high (averaging in the 130-140 range), but that’s probably because I haven’t curtailed carbs as much as I could yet in the times I am eating. I’m also not doing so great at cutting out in-between eating, but more on that in a bit. I tested extended fasting over Easter weekend and it was quite challenging. I’m not sure I’ll try that again soon.

I am trying very hard to realize when I want to stress-eat, and talk myself out of it. I’m not 100% successful at this either, and actually failed at it today. It’s not easy. When things get tough, my reflex reaction is to eat whatever I can, and I know that’s a bad coping mechanism. I need to break this habit.

The bad stuff:

I have a serious problem with snacking on stuff and not realizing how much I’m eating. “Oh, hey, I’ll just grab one of these cookies here…” becomes six or eight of them not much longer. I even see this during meals, where it’s easy for me to down two or three servings’ worth of lunch.

I’m still not eating the right things when I do eat. Canned pasta, not limiting rice effectively, eating cereal when that’s essentially poison to me… you name it; it’s happened. I need to make this a better focus.

Exercise

Big fail on this one from me right now, I’m afraid. My gym attendance was garbage in April. A very fluxed work schedule, some additional responsibilities taking odder time slots than I’m used to, crazy amounts of additional stress due to problems with my house and decently-large ticket items within it, and just my own reticence to get up and get going has meant that most of the recent weight loss I’ve had has been without regular exercise. (Which is both good and bad.)

I use all of those things above as an excuse not to make the drive to the gym and go for an hour.

And when I do go, I’m not limiting myself appropriately, getting muscle cramps because I haven’t been using my muscles enough, and then using that as an excuse not to go for the next week. (Yes, I get muscle cramps that last a week sometimes. I don’t know what’s wrong with me.) I just need to bite the bullet and get back in there, starting slowly and building back up again. It feels good when I’m getting in there 3x a week; it is annoying that I talk myself out of it so often.

It’s going to suck when the coaches rag on me for not being there, but that’s my own fault. I need to be more active.

The one positive light on this is that to keep moving at least somewhat, I’ve started taking brisk walks with my wife after dinner. It’s been quite pleasant, and it’s definitely better than not getting any activity at all.

Diabetic Management

Eh.

I’m still on all of the meds, and as I mentioned, my glucose is running a touch high even with improved habits. When I fasted completely for 48 hours, I had two straight days of 70-80 readings, so my body can manage it. I just need to do a better job of it.

At least I’m testing daily again and making it part of my routine. And I haven’t missed my meds in weeks, which isn’t normal for me.

I have detailed blood work coming up soon, so I might say more on this in a handful of weeks.

Wrap-Up

I have a lot of work to do. And I wasn’t focused on this as well as I should have been again for large chunks of last year. I’m not hitting the gym like I should, and my food intake still needs improvement.

But seeing the downward run of my weight over the last few years—even if it’s only been around 15-20 pounds total over all of that time—has reassured me that it’s possible for me to keep this going and drive it even lower.