Time for another “Les isn’t dead yet” update.

exercisemotivationI last wrote about my state of health back on August 2nd so I figured it was time to give those of you who are interested an update on my current status.

The short version: I’m not dead yet.

The long version: I’m doing better. I still haven’t lost any weight — in fact I shot up to 308 pounds at one point which was a first — but I am doing better. We still don’t know for sure exactly what my chest problem was, but it’s gone away and hasn’t been back and I’m no longer taking Prilosec for it. I’ve been trying to exercise and count calories since that incident flared up and I started off really strong managing to do 15 minutes on our elliptical every weekday morning for near three weeks until my back flared up and I took a week off. Since my back got better I’ve only managed two to three times a week for reasons including sore legs and back twinges. I’ve also given up on trying to accurately track my calories as the MyFitnessPal app only worked occasionally on my smartphone and figuring out dinner counts was way more of a hassle than it was worth. Not that it matters as even with over-estimating how much I was eating I was still coming in under what it said was my limit that should have made me lose a pound a week and yet, as you’ll recall from the first sentence, no weight loss has occurred.

I saw my doctor this past Monday and told her about how demoralized I was getting with the whole process. I’ve been told repeatedly the exercise will get easier. It hasn’t. I’ve been told to expect a little weight gain at first, but after a couple of weeks I’d drop below my starting weight. I haven’t and it’s been almost three months. I still can’t make it more than 15 minutes without risking my legs giving out. The only indicator I had that there was any improvement is that it now takes almost 10 minutes before I start sweating profusely whereas it was just a couple of minutes at the beginning. Other than that I’m making myself miserable and not seeing any positive results for it.

My doc is a smart lady. She knows I need something to show me I’m making a difference so she orders me to have blood work done right then and there without bothering to fast first as you’re supposed to. So I do as I’m told and yesterday we got the results back.

I mentioned last time that almost all the bad stuff was too high and the good stuff too low. I specifically mentioned that my sugar was 254 and this time it was 247 which is still high, but my HbA1C, which is an average of my blood sugar over the past few months, had dropped from 9.8 to 8.2. The goal is to get it to 7.0 or under and I’m headed in that direction. My total cholesterol has greatly improved dropping from 235 to 140 with the goal being less than 200. My LDL (bad cholesterol) went from 151 to 79, the target is 100 or less, but my HDL (good cholesterol) also dropped from 36 to 27. She says that happens sometimes when you lower the bad stuff and not to worry about it just yet. Finally my Triglycerides were 169 down from a high of 241 last time and the goal for that is less than 150. Considering this was a lab done without fasting that’s seems pretty good to me.

So the upshot of all that is I am far from perfect healthwise and I’ve not lost any weight yet (I was 299.6 on Monday), but I’m definitely getting better. She wants me to keep exercising for as long as I can managed it every other weekday (Mon, Wed, Fri) and if I can squeeze one in on the weekends that’d be gravy. I’m still trying to pay attention to calories and portion sizes and she’s pointed me to a couple of other possible apps to help with that. I go back for another lab and followup in three months.

I’m happy to see that at least something about my health appears to be improving, though even a tiny bit of weight loss would go a long damned way to helping my motivation. I don’t think I’ll ever be thin again, but losing at least a few pounds would be really nice. So I’m keeping at it. I’m not particularly good at it, but I’m managing it in my own way.

15 comments

  1. I’m guessing “I can squeeze one in on the weekends that’d be gravy” may not be the best way to refer to exercise and weight loss :) Congrats on the numbers getting better. Even though the exercise part may not feel like it’s improving, the lab results mean something is.

  2. Keep up the good work, it will pay off! At only 15 minutes a day three or four times a week, it will take some time to see the more dramatic results, but as you progress, you will notice some good body changes, your stamina will start to increase, and it will eventually be easier to exercise more and lose weight faster. If you feel you can, maybe try to work in just some brisk walking around the neighborhood on your “off” days. Ellipticals are a great workout, but they take it right out of you…I’m not as heavy as you, and I can only do a few minutes myself…but none of that means you can’t be a little more active on non-elliptical days.

    While the general plans of reducing calories and increasing exercise is universal, everybody has a slightly different body and history….if you’ve been sedentary for years, getting back into decent shape is going to be a slow start….but it’s never too late to improve.

    Man, I’ve only made it up to about 250 lbs, and it’s all beer/soda gut. Despite my very bad habits, I never was more than 10 pounds overweight until I got an office job sitting on my ass all day, then I gained over 40 pounds in two years and it’s been stuck here ever since. I walk probably 10 miles or more per week, but it’s not enough aerobics to lose what I’ve gained. I don’t have quite as far to go as you, but I really need to do something. I’ve read that “beer gut”, when all the fat is concentrated around the internal organs, is worse for heart and liver health than just being all-around fat, and more indicative of likelihood of an eventual heart attack.

    Anyway, sorry about whining about my own issues, and sorry if this is all pat advice you’ve heard before. Again, keep it up, it will get better!

  3. Stay strong and keep at it. Although you are discouraged with your progress, it seems that you are doing a great job to me. I can barely even manage to get out of bed some days. Maybe knowing how much you’re trying, will be motivation for me to try harder? See how you might even be inspirational?! ;)

  4. “Man does not live by bread alone” A little beer, some steak, maybe a salad or two. Keep a varied diet and don’t worry about calorie counting. Small portions and moderate quantities will work over the long run, and not make you so depressed. Do not get too involved with the weight issue, if you are making progress on the numbers as shown, the weight will take care of itself. And, yes, the exercise will get easier as you do it regularly. It is good to keep contact with your doctor and get the feedback that shows positive results. The Romans had a great saying, “Nullam illigitamate carborundum.” That’s Latin for, “Don”t let the bastards grind you down.”

    Peace.

  5. When my brother (5 years older) had a heart attack at too young an age, I read the handwriting on the wall and began cutting back on red meat. It may have delayed my quadruple coronary bypass, but when it came, I decided to switch to a pesco-vegetarian diet (veggies and sea food). When I eat seafood, it is almost never fried. That, along with a statin, has helped keeping the bad cholesterol low and the good relatively high, but the diet has been a bit of a pain-in-the neck for my spouse, who has blood pressures like 90/60 and so has no need to avoid red meat. Sometimes I see good veggie recipes on-line, and this is one I saw yesterday. To my surprise, my wife made it tonight, and she liked it too. I can only wonder how much it would have helped if I had made that diet change in my 30s or 40s.

  6. Congrats on the lab numbers. They seem to indicate some progress. I’m also susceptible to lower back discomfort so I walk to alleviate (or minimise) the pain. All the best Les

  7. Would you be more motivating if you exercised outdoors like walking or biking? I don’t know where you live, so the season for that kind of stuff might be over, but I find it more enjoyable to see some scenery than hop on a stationary machine.

    If seeing your lab numbers is motivation, you might try a GPS mapping service like Strava. If you have a iOS or Android GPS enabled smart phone, you can get a free app that will give you stats like your pace, route, best times, longest walk, etc. It keeps track and informs you of any improvements that are made (will give you “personal record” awards). You probably don’t realize your pace is improving steadily. Of course, this doesn’t work with a stationary machine.

    Strava, is a bit on the competitive side since it is populated mostly by cyclists trying to one-up each other, but there are other similar apps/services not as competitive and you have the option of marking your routes as private.

    Of course, the NSA will grab this data nonetheless, so the big-brother aspect might be a deal-breaker.

  8. Hi Les – I haven’t participated in a looooong time, but this post really hit home. I haven’t heard you say that you’re a diabetic – are you? With blood sugars in the 200′s and A1C levels over 7.0, you need to be on medication to help you manage your blood sugar. Do you routinely test your blood glucose levels? You should test at 3 times per day, more if you really want to find out what foods are spiking your sugar levels. Is your doctor an endocrinologist? It makes a difference. My weight kept going up and up and up, and my regular doctor used to say “calories in, calories out!” and “at least you’re not wasting away”. He’s no longer my doctor.

    Once I went to an endocrinologist, I learned about diabetes and insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and the fact that “calories in, calories out” only works on bodies that are functioning properly. As for exercise, I work out more than anyone else I know, an hour to an hour and a half each day, and I’ll be the first to tell you that exercise will *not* help you lose serious amounts of weight *if* you have an underlying metabolic problem. I’ve been fighting this disease for several years now, and *still* haven’t lost any weight. Exercise is great for cardio and overall health, but don’t expect it to work miracles with your weight. It helps with blood sugar and other “numbers”, but weight loss is inexorably tied to eating properly, digestion, and a metabolism that is normal.

    Sorry for chewing your ears off, but you’re on a journey now to find out what works for *you*, because the doctors really don’t know what to do other than push drugs and no one will help you find answers *but* you. Good luck and be well.

  9. I can only say follow what your doctor says and stick with it. I know hearing this from your fat mother sounds weird but I want to see you reach my age!!!!!!

  10. It’s going to be awhile before I’ll consider going vegan.

    Oh, I’d never recommend that; it is too much like torture. Even products like Egg Beaters and Jello are off-limit for vegans. Check this out.

  11. Hey momma and beau- nice to see some other old timers here!

    And Les- what Bob says. I’m no vegan, not even a vegetarian, and I manage. You just need to move more and eat less.

  12. It’s nice to still be around, beau. I notice that moloch and leguru are still here too, but most of the others I remember from a couple of years ago are gone. I guess that’s life in cyberspace.

    I think I’ve said this many times, but anyone here is cordially invited to lunch here in Vienna, or in the SF Bay Area most summers.

    cheers from autumny Austria, zilch

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