Jul 292014
 

This post will probably sound rambling, and angry, and hurt and…the list goes on and on. So, forewarning.

Recently I went to the doctor because I was having dizzy spells that were becoming increasingly worrisome. I thought high blood pressure, inner ear infection, brain tumor, low blood sugar, dehydration, side effects of my acne medication…I had been taking sudafed on and off for months because I kept having issues with my ears feeling like there was liquid it in them (popping, crackling, etc). He did a bunch of tests, examined me, came up with nothing conclusive. He did a test where he took my blood pressure with me in different positions (laying down, sitting, standing). Thankfully my blood pressure was almost back to normal. (A few months ago it was super high when I went to the doctor.)

My doctor had me get an EKG to check my heart and then ordered a bunch of blood work. The results came back and I was pretty surprised by the results. I have to get my blood tested twice a year to check my kidney functions/potassium levels due to the acne medication I take. That test was ok. The platelet count reflected that there was some inflammation in my body or I was fighting off an infection (yay) but I don’t feel like I’m sick or anything.

The test also said I was anemic. I was anemic as a teenager and when I was a vegetarian. I’m really surprised that I’m anemic again considering the fact that I eat meat now and I have a pretty healthy/balanced diet with lots of veggies. My iron levels were 82 and I guess the normal range is 50-212, my saturation was 22% with a range of 20-50%. Eeek that’s a little low. Ok I can fix that. Iron supplements it is.

The glucose levels should be 70-200 mg/dL and I’m at 85. I guess that’s ok? He then said: 

“Your hemoglobin A1c is normal at 5.6, but this is very close to prediabetic range. An A1c between 5.7 and 6.4 indicates pre-diabetes, while an A1c equal to or greater than 6.5 would indicate diabetes. This makes it even more important for you to find ways to get active and moving again. Eating a healthier diet and trying to lose 5-10% of your current body weight over the next year or two would also help drastically reduce your risk of developing diabetes in the future.”

Um, what?!

My heart fell when I read that. Then I went through a roller coaster of emotions. I was hurt, I was scared, I was angry. Mostly angry. I felt cheated. The wake-up call I had 8 years ago that scared me straight was that I was pre-diabetic. Those words had terrified me beyond belief. I didn’t want diabetes. I didn’t want to have to test my blood all the time and take insulin pills or injections. It scared me enough that I realized it was time to lose the weight.

I worked SO HARD to lose over 100 pounds and I successfully lowered my blood pressure and avoided diabetes. I’ve kept my weight off for 6 years now and I exercise 5 days a week. I’m very active, I eat healthy, I count my calories, I log my food. So HOW is this happening again???

“For people without diabetes, the normal range for the hemoglobin A1c test is between 4% and 5.6%. Hemoglobin A1c levels between 5.7% and 6.4% indicate increased risk of diabetes, and levels of 6.5% or higher indicate diabetes. (source)”

So I am just at the border. I don’t know what my levels were 8 years ago when I was scared straight so I don’t have anything to compare this to.  The article goes on to say this:

“Patients with diseases affecting hemoglobin such as anemia may get abnormal results with this test. Other abnormalities that can affect the results of the hemoglobin A1c include supplements such as vitamins C and E and high cholesterol levels. Kidney disease and liver disease may also affect the result of the hemoglobin A1c test.”

I emailed my doctor to find out what was going on, why this was happening, and what I could do. I told him everything I’m currently doing and since I am ALREADY very active and eating right, what ELSE could I do? Seeing that above fact about things that can effect levels made me feel a little bit better I guess. If I was anemic, maybe that was effecting the test? I don’t have kidney disease but my acne medication can effect my kidneys…so maybe that is contributing to something? These were questions that I had and wanted answers to. Unfortunately I think the only real answer is to check my blood again in a few months after taking an iron supplement to see if things have changed.

Diabetes wordcloud

I’m not naive and thinking that just because I’m skinnier doesn’t mean I can’t get diabetes. I know that thin people can have it too. Sometimes it’s just genetic. My grandfather was diabetic. It could just be my family history. But I tell you, it’s a difficult pill to swallow to think that after all that work I did to lose the weight and how hard I’ve worked to keep it off…it could all be for naught. How could that be??

A friend of mine who is diabetic said I shouldn’t be worried. My levels weren’t alarming and the blood test wasn’t a fasting blood test. So perhaps she is right and it’s just a fluke. I decided to consciously cut out processed sugars the best I can, take iron, and ask my doc to do a fasting blood test to see what it says.

Anyways, I don’t have much else to share other than I feel stressed and unhappy about all of this. Time will tell. Perhaps this stress will be for nothing…

Share
Jul 232014
 

walking-legs-628x363

W is for Walking

Can you lose weight with just walking? Hell yes you can! Don’t disregard walking. If you’re just starting out with fitness or trying to lose some weight but don’t know where to start, you don’t have to start training for a marathon. It’s okay to start small.

“In studies, Weltman has found that women who do three short (about 30-minute) high-intensity walks plus two moderately paced recovery walks a week lose up to six times more abdominal fat than participants who simply stroll five days a week. (source)”

Walkers are athletes too. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. If you’re moving your body and trying, it’s a good thing. Walking is good because you can do it almost everywhere and it’s not something you need to plan ahead. It’s easier on the joints than running and you can still burn a decent amount of calories:

“If you walk at a pace of 4 miles per hour (a common pace) you can burn the following amount of calories per minute: 120 lb. person = 4.7 calories; 140 lb. person = 5.5 calories; 160 lb. person = 6.3 calories; 180 lb. person = 7.1 calories; 200 lb. person = 7.8 calories; and 220 lb. person  = 8.6 calories. (source)” 

So if you weigh 160 pounds and walking for 20 minutes, you could burn 126 calories. In only 20 minutes!

If you’re at work, keep an extra pair of walking shoes at your desk so you can go for walks during the day. I definitely recommend that all runners get fitted at a professional running store for the right kind of shoes. The same goes for walkers. It’s usually free and they will help you pick the shoes that are right for your body. It makes a huge difference! Check out these old posts about the topic: Tip for New Runners: Shoe Fitting and Is it Time for New Shoes?.

Here are some more tips on getting started and sticking with a walking program:

Find a walking buddy. Most things are more fun with a friend! Find a coworker, neighbor, friend to go for walks with you. Maybe your significant other wants to join you for a brisk walk after dinner–this will give you both a good chance to talk and bond. Another tip — get a dog! :D

Track your mileage. There are a TON of apps out there that can track how far you walk. There’s MapMyWalk, RunKeeper or my personal favorite–CycleMeter. I love Cyclemeter because it’s accurate and reliable. I used to use RunKeeper and MapMyRun but that was a few years ago and the GPS used to drop out a lot so I never REALLY knew what mileage I did. With CycleMeter you can change it to almost any activity you can think of. It tracks your distance, speed, elevation, so many things! It’s a great tool.

cyclemeter

Track your progress. Use MyFitnessPal or DailyMile to log your  mileage. Not only will it help you keep track of your progress, it can be very motivating! I don’t know about you but seeing it in black and white makes me feel good and makes me want to try hard. It can also help me set goals.

Technology is your friend. There are tons of gadgets out there to help you. If you have a smart phone the above apps I described are great and many are free. If you don’t have a smart phone, you can try a few different things. I’ve never tried it but I have several friends that rave about their FitBit. Pedometers are good, but I don’t know how accurate they are (I always had cheap ones). Finally, there are tons of watches/heart rate monitors out there that track that stuff. Garmin is a great one (and on my wishlist!). If you can’t get a smart phone or a fancy gadget, there are cheaper versions out there–or there is the SUPER cheap option of driving the route in your car and seeing what the mileage is. :)

Set goals. Start small. Walk around the block on your break at work, walk for 15 minutes after dinner. The more walking you get in, start making goals that you can work towards. Having specific goals helps in so many ways. It’s tangible and not just an abstract thought like “I want to walk more.” Instead, say “I will walk 1 mile today and 2 miles tomorrow.” Or while you are out walking, set a goal like “I will walk to the corner park and then back.” I do this when I’m running. When I’m feeling like quitting I think, “I’ll just run to that next lamp post and then turn around.” And often times when I get to that lamp post I can keep going.

Add hills. Don’t start doing hills in the beginning, work up your stamina and then start adding the hills. Your heart will start pounding harder and you’ll burn more calories.

Add weights. Back in the day I remember when speed walking was the thing and everyone was doing it and they had hand weights and then there were the ankle weights and I’ve also seen weight vests. Weighing more definitely burns more calories. I don’t know that I would add weights in the beginning, but later once you’ve lost some weight I can see where hand weights would be helpful.

Hydrate! I got a hand held water bottle for running and I love it. I can’t tell you how many times I used to be out on a run, far from home or the office, dying of thirst. There were a few times in the summer when I used to run the waterfront at lunch where I got dizzy and almost passed out because I was dehydrated and overheated. In the summer I mix 1/2 Gatorade and 1/2 water in my running water bottle. It was the best $20 I could spend. So take your water with you when you walk!

You can also Prancercise. ;) You’re welcome!

fl-prancercise-viral-video-20130530-001

Speed Up. Not in the beginning. Listen to your body and wait until your stamina builds and walking is easier. Once you’re doing it on a regular basis and maybe it’s getting a little boring, spice it up by walking faster. You never know, speed walking may turn into running!

speedwalking

Recently I went walking with a coworker during lunch. She’s trying to lose weight and got a FitBit to track her steps. She loves it that thing! It’s encouraged her to walk more and that’s great. Anyways, it was a nice sunny, warm day and we walked for 30 minutes. It reminded me how much I like walking. I used to walk the Hawthorne Bridge every morning into work (nearly 2 miles) and I also walked during my lunch breaks. I got pretty fast at it and could walk from the office all the way to PGE Park and back during my lunch break. I did so much walking and then my knees starting acting up and I quit walking. I realized just how much I miss doing it and I vowed to get back at it! It’s relaxing and exhilarating at the same time. AND IT’S FREE!

Are you a walker? Any tips? 

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals * J-Jumping * K-Keeping Sane * L-Losing Weight * M-Measuring Mistakes *N-Nemesis * O-Open * P-Plateaus Q -Quitting * R-Runner’s Knee * S-Support * U – Unattainable * V – Victory *

Share