Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Prediabetes - Be Careful of Overdoing The Weights

I'm well into the third month of working on getting my blood sugar controlled with diet and exercise. About the second month I noticed the fasting sugar levels had declined to a certain point and then stalled.

I knew it was time to add weights to my exercise routine.

So I started with canned routines I had used in the past. They were specifically targeted at people who were older and unable to do certain tougher lifting. I have never been injured using these routines, at least not until a week ago.

The day after I completed a 30 minutes light weight routine, I found it difficult to straighten up. And the lower pain just got worse the next few days.

The way back to back health involved a heating pad and aspirin. It took about a week to feel better. And it'll take another week to get back to being able to exercise again.

Bottom line - take it easy lifting weights. If something hurts, stop. Otherwise, you will seriously short circuit your goal to reduce your blood sugar levels.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Prediabetes - Defining Success by the Numbers

How will you know if you have successfully managed your prediabetes?

For you, success might be that your A1c falls into the "normal range of less than 5.7." The good news is that you will have done an excellent job of managing your blood sugar by eating correctly and increasing activity levels. Along the way you may lose weight, sleep better, and feel better.

And you achieved success by figuring out how to count carbs, counting your steps, staying hydrated, and checking your sugar levels.

If you are still on the path to successful blood glucose management, consider the following goals for yourself:
  1. Blood glucose - Prediabetes is defined by an A1c less than or equal to 5.7 and fasting glucose 70–99 mg/dl (3.9–5.5 mmol/L).
  2. Weight  - BMI between 18.5 and 24.9.
  3. Steps per day to lose weight - greater than 10,000.
  4. Amount of sleep per day is highly customized, but the recommendation is 6 - 8 hours per day.

What tools do you use for 1-4 above? Consider the following:

Blood Glucose: use a simple glucometer such as the one recommended in this post - How to Start Your Program to Manage Blood Sugar.

Weight - a simple digital scale is best. I think I've had mine for about 10 years. Calculate BMI using internet calculators (search for "calculate BMI").

Steps - use a simple pedometer or get a Fitbit such as the one I have to measure heart rate, count steps, floors, and calories, and to analyze your sleep (4.) above.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Prediabetes - Increase Your Activity Level

Note that the title of this post is not "exercise," it's "increase your activity level."

If you have prediabetes, increasing your activity level burns sugar. So does exercise. But who wants to exercise when you can burn sugar by doing everyday activities. A few examples are as follows:
  • Get off the couch and move, even if it's to the kitchen to fill up your water bottle or get a cup of green tea.
  • Walk the dog. Quicken the pace and walk a little longer every day.
  • Walk around your neighborhood (if it's safe to do so). Quicken the pace and walk a little longer every day.
  • Garden if you like it. Raking, weeding, spreading mulch, and planting vegetables or flowers will all burn sugar.
  • Got a lot of errands to run? No problem. Group them into one day when you can shop for groceries, go to the bank, or go to doctor's appointments. Walk if you can. If that's not possible, forget about finding a parking space near the door of the bank or the store. Park as far away as you can.
  • If you work at a desk, get up and walk at least once an hour. Walk on your lunch break.

According to a Consumer Reports article by Sally Wadyka,
The University of Warwick study compared people with at least one sign of metabolic syndrome—which is a group of risk factors (high blood pressure, fat around the waist, high blood sugar, and high triglycerides and cholesterol) that lead to heart disease—to those with no risk factors. They found that those who got the least activity had the most risk factors, and those who walked the most—accumulating at least 15,000 steps per day—had healthy BMIs, smaller waists, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and better blood sugar control.
Measuring Your Progress

So, you decided to increase your activity level. How do you know if you are making progress? One of the easiest ways is to measure steps. Get a simple pedometer. Keep it on your person and measure your steps.

I have a smartwatch that measures steps, heart rate, and sleep cycles. It also alerts me to text messages and phone calls. I started out with 7,500 steps per day and am working toward 10,000 steps per day.  At the right are my steps today.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Prediabetes - Blood Glucose and Weight Trending Downward

This is the third week I've measured my fasting blood glucose with the Contour Next One Smart Meter, Monitoring System. I am making progress by observing a Type 2 diabetic diet:

Week 1 - 138
Week 2 - 128
Week 3 - 103

I take these readings and my blood pressure every Tuesday. I weigh myself every few days.

And in a little more than a month, my weight has dropped from 153 pounds to 144 pounds. My BMI is now less than 25.

I also have increased my activity level. More about that in the next post.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Prediabetes - More Measurements and Goals

With prediabetes, there are many things to measure. So far, I've discussed measuring blood sugar with a monitor.

You should know the your fasting blood sugar and A1c that indicated prediabetes.

But exactly what are normal numbers - the ones you should shoot for?

Here's a chart showing normal ranges as compared to ranges for someone with diabetes:

What About Weight

One of the factors contributing to prediabetes is weight. If you eat the right foods and maintain your personal balance of the macronutrients protein, fat, and carbs, you will lose weight because you won't be consuming as much sugar. And you will eliminate white bread, white rice, and candy, doughnuts, and junk food. Plus, as I'll explain in future posts, you will be increasing your activity levels.

How do I know? Because as soon as I started eating the right foods, I dropped 7 pounds in a month.

Here's another example - one of my relatives had a minor heart attack. His doctor recommended 2 major lifestyle changes: stop smoking and stop drinking a 6 pack of coke every day. In a month, this individual lost 20 pounds. Guess eliminating sugar works!

So what weight should you shoot for?

My thought was based on BMI (body mass index). A BMI of 25 or over is considered overweight.

My starting weight was 153 and I am 5' 4" -  a BMI of 26.3. I used an online BMI calculator.

My current weight is 146, a BMI of  25.1.

In order to fit within a normal BMI range of 18.5 - 24.9, my weight should be in the following range:
108 - 145 pounds.

Obviously, your BMI should be less than 25. But if you want an interim step to help you get to your target weight, take 7% of your current weight. The loss of 7% of body weight has been shown to result in a blood sugar reduction.

So if I lose 11 pounds (0.07 of 153) for a weight of 153 - 11 = 142 (BMI 24.4), it should help reduce blood sugar.

Next post: Increasing Your Activity Level