People that know me, know that I’ve always weighed in on the heavier side of the scales.
Even when I was in my younger, fitter football and cricket playing days, my “big boned” stocky build would always shine through thanks to my Scottish/English heritage.
But last week, on May 20th, after a visit to my doctor to review my latest blood test results he gave me some pretty awful news… I am now officially a Type 2 Diabetic.
Now, only just mind you (with a blood sugar percentage of 7.8% with anything over 7% being Type 2) but nevertheless, I have Type 2 Diabetes and I have to do something about it NOW!
When I got the news I was numb at first but soon afterwards, the shame, the anger and regret started to creep in. “How could I do this to myself?” I asked while looking in the mirror. Well, it was actually quite easy.
I ate and drank the wrong things, at the wrong times and at the wrong quantities whilst not moving all at the same time.
But since then, after some very stern advice from my doctor, I’ve been taking the positive steps needed to improve my health to the point where I can reverse my Type 2 diagnosis.
Now, I had suspected that something was up beforehand because I felt I had reached the point where I was really feeling the consequences of many, many years of not looking after myself properly and on May 20th, all of my suspicions were confirmed.
This post is not going to be the start of a long rambling series of before and after shots and blow by blow accounts of how much weight I’m losing on a day to day basis (I’d rather keep that information as personal) but this post is something I wanted to write for the sake of transparency and honesty.
Let’s face it, if I’m going to reverse my Type 2 diagnosis, feel way better about myself and also get back out into playing gigs again, I need to be physically and mentally fit as well as gig fit and to do that I need to change my lifestyle and dietary habits.
The main question I needed to answer was “How am I going to do this?”
Even though I’ve just started this “change of lifestyle” journey since May 20th, I’ve realised that you don’t have to make incredibly huge changes to make a real difference health-wise.
Changes such as…
Drinking More Water
Just doing this first step has made a huge difference. I’m finding myself going to the toilet a lot more but I feel less stodgy and much more cleaner inside.
I have a PuraTap connected at home plus a SodaStream machine that makes “boring” water turn into sparkling water so increasing my water intake hasn’t been that much of a challenge.
I try to consume at least two litres of water per day.
Cutting Out Alcohol
This was an easy thing to cut out as I don’t consider myself a big drinker anyways but I’ve noticed a slightly better sleeping pattern resulting from this one small change.
Cutting Down On Coffee
Frank Zappa once said in an interview that coffee wasn’t a drug to him, it was FOOD.
That’s how much I love my coffee (either with sugar or more recently, honey in it) but I also knew that I was drinking way, way too much of the stuff and at really stupid times as well. No wonder I’ve been having problems with my sleep for years.
I’m now limiting my caffeine intake to a maximum of three cups a day and when I do have it, I have it black with NO SUGAR.
It’ll take me a bit of getting used to but it’s worth it.
Cutting Out Sugar
This is one of the hardest things for me to cut out of my life, but my body is already starting to feel so much better for it.
For me, cutting out sugar meant the following:
- No more sugar or honey in my coffee/tea
- No more soft drink
- No more desserts
I know that there’s a lot of hidden sugars in one form or another in the food that we eat and therefore cutting out all sugar in my diet would be a challenge but cutting out the usual suspects has already made a huge difference in my life.
Cutting Out Carbs (And Takeaway)
That means giving up on pasta, rice, pastries and bread (oh, I really miss pizza)
I didn’t realise how much carbohydrates I was consuming until I decided not to eat them anymore. I was amazed, but it did show me that eating carbs takes far less effort than not eating carbs and I needed to turn that equation around.
I needed to start falling in love with preparing and cooking good food rather than just relying on takeaway which was happening far too often especially since I found myself cooking for one again over the last six months.
It was really obvious to me that I wasn’t moving and exercising enough in my day to day life so I’ve been trying to get into the habit of walking for up to 30 minutes a day.
Now besides cutting out the sugar in my life, getting back into some sort of exercise routine has been the biggest challenge (basically because I’m lazy) and it’s something that I’m still working on but, I’ll get there.
Decreasing My Portion Sizes
First of all, I don’t go for seconds anymore. Further to that, my first portion sizes were also too big so I’ve been getting into the habit of just halving my normal portion size or, eating off a smaller plate.
From doing this I’ve really noticed that I can still function as a productive and creative human being with far less food in my system.
Experimenting With Intermittent Fasting
Now this is the most interesting part. I’ve started to experiment with a concept called Intermittent Fasting.
Now, I’m not going to go into too much detail about it but the first site you come to on Google when you type “Intermittent Fasting” is an article by James Clear on his website called The Beginner’s Guide To Intermittent Fasting which goes into detail about the following:
- How Intermittent Fasting works
- The benefits of Intermittent Fasting
- Examples of Intermittent Fasting protocols
- Frequently asked questions about Intermittent Fasting
James Clear defines Intermittent Fasting in this way…
“Intermittent fasting is not a diet, it’s a pattern of eating. It’s a way of scheduling your meals so that you
get the most out of them. Intermittent fasting doesn’t change what you eat, it changes when you eat.”
Again, I’m not going to go into all of the in’s and out’s of it but changing my normal eating habits to eating a ketogenic diet (high protein, high (good) fat and low carbs) whilst intermittent fasting has made the most significant difference in my health so far.
Since starting my journey a week ago, I’ve lost five kilos and I do feel very proud of myself.
I’ll keep myself honest and post some more health updates from time to time but I’m not going to obsess about it. I’m just happy that it’s now rather than later (when it can be far too late), that I’m finally doing something about my health.
I’m sure Mara would be proud.