Saturday, January 26, 2008

My weight problem - A Story of Change

Sometimes I wonder - if I had gotten more exercise as a youth and gotten thinner then ,would I still have diabetes now?  I know that since High school I had been overweight. I was not big on exercise, but, oh how I loved to eat. Candies, fruit, veggies, homemade baked goodies - you name it. Most of the time, I consumed more than one serving, especially when it came to cakes, ice cream and baked goods. Being that my mom back then cooked and baked a lot, there was usually always food around.

As for losing weight, I tried a lot of different diets - low-carb, low-fat, reduced portion sizes.  At UAH, I played sports - raquetball, tennis; even participated with the "Alabama Rowing Crew Team". Here we rowed competitively in either 2-man, 4-man or 8-man rowing boats. I had a great time, but did not really lose weight. 

Later one (November 1997) when I moved to Cullman to start working for an Architect (where I am still at now), I was eating a lot of junk food, in particularly, fried food. 1 to 2 months into the new work, I decided to omit junnk foods, particularly the ones fried and high in sodium. I did this one week before going to see a doctor, Dr. Gregory Bostick, of Cullman Family Practice, who told me I had high blood pressure. It was not "high" but on the borderline of "elevated" and "high". With this news, I went into changing my lifestyle even more. I went so far as to cut out all junk foods, foods high in sodium or deep-fat fried. What I was not looking out for was that the food that I replaced it with was high in HFCS (high fructose corn syrup), or high in sodium or fat. I was living on a low-fat, high carb diet, which is what was in then.

As a result, my weight slowly crept up, breaking 300 lb. 

Slowly, though, I started to cook more at home and started going back out to eat, but still staying away from the fried foods. This worked pretty well, but with the limited exercise I got, mainly due to working long hours and doing caterings on the weekends, I gained even more weight. On January 1, 2006, I weighed myself and saw the scale read = 375 lb!

375!!!!!  That is too much!!

I then decided once and for all, to do something before something else happens, such as heart failure. On that day I made a daily commitment to get exercise a minimum 3 times a week for 30 minutes. I also started to pay a lot more attention to what I was eating. I did 98% of my cooking at home, allowing me to go out no more than 2 times per week. 

This worked pretty well for the entire year of 2006. Jan. 1, 2007, I weighed myself and the scale showed = 350 lb. I had lost 25 lb. in one year.

This gave me motivation to continue.  Throughout the year of 2007, as I continued my weight loss journey, I continued to lose weight. I got my weight down as low as 305 lb, but this was due to the low-carb lifestyle that a chef, by the name of George Stella, was doing. I was using his book.  I started that low-carb venture weighing 320 lb and stopped when I reached 305 lb., complaining of feeling dizzy and week. Also, my doctor then told me, after seeing him near the end of the program, than even though I was losing the weight, my cholesterol was rising, as was my sodium. So I stopped the low-carb diet after being on it for 2 months.

At that time, I felt low. I was unsure of what to do now. I eventually went back to eating some junk food, although I still cooked at home a lot. I slowly gained weight, going back up to 325 lb.

It wasn't until I started noticing the symptoms of diabetes, that I really started to change. When I went to the doctor, Dec. 6, 2007, that my weight was officially at 318 lb. That was the day that changed my life. Period!

December 6, 2007 was the day I was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes!

Now - eating junk food is no longer allowed; no more high-sodium foods, or foods deep fried. No more supersize portions or going back for seconds. No more sitting on the sofa and being a couch potato.

The name of the game now is - eat 3 portion-controlled, low-carb nutrient-rich meals, exercise 45 minutes daily and, besides taking the prescribed medication - CHECK THE SUGAR 3x daily to make sure I stay in the ranges I was told by my Diabetes Educator. 

No 'ifs', 'ands', or 'buts' anymore. I have to change. I have to make healthy changes now so that I can live a long life. A long life without the complications that can come if I don't manage my diabetes every day.

My dad used to tell me when I was younger = "You can pay me now or you can pay me later. How much money you want to spend is up to you."

This quotes tells me this = Either I spend the money and time NOW to get my diabetes under control, get the weight down, and make sure I am in the ranges each day to avoid complications OR I spend $$$$$$$ down the road paying for my in-actions and poor planning.

So now my new life has begun. You can say that I have been reborn to follow a healthier lifestyle. I no I have. Just by having my boss notice my symptoms and take a blood glucose test was a sign - Change and take action now or else.

Believe me, as someone asked me a few weeks ago:

Are you afraid of Diabetes? My response to her was = "No, but I am scared to death of the complications that can happen if I don't change my lifestyle and control my diabetes now each day."

That is powerful to me. I am reminded of this each day when I look at myself in the mirror.

So, as a result, I am making healthy changes for my "new" life:

* Exercise daily for 45 minutes, whether it is using the Gazelle, my air-resistance rower, or going walking, or going mountain biking

* Eat 3 portion-controlled, low-carb, low-GI meals each day. Make most meals at home. If going out, get smaller plate size.

* Drink decaf hot tea, preferably green tea. No caffeinated beverages or sodas.

* Drink more water

* Write all my glucose readings and food menus down in a log book to learn from the readings and help to adjust the menu as needed

In addition, I plan on learning as much about diabetes and  glucose numbers as possible. I also plan on going on more trips, i.e., mountain bike riding at Oak Mountain State Park or in Hunstville, or doing more outside activities.

Even though this new life began on 12-6-07, and I have learned a little, I have a lot left to learn and do. I appreciate being able to talk, via chat or email, with other T2 people, such as David Mendosa, or Loren,asking a question or just talking. I have found that this keeps my spirits lifted up. Also, most in my office now are supportive of what I do, especially Brandy Brock, who is my colleague. 

But my biggest supporters are my mom and sister, because my dad had Type 2 Diabetes as well. 

This is my weight loss journey. This is my story about changes. This is my story about healthy changes. This is my story about my rebirth.

Keep watch of my blog every day or week as I plot my progress. Everything that I do; everything I find out; test results from Doctors - all these I am going to post. Doing this daily and making it public, means - no more cheating. By posting this on a public blog, means I am holding myself accountable for everything I do. And since I live alone, you, the public, are my biggest support.

Be Healthy!    Be Active!     Be ALIVE!!!!!

God Bless you all,
Dirk Baeuerle

1 comment:

Loren said...

I really admire your motivation Dirk!
Reading your blog is also giving me encouragement to do the right thing.
Keep it up!