Friday, May 02, 2008

Learning to trust my own instincts

One of the reasons that I am doing a special healthy living program at the Royal Women's Hospital is that I tick a lot of boxes for potential health problems as far as the medical profession is concerned - particularly Type 2 diabetes and its associated complications .  I am significantly overweight, my mother died young (58) of a diabetes-related heart attack, her mother (who was underweight but had a cholesterol reading of 12) died suddenly of a heart attack (in her early 70s), my dad's mother died young (58) of breast cancer and I am hoping to have children despite being over 35.

Yet - and this is the good thing - I appear to have relatively few indications of physical health problems.  Both my blood sugar and cholesterol levels are well within the normal range, I have no problems exercising regularly and, as far as can be seen, I appear to be ovulating normally.  The only signs of potential problems on the horizon are elevated insulin levels which indicate a very early step on the way to diabetes - but one which can be still nipped in the bud with proper diet and exercise.

Last week I attended a seminar on Type 2 diabetes and heard about some very interesting research from overseas.  A group of people who were considered at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes (like me) were encouraged to undertake some lifestyle changes.  Of those who did the following, none developed diabetes (compared to nearly half of a control group).
  • Lost 5% of body weight (from whatever point they were at - it made no difference if they were 80 or 100 or 200kg to start with)
  • Exercised moderately for 30 minutes a day; it could be in 3, 10-minute lots (say from walking to and from the public transport between home and work)
  • Ate at least 15 grams of fibre (2 fruit, 5 vegetables plus wholemeal grain bread each day does this easily)
  • Obtained less than 30% of their daily calories from fat and less than 10% of them from saturated fats
Without knowing about this research I did all the previous last year.  And I haven't developed diabetes either.

I'm also willing to bet my insulin levels are back under control as I've been feeling healthier and more energetic since starting the program and beginning simple weight resistance training (with 600 ml water bottles) - but I have to wait another month for the confirming blood tests.

I have to learn to listen to myself and trust my own instincts.  I obviously know what is best for me.

Doing this program has been so positive - although not necessarily in the ways I expected.  I haven't lost anywhere near the amount of weight I hoped to but I've made other, less tangible but still important gains.

I may never see size 12 again, others may continue to judge me on my appearance, but I know I am much healthier and smarter than I ever gave myself credit for.  Understanding this and accepting myself for who I am his probably the most important lesson of all.

1 comment:

Taphophile said...

So pleased you're feeling the positive effects. And bugger the size-nazis to hell!