Type 2 Diabetes: Weight Loss Struggles

John S. Bell Health Guide
  • One of the fringe benefits of completing the diabetes education course at our local hospital is the free fitness assessment at the wellness center attached to the hospital. I went in on Friday afternoon and had them put me through my paces. The results were mixed and parts were quite humbling. My resting heart rate was good, blood pressure acceptable and the cardiovascular endurance test even scored me at slightly above average. The good news pretty much stopped there. Their calculation of my Body Mass Index still scores me in the overweight category. The estimation of my percentage of body fat has me "fatter than average" (though at least not "overfat".) My muscular strength was rated (and here comes the harsh part) as "Well Below Average." My flexibility came in at "Very Poor" which was the bottom rung on a six rung scale. I was able to escape being "Well Below Average" on muscular endurance only by creeping into the lower part of the "Below Average" bracket by two extra crunches on that test. Well, I guess I need to keep it context. Five months ago I could barely climb a flight of stairs and needed a good sit down afterward to start breathing normally. But it does show that I have a long way to go.

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    I wish I could say that with that inspiration I redoubled my efforts in the gym and reached new heights of fitness. Not quite. I used my Friday workout out time for the assessment, which wasn't too bad, because it was a workout in itself. Saturday, I took off as usual. Saturday night I was at our midnight Easter liturgy and started feeling sick. I went home, put myself to bed and took it easy on Sunday. Monday afternoon and evening were spent with friends at a funeral. Tuesday I had the best of intentions but, trudging back to the office worn out from a nine hour trial, I had a bad bifocal moment and misjudged the height of a curb I have stepped over hundreds of time. The ankle was not badly sprained, but the pain, stiffness and swelling were enough to get my attention. Workout canceled, ice pack applied. It is still a bit stiff and protests if I move it the wrong way, but is should hold out for at least a light workout this evening.

    I wrote last week that I had become a believer in diet and exercise as a primary treatment for my diabetes. This week's experience has confirmed this from the opposite direction. I have notice my average blood sugar reading rise the past few days that I have not had any vigorous exercise. Oddly enough, my weight hasn't suffered. In fact the morning weigh-in today was 174.6, down from last week. I guess the old saw about muscle being heavier than fat has something to it. No exercise, no new muscle built, no extra muscle weight to balance out the fat loss, therefore a lower overall weight.

    That has reminded me of an important point. The critical numbers are not just the ones on my scale. Average blood sugar, heart capacity, blood pressure, plus all the lipid and liver numbers are the ones that will determine my quality of life over the next few decades. Weight loss is great, but it won't help if I hit my target weight as a stick figure with a pot belly. I need that muscle work to get my insulin resistance down and I need the cardio work to keep my heart and circulatory system going. So, tonight I tie my shoes on tight, watch that ankle and head back to the gym.


Published On: April 08, 2010