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  1. #1
    LET'S RIDE!! IndianaRecRider's Avatar
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    I've got to step it up some.

    Even though my mileage is slowly creeping up, I need to step things up some. Not necessarily my mileage, because I know that will come in time, but my overall exercise and diet routines. Please indulge me while I explain.

    Back on the morning of February 12th, I woke up with chest pains and shortness of breath. At first, I attributed the chest pains to the large, "heavy" meal I had eaten the night before. I had experienced something similar in the past, so figured it would go away in a few hours. Didn't know what to make of the shortness of breath, but just assumed it was linked to my chest pains. No pain anywhere else, not even in my left arm (usually associated with a heart attack) so, to the best I was able, I carried on as I usually do in the mornings.

    By 1:00pm the pains hadn't gone away and I was still having the shortness of breath and it was beginning to freak my wife out. It was freaking me out some as well, but I was trying not to show it. However, I finally let my wife convince me that she should take me to the hospital, so off we went.

    First thing they did was to do an EKG, which thankfully came up normal. Did a couple of chest X-rays next, just to get a look at the heart from a couple of different angles. Everything looked fine there as well. In all, I spent four days in the hospital. While there, in addition to the tests already mentioned, they must have drawn about half of my blood to run every test known to man (more on that in a minute). By Wednesday, the pains had finally gone away and my breathing had also returned to normal. However, they wanted to keep an eye on me. Had a CT scan done, and that did show a little bit of plaque build-up, but no damage to my heart. They also had me do a stress test, for which I only lasted less than five minutes. Talk about pathetic LOL. That didn't show any abnormalities with my heart. That was on Thursday. As a last resort to try and find out what had caused the pains, they wanted to do an coronary angiogram. Talked it over with the wife, and decided what the heck, may as well see if that shows anything. Had that done on Friday morning and the results of that test were normal as well. Well, it did show that one of my coronary arteries wasn't where it was really supposed to be, but the doctor assured me that that wasn't the cause of the pain, and that it wasn't serious and probably would never cause any problems.

    So, while the doctors were never able to discover the cause of the chest pains, I did find out that all things considered, I had a pretty healthy heart. It was the rest of me that was a wreck. The results of all that blood work were less than stellar.

    I already knew that I had diabetes, but it had been a couple of years since I had an A1c test done. I had an A1C level of 11.2% which is way beyond what is normal. Off the top of my head, I don't remember what my cholesterol numbers were, but I know my good cholesterol was low and my bad cholesterol was high...waaaay high. And, to top it all off, even though I am on high blood pressure meds, my BP was way too high as well. While there, was told I would need to begin taking meds for my high cholesterol, and I was given a second pill for my high blood pressure. I also tipped their scales at 245 pounds. Like I said, my heart may have looked good, but the rest of me was falling apart.

    Needless to say, my primary care doctor ripped me a new one. Basically told me that if things kept going like they had been, I'd be dead in five years, or less. Now there's a sobering thought if there ever was one. After ranting and raving for a few minutes, he calmed down and we had a very good, very long talk about my health. Gave me a boatload of information, both paper and web-based, and I left the hospital armed with the knowledge and motivation to make changes.

    Well, here it is the second day of April, and while I have made slow progress with my mileage, all of my other plans have seemed to fallen by the wayside. Stepped on my scale this morning, and besides saying "ouch," it said I was weighing in at a hefty 252 pounds. Needless to say, that really sucks. (Oh, and for the record I'm 5 foot 10.)

    It's time I stop fooling around and get serious. I've got to learn the art of portion control with some foods and cut some others out of my diet entirely. In addition to the riding I'm doing, I need to start exercising more. Being unemployed gives me plenty of time to sit around on my couch or at my computer desk and snack on pretzels or Chee-tos. Need to cut back on the snacks and also spend less time on my butt. One thing my doctor recommended, which I have yet to do but may start to do soon, is to get up and do some jumping jacks, push-ups and sit-ups during commercial breaks while watching the TV. Maybe I'll start doing walks around the block. Well, whatever I decide to do, I've got to do something to incorporate some additional exercise into my life.

    Anyway, I just wanted to put this out here as a sort of accountability while I try to get my act together. I'm going to throw a weight loss ticker in my signature to go along with mileage goal ticker. Hopefully seeing the ticker each time I make a posting on the forum will act as additional motivation.

    Thanks for letting me rant/vent. Have a good evening y'all.

    My latest attempt at blogging...Big Guy On A Bicycle :~) (updated 5-30-14 with pics)


  2. #2
    Bicycle Commuter Bluish Green's Avatar
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    I had a similar talk with my primary care doctor just about a year ago. Similar in that I was already on BP meds, and he read me the riot act because I had stopped taking them, plus now my cholesterol was high and I was pre-diabetic range on blood sugar. He told me the same advice about jumping jacks and exercise, and gave me some good tips on foods to avoid.

    I took it seriously and found what worked for me. It had to be something I could stick to every day. At first I started working the treadmill at the gym, but I hated it, and it was tough on my knees. Then, I tried bicycle commuting 6 miles to work, and I LOVED it. I started doing that every day, and my fitness noticeable improved and pounds started falling off. For food, you have to find what will work for you every day. For me, that meant completely zeroing out the worst actors in my diet. I completely got rid of chips, sweets, fast food, juices, and beer. Haven't had any of that stuff in a year. Some people do better with moderation, but for me it was substitution. I found a good homemade granola recipe that had oats and almonds, two foods my doc recommended for the cholesterol, and which I love and can make a big batch to last a few days. I also didn't get strict on portions, since for me that was a heavier lift than eliminating the bad foods. So I still eat steak and chicken breast. No fries and no dessert. Find what will work for you every day, though. It has to be repeatable and liveable for you.

    After a few months, I went back to the Doc, and he was astounded. He said he had never seen a patient turn it around so completely. I was down 35 pounds at that point (down 60 now after a year), and my BP, cholesterol, and sugar was all within normal boundaries.

    This worked for me because I found a system that is repeatable every single day. I love bicycle commuting, and that 12 miles every work day gets me guaranteed mileage and guaranteed exercise. I donated my car to charity and used the money I had been spending on car insurance, tags, gas, etc., on bike goodies. And I don't personally miss the junk food. YMMV - find what works for you.

    You can turn it around if you take it seriously and make it repeatable every day. Good luck!

  3. #3
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Being unemployed gives you tons of time to
    1) exercise
    2) meal plan
    3) cook healthy food for you and your wife.

    Go cold turkey. You can do it. Stay off the couch.

  4. #4
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    Throw away Cheetos and other of your comfort foods. Snack on flax seed crackers and vegetables. Go buy some sugar free drink mixes (ie crystal light) to make yourself tall glasses of water for snacks. Water fills you up and curbs your appetite. For a special treat have some sugar free jello for dessert. These are the things that work for me effectively. HTFU and don't let food kill you dude.

  5. #5
    That guy from the Chi Chitown_Mike's Avatar
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    I watched my dad earlier this year face the music, and made me realize that as I end out my 20's, I am not that far away from the situation he was in. Now he is healthier and getting more so everyday (dropped 40 lbs since Jan 1st!).

    BTW, I see you are in Illinois, if you are ever in the Chicago area and down for a weekend ride let me know! I live on the NW side and know some of the better paths up here.
    Looking forward to my winter commuting adventure.....

  6. #6
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    OP sounds just like me. I wound up unemployed, then sat and ate all my favorite snacks and just pretty much did...nothing. Health-wise I felt like garbage and because I was unemployed, I felt like useless garbage.

    I finally wound up cutting a lot of junk foods out of my diet and found myself having more energy, plus everything just tasted better. Instead of eating those junky foods like Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos, and Gibbles Potato Chips, I ate some fruit. After about a week or so I was amazed I really didn't miss all those junk foods and decided they really didn't taste all that great to begin with, but sure enough, I got lazy (again) and fell back down into that hole.

    Now, I'm trying to get back on track and lay off the snacks. So far, so good, and I've even lost about eight or nine lbs.
    - Dan \m/

  7. #7
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    A really good way to change your diet is to make a grocery list and buy only the things on that list. If you don't have bad snacks sitting around then you can't eat them right? I have been swapping bad snacks for not so bad fruit lately. I make a whole deal out of it when I have a snack, I don't just grab an apple or an orange, I take a good amount of time preparing and cutting the fruit then put it in a bowl and eat it with a fork. This seems to help because I don't just grab food while walking through the kitchen, I have to be willing to put in some work.

    I'm not sure if your road biking or mountain biking and each have their strengths but if you have the opportunity to get out and a real mountain bike trail it's nothing but good for your entire body as your working all your muscle groups trying to stay on the bike while the trail throws you all over the place. At the very least ride somewhere new, explore, enjoy. If you are road biking only I would suggest some type of upper body workout to round things out.

    Also you might want to measure yourself rather than using a scale as your yardstick. I found that I gained a good bit of weight but lost a couple inches, this is due to muscle gain. The scale can be a rather depressing way to measure success in your first few months.

  8. #8
    Senior Member AWB's Avatar
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    Another vote for the shopping list, makes things easier as long as you only get items on the list.
    Also if you sit down before hand and make a meal plan for the week/fortnight you will ensure that you get everything you need.

    Not sure if it is an option where you live, Internet grocery shopping. All your groceries could be purchased online and delivered for a small fee, a lot easier to resist the "extras" in your shopping trolley as you are not subjected to the physical aspects of marketing, ie product placement, etc.
    -Andy




  9. #9
    LET'S RIDE!! IndianaRecRider's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone for your comments, suggestions and words of encouragement. It's nice to have a group of people you can hold yourself accountable to. I'll be using this thread to update how my journey is progressing. Right now I have two rides I'm training for; a 16 mile, mostly paved bike trail organized ride in Joliet on May 11th, and then my 30 mile Bike The Drive ride on May 26th. I know the 16 mile ride shouldn't be a problem seeing that my last three rides have been 16+ miles, and by the time May 26th rolls around, I should be able to do the entire 30 miles with little to no difficulty.




    Quote Originally Posted by Bluish Green View Post
    I had a similar talk with my primary care doctor just about a year ago. Similar in that I was already on BP meds, and he read me the riot act because I had stopped taking them, plus now my cholesterol was high and I was pre-diabetic range on blood sugar. He told me the same advice about jumping jacks and exercise, and gave me some good tips on foods to avoid.

    I took it seriously and found what worked for me. It had to be something I could stick to every day. At first I started working the treadmill at the gym, but I hated it, and it was tough on my knees. Then, I tried bicycle commuting 6 miles to work, and I LOVED it. I started doing that every day, and my fitness noticeable improved and pounds started falling off. For food, you have to find what will work for you every day. For me, that meant completely zeroing out the worst actors in my diet. I completely got rid of chips, sweets, fast food, juices, and beer. Haven't had any of that stuff in a year. Some people do better with moderation, but for me it was substitution. I found a good homemade granola recipe that had oats and almonds, two foods my doc recommended for the cholesterol, and which I love and can make a big batch to last a few days. I also didn't get strict on portions, since for me that was a heavier lift than eliminating the bad foods. So I still eat steak and chicken breast. No fries and no dessert. Find what will work for you every day, though. It has to be repeatable and liveable for you.

    After a few months, I went back to the Doc, and he was astounded. He said he had never seen a patient turn it around so completely. I was down 35 pounds at that point (down 60 now after a year), and my BP, cholesterol, and sugar was all within normal boundaries.

    This worked for me because I found a system that is repeatable every single day. I love bicycle commuting, and that 12 miles every work day gets me guaranteed mileage and guaranteed exercise. I donated my car to charity and used the money I had been spending on car insurance, tags, gas, etc., on bike goodies. And I don't personally miss the junk food. YMMV - find what works for you.

    You can turn it around if you take it seriously and make it repeatable every day. Good luck!
    Thanks. I like that repeatable concept. I'm going to work on finding what is productive and incorporate it into my daily life. May take a couple / few weeks, but I should be able to find something that works well.



    Quote Originally Posted by Chitown_Mike View Post
    I watched my dad earlier this year face the music, and made me realize that as I end out my 20's, I am not that far away from the situation he was in. Now he is healthier and getting more so everyday (dropped 40 lbs since Jan 1st!).

    BTW, I see you are in Illinois, if you are ever in the Chicago area and down for a weekend ride let me know! I live on the NW side and know some of the better paths up here.
    Well, I live in the south 'burbs of Chicago, so I'm very familiar with the paths/trails down this way, but have never been on any of the trails on the north side (unless you count the lakefront trail north of Navy Pier). Just may take you up on your offer Mike.

    My latest attempt at blogging...Big Guy On A Bicycle :~) (updated 5-30-14 with pics)


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