Friday, June 22, 2012

Six Months Can Make All the Difference

I've lost about 70 pounds since deciding it was time for a change back on January 6th. That was a little over six months ago. My jean size has dropped from a 28 to 18. Today, I went to my primary care physician for a physical. First off, she was impressed that I'd dropped so much weight in such a relatively short amount of time. Secondly, I am in excellent physical condition for my body size right now. I've been working out 3-5 times per week and monitoring my calorie intake with the iPhone app Calorie Counter PRO by MyNetDiary.

I was diagnosed with high blood pressure a couple of years ago and take Losartan to control it. Today, my doctor took me off the med! My blood pressure was 87/58. I'll be checking it over the next week or so to make sure it doesn't spike, but what an incredible feeling. What a difference six months of healthy eating and exercise can make in one's life!

I am also type 2 diabetic, but my A1C, a test used determine blood glucose control over the past 2-3 months came back 5.5 today. An A1C of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates diabetes. 5.7 to 6.4 is considered prediabetes. Levels below 5.7 percent are normal. I am now back to normal! Unfortunately, once you are diagnosed with diabetes it sticks. My doctor cut my Metformin intake in half with plans to stop it altogether if my next A1C is normal. Unbelievable! I had no idea when I started this journey that I'd be rewarded so soon for my efforts.

The Calorie Counter PRO app is absolutely the secret to my success. It only cost $3.99, and it's the best money I've ever spent on my health. Here's how it works. I'm 5'6" tall and based on my current weight my basal metabolic rate (BMR) caloric intake should be 1682 calories. BMR is the minimum number of calories required for vital functions necessary for life based on my activity level. In order to simply maintain my current weight I can consume up to 2224 calories. This is the estimated energy requirements or EER. The program uses scientific equations to calculate these numbers based on age, gender, weight, height and activity level.

Once I knew my numbers, I could calculate out how much weight I needed to lose and find a reasonable end date. The program only allows weight loss or gain up to two pounds a week or eight pounds a month. With a doctor's approval it is possible to adjust the numbers and lose more or less, but I've found that my daily caloric goal is challenging enough to meet at the "losing two pounds a week" level.

Now, the process of counting calories and using exercise to offset those calories becomes mathematical, and that's exactly what I like about it. There's no guessing. The program has an extensive food catalog containing caloric and nutritional values in addition to food scores. The most convenient part is being able to use my iPhone's camera to scan a package's bar code finding the product and nutritional information instantly. It's so easy! I must admit I've become methodical about measuring portion sizes. If a serving of brown rices is a half cup. I measure it. If an ounce of Havarti cheese is 110 calories I weigh it so I ensure accurate data.

After six months I am astonished by the extraordinary improvements in my physical appearance, mental acuity and emotional well-being. My only regret is not beginning this journey sooner.

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