The Journey 'in a nutshell'


My journey to a healthier lifestyle started at the end of April 2010 when I was surprisingly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. There I was, sitting in the doctor's office, looking at a glucometer showing a reading of 297 (a normal reading is between 70-99).  At 50 years old, I was 351 pounds and a diabetic.  And as the doctor was explaining what Diabetes was and all the ways it can shorten my lifespan, I decided on new goals for my life:

  1. to be able to manage my diabetes without the need for medication
  2. to live a more active, healthy lifestyle
  3. to get to a healthier weight by losing 160 pounds

So I joined Weight Watchers to learn better food choices and portion control.  I got help from a Registered Dietician to learn about Carbs, Fats, Protein, Fibre, and Calorie intake.  And I added walking to my daily routine (it was all my doctor would let me do at first).  "Change your eating habits first, then we add in exercise", he said.

So I did just that.  And I could feel changes happening. By the end of 2010, I was 50 pounds lighter but still on diabetes medications and finding it difficult to walk for longer than 15-20 minutes at a time.  I was making progress towards my goals.  But I needed to do something more.

On January 2, 2011, with the approval from my doctor, I reactivated my fitness club membership and started walking on a treadmill. By the end of January, I was walking 45-50 minutes a day, 5 days a week. In February, I started Strength Training with a Personal Trainer for two days a week.  Then I started using stationary bikes. In March, I graduated from walking to very light jogging.  By now, I was doing some form of exercise six days a week.

That was when I started working with Meghan, a Personal Trainer and triathlete, who encouraged me to join her cardio class that met 3 days/week to make better progress. Then she suggested I think about running more rather than just walking on the treadmill.  I was skeptical I could actually run for any length of time (I ran in high school but that was back in the 70s).  But she worked with me, and I slowly started running (buying my first pair of running shoes in April).  I ran (and walked) the Weight Watchers 5K event in May, finishing in 38:20, with my family cheering me on.  It was a wonderful feeling! And I even got a medal for coming in second in my age group!

In August, I reached an important weight loss milestone, having lost over 100 pounds since May 2010!  I was feeling the best I had ever felt!  And because of my weight loss, better eating habits, and improved physical health, my diabetes was under control (normal blood sugar levels) and had been for almost 4 months.  I was beginning to see a real possibility of reaching my three goals!

My running was also improving tremendously!  I ran my first 10K in late August (while listening to an episode of The Marathon Show).  And I made the decision to run the Disney World Half Marathon in January 2012 to give myself a specific running goal to strive towards.

In October, I reached one of my goals.  My doctor took me off all my diabetes medications!  I am meds-free and my diabetes is fully under control through diet and exercise alone!  What a blessing and sense of accomplishment!

I have also reached my second goal -- of living a more healthy, active lifestyle -- with running, strength training, and swimming now a regular part of my weekly routine. And while my weight loss is slowing down, I am still losing inches off my body and gaining lean muscle mass.  Since muscle weighs more than fat, I am very encouraged that all this work is paying off!  I now wear a size XL instead of the 4XL I used to wear when this journey began.  I feel like a new person!

I have run a total of 13 races in 2011, and even reached a milestone of running my first sub-30 minute 5K race at a Turkey Trot on Thanskgiving!  Never in a million years (or even 8 months ago) would I have ever dreamed of doing something like this!  And I am still on my 'getting healthier' journey. I still have 50 pounds to lose and new challenges on my bucket list.

I already have a full race schedule laid out for 2012.  That included the completion of my first Half Marathon during the Disney World Marathon Weekend on January 7th!  In addition to that, I have 4 more half marathons, 4 5Ks, a 10-miler, and the AVON 39-mile Walk for Breast Cancer research.  And then? The Chicago Marathon in October 2012 which will be my first marathon!

Several months ago, my son gave me a hug and then stepped back with a surprised yet happy look on his face. He said "Dad, when I hug you now, I can put my arms all the way around you and grab my hands behind your back.  I could never do that before.  Now I can give you a full hug!"  It almost made me cry.

I have no doubt that my regular workouts at my fitness club, and my newly-found love for running, will continue to play important roles in my life as I continue working towards my goals.  I am keeping an online record of my journey on this site to encourage others as I myself have been encouraged.

People say this all the time, but seriously, if I can do this, anyone can do this. It just takes the desire to take the first step, and then keep steppin!