Well – it’s THAT time of year again. I get to find out what my diabetes results are.
I know I’ve been a good boy (for the most part) and my logical mind tells me that everything will probably be OK – but the human body is a strange machine, and sometimes whether you want it to be healthy or not, it often makes up it’s own mind.
The only thing I can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other.
Sometimes I’m not sure whether I continue to do this through obsessive habit, a love of exercise or a fear that if I don’t everything I love about my life now will just fall apart.
Truthfully it’s probably a bit of all three – however when I’m with a friend in a place of outstanding natural beauty then it’s definitely a love of life that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other.
On Wednesday I was once again in a place I adore with a superb twalking companion and was busy making absolutely sure that both of us got a good workout.
First thing in the morning it was tough sell mind you. The house was warm when I woke up – and it was a very cozy place to be as I stared at the ceiling from my pillow under a toasty duvet.
Outside I could hear cars crunching along the road over frozen puddles and people chipping frost from their windscreens. When I finally ventured out I had to forcibly yank my frozen car door open to reach my ice scraper.
Once it was in my grasp I needed a whole 15 minutes to hack all of the (really thick) ice off my car before I could drive over to pick my friend up.
The journey after this was a nice one though – and the roads were well gritted with no accidents to impede our progress. By the time we arrived at Malvern the sun was out and the sky was a lovely blue.
Despite this the frost was far from melted.
As potentially treacherous as this makes walking around this area it’s undeniably beautiful – and even with a serious nip in the air it’s a really nice place to eat breakfast – which in my case was as Slimming World friendly as possible.
Wednesday represented probably the 2nd best day for weather in Malvern that I’ve ever seen from this vantage point – and as the morning wore on the views just got better and better.
The absolutely wonderful thing about my life at the moment is (maybe unlike some who might have always been fit and healthy) I never cease to be amazed by what I can do and how far I’ve come.
When I look at the total elevation my friend and I accomplished during our day of walking I’m amazed that not only did I find it relatively easy – but that it represents well over two thirds of the total height of Snowdon (3500ft).
By the time Wednesday had finished we’d managed (according to Apple Watch) to climb 186 flights of stairs.
The very first time I attempted walking around this region (at around 22.5 stone – having lost over 12) was February 2017 (link).
Since then things have changed quite a bit.
It’s pretty insane what you can accomplish when you put your mind to it – and it never ceases to amaze me when I look at my past and current photos what the human body is capable of recovering from or adapting to.
My swimming is no exception to this – and whilst I’ve not said much about it lately I’m still regularly pounding out lengths in my local pool. This morning (completely unplanned) proved to be another example of what I can do now vs what I was previously (in)capable of.
I mean that in both a physical and self confidence sense – because whilst I may have previously been able to paddle back and forth I did not previously possess the mental fortitude to step into a swimming costume and try.
Now I do.
I decided after a few lengths that I was up for trying to do two and a half kilometres (100 lengths of my local 25 metre pool) and irritatingly I would have done it if I’d only started ten minutes earlier.
The schools locally start to come in on a Friday at 9.30am and I ran out of time before I ran out of stamina.
How crazy is that?
I mean – it’s totally nuts when you think about it. I’ve changed from being a 35 stone moribund lump of a man into one that’s capable of climbing huge mountains, and swimming continuously for almost 2.5km.
How on earth is all of this possible?!
Honestly at times I have no idea. Somehow I’ve just ended up inhabiting the body and mind of someone who is both driven and focused.
I’m not perfect though – because despite all of this exercise (and maybe sometimes as a consequence of it) I can still overeat.
I’ve been quite good with the types of food that I’ve consumed however, and have been preparing meals as I always do. My slow cooker has been churning out chicken soup practically on a daily basis lately (it’s so nice to come home to on a cold day) and my usual standby meal (I flipping love a chilli) has been consumed with gusto on a number of occasions.
However – regardless of these good choices when I stood on the scales for the first time in two weeks last night (which in itself this represents something of a personal success because I can get quite obsessive about this) I realised that I’ve moved a few pounds outside of my new target range.
Whilst I’ve mentally committed myself to going to group tomorrow to keep my head in the game I doubt that I will stand on the scales while I’m there.
Thankfully as a target member I only need to weigh in every 8 weeks – but I still need a visit to group to keep me focused.
I may weigh in at one of Angie’s Monday groups instead (I can’t on Saturday next week) but we’ll see. I’m not putting any pressure on myself because the truth is that I don’t really need to.
Whilst I used to hate the phrase ‘naturally thin’ this is one of those moments that I feel it’s really relevant.
I’ve always wanted to be the sort of person that can deviate a little to the left or right of the correct path in life, but who will always find my way back to the right course. So far for the last 11 months I’ve proven that I’m capable of this.
I’ve moved both above and below target weights – and I’ve come to accept that none of this represents either success or failure. All it represents is life and how things will always change from time to time.
Gradually I’ve recognised that judging yourself harshly based on small weekly deviations on the scales is an empty and pointless pursuit that will ultimately accomplish nothing but emotional corrosion.
Sure – if you’re trying to lose weight then the overall trend needs to be downwards, but the point is that beating yourself up over a misstep or two will do nothing but provide a reason to carry on with the self destructive behaviour that you are trying so hard to avoid.
It’s much better to accept that no-one is perfect, life is just life, and that tomorrow is just another day where you will probably feel stronger and more capable than you did the day before. You can only be the best that you can be at any one given moment in time – and thinking that anyone else is any different is pointless and damaging.
We all struggle and we all fall over – and accepting that you’re just as normal as anyone else is key to long term success.
The wages of this kind of ongoing attitude can be seen in my diabetic results – which yesterday I held in my hand, in black and white.
My current HbA1c level of 26 is still way below what would be considered pre-diabetic.
My cholesterol is great, I’ve been assured that my blood pressure results are perfectly normal and ‘low’, my overall health is ‘tip top’ and all of the usual tests (sensitivity in my extremities and diabetic retinopathy results) show that I’m still holding diabetes at bay.
By making continually more positive than negative choices in life I’ve not only turned things around, but I’m proving to any casual observers that my continued health outcomes are not only possible but completely sustainable – even with an occasional mis-step.
Despite many many social media voices stating that everyone following Slimming World as a plan is destined to put all their weight back on I intend to stand proudly as an example of what’s possible long term.
Success in this area is not magic though.
It’s all about mindset.
The reality of it is that all of this is just continual hard work combined with an ongoing willingness to re-frame the negative internal voices that we all have.
Whatever mountain you have to climb internet, it’s all do-able.