Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Make Your Body A Priority

Last week I sent out a mass e-mail to close family and friends asking for their support in my commitment to ride 18 miles in the Tour de Cure. I sent everyone my personal page where they can make an online donation and read why I have committed to this cause.

My original cause was to support Sparky's brother who lives with Type I diabetes. You can also view his Tour de Cure personal page here.

My cause as of last night is slightly different. I found out last night that my dad has pre-diabetes which can turn into Type II Diabetes. I don't know much about how serious his situation is except that his doctor is starting him on medication for it and has instructed my dad to meet with a dietitian...which my dad missed his first meeting with yesterday.

Awareness about Diabetes is crucial. The simple explanation of the differences between Type I and Type II diabetes is that most people who develop Type II diabetes have done so due to poor dieting and lifestyle choices. In most cases (not all), it can be prevented.

From National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC)

Can insulin resistance and pre-diabetes be reversed?
Yes. Physical activity and weight loss help the body respond better to insulin. By losing weight and being more physically active, people with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes may avoid developing type 2 diabetes.

The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and other large studies have shown that people with pre-diabetes can often prevent or delay diabetes if they lose a modest amount of weight by cutting fat and calorie intake and increasing physical activity—for example, walking 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. Losing just 5 to 7 percent of body weight prevents or delays diabetes by nearly 60 percent. In the DPP, people aged 60 or older who made lifestyle changes lowered their chances of developing diabetes by 70 percent. Many participants in the lifestyle intervention group returned to normal blood glucose levels and lowered their risk for developing heart disease and other problems associated with diabetes. The DPP also showed that the diabetes drug metformin reduced the risk of developing diabetes by 31 percent.

People with insulin resistance or pre-diabetes can help their body use insulin normally by being physically active, making wise food choices, and reaching and maintaining a healthy weight. Physical activity helps muscle cells use blood glucose for energy by making the cells more sensitive to insulin.

It is always important to be aware and conscious about what you are putting into your body and what you are doing to it. We all have the choice to live a happy and healthy life, we just need to arm ourselves with the facts. We need to teach ourselves that a sedentary and fast food lifestyle just do not mix together.

The last few years, I have been more conscious about what I eat and even more so that last few months since Sparky is a vegetarian. Now, I don't think I could ever technically become a vegetarian, but I naturally dislike beef and pork and normally just don't eat them. I regularly eat fish. I do throw in chicken every once in awhile... but not too often since Sparky normally eats the rest of my food. Food portioning is another very important factor in what you are feeding your body! Just because a restaurant gives you enough food for 2-3 people to be well fed, it doesn't mean you need to or should eat it all in one sitting...unless you ride a bicycle everyday for 2 hours or do some other form of workout that makes your body burn 3000 calories.

Another food choice of mine that I have been committed to the last few years is that I just stay away from FAST FOOD establishments. I do allow myself an Egg McMuffin from McDonalds once a week...if that, normally on Fridays, since I regularly eat oatmeal for breakfast. If fast food is my only resort, I will order grilled chicken and never ever get the sauce such as mayo. I never order the meals because I rarely drink soda and rarely eat french fries. In fact, I rarely eat any food that is fried.

And of course...I eat a lot of rice. :)

I know some of you are probably thinking I am crazy and obsessive and don't know how to enjoy some food, but you are wrong. I used to drink Dr. Pepper, Mt. Dew, and sweet tea like it was water; but it's not. Now, I actually drink water except for my coffee in the morning. I love chocolate, but I normally try to eat dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. I absolutely love chocolate milk, but thanks to Jenny-Poo's suggestion, I have switched to soy chocolate milk and it is delicious. I LOVE ice cream and think about it everyday, but I might let myself have some ice cream every two weeks. It takes time to teach and train your mind that certain foods and drinks that are easily available just are not good for your body. But it is a choice and it is very possible. You can have your favorite foods, just not every day and not in large portions.

I eat something small about every 2-3 hours which comes up to about 5 meals a day rather than 3 meals day because your metabolism slows down after about 3 hours and the next thing you eat, your body will latch on to...causing weight gain (obviously a very simple explanation).

Here are some other smart tactics if shopping for food: the fewer ingredients the better; and if you can't read or pronounce the ingredients, you probably shouldn't consume it. Try looking for versions of your favorite and regular food purchases that have the official USDA ORGANIC circular white and green certification on it; just because the product has "organic" scribbled really pretty on the label doesn't mean it is organic. It has to have the USDA certification.

Fruits and vegetables and beans...especially black beans (not pork n beans) are normally always good choices, especially if they are locally grown. The fewer the pesticides the better!

And I have also learned if you cut out buying so much meat, you can still afford the healthier choices that I hear most people complain are too expensive.

Now, I'm not claiming to be perfect, but I try to make smart food choices everyday and balance out food for pleasure and food as a necessity. Balance is always a great rule of thumb in any situation in life. I have emphasized that these are lifestyle choices and everyday choices that I make for myself because I have found that they work for me. Find out what works for you as long as you are truly being honest with yourself and listening to your body.

We all need to be smart and think about what we feed our bodies. We need to take care of our bodies and our minds and appreciate them every day. Is your Body a priority?

Keep on Keepin on.


Blondie said...

Sorry to hear about your dad. Hopefully he can get it all taken care of now before it goes full blown.

Yay organic! I need to get my lazy bum up and start heading to the farmers market! Perhaps a certain Asian friend would accompany me?

Deb said...

well, of course my certain white mexican friend.