Monday, 24 March 2014

From the Jaws of Defeat.

About 8 months ago I decided it was time for me to arrange for income protection insurance.   I have been out on my own for nearly two years and while things had gone pretty well we were completely dependant on me turning up to work on a daily basis.   All went well.   I found a provider who had what I wanted and they seemed keen to help.   As with many personal  insurance products this one required medical checks to be completed. If you want to know your results then visit your doctor they said.   I didn't really want to know my results but after some prodding from my wife I went to see my doctor.

I'm not that fond of doctors. Maybe it's a bloke thing, but it's almost certain that if you see a doctor you will come out sick even if you were well when you walked through their door.   If only I had known because on this day in August 2013 I walked into the doctors office feeling fine and I walked out with type 2 diabetes.  Bugger! 

I honestly don't remember a great deal of what else was said that day except that none of it sounded good.   The best prognosis seemed to be we can slow down the inevitable progress to disaster.  The measurements were too extreme to consider reversal (I have now learnt that the key measure they look at is HBA1C which measures blood sugar levels over a three to four month period.   Mine was 91, healthy is under 53 or 48 depending on which organisation you are with).

Disaster was what I heard. Treatment starts with some pills now (metformin) but eventually you will need to inject insulin, you'll probably go blind and loose feeling in your limbs especially in your feet.  It's likely this will lead to amputation!  He probably didn't say this but total breakdown to a humiliating and painful death was what I heard with no possible reprieve. 

This prognosis was not something I could live with (pun intended) so after a relatively brief period of wallowing in self pity my natural contraian kicked in and I began to turn my attention to defying the odds and the doctor.   It was about then that Tom Rath released a book "Eat,  Move,  Sleep".  I bought it because the title intrigued me and I was a fan of the strengths work that Tom was a major part of.   The book was useful and set me moving but most importantly eat move sleep has become my mantra.

One blog is not enough to tell the full story to date. That will have to wait for future blogs but let's roll forward 8 months and report progress.  I am off metformin (which is a story of its own) and my latest HBA1C is 42.  A great start and my doctor is amazed, it is just a start though as dealing with this reality will take a (long and healthy) life time.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Active Living

I hate exercise. It's not so much the doing of exercise I hate as the whole concept of putting aside time with the express purpose of torturing your body. While I know it's good for me it seems so unnatural.  And I reckon I have proof that it is unnatural. Well perhaps not proof but supporting observations.

A few years back our family went on a holiday to Africa. As I look back at that trip I don't remember seeing anyone, animal or human, exercising. What I saw was two things.   For the vast majority of the time everything moved slowly, very slowly.   While the movements were slow they were constant. You didn't see a lot of lazing around except for the lions maybe.

The second thing you saw very occasionally was full tilt sprints for a short period.  Sometimes this was a fright response to seeing us tourists, in natural settings it is more likely to be the food chain in action as hunter and prey burst into life.  I began to wonder.

Then last year sometime I watched a program on BBC called Horizon. On this particular episode they talked about exercise and it's impact. Simplistically their conclusion was that if you focused on moving constantly and then occasionally stressed to body to maximum (3 x 20 second sprints 3 x a week) then you would get the vast majority of benefits that exercise has to offer.  Seemed pretty consistent with what I saw I Africa.

Of course when I began to compare all of this to my life the difference was stark. I mainly sat and movement was typically limited to walking to and from the car or between meetings. I always thought that I needed to do more exercise but that hatred of it meant that it never happened. Slowly  however I began to realise that maybe I didn't need more exercise but rather what I needed was create an active lifestyle. A way of living that caused me to move naturally and often. So I have set about experimenting to do just that.

For me it started by putting the car away and walking.   Walking is a natural act we are designed for and now I only drive to work as a last resort. Instead I walk to and from. I have begun to organise my formal meeting commitments in a way that means I have time to walk there.  My phone has a pedometer built in so I can track how far I have walked. What a difference. 

Historically I have walked about 1500 to 2000 steps now on average I am doing about 8000 to 10,000 with a record of 17,000.  Interestingly I have more energy and better focus when I work and I sleep better.  The only down side was an early blister on my big toe and some fatigue in my legs occasionally.  The best thing however is I enjoy it,  it's becoming natural and it feels right.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Idea-Log is back.

We're back but perhaps a little different.  While I am still not going to give a blow by blow description of my life going forward this blog will capture my relatively unfiltered thoughts on issues and challenges I am currently focused on. There will be posts on all sorts of topics from personal and family to community and society to sport and business, whatever I'm thinking about at the time.

This blog will be a way for me to begin to actually clarify my ideas as I try to understand why things are the way they are (my favourite pursuit from a very young age) and if I don't like that answer then to try and find a better way.  There is always a better way. We just need to find it.

If you'd like to follow along, welcome, and I look forward your feedback comments and challenges.