Since the phone call, I have met with a registered dietician in my area twice and have gained a wealth of knowledge. So much of which is counter to what we are taught as trainers. (Not to mention the crap nutrition info that gets passed around on the internet!)
During the first session, I was poised to take notes and hang on her every word. What I had been doing hasn’t been working. I was feeling great for the most part, and still strong, but I had been slowly creeping back up the scale, both the literal one, and the scale of sizes in my closet. I was teaching spin and loving it, strength training 2-3 times per week and running any chance I could. Along the way, I kept thinking it was because of the move, the deployment, the lack of a fitness tribe as experienced in Hawaii. When all of your friends are doing the same thing and intensely motivated – it’s not exactly easy, but it is so much easier. Despite crafting a life dedicated to activity and doing fun fitness-y things, I wasn’t heading in the right direction. The dietician promptly said, “A little bit of nutrition knowledge can be a dangerous thing.” And how true that is.
There are some universal basics: calories in vs. calories out (food we consume vs. the energy we expend), but there are other factors as well. 150 calories of soda vs. 150 calories of vegetables are going to do entirely different things to your energy level, mood, satiety, hydration, etc. This is where the what we are eating is just as important as the how much.
For the Type II diabetic, our bodies have an elevated level of blood sugar, beyond what is normal. (Hyperglycemia). To counter this elevation in blood sugar, also called blood glucose, our pancreas produces insulin to help bring that blood sugar back down. At first the body will produce more insulin to get the blood sugar back to normal levels, but over time it cannot keep up. Welcome to Type II diabetes. (Type II has a strong hereditary component. It has been said that genetics loads the gun and lifestyle pulls the trigger.) Keeping it in check will be a priority for life.
Is it a bummer? Yeah, I guess it could be seen that way, but I get to choose how to view it. For me, meeting with the dietician clicked a missing puzzle piece into place. Though not effortless, I’m not having to kill myself in the gym. Concentrating mostly on high intensity interval cardio (running and spin primarily) and once a week lifting 1-4 reps of max. This maintains current muscle mass. Lifting too much (high reps, focusing on endurance) my body bulks, which is what my 3-day/week plan had been doing. Go figure.
Ultimately, a body is a body. Mine does what I ask it to and then some. It allows me to get comfortable being uncomfortable. I still wonder if progress pics help anyone except the subject. It’s more than just vanity. When we figure stuff out (that most of us have been trying to figure out since our teens!) it’s empowering to see that success. Dealing with this personally has no doubt helped on many levels as a personal trainer.
If you have been eating well (be honest!) and exercising regularly but aren’t seeing results – get your blood work done. Have your primary health care provider take a look at it. Take those results to a dietician. Learn. Try something new if what you are doing isn’t working.
It is worth it. YOU are worth it!