Lately I have been trying to find the right exercise so that I could meet my goals. Up until recently I hadn’t been working out regularly. I know that my weight loss is more dependent on my nutrition than my exercise. But I also recognize that exercise is an important part of overall health. Last summer/fall I did a good job with increasing my number of steps walked per day. That fell off when the rainy season started. By the time this spring came around I knew I wanted to do more. I’m ready to start feeling stronger. To start adding flexibility to my routine. To build some endurance to be able to participate more actively with my family.
To find the right exercise for me I looked at the following things. You can ask yourself the same questions to find your exercise fit.
I think the best thing I’ve done to answer these question has been to experiment. I have continued to see what other people enjoy and to try new things. Part of the equation for me was doing yoga at home. I started by doing it with a 30 day program on YouTube called 30 Days of Yoga with Adriene. She has a great style of teaching and she starts with the basics and builds up from there. It started me on the journey of getting stronger and more flexible while also improving my core. I’m pretty terrible at it, but I see results as I stick with it.
For the cardio portion I bought a Peloton bike. I am totally addicted to it. It’s not only the exercise itself, but it’s the social aspect of the bike and the membership. There are online classes that you can take either live or on demand that help push you farther than you would ever do on your own in the gym. They have a really active and supportive online community. I have done far more exercise in the past month than I have any other time since my time in the Marine Corps. And I’ve finally learned what those elusive exercise endorphins feel like!
Another bonus with Peloton is that the app has other types of workouts as well. So I can do live yoga classes, strength training, power walking, and more with the same membership. And my profile page tracks all my workouts and exercise streaks. For me it has changed my outlook on the likelihood that I will be a fit person one day. It’s inevitable!
Now it’s time to find the right exercise for you and your lifestyle.
What are your goals?
What do you enjoy?
What is sustainable for you?
How will you track your progress?
Take some time to answer these questions and then start experimenting. Let me know if you need help to figure it out. Let’s get fit!
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition where the body is unable to use insulin effectively to get glucose (blood sugar) out of the bloodstream and into the cells where it can be used for energy. Many people are able to manage their Type 2 diabetes with lifestyle changes. Others may need medications to reduce blood sugar levels. These medications may include oral medications, insulin or other injectables.
Diabetes is diagnosed with a lab test. The main test used for this purpose is a fasting blood glucose. Other diagnostic tests may include an A1c or a glucose tolerance test.
Also known as fasting blood sugar test. This is a blood test that measures the amount of glucose in your bloodstream at the time of testing. As the name implies, this test is done when you have been fasting for several hours. A normal result would be between 70 and 99 mg/dl. If your level was 126 mg/dl or higher after fasting, this indicates diabetes. That leaves of range of 100-125 that is called prediabetes or "at risk for diabetes."
The A1c may also be known by the name Hemoglobin A1c or HgbA1c. This blood test shows your average blood glucose levels over a 2 to 3 month time span. It is expressed in a percentage. For people without diabetes the number is lower than 5.7%. The goal for people with diabetes is to keep the A1c less than 7%.
The glucose tolerance test is a blood test that is taken after you drink a sugary drink in the lab. This tests how well your body is processing the sugar in the drink over time. Two hours after consuming the drink your blood glucose level should be less than 140 mg/dl. If it is over 200 you have diabetes. A level between 140 and 199 mg/dl is considered impaired glucose tolerance or prediabetes.
One use for this test is to diagnose gestational diabetes. It is usually done between 24 to 28 weeks of pregnancy.
Many of us don’t get enough sleep. Do you know that sleep is one of the keys to weight loss? Setting up a nighttime routine can help improve your sleep habits.
Every time I fly the flight attendant reminds me that if there is a loss of cabin pressure, make sure to put the oxygen mask on myself before putting a mask on my child. We tend to put others first and our instinct might be to put the mask on those that we love first. But if we don’t take care of ourselves, we will be unable to help others around us. Our good intentions won’t help anyone if we can’t function to help them.
Today I want to share with you an important self-care habit to ensure that you are operating at your highest level to give yourself the best chance to optimize your weight loss.
Sleep is vital. According to the Centers for Disease Control more than 35% of people are sleep deprived (1). It is recommended that you get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that those that got only 5.5 hours of sleep lost less body fat than if they got more sleep (2). If you are not getting enough sleep you are sabotaging your efforts and decreasing the effectiveness of all the things you did right during the day.
Your weight is controlled by several different hormones in your body. Lack of sufficient sleep affects these hormones and can affect your weight.
Insulin is a fat storage hormone. It allows your cells to take in glucose from carbohydrates to be used for energy. Lack of sleep causes decreased insulin sensitivity (insulin resistance) leading to increased fat storage. When you are insulin resistant, your body produces more insulin to compensate. Any extra glucose in your system gets stored as fat.
Ghrelin is increased which causes increased hunger signals and a decreased metabolism. That is certainly a bad combination!
Decreased leptin means your stomach feels empty leaving you longing for more. Leptin is the hormone that signals when you are full. So when leptin is not working you lose the signal that tells you that it’s time to stop eating.
Cortisol is a stress hormone that can be released when you are sleep deprived. This can lead to an increased desire for food. High cortisol levels increase appetite. This is what is commonly called “stress eating.”
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) promotes a healthy metabolism and enhances your performance. Sleep and exercise promote the release of human growth hormone. Most of the release comes during sleep. Sleep is when the body does its restorative work. HGH works to restore and repair your body while you sleep.
Sleep is essential to allow your body to heal, repair and for your hormones to balance naturally. Quality sleep is just as important in your weight loss journey as eating and exercise.
Increase the likelihood of a good night’s sleep. Turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Even better if you can turn them off 2 hours before bed.
Avoid caffeine after noon.
Don’t eat 2 hours before bed. If your body is digesting when you go to bed it delays the restorative processes of sleep.
Make sure your room is dark and quiet. Dim lights in your house as it gets closer to bedtime. This helps signal your brain that it’s almost time for sleep.
Develop a bedtime routine. Stick to a schedule. Your body likes routines. Set a bedtime and stick to it as much as possible. Finish your night off with writing 3 things you’re grateful for. It makes a difference to end your day with a sense of thankfulness.
Don’t set snooze alarms. Pushing snooze multiple times just means that your last bit of sleep is completely interrupted. Sleep until the alarm goes off and then 5,4,3,2,1…get up and be awesome!