Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Cycling may lower your risk of Type 2 Diabetes

My new bicycle helmet should be here later this week, and the lock to secure it. Then I'll be riding around town more often myself. In the meantime, here was some good news about bike riding:
Cycling rather than driving may help lower the risk for type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests. Research from the University of Southern Denmark showed that people who cycle to work or regularly cycle for recreation were less likely to get type 2 diabetes, even for those who had taken up the sport late in life.

The study involved over 50,000 Danish men and women between the ages of 50 and 65. The researchers evaluated the participants’ cycling activities and found that those who biked regularly were less likely to develop type 2 diabetes. The more the participants cycled, the lower their risk for the disease became, the study said. 

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

286 - goal reached, six days late

286.6 lb (130 kg)
A while ago I published my list of monthly goal - target weights that I wanted to achieve by the end of each month. My target for the end of June was to reach 286 lbs, which I missed. Six days later, I made it!

Now, my next goal is to be under 277 lbs by the end of July. I'm feeling pretty good about that. After being stuck on a plateau for three weeks, I've suddenly started moving downward again, doing pretty much the same thing as I had been doing all along; trying to keep portion sizes under control and avoiding too many carbs.

2/27/2016   321 lbs
3/30/2016   312 lbs
4/30/2016   303 lbs
5/11/2016   300 lbs
5/31/2016   294 lbs
6/28/2016   286 lbs
7/30/2016   277 lbs
8/30/2016   268 lbs

I had a great July 4th holiday weekend. I had my moment of enlightenment about becoming an athlete, and I finally paid attention when a dear friend from Wyoming told me to read The Mediterranean Zone, by Dr Barry Sears ( You do Smile, don't you?) In a sentence, it's about reducing diet-induced cellular inflammation by switching from Omega-6 rich fats to Omega-3 rich fats (extra virgin olive oil, for example), and consuming lots of colorful vegetables to get an adequate supply of polyphenols. I'm doing most of that already, with great results (118 lbs in 12½ months), but I can do even better. The good news is that if I can do it, so can almost anyone

Saturday, July 02, 2016

Another moment of enlightenment - become an "Athlete"

From time to time I have the good fortune to have these moments of enlightenment, almost literally like a lightbulb lighting up above my head, shining and lighting the way forward. Suddenly, everything becomes really clear. Or, more accurately, one particular thing or aspect of my life becomes really clear. It's like being able to see into the future - being able to visualize things that are going to happen. It used to happen sometimes when I was swimming, in the days when I swam five (very early) mornings a week. With no distractions, my mind was free to roam and explore.

Without that "vision", we have no way of imagining what success looks like. Without being able to picture things in our minds, life is just happening to us and we are just passive bystanders. When I see myself standing on top of a mountain, for example, that is one of the things that spurs me on and drives me towards success and ultimate victory. I want to be an ACTIVE participant in life. After this morning's revelation (imagine the Shaolin monk in the 1970s TV show Kung Fu, saying, "Ahh, Grasshopper..."), I am determined to be the athlete that I once was (when I was in my 20s), even if it takes me a couple of years to get there.

I had been listening to the Rich Roll podcast (, where Rich has conversations with leaders in the fields of health and welness, fitness, nutrition, art, entertainment, entrepreneurship and spirituality. This week's guest was Colin O'Brady (, who completed the Explorers Grand Slam, scaling the highest mountain on each of the seven continents and treks to both the North and South Poles, in record time (139 days). At one point in the two hour podcast, Colin mentioned the word "Athlete", and it struck me like a bell. That's what I need to become (again).

In my youth, and even in early adulthood, I had been very active. I run (yes, for fun!) and swam and played field hockey and badminton and squash. Recently, the only squash was when I accidentally sat on something! After years (nae, decades) of gaining weight and losing some, and gaining more and losing a little, my life had become super sedentary. ... Anyway, I'm determined, now, to do something about that.

55:30 minutes for the 5K.
A good baseline.
At this point, I want to take a moment to say Thank You to my ex-wife, Lea. She invited me to take part in the Governor's Cup 5K in Helena three weeks ago. I didn't run, but I did walk at a average 3.3 mph pace for the 3.1 miles. Holy cow, it was tough, but she was encouraging me all the way. Afterwards, I figured my time of 55:30 minutes was a good base from which to measure future progress. I can imagine doing some more 5 Km runs in the future (with real, proper running). I can even foresee the day, maybe in a year of two, when I tackle a half marathon or a full 26.2 miles. When I was younger, and living in England, I had always dreamed that my first would be the Robin Hood marathon in Nottingham ( at the end of September. Or I could do the Reading Half Marathon ( in mid-March. It's been nearly nine years since I last visited England.

I also want to thank Lea for doing such a great job raising our daughter, Birdie, of whom I am incredibly proud. She has turned into such a thoughtful young woman with the wisdom and maturity of someone twice her age. I salute you both for the lifestyle changes you've made and the health benefits that have accrued to you. Amazing what a vegetarian/vegan diet can do! Even Murphy, the dog (good old boy) has seen improvements.

I was reminded of a book which I've had for ten years on my bookshelf, but never actually read; "Fit for Life: Reach Your Personal Best", by British explorer and holder of several endurance records, Ranulph Fiennes ( He has been described by the Guinness Book of Records as "the world's greatest living explorer", and he has done a lot of his best 'work' at an age when many of us are contemplating retirement!

Which leads me to another thought. If I actually manage to pull this off, if I actually manage to get down to 200 lbs, or (better yet) 178 lbs; or if I manage to pull off a finish in a half- or full marathon, of post some decent times for a 5 Km race, then I want to use this forum and my website to promote two thing: Exercise and activity for young people (kids and teens) so that they can avoid the damage of diabetes, and exercise and activity among adults who want to do the same, or who want to overcome the limitations of arthritis, or to reduce their high blood sugar or cholesterol levels, regardless of their age. Honestly, if I can do it, anyone can! If you feel you need encouragement, call me. If you're serious about getting active, I'll help and support you in any way I can.

OMG, there's a lot to talk about. I guess that's one of the consequences of not having an Internet connection at home any more (he says, as he's sitting in the public library, connected to their Wi-Fi).

Encouraged by the health improvements demonstrated by my daughter, I've been trying to switch away from eating so much meat and dairy products (even though I LOVE cheese). Another time, I'll share my thoughts on the merits or otherwise of drinking cow's milk. I haven't bought any myself for several weeks and I really don't miss it. I still have to read more on the effects of casein (one of the two milk proteins) on the body. It's a popular supplement among bodybuilders.

292.4 lbs (132.6 kg)
Finally, the news that my downward weight loss trend continues. This morning I hit a new low - 292.4 lbs.

Friday, July 01, 2016

292 lbs - forward movement again

After deliberately trying to (slowly) add a few carbs back into my diet (in the form of beans and pulses, because of their high fiber content) my weight-loss had slowed WAY down.
292.6 lbs this morning
I missed my end-of-June goal (286 lbs), but I'm not sad about that. I feel much better for having allowed myself to eat more fiber. And, the trend is downward again. I have a good feeling that July will be the month that I'll catch up and get back on schedule.

The new activities are starting to take shape: boxing, T'ai Chi, cycling and dancing. There will be updates on those in the next two or three weeks. I can already tell that the T'ai Chi will be an early morning activity, both because it's a quiet activity to do at 5.00 am, and because I'll be approaching it with a refreshed mind and body after a good night's sleep. The boxing will be an evening thing. I've also been challenged to report my weekly cycling miles, and see the numbers go up from one week to the next. Priority #1 will be to get a new saddle (and a helmet, I suppose)!