Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A bit personal, skip this if you only like gardening or fellwalking :}

Let's not beat about the bush, 2013 was crap.  It should have been a marvellous 12 months - our first full year with Daisy, a period of glorious weather during the summer, a bit more of the garden under control and no major disasters in the house.  Reality was different.  I struggled through the whole year in a fog of what seemed like perpetual exhaustion.

If you never got a reply to a friendly email, never got a birthday/Christmas card, if I didn't visit your blog, or I just seemed to ignore you and left you thinking I didn't give a sh*t about you then I am very sorry; last year there were so many things I wanted to do but never had the energy to accomplish.

At first I put the tiredness down to having done way too much since early-2007 when Management and I decided to up sticks and relocate 350 miles north.  The 'cure' for that was to do less in the garden, ensure LP did all the heavy work, and get out on the fells more.

That plan didn't work and fundamentally I felt as fit as the proverbial fiddle (apart from being tired all the time) so I put the malaise down to a dreadful cold I'd had in October 2012.  'Post Viral Fatigue' - that'll be it then.  I even had a phone appointment with a GP who agreed with me:  Eat well, make time for hobbies, be nice to yourself, all great advice which I followed.  Didn't make any difference.

Eventually (mid January) I went to see a GP who was helpful and understanding.  He was working on 'diagnosis by elimination' and did a load of blood tests.  I was surprised and not very happy to learn I had a Blood Glucose level which just tipped me into the 'at risk of developing diabetes' band.   My weight is right in the middle of the 'correct' range for my age & height, BMI is 22.  Blood pressure is low.  Cholesterol is fine. Don't smoke, drink or play with recreational pharmaceuticals so I didn't tick any of the obvious 'risk factor boxes'.  However, given how much orange juice I have consumed over the years I reckon I've brought this on myself with my sugar intake and immediately made changes to my diet in the hope when I have another HbA1c test in three months time the results will be healthier.  Not a drop of juice has passed my lips since:}

As per usual, I've done a great deal of my own research (Google Scholar is wonderful :} ) and found that diabetes treatment and prevention is a confusing minefield.  NHS advice is not the same as that from Diabetes UK and both are polar opposite to currently perceived best practise in Europe.  The one place I did find articulate reasoning was the global Diabetes Forum.   Despite the mixed messages, when offered a place on a "Walking Away From Diabetes" programme run by Cumbria NHS, I went to Whitehaven in atrocious conditions to spend the afternoon in an overheated airless room in a health centre.  The idea was education on how to stop pre-diabetes becoming diabetes.

Diabetes Educator:   The amount of sugar you eat has NO effect on your Blood Glucose level.  You must walk at least 10,000 steps each day and you must reduce your Saturated Fat intake to an absolute minimum.

Jayne:  I walk, on average, 12,000 steps a day.  I already have a low fat diet.  Given I'm already meeting/exceeding these recommendations, are there any tools I can take away with me today that will help me avoid developing diabetes?
(coincidentally I'd bought a pedometer at Christmas)

Diabetes Educator:  {shrugs}  Not really, some people are just unlucky.

Jayne:  Do you mean that regardless of what I do, I'm going to develop diabetes anyway?

Diabetes Educator:  Probably

I had been told earlier in the session that doing 15,000 steps one day confers no 'credit' towards tomorrow if the weather was too dreadful to go for a proper walk.  Instead, as I had neither a treadmill or static bike at home I should not sit down in the evenings to watch TV.  I must stand up in front of the television and march on the spot to make up my 10,000.  There was no interest in the fact I've got a large garden and often work very hard outdoors.  Being bluntly informed I was probably going to develop diabetes regardless of what I did was fairly devastating even if the Educator is likely to be wrong because she knows stuff all about me.  If that's the NHS-sponsored advice then I should have shares in whatever Pharma companies make insulin drugs.  It's no wonder that 'experts' reckon by 2020 over 4 million Britons will have this horrible condition that will consume 10% of the already-stretched NHS budget.

I'm placing my faith and future health in our own research and common sense.

Through my own research I found the work done by Newcastle University on reversing diabetes.  As weight loss is a key part of this I can understand where the instruction to cut down on fat comes from.  However, in October the BMJ reported that Saturated fat is not the major issue,

[quote]
... a “low fat” diet showed the greatest decrease in energy expenditure, an unhealthy lipid pattern, and increased insulin resistance (a precursor to diabetes) compared with a low carbohydrate and low glycaemic index (GI) diet.

... the government’s obsession with levels of total cholesterol “has led to the over-medication of millions of people with statins and has diverted our attention from the more egregious risk factor of atherogenic dyslipidaemia” (an unfavourable ratio of blood fats).

There's much more, and the responses/comments from medical profession are just as interesting.

So for the last month it's been low GI carbs, lots of veggies and good quality protein and I already feel better.  I have more energy, am more alert, feel more like "me".  I'd to lose nearly a stone but will do it gently, that way I'm more likely to keep the weight off.  I've never had to diet in my life but I've seen what yo-yo dieting does to people and it's not an inviting situation.








21 comments:

  1. Sorry to hear you had such a rubbish 2013 - but so glad to hear that things are improving. For something that affects so many different people its amazing how much conflicting advice there is out there, isn't it? I will pray that things continue to look up for you - may 2014 be a good year!

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    1. Thanks for your good wishes Jenny, they are much appreciated.

      Conflicting advice I can cope with, advice which goes completely against current research and proven science just makes me angry.

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  2. Although I have no personal experience of this, a lady on on the Grapevine does. Her hubby has a constant scrap with the NHS and diabetic nurse regarding medication for diabetes, and rather than take the tablets has opted for a lo-carb diet which means they have (both) lost excess weight and his sugar levels are now constant. The NHS constantly tells them that diet makes no difference - not sure what they make of fact that the hubby's blood glucose levels are now in the 'normal' range.

    My sympathies with you - you shouldn't have to fight the very systems that are in place to help you.

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    1. Howdy Hazel :} I am not at all surprised to hear of your friend's experience. Management has joined me on in eating slightly differently and we're both losing weight (albeit slowly). It's not rocket science - brown rice instead of white for example.

      I bought a blood glucose meter so that I could see the effect of different foods on my BG levels and can already see a marked difference in how my body is handling what I eat.

      I'm extremely fortunate in that I can do my own research, sadly not everyone is in the same position.

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    2. I've just remembered - her 'shorthand' for what they can eat it 'nothing white' - so no white bread, pasta, rice etc. Exceptions are cauliflower and white chocolate! :-)

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  3. Good luck Jayne ,,, luckily you are well off for intelligence and common sense. Did you ever see the Horizon programme about Fat v Sugar, it was very interesting and not at all what you would expect. x

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    1. Morning Jill. I did not see the programme but I read enough reviews to know that it would have made me very irritated :}

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  4. Sorry to hear you had a hard year, though I expect that we sometimes tend to worry needlessly when we are told we are prone to something. Mine was having high blood pressure (inherited) and cholestrol that was getting into the mid range, but I'm learning to live with these as there are as you say, so many conflicting stories. Hang in there and we're all here for you, though a long way away. Lots of hugs and take care.

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    1. Hi Susan, I think worrying is the worst thing we can do if told there is a risk of something. I see it as a fabulous opportunity to fix something before it's completely broken.

      Google gets a lot of bad press but I have spent many interesting hours delving into Doctoral thesis and all sorts of research that I don't completely understand, but knowledge is power:}

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  5. This is very interesting, as I've been in the 'high risk' band too. Although my total cholesterol is higher than recommended, most of this is 'good' cholesterol on account of the oat based muesli I have for breakfast every morning. I've more to do, especially in increasing the amount of veggies we eat. Interesting about the juice. I don't have a lot, but a small glass goes well with that muesli.

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    1. Hi Jessica, I found the glucose meter a good investment because it showed me exactly what effect certain foods had. For me, having a blood glucose number flash up on a screen helps greatly. I don't use it all the time but in the first couple of weeks it was very interesting.

      Good luck with what you're doing; don't get too hung up on cholesterol - the data I've seen indicates that what you eat has stuff all effect on your C. level, different people have different baseline levels.

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  6. If anyone is going to beat this it will be you.

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    1. Thanks Angela, that's a very kind thing to say.

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  7. It is frustrating when you read conflicting advice. My sister is diabetic and so I've tried to read up on it. I did watch the TV programme where a pair of twins went on two different diets. One was high fat and he was the one to end up with borderline diabetes.

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    1. Hi Sue, sorry to hear about your sister, depending upon whether she has type 1 or Type 2, and for how long, might the Newcastle study have any relevance for her?

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  8. Who woulda thunk you would ever have that problem? Is there a family history of diabetes? Sometimes that can be deciding factor, not your own eating habits. Good luck as you work to keep that nasty disease at bay.

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    1. Morning FFG, whoo'd a thunk it indeed :} I think in my case it's over a decade of drinking large quantities of orange juice (buying into the 'it's healthy and full of vitamin C' message). Given that most 'health messages' of the last 30 years are now being disproved I'm not really surprised (fat, cholesterol, salt, etc). My BG numbers are so much better in just a month after stopping the juice (and other changes I've made are possibly minor in comparison) then I'm happy, for now, that I am making progress in the right direction.

      It's really not that much 'work' to change a few eating habits in order to avoid a horrible disease which carries very nasty complications later in life.

      "If not now, when?"

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    2. Oh, me. "If not now, when?" I think I heard that phrase hovering in the air around me for my own reasons. Thanks for the reminder. Good luck to ya, dear girl.

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    3. "If not now, when?"
      Hi sweetie, I'm not sure where I heard/read that but it just seemed so perfectly timed, so appropriate ...

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  9. Sorry to hear you had a bit of a duff 2013 and hope things get better from here on in. Sounds as though you are getting there ... good luck!
    M x
    PS: Sorry I haven't reply directly to your comment on my blog but you appear as a 'no-reply' blogger. Send me your email address and then I can add you to my contacts and will be able to reply in future.

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    1. Morning M, brilliant to hear from you and thanks.

      Not sure why Blogger is telling you I'm "no reply". If you click on my name under any post it takes you to the profile and that's definitely got an 'email' link on it, I just checked. Have emailed you anyway :}

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So there I am, chuntering on to myself, but it would be lovely to hear from you. Thanks to all who take the time to comment - it makes my day :)

and I always delete spam - my blog, my rules :-}