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Diabetes Developments - A blog on latest developments in diabetes by David Mendosa

Entries Tagged as 'Exercise For Diabetes'

Weight Control Registry

June 29th, 2010 · No Comments

The National Weight Control Registry is the best guide we have showing us how people actually lose weight and keep it off. These are the people who have succeeded in a major weight loss program and in keeping off the pounds.

Diabetes doctors typically tell us to loose 10 percent of our body weight. I know from my own experience that this helps to control our blood glucose level. And I know too that getting down to a normal body mass index, or BMI, is even better for maintaining a low A1C level.

The National Weight Control Registry started in 1994 and now tracks more than 5,000 people. And because I am one of them, the people at the registry sent me a copy of a publication that summarizes their findings as thanks for returning a one-year questionnaire. The article, “Long-term weight loss maintenance,” appeared in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

To be included in the registry, people have to be at least 18 and have kept off at least 30 pounds for a year or more. I reached that milestone four years ago. And a couple of years ago my friend Gretchen Becker encouraged me to share my results with the registry.

I haven’t seen any statistics about how many of the people included in the registry have diabetes. But I know that my weight loss strategies have been different from most. Using Byetta got me started with my weight loss program, and a very low-carb diet intensified it.

Most people, however, say that they have lost weight by following a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Without question, weight loss means a low-calorie diet. Almost certainly, following a diet of any sort is also a key to success. In fact, participants who maintained a consistent diet during the week and year after year were much more likely to maintain their weight than those who varied their approach.

Other keys include:

Eating breakfast every day, followed by 78 percent of registry members.

High levels of physical activity. Fully 94 percent report that they get more exercise now than they did before they lost weight, and 90 percent report that on the average they exercise an hour a day. Walking is the most common activity, reported by 78 percent of the participants.

Regular weighing. More than 44 percent report that they weigh themselves at least once a day.

I know from my own experience that when my scales broke in February just before I went on a long trip that not weighing myself regularly was disastrous for my weight. In a three-month period I gained 12 pounds and am now fighting to take them off.

The really good news is that it gets easier. People who successfully maintained their weight loss for two to five years had a much greater chance of long-term success.

This is a mirror of one of my articles that Health Central published. You can navigate to that site to find my most recent articles.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet, Exercise For Diabetes

Vacation Control

April 30th, 2010 · No Comments

At the end of my five-week vacation on the South Island of New Zealand I am returning to the reality of my everyday life with diabetes. For me, reality means controlling my blood glucose level with diet and exercise. Since 2007 I haven’t had to use any diabetes medications to keep good control.

But, like all of us, I do have to watch my diet and exercise. And like most people on vacation my attention sometimes wandered.

While I have diligently following a very low-carb diet since 2007, I readily admit that I enjoyed a few servings of potatoes in New Zealand. Worse, I ate two slices of toast. While I have broken my addiction to all types and forms of grain, the toast in eggs benedict was sometimes impossible for me to ignore.

On the other hand, I ate more seafood than ever before in my life. Seafood is our best source of heart-healthy omega-3 fats. I ate everything from the well-known salmon, prawns, shrimp, oysters, and calamari to butterfish, groper, smooth dory, gurnard, ling, monkfish, and blue cod and on to fish I never heard of before — warehou, tarakihi, whitebait, bluenose, trumpeter, and green shell mussels. They all tasted wonderful to me while at the same time helping to balance out my dietary lapses.

Wild game also has a better ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats. That helped me to feel virtuous while enjoying a venison cassarole that a ranger on the Milford Track prepared for my lunch. I wrote about this and my other New Zealand adventures on my “Fitness and Photography for Fun ” blog.

Normally, I minimize the amount of fructose that I eat, since it’s so hard on the liver. I do eat some berries when I am at home. The berries that I especially enjoyed in New Zealand are called kiwiberries, miniature (grape-sized) versions of the kiwi fruit we have in America. But kiwiberries are especially sweet and juicy.

New Zealand is rightfully famous for its dairy products. I don’t think that the country has any of the infamous concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), where we tightly pen our lifestock and chickens and feed them a grain diet, which in turn worsens our omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.

New Zealand dairy products are therefore not only healthier than most of ours but also taste better. I particularly enjoyed their cheese and their “Fresh’n Fruity” brand of natural (no fruit) Greek style yoghurt (as they spell it).

The other major deviation from my diet besides some additional carbohydrates was going back on coffee after almost a year without. I stopped drinking coffee because it was giving me awful headaches. But I can handle one cup a day now. I make sure that it’s a good cup, which the Kiwis do know how to make. In all the better restaurants I can find excellent coffee that is somewhat diluted espresso that for some reason the Kiwis call a “long black.”

In contrast to my somewhat slacker dietary habits on vacation I have been walking and hiking more than usual. I convinced myself that I need the extra calories to give me strength on the trail. I’m hoping that it has been a wash.

This is a mirror of one of my articles that Health Central published. You can navigate to that site to find my most recent articles.

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Posted in: Diabetes Diet, Exercise For Diabetes, People With Diabetes

Winter Walking Destinations

February 17th, 2010 · No Comments

This morning I got my exercise by shopping for food. After the weekend I didn’t have anything in my apartment that I wanted to eat for lunch and dinner.

So I walked about four and one-half miles to the nearest natural foods store, which is a Whole Foods Market. I picked up salad greens for lunch, grass-fed ground beef for dinner, and a few other items that I needed. Then, I walked back home with my groceries in my daypack.

This was a winter walking destination for me. During the rest of the year I get my exercise every other day or so with a long hike in the Rocky Mountains that rise just west of here. Now, in the winter, I still get up there, but on my snowshoes and less often than the hikes at other times of the year. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

Exercise May Reduce Belly Fat

October 11th, 2009 · 3 Comments

When we have a lot of belly fat, we are at greater risk of heart disease because of the inflammatory molecules that this fat produces. But a new study by scientists at the University of Illinois suggests that even moderate amounts of exercise can reduce the inflammation.

Since people with diabetes are at an especially high risk of heart disease, this is an encouraging finding for us.

The study examined the effects of diet and exercise on the inflammation of visceral fat tissue — belly fat — in mice. Maybe people will react differently, but only the sedentary mice got the inflammation that usually results from having big bellies.

“The surprise was that the combination of diet and exercise didn’t yield dramatically different and better results than diet or exercise alone,” says Victoria Vieira, a University of Illinois Ph.D. candidate and the study’s lead author. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Diabetes Complications, Exercise For Diabetes

Walking with Poles

July 14th, 2009 · No Comments

Walking is the exercise of choice for most people, especially when we would rather be outdoors than in a gym. Walking is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease, the biggest problem that those of us who have diabetes face.

If all we want to do is strengthen our lower body, we need only comfortable clothes and supportive footwear. But walking does little or nothing to strengthen the muscles of our upper body.

Unless we walk with poles, like Ken Mundt does.

“The advantage is that I get a whole upper body workout,” he told me when I called him at his home in Seattle. “My chest muscles get a good workout, because I don’t slam my poles. I place them, and then I push.” [Read more →]

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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

A Short Walk Goes a Long Way

July 8th, 2009 · 1 Comment

We can reverse one of the most common and insidious complications of diabetes when we walk just a little more. From 50 to 70 percent of people with type 2 diabetes and 95 percent of those who are obese have fatty liver. But up to 77 percent of people who have fatty liver don’t have any symptoms.

A study that the journal Hepatology just published in its July issue put 141 participants through an exercise program for three months. The participants had nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), sometimes called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

If it leads to cirrhosis of the liver, it’s fatal, unless you are lucky enough to get a liver transplant. Liver transplants may be available for people under 70 and my wife was only 69 when her doctor told her that she had cirrhosis. But he also told her that her weight makes a successful transplant unlikely, so two years ago she died from this awful complication of diabetes. [Read more →]

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Posted in: Diabetes Complications, Exercise For Diabetes

Choosing Exercise or Antioxidants

May 13th, 2009 · 8 Comments

Based on what I’ve read recently, some of which I have reported here, I’ve grown more and more wary of the wisdom of taking supplements. Few of the them seem to help.

And now comes a new study indicating that the two most common supplements can actually work against us. Those supplements are vitamins C and E.

It seems that we have a choice of exercising or taking large doses of those supplements. We know that exercise has lots of good effects like increasing our sensitivity to insulin, which is of great importance to all of us with diabetes.
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Posted in: Diabetes Medication, Exercise For Diabetes

Efficient Exercise for Glucose Control

April 22nd, 2009 · 7 Comments

Just a few minutes of exercise can have a big effect on the action of insulin that keeps our glucose levels in balance. The trick is to go all out.

While we have known for years that aerobic exercise like walking improves the health of our hearts and helps prevent or control diabetes, it can take a lot of time. Until now, however, we didn’t know if quick bursts of exercise would help.

Recent research now shows that it does. Scientists in Scotland reported their findings in BioMed Central Endocrine Disorders. Just 15 minutes of high-intensity interval training in a two-week period had a “remarkable” effect on the insulin action of the sedentary young men in the study, the researchers wrote.
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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

Three Thousand Steps in Thirty Minutes

March 25th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Like most people, I used my pedometer passively to note how many steps I took each day. Now I use it as a prod for better performance and to help control my diabetes.

We can use pedometers to motivate us to get enough of the moderate-intensity physical activity we need. The government’s official 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which I covered here last year, calls for us to get a minimum of 150 minutes of this moderate-intensity exercise each week. That can work out to 30 minutes on five days of the week. We can also get it in shorter bouts, typically of 10 minutes each time.

But many of us can’t figure out what “moderate-intensity” means. Until I read a brand new research report, I certainly didn’t.
[Read more →]

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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

Exercise for Maintaining Weight Loss

January 12th, 2009 · 2 Comments

A study in the January issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is the first one ever to examine how walking by itself can help us keep the weight off for the long term. Since almost all of us with type 2 diabetes struggle with our weight, this is a key part of controlling it.

Walking may or may not be more beneficial for us that other forms of physical activity. That’s not what the study was about. Rather, for most people walking is the least expensive and most readily available way to get the exercise that we all need.

The study monitored almost 5,000 men and women for 15 years. Walking works.
[Read more →]

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Posted in: Exercise For Diabetes

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