Thursday, May 2, 2013

Getting Healthy By the Numbers

Recently, I've posted a lot about my weight loss.  I've been working really hard to get myself healthier.  Trying to be healthy is a funny thing.  How do you measure health?  It's like trying to measure happiness.  If my body feels good right now, is that not health?  If I feel content and at peace right now is that not happiness?

I won't try to delve any deeper than that on the subject of happiness, because that's way too philosophical for me right now, and it's not really the subject I want to discuss.

What I really want to discuss is measuring health.  It's really such an intangible thing.  I've focused a lot on my weight, simply because that is very easy to measure.  But I fully recognize that is not necessarily the best measure of health.  There are plenty of very skinny people that would not describe themselves as healthy.

There are many numbers that can measure health.  There is no 1 metric that really measures it by itself, but there are plenty that go in conjunction together, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.

I am a numbers person.  I love numbers.  I love crunching and extrapolating data.  Naturally, I record data any time I can.  The following is a story about me trying to improve my health.  It's also a story with some numbers.  Doesn't that make you glad?

Three months ago, I went to the Doctor for a checkup so that he could approve us for adoption.  While I was there, he asked me some questions about diabetes symptoms.  I had enough symptoms that he wanted to do a blood test to test for diabetes.  The test for diabetes is the A1C.  It tests how saturated your red blood cells are with glucose.  My test came back at a 10.7.  Normal people are usually less than 5.  6.5 is considered diabetic.

Since then, I have completely changed my lifestyle.  I watch what I eat, especially carbs.  I try to walk or run daily and I work out with weights 3 times per week.  My change in lifestyle has caused some changes in my body.  Here are some changes that have occurred over the past 3 months.

My belly has shrunk by 2.5 inches.
My neck has shrunk by 1 inch.
My thighs have shrunk by 2.5 inches.
I have lost 34 pounds.

But there is one number, that right now is the most important to me.
Here is that number.

You're probably thinking, "What the heck is 6.3?"  Well, I went to the Doctor again yesterday.  I had my A1C tested, and it was 6.3.  Remember how I said that 6.5 is considered diabetic?  That means that technically, my blood agrees that I'm no longer diabetic.

Now, I fully recognize that the disease still exists, I've just been able to handle the symptoms.  But this was a huge victory for me.  I asked my doctor where my A1C needs to be to avoid diabetes complications.  He said, "It needs to be under 7.  You're there, just make sure you stay there."

It told my wife that my goal for 3 months from now is 5.6, because 5.7 is considered pre-diabetic.  She was skeptical, but I told her that her job is to say, "I know you can do it!"  Naturally, she did her job.

Here some more numbers that I'm excited about:
Number of migraines in the past 2 months: 0 (used to be 1-2 per week)
Number of times in the past 2 months I've had to get up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom: 0 (it used to be 1-2 per night, so my body could dump out sugar)
Number of times my shorts have fallen off in the front yard: 1 (used to be zero.  I guess not all of the new numbers are good.)

I'm excited for the future.  I'm excited that this disease has motivated me to become more healthy all around. I'm excited for the experiences that greater health will bring me.  I'm also excited to record lots more numbers.


  1. I am excited for you as well. Seriously, you are amazing. Keep up the fantabulous work. Yep, I created a word to express how amazing you and your numbers are.

  2. Thanks for helping me get my "numbers" healthier too. I'm so proud of you and you are totally going to have a great A1c next time too!

  3. You always were good with numbers. We just needed to get you the right ones.

  4. Sweet! I know you can make your next goal. I don't doubt it!


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