Monday, October 08, 2007

One week down, a lifetime to go!

Today marks one week since I started the South Beach Diet as part of my lifestyle change. Or maybe more of a shift. Anyhow, the results are in and I’ve lost 7 pounds! Seven pounds in as many days seems to be a consistent rate of weight-loss, but in reality, I lost the first 5 in two days, the next pound took four days and the final pound disappeared over night. I attribute the initial loss to water weight…or at least that’s what everyone says about every diet. The next four days were a bit frustrating in that a couple of days, the dang scale didn’t budge a bit. This morning was a pleasant surprise when I dropped a pound, and I’m sure that has a lot to do with me mowing the lawn in humid 90-degree heat yesterday. Nothing like a good aerobic workout to knock off a pound.

This leads to my next obstacle in my overall lifestyle change: increasing my exercise. Each day at lunch, I’ve been taking a 15 – 20 minute walk at a pace that shouldn’t allow me to stink the rest of the day, but enough to get my heart rate up. The only time I waiver from this routine is when my co-workers join me and the walk turns more into a stroll in the park with nary a heavy breath. Although these daily walks certainly help, I’m feeling I need more. The one thing that actually improves "good cholesterol" (HDL) is exercise. Meds help of course, but exercise would be the better approach. So here’s my dilemma…I work and live a very hectic schedule where I’m constantly cooking, bathing kids, and doing house chores the moment I get home from work up to when I fall asleep for the night. There’s no time for the exercise. My morning is equally hectic from wake up through commuting to work. If anyone has any ideas how to fit an exercise routine into this day, let me know. I used to walk the treadmill once I got home and combined that with some light weight-training. I could probably start that back up again with minor adjustments to my day, but I’m still open to other ideas.

One discovery over the weekend was finding the number of walking trails in my neighborhood. While I knew they existed, and occasionally walked one particular path, I found that there are quite a few additional trails that connect to an overall network of trails within the town. I’m pretty excited by this in that I could easily take the kids with me "exploring" new trails.

Another somewhat exciting discovery this weekend was my ability to eat out within the constraints of the diet. A couple of friends often remind me of how bad it was for my family and I to eat out so much. Tuesday’s were devoted to Chick-fil-A; Thursdays to Jersey Mike’s; Friday’s and Saturday’s to where ever struck our fancy; and Sunday’s were generally fast food or frozen pizza at home. Those days we ate "in" were often meals of pre-packaged foods, such as the pizza, Stouffer’s lasagna, etc. If nothing else, this new diet has eased me away from that eating-out lifestyle. I believe we cooked and prepared every meal last week except for the South beach frozen dinners we had for Friday night (I just didn’t feel like cooking). On Saturday evening, we had intended to fix dinner at home, but found ourselves out shopping and running errands like we do so often. We opted to go to Red Lobster where I had grilled tilapia, veggies, broccoli and salad with water. Perhaps the only negative aspect of this meal with the saltiness of the fish, but I really felt no guilt or feelings that I cheated on my diet. No, we’re not going back to eating out 4 to 6 times a week again. However, it’s nice to know I don’t have to forgo one of my few social activities of enjoying a decent restaurant now and then.

Now I have one more request of you. Today marks a very scary beginning for me. My previous prescription ran out and today I’m to start the new prescription. To fight the cholesterol, I’m to take Zocor once at night. I’ve taken this before and it actually helped to reduce the bad cholesterol a lot, but it didn’t do much for the TGs. The second and more worrisome medicine is Niaspan, or niacin. My previous prescription (Advicor) was kind of a Zocor-niacin mix in one pill, with niacin adding up to 1000 mgs. Now, I’m supposed to take 1500 mgs of niacin along with the Zocor for one month and then up it to 2000 the next month. My concern with this drug combination is that they could interact negatively together…a bad interaction. No matter which website I look view, the combo is bad news. Admittedly, the Advicor had the same concern and it had no affect on me, and my doctor assures me that I’ll be monitored closely for any adverse reactions. But the increased niacin has me a bit worried. The niacin is also what makes me feel like I’m burning up (hot flashes). I haven’t had a hot flash episode for over a week now (hmmm…since I started the diet) and I’m not looking forward to them starting back up again.

Anyhow, here’s where I need your opinion. When I go back to the doctor’s office in December, he’ll check my blood. If the results are great, how am I to know whether or not the results are from my lifestyle or from the new medical cocktail? Should I skip taking the niacin (against doctor’s orders) and take out the medicine variable to see if diet and exercise along will work? Or should I basically follow the doctor’s orders, take the medicine, and then discuss my lifestyle changes at that point? I welcome all opinions, and I know many of you out there will have pretty strong opinions about both sides. That’s why I like my readers so much.

Things are going well, but there’s still a lot more to do. One week does not a new lifestyle make, but it’s a start.

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