Writing a weekly blog (Week 7 ended on Sun 3rd July 2016) provides the dilemma of what to put in. Do I just provide the good stuff that worked, or do I share with you what hasn’t worked – where I’ve slipped up – in the hope that it’ll help me and maybe a few others to learn. I’m conscious that when I think about the bits that have ‘gone wrong’, the aim is NOT to beat myself up and dwell on how silly I’ve been, but to analyse and learn from them in order to tweak my strategy for the following week.
This week fits the category of a learning week! My planning and preparation weren’t red-hot; I struggled with recurring leg cramps and muscle weakness (so have done less walking and HIIT gym sessions), and consequently put on a few pounds.
So, planning and preparation – what went wrong? One main area that I’ve picked up as causing a problem is when I spend too much time on my own at the weekend. I can very quickly slip into self-analysis, which if done in small doses is usually illuminating and productive. However, this Saturday I took myself off to Nottingham for the day and spent most of my time reading a book and thinking about my flaws! Reading sessions were interspersed by drooling at rings (I’m fascinated by ring design and trends) in a few Nottingham jewellery shops and drinking coffee…but I didn’t get the balance right.
When Sunday came round, usually my day for shopping and preparing the upcoming week’s meals, I was too demotivated to even think about it. I didn’t follow the BSD meal plan that day either. Note to self: DON’T spend all day naval gazing!!
I’m not sure what is causing my leg cramps and muscle weakness. I had them in Weeks 3-4, and then they wore off and I breathed a sigh of relief. At that time, I put it down to the change in my diet. Now they’ve reappeared and I’m a tad puzzled as to why. Suggested possibilities have ranged from: not drinking enough water; not eating enough calcium, potassium, magnesium; and being the start of Muscular Sclerosis!!
I’m consciously increasing my water consumption, and have also been drinking Tonic Water containing Quinine – proven to have some cramp-relieving qualities, but can also have some nasty side effects. The Blood Sugar Diet doesn’t neglect dairy products (I’ve enjoyed the Greek yogurt and a variety of cheeses) and I love eating broccoli too, so I don’t think a calcium deficiency will be the culprit. Mineral deficiencies are also unlikely as the diet is varied and encourages you to eat a range of nuts and seeds on a daily basis too.
So while I’m monitoring the situation regarding my cramps and diet, I’m also interested in the effect of activity / exercise on health and well-being. The great and varied benefits gained from being more active day-to-day are well researched and documented. Being inactive also contributes to many long-term conditions. Strangely enough, you can be considered ‘active’ (doing 150 mins of moderate activity per week) AND ‘sedentary’ (spending a large proportion of your day sitting down) at the same time!
In fact, stand up now and watch this 5-nmin video about the risks of sitting for too long. In his ‘8-week Blood Sugar Diet’ book (pg 158), Dr Michael Mosley quotes research done in the 1950’s comparing bus conductors (remember those?!!) and bus drivers. It turns out that bus drivers had twice the risk of developing heart disease.
Before you sit down again, have a watch of this 5-min video about taking just 30 mins out of your day to get more active.
I’m currently six months into a 3-year research project looking into this very area. As a Specialist Personal Trainer, I work with people who have long-term medical conditions (Low Back Pain, Cancer, Stroke, COPD / Asthma, Arthritis, Falls Prevention). We are seeing how increased activity helps to relieve not only the symptoms of the disease, but can also help to slow down its progression and severity. The six-month project review was very promising, with the majority of clients reporting impressive improvements in quality of life and reduction in disease symptoms.
So as I enter the eighth and final week of the Blood Sugar Diet I am putting into practice what I’m learning, and pressing on to finish strong.
Enjoy the journey – catch you next week!