Newcastle Diet Update

I’m blogging today to keep you posted about my progress on the New Castle Diet. That’s the diet that Dr Roy Taylor of Newcastle, England asserts can reverse type 2 diabetes. You have to eat 800 calories a day on a low-carb diet for 8 weeks. There are many testimonials of ordinary people not pushing a product or book claiming to have done just that.

This is Day 6 of my diet. I have lost 10 lbs. If I don’t plateau for a long period I may lose a significant amount of weight by 8 weeks end. My blood sugars are starting to get much closer to the normal range without meds or insulin.

I am excited but also worry that I will cheat. Sometimes it is easy to eat only 800 calories and sometimes it isn’t. Temptation often surrounds me with my kids and their eating choices. It’s a good test to improve my self-discipline. But it would be nice if my kids would cut me a little slack and eat in their bedrooms or take their ‘take-out’ outside.

Interestingly, this program meshes quite well with Intermittent Fasting. It’s quite easy to stick to 800 calories if I only eat in a short window of 5 to 8 hours. If I fast from 7PM I can eat in windows of 11-7, 12-7, 1-7, or 2-7. That’s even better for my blood sugars. I’ve discovered in the past that IF works well with blood sugar control — when I’ve stayed on it. Life would intrude (because I would let it of course) and I would go back to a normal eating schedule. But now these 2 programs: the Newcastle Diet, and Intermittent Fasting work together as a tag team. It’s working for me at the moment anyway. I will keep you posted.

Intermittent Fasting

I have returned to I.F.ing (Intermittent Fasting), the only method of diabetes control that I’ve had consistent success with in the past. Combined with low-carbing, my NutriBullet, and exercise of course. Go here to read about a recent scientific study extolling the virtues of Intermittent Fasting.

It’s been 2 years since I’ve tried Intermittent Fasting. A lot has happened in the mean time: my mom passed away; my wife and I split up. But amazingly, my health has improved. My weight which consistently stayed in the 267 lb range dropped to the 250s in the last 18 months. I slowly became stronger in my core and in the last 3 to 4 months the agonizing muscle spasms that would strike seemingly out of nowhere and at any time I exerted myself finally stopped. As a result, I’ve been able to work out more regularly and more physical tasks have become possible.

On top of all this, though, two recent developments have prompted an awareness that I need to take my diabetes much more seriously and embark on a full-throttle lifestyle change.

About 3 weeks ago I discovered that I was much more sensitive to wheat than I had previously known but also I learned that wheat spikes my blood sugar more than actual sugar does. Also, I lost my glucometer so I wasn’t checking my blood sugar over many weeks. That always tempts me to over-indulge in higher glycemic foods because I’m pretending my blood sugar is fine. It wasn’t. I had all the symptoms of high blood sugar: more frequent urination; grumpiness; over-sleeping; low-energy; and blurred vision. Finally, I decided to purchase a new glucometer and discovered my blood sugar was out of control.

Around the same time I read about the addictive nature of wheat and how it can increase appetite and that it raised blood glucose more than a candy bar. That was enough! I knew I had to return to a low-carb lifestyle and avoid wheat or I was going to develop nasty diabetic complications like blindness, kidney damage, liver damage, gangrene, and heart problems. So, I have been wheat-free and low-carbing for 3 weeks.

The next development made a lifestyle change even more critical; I discovered my diabetic medication was causing my heart to skip beats. I have always been leery of metformin (the medicine that lowers my blood sugar by helping my cells absorb glucose) because of side-effects and so I have never been a regular user of the stuff. But because of my new commitment to get my blood sugars lower and keep them consistently low I decided to try the metformin again. About half an hour to an hour after I took my dose I felt an odd gaseous feeling in the center of my chest which I have had on occasion in the past but always chalked it off to indigestion. This time something didn’t feel right. I don’t know if it was because I was more mindful of my health but for whatever reason I decided to check my pulse. The rate was within the range of normal but it skipped a beat every ten. I wasn’t sure if I was right about that but I tried my pulse on my wrist, my neck and at various times over the next few minutes. But sure enough, like clock-work, every ten beats it was skipping one. Over the next 2 hours I checked dozens of times. My heart would skip a beat at either 10, 20, or 30 beats. This scared the crap out of me as I’m sure it would anyone. I tried to think if I had done anything different that day. I hadn’t eaten anything unusual. I didn’t have any symptoms of flu or fever. Then I remembered the metformin that I hadn’t taken in weeks.

I googled ‘metformin side-effects+skipped heart beats’ and got a number of hits mentioning skipped beats as a side-effect of taking metformin. I had never seen that listed before, not with the more known side-effects. I was relieved. Since quiting metformin I haven’t had a recurrence. It makes me wonder if the other times I had that odd full-ness feeling or gaseous sensation in my chest had been when I took metformin. I was relieved my heart wasn’t going to suddenly burst but now I was left with the realization that I had to get serious about blood sugar control or I will be on insulin. So now I’m low-carbing, going wheat and grain free, fasting until my blood sugars lower before I eat and I’m doing H.I.I.T workouts with a skipping rope and isometric body-weight exercise every other day. Praise God that my improved health and cessation of spasms has made working out possible.

I will keep you all posted.

IF or WHEN or… BOTH?

Definitely WHEN. I’m talking about my weight-loss goal. When I lose 100 lbs I will be healthier and my life-threatening ailments, such as sleep apnea and type II diabetes will be cured, or much more manageable. Years will be added to my life. When, not if. But also BOTH. Let me explain. When I say ‘IF’ I don’t mean ‘IF’. That is to say, Intermittent Fasting or IF will very likely get me to my goal weight. In fact, Intermittent Fasting has been my only successful approach.

Each time I have used IF I have lost weight, and my blood sugar spikes have normalized. It is called Intermittent Fasting because you fast intermittently. Some refer to it as Eat Stop Eat. I eat at 2PM and stop between 7PM and 10PM. So, I fast for 16 to 19 hours every day. This lowers my blood sugar naturally (without metformin, the typical diabetic drug for type 2). It also forces me to eat less calories because it’s hard to cram what I normally eat in a whole day into that shorter window of 5 to 8 hours. A third benefit is that my liver and digestive system is being rested. A little known fact about the body is that cells will heal themselves more efficiently when energy isn’t being diverted to the digestive process. The problem with eating 3 meals and snacking in between is that the body is constantly digesting–the cell-healing process kicks in less or never.

I am happy to report that I have lost fifteen pounds in the last month IFing (I-effing?). I am also working on High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) also known as HIT workouts. That looks like this: intense burst of exercise, rest, intense burst, rest etc. Basically, what I do is pound on a heavy bag with a boxing routine. I work hard for 30 seconds to 1 minute and rest for 2 minutes. Ideally, you are supposed to rest half of the time you burst. One minute burst, 30 second rest or 2 minute burst, 1 minute rest(I’m really out of shape so I’m not doing that but it’s getting easier). You do this to a maximum of twenty minutes. Some have success doing it for just 10 minutes a day. HIIT puts the body into fat burning mode. You burn fat over the next 24 to 48 hours.

One ten to twenty minute workout per day? Anybody could fit this system into their schedule. What some do is they alternate days of HIT workouts with days of strength training such as weights or weight machines. Working out your muscles will help you burn fat. Even as you gain muscle and weight loss doesn’t show on the scale right away, know that muscle is heavier than fat. Your body is still burning fat even if it’s not apparent on the scale. Checking for inches lost instead of pounds lost has some validity.

So, that’s where I’m at. My health goal is a matter of WHEN not IF but also BOTH because applying IF, my weight-loss program should be a HIT. I’m utilizing HIIT, doing HIT workouts as I HIT a heavy bag. I’m having way too much fun with these corny puns.

Running

Running is a delight to most of my kids. I love to sprint but my five oldest love cross country running and they are amazing at it. l would like to be able to run a 5 K but I’m just not up to the challenge … yet. I’m getting there. Along with my Intermittent Fasting I do interval training or HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). In only 2 months of doing high intensity twenty minute workouts three times a week I have made great strides toward becoming a stronger, fitter me. You can read more about the benefits of Intermittent Fasting and HIIT in my other posts or on my Pages in the right side bar.

High Intensity Interval Training

I should mention that along side my Intermittent Fasting or Fast-5eat stop eat‘ regimen I work out according to the P.A.C.E. training philosophy. This is a system of exercise that teaches that twenty minutes of training with short bursts of high intensity will garner as much or more results as one hour of moderate intensity cardio. Some may also know the correlating acronym H.I.I.T which stands for High Intensity Interval Training.

The P.A.C.E or Progressive Accelerated Cardio-Pulmonary Exercise concept sets forth the idea that the heart and lungs will adapt to whatever challenge you give them. If you work out moderately for extended periods of time they will adapt to the intensity and literally shrink their capacities. Conversely, if you challenge the heart and lungs with a short burst of much higher intensity then rest and repeat to a maximum of twenty minutes over mere weeks the heart and lungs will increase their capacities to adapt to the more severe demand. But not only that, fat is burned in the twenty-four to forty-eight hour interim between work-outs. Study after study has borne this theory out.

I thought it was worth a try and so far I’ve been surprised and impressed by the results. After only six weeks I feel stronger and fitter and I get a buzz from the work-outs. It’s awesome. You should consult a physician before embarking on any new fitness program, of course.

Triumphal Return


I am overstating my exuberance at ending my hiatus from blogging but I am upbeat. I have been away because of personal problems and disillusionment and I don’t want to be maudlin with a memoir of my mire of melancholy — please forgive my messy alliteration — so I will forgo the details.

I am happy to report that I have reembarked on my weight loss journey with a form of Intermittent Fasting that involves eating all my calories in a short window of five hours a day. Some of you may remember that I had tried eating only when my blood sugar dropped below 6 or 108(depending on your diabetic glucometer reading). The problem with that system was that I tended to overcompensate for the fasting period and ate too late into the evening. This only gained an uneven success with weight loss but it did keep my blood sugars in check.

What I am doing now is taking advantage of the well-researched benefits of IF or Intermittent Fasting. Studies have shown that calorie restriction brings many health benefits such as increased cell repair because of redirected energy when resting the digestive system, greater levels of human growth hormone(a known aging inhibitor), improved skin, weight loss, mental acuity and the list goes on.

But what makes IF really appealing for people wanting to lose weight (like me) is that you can eat almost anything you want to during your eating windows. Some use an 8 hour eating window(2Pm to 10PM for example) but I’ve opted for a window of 2PM to 7PM. It seems to be working. So far, I have lost twelve pounds of fat in two weeks.
I feel hungry around ten in the morning for some reason but then it subsides. Even better, my blood sugars are even more stable.

When I do finally eat at 2PM the food tastes glorious. I enjoy every morsel I consume and I actually find it very difficult to eat as many calories as I am used to in that five hours. Some even struggle with cramming the same calories into eight hours.

The other form of IF has people eating normally five days a week and fasting two 24 hour days though not consecutively. I tried both and I prefer the daily eating window version and it is safer for my diabetes.

I will post my progress and weight loss or lack thereof under Intermittent Fasting in the sidebar. I hope it inspires even one person to try it, but … here’s the disclaimer … Please consult your doctor before embarking on any dieting or eating program(especially if you are a diabetic) because I am not a nutritionist or health care professional. I am taking a low dose of metformin while doing IF and I assure any concerned that my BGs are not crashing; I have yet to drop below 5.3 or 95.4