The Transformation of Jeff Mines:
Read how Jeff went from a 243 lb pre-diabetic to an athletic 165 lbs
"The decision was mine to make. No one could do this for me"
"Through the experience I have had this past year and a half, I have become very aware of the obesity epidemic in our country and what it’s doing to our population, including our youth. I am committed to do my small part to fight this growing epidemic in any way I can" Jeff Mines
In early months of 2007, I was one of the hundreds of thousands of overweight, sedentary adults in this country. At 53 years old, I was on blood pressure and cholesterol medication to control these self-induced conditions. In January, I called my doctor for a renewal of the blood pressure medicine but instead of simply approving my request, he told me to come in for a blood test. Smart man.
Although the cholesterol numbers came back okay, my blood sugar was higher than normal so he prescribed the glucose tolerance test to rule out diabetes. My results from this test indicated that according to American Diabetes Association guidelines, I am pre-diabetic.
He set me up with appointments to see a diabetes educator, cardiologist, ophthalmologist, and a podiatrist. The diabetic educator was awesome. She taught me how to test my blood’s sugar levels and put me on a diabetes-friendly diet. She told me the importance of exercise and advised that I should work my way up to 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least 5 days each week. At 243 pounds with a snug 44 waist, she also advised that I lose 10% of my body weight. I learned that the increased exercise and weight loss would dramatically help control blood sugar. Through a series of 4 bi-weekly visits with the diabetic educator, I slowly learned to accept the fact that I am diabetic and if I took her advice, I may never graduate to the next stage: Type 2 diabetes.
"Don’t wait for a scare or a diagnosis to get yourself moving!"
The cardiologist evaluated my health from his perspective and put me through a nuclear stress test. Thankfully, my pre-diabetic condition had not caused any damage to my heart or circulatory system and he cleared me for the exercise that my diabetic educator prescribed.
Similarly, the ophthalmologist and podiatrist determined that my eyes and feet had not suffered either. With all the results in my primary physician’s hands, he gave me my marching orders and advised me to get busy so I can reverse the path I was headed. It essentially boiled down to this: stay on my current path and I was looking at possible heart attack, stroke and insulin injections within 5 years, or make appropriate changes towards a healthier lifestyle. This conversation took place in late March of 2007.
The decision was mine to make. No one could do this for me. I slowly began making changes in my diet. I purchased a carb counter book and daily food journal and recorded everything that I ate. At first, I made small increases to my physical activity. I parked at the far end of the lot when doing chores. I climbed two or three flights of stairs instead of taking the elevator.
As Spring retired Winter, I got reacquainted with my bike and started riding around town on the weekends. I also returned to the gym after years of absence. Once again, I started slowly and read many books and articles on fitness and nutrition.
My weight started to tumble. Follow-up visits with my doctors indicated that my blood sugar levels were within normal range and I was obviously on the right track. This gave me even more motivation and I upped my activity level and got even more serious about my diet. My daily food journal entries served as a ready reference to what was working. I also used those pages for the day’s exercise activity and blood sugar levels.
In the gym, I realized that I have never really had much muscle tone and wanted to change that. I began reading the muscle magazines and found more than a few good exercise, workout and weightlifting books at the local bookstore. I also discovered the Lift for Life and Ripped Abs and forum web sites, which have served as a great source of knowledge that I apply to my diet and workouts.
Armed with this great knowledge, I began my catch-up for all the years of lost time. In just a year and a half, I have already experienced moderate muscle growth, good tone and a very healthy reduction of body fat.
I found that I really enjoyed cycling and started riding longer distances. I even entered a few organized riding events, including the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure fund raiser. I rode 50 miles for that event and in September of ’07, I rode my first 100 mile century event. This was an exhilarating accomplishment and one that I will participate in every year. I am registered for other century rides this year as well. This past June, I completed a double-century (208 mile ride) that began at the northern tip of New Jersey and ended at Cape May: the most southern point of the state---in one day. [You can read about this adventure at http://somers515.googlepages.com/home]
I also found that I enjoy jogging and completed a few 5k runs last year. Once again, I will do one or two of these this year as well.
My health continues to improve as my weight and blood sugars remain normal. Through my own determination and help of my higher power, I have been able to restore my health, which I no longer take for granted. My weight is now at 165 with a 32 waist. I know that it’s a daily fight and I can never let my guard down. Temptation is always there; ready to return me to what I used to be.
I now find myself wanting to give something back. It is my hope that my experience can help motivate or inspire someone to make positive lifestyle changes so they can live a healthier, happier life.
Through the experience I have had this past year and a half, I have become very aware of the obesity epidemic in our country and what it’s doing to our population, including our youth. I am committed to do my small part to fight this growing epidemic in any way I can.
In a way, this diagnosis of pre-diabetes is the best thing that could have happened to me. Had my doctor not decided to bring me in for a blood test, who knows where my life was headed. If you are in your 40s or 50s, please realize that it’s never too late to change your life. Don’t wait for a scare or a diagnosis to get yourself moving! The effort that you put into your lifestyle change will reward you ten-fold with better health, strong self-esteem, better relationships with others, clothes that fit better, and the list goes on and on. Do it for yourself. Do it for those that you love and who love you.