To A Healthy New Year

Style blogger Susan B. wishes you a Happy and Healthy 2019!

Hello, 2019!

Happy New Year, everyone! I wish you all a happy, healthy 2019.

While I’m not a big maker of New Year’s Resolutions, I do find that re-establishing routines after the holidays is a good opportunity to incorporate some healthy changes.

After my annual checkup in November, my doctor told me that my test results indicated I’d inched into the “pre-diabetic” range. I was a bit shocked by this, as I don’t eat much sugar or highly processed food, and (as far as I’m aware) there’s no history in my family. So I called to make an appointment with a dietician right away, and she was able to see me a few days later.

The Dietician Recommends…

After going through my records and a review of what I eat most days, she had some reassuring news:

First, she said that most people who get a “pre-diabetes” diagnosis, especially in the lower ranges, never go on to develop Type II diabetes. (She mentioned that she also has a similar blood level, and that it may just be genetic).

My overall diet is basically good. She suggested a couple of tweaks: reducing snacking (especially carbs), and adding more cinnamon or cinnamon supplements to my diet. While I’d been under the impression for many years that eating a few smaller meals per day is better for keeping blood sugar levels steady, she said that the latest research indicates that longer intervals between meals may better prevent impaired insulin response.

Since she mentioned reducing snacks, I asked her about intermittent fasting. She said the latest research indicates it may be helpful for preventing/controlling impaired insulin response. Her take was that trying build in 14 hours between dinner and breakfast most days, and limiting snacks is sufficient.

I asked her about any benefits from a plant-based vs. more “omnivore” diet and she said that it varies from person to person. She was a vegan who has recently added eggs and fish back into her diet, and feels better for it. Her suggestion for me: limit red meats, avoid processed meats.

She also suggested I increase my daily exercise (even just walking more is enough) so I’m going to make a point to walk to the market for smaller trips, and have already added a second short walk with the dogs in the afternoon most days. I’m still continuing with my weekly Pilates session, and am searching for a nearby yoga class to add to the mix.

Thyroid Update

I also heard back from the endocrinologist a week or so before my Paris trip. She’s quite happy with my current thyroid levels, so won’t be adjusting my dosage down. (Whew!)

Tweaks, Not Resolutions

I find smaller gradual changes are easier to incorporate than huge, sweeping ones. Now that the holidays are in my rearview mirror, here are the tweaks I’m making to stay healthy and active:

  • Limit snacking. The dietician suggested that if I get really hungry between meals to stick with a handful of nuts or a piece of string cheese, or veggies and a little hummus in lieu of fruit, crackers, or other more carb-heavy snacks.
  • Cutting back on red meat to no more than once per week.
  • More exercise. Building more walking into my daily routines, adding a yoga class (or two) per week.

I think this is all do-able, and hope that the efforts show up in my test results later this year.

Have you made changes to help improve or maintain your health? Have you seen results?

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  1. Sounds like we are in a similar boat with our health plan…though I have more of a weight issue. I know you will be able to make the necessary adjustments! Happy New Year, Susan!

  2. I like your use of tweak instead of resolution! I will continue to tweak what I started earlier this year. I love my FitBit and hold myself accountable for “active steps” (as opposed to total steps) doing 90-100 minutes a day. My tweak is to add Barre to my routine. I told my husband yesterday I’m only eating red meat once a week from now on, have just switched from cheese and crackers as my snack to hummus and veggies. We have been practicing portion control by using small, white, rimless plates as our dinner plates. And, eat smaller meat portions and larger veggie portions.

  3. I am hypothyroid and recent blood tests showed pre-diabetes. No one in my family has diabetes. I have eliminated as much sugar as possible (it’s in everything it seems) and eat sour dough bread. No red meat, I walk my dog twice a day, and no snacks. I read on the internet that thyroid issues can cause pre-diabetes readings. I go for my follow up the end of this month. I wonder if eliminating sugar, snacks and red meat will reflect any changes in bloodwork.

  4. Intermittent fasting has been the most successful weight loss and maintenance tools I have ever used. My goal is to eat dinner around 7 pm, fast through the night and morning and break my fast with lunch around noon. I play (a fairly high level of) pickleball just about every morning. I experimented with the best breakfast for the most energy. I am amazed at how much better I feel and play without food in my belly. A couple years ago, I also also tested on the first rung of pre-diabetes, so I started reading. For an understanding of insulin and how to reverse pre-diabetes, read the blog Your Health is on Your Plate. The writer, Dr. Roxanne Sukol, is a Cleveland Clinic diabetes specialist. She doesn’t talk about IF, but she has helped me learn a lot about food choices and the “how” and “why me” of pre-diabetes.

    1. What is the best breakfast for the most energy? What time. do you eat it?i want to try this fasting idea but find that I am easily hungry.

      1. I don’t eat breakfast. First thing in the morning I usually have 2 cups of black coffee. For me the key to fasting until around noon (sometimes a bit earlier or later), is to to do something active after my morning coffee and online catchup. Even starting a load of laundry helps. A walk is better. Also keep high carb foods to a minimum. For dinner I might have a small amount of starch – potatoes or pasta – but if I eat sweets, fasting becomes more of a challenge. After a period of not fasting, It probably takes me a week to get back on a good IF routine. Read Dr. Sukol’s latest post for getting back into healthy eating after the holidays. YourHealthisonYourPlate.

        1. Thank you for the info. Since I work at a desk, it’s a little trickier to get your mind off food if you are hungry, but that said I find if I don’t start to eat I can go without food longer. Will give it a whirl. I have heard this idea touted by a few. Including maybe Dr Oz.

      1. I’m a tennis player (started at age 57) and I know a lot of tennis players switch to pickleball as they get older. I’m not there yet but I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun

  5. For me the problem with multiple small meals is that all those noshes add up if I’m not careful. If I wasn’t coming home to Hubby I might skip dinner, but since I’m coming home to Hubby who wants dinner it’s another meal for me. The sad truth is, a person who wants to maintain their diet for health has to pass by on some eating opportunities. 🙁

    I hope adding activity straightens you out. I’m a nut about my Fitbit and hitting a step count, are you into that?

  6. It sounds like you are off to a good start for 2019. I have found an at home yoga practice to be very beneficial and I follow Yoga with Adriene. She has a YouTube channel and it is free. She offers a 30 day yoga challenge every January. You may want to give it a look. Her philosophy is very much in support of consistency as opposed to duration. And she is funny! Wishing you peace and joy this new year.

  7. I, too, have been diagnosed in the pre-diabetic range. I think a lot more people find themselves in that category since the medical community recently lowered the acceptable numbers. I am looking at that as a good thing, since it is the red flag I have needed to make changes to my lifestyle. I was able to bring my numbers back to just a smidge above normal with diet and exercise. I found that I needed more intense exercise than walking. My goal is to use the elliptical, do aerobic dance and yoga, each 2x per week. Keeping it up long term is a challenge. And I have found intermittent fasting to be a big help, too.

    Roseanne, thanks for the tip about Dr. Sukol’s blog. And Susan, thanks for bringing this up on your blog. I love reading it for the fashion and travel tips, but thanks for sharing your health challenges. Reading about it on New Year’s morning helps build my determination to face the challenges of the coming year. Happy New Year!

  8. I think having far more regular blood tests is good and they should be INCLUDING cancer markers for early détection ( ovarian, pancréas, rtc). Not fun but if you do chfcks regularly the stress diminishes.
    Cardiovascular checks are key too.

  9. I started barre classes over 3 years ago and have seen several positive differences in my shape as well as overall strength. That makes everyday life just easier. Class 3 – 4 times per week has helped me build more muscle, which makes it easier to maintain weight. It’s not cheap with the monthly membership, but it has worked well for me so I’m sticking with it. My 2019 tweak is increasing my walking and biking for better cardiovascular health. Happy new year to all!

  10. Thanks for sharing these important tips from your dietician! Sounds beneficial to everyone! Happy New Year!!

  11. Susan, Happy New Year! I love the look in the picture above. I have been looking at a white short coat, I believe it is Theory. I’m also a blonde, and like the softer colors. At the same time, I worry about being too washed out since I have fair skin tone. Not sure if you work by suggestions, but would love to see different looks in those neutrals. I’m glad you were proactive in your health. Looking forward to this year following you.

  12. Sounds like a great plan Susan. I became alarmed at how much time I spend seated doing painting or drawing and also *blush* cruising the internet and getting lost down the hole of social media. So I’ve changed my workout: jogging every other day or every third day and doing weights and added an afternoon walk when I can. On my ‘off jogging’ days, I walk. I try to hit the 4-5 mile mark but most of the time I fall short on that b/c I don’t have a walking partner. I like you’re reminder that processed meats could be off my list (bacon) and that snacking is likely not a great idea. We’ll see how it goes! Cheers and good luck!

  13. I have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes for over 7 years. My doctor and I treat it as if I had full-blown diabetes and have kept my blood sugar down. Bread is worse than sugar, according to my numbers. May I suggest Against All Grain by Danielle Walker. She has some good recipes that help with pre-diabetes. Good luck to you in your new lifestyle.

  14. I recently learned I too am in the pre-diabetic range. My naturopath recommended a blood sugar balancing supplement. I also learned I am hypothyroid. Numbers for these have changed in the past 10 years so it’s a good idea to check it out- especially if you have fatigue, feel sluggish and have trouble losing weight as I did. I think my thyroid medication has made a big difference. Also, I have found that eating a bigger meal with protein at midday (lunch) and small meal for dinner (salad) has made a big difference in how I feel.
    Thanks to Susan for the cinnamon tip, and to Roseanne for Dr. Sukol’s blog and to Terri for Yoga With Adriene- am going to incorporate these into my New Year health goals!

  15. I am nodding my head at your plan. I’m older than you, right? By a bit? So for me it’s cholesterol vs. pre-diabetes, but the tweaks are very similar. FWIW, I get my 13/14 hours of not eating by having a light dinner at 5ish and not eating breakfast until 7ish. That just works better for my particular constitution. My big meal therefore has to be lunch, and I do have to pay attention to make sure it happens. As for snacking, I rely on my tub of almonds in the fridge;).

    Here’s to more walks, preferably and when possible with friends, in 2019! Happy New Year to you!

  16. I’ve read quite a few articles in the past year about how city planning contributes to its citizens’ health or lack thereof. That is certainly true where I live. There are no stores within walking distance in my urban community. All the children were bussed out to school until very recently. There are walking paths around a pond, but the city doesn’t keep them snow-free in winter. Urgent care centres are full of people who have fallen and broken bones.

    Europeans have health built into daily life. They walk to stores because they can. We have to make unnatural choices, like paying for gym memberships to maintain basic health. Mall walking isn’t even an option because the malls are too far away. Everything has gone to big box stores.

    My city has made a unique partnership with the YMCA, where the city leases a custom-built facility to the Y, in the area where the people live. There were no public pools or arenas in our community for nearly two decades. In exchange, the Y’s focus is on accessibility, so pricing is reasonable. I have joined. After some miserably cold and snowy winters, I’ve realized that walking on an indoor track is the safer way to go for me in the winter months.

    Baby steps.

  17. Susan – thanks for sharing – so many of us can relate! I recommend IF highly, and the book Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stephens. I’ve battled weight my whole life, and this is the best thing I’ve ever found. Keep us posted on how your “tweaks” are going – you’re inspiring me to get more exercise! I love your style and know you’ll help to keep me stylish in 2019! Happy New Year to you 😉

  18. Ten years ago I became pescatarian ( I eat fish but no meat or poultry) and I have never missed it, not once. I also go to the gym almost every day and work out about 35-40 minutes. The gym is a life saver, I tend towards anxiety and when I can get a workout it does wonders for my mood and helps me sleep at night. My doctor says my blood pressure and cholesterol are better than hers, and she’s in her 30’s! (I turn 60 in March).
    I always hated sports and am spectacularly uncoordinated, but I really believe NOTHING is better for you than exercise.

  19. Susan, I’ve been going to YogaWorks in Westwood for 7.5 years. They are great, and the prices are reasonable. I highly recommend them–especially Beth Prandini as teacher.
    Happy, healthy new year!

  20. When I crept into the pre diabetic range 5 years ago, I was told that I should eat snacks to keep my blood sugar level steady. Now I’m hearing the opposite! I’m not sure what to do as my blood sugar level has stayed stable at 6.2 to 6.5 following the instructions that I was originally given. I eat very little sugar (difficult over the Christmas season) and I don’t “drink my sugar”. Cutting out my morning orange juice was difficult, but probably an excellent suggestion.

    Hypothyroidism was added to my list of diagnoses more recently, but a low dose of Synthroid is working well for that.

    Good luck with your “tweaks”!

    1. When my A1C test came in at 5.7 (first step into pre-diabetes), I bought a blood glucose meter, and started daily home testing. I found the foods and eating patterns that drove my glucose up and down into unhealthy and healthy levels. I find this a great motivator for healthy eating. However, I should probably just take the advice of my very practical primary care physician. When I told her I wanted the A1C test because I get sleepy after eating sweets, she said, “don’t eat sweets.”

  21. Whilst not pre diabetic, I wanted to increase my overall fitness level, so I bought a ‘nonna’ shopping trolley and some decent walking shoes. I stopped using my car (except to ferry my 91 yesr old mother around town) and now walk everywhere. Most days I average between 8 to 15 kms and have never felt better. Now the weather is very hot (and sometimes too hot for extended walking), I doddle around on my bicycle and swim most days in my pool.

  22. As I mentioned in an earlier post, intermittent fasting, diet tweaking and increased physical activity have probably helped push me out of the pre-diabetic range.