As if the pandemic weren’t bad enough, with being sent home from my job and losing access to a world-class gym on a daily basis, I was suddenly found gaining more weight in one sitting than I chose to think about. Over the course of the 2020 year, I pudged up to the point where some of my favourite pieces of clothing weren’t fitting me anymore (probably didn’t help that sitting at home gave me time to sit in my garage on my ass, sipping beer and eating snacks).
Everything seemed to align in just the perfect circumstances to promote this phenomenon, with karate classes closes due to the pandemic as well. I was left to my own devices, which as much as I would like to say that my sheer strength of will would be enough, it wasn’t. Don’t judge, I’m sure most of you would be the same. Although January of this year saw me take some positive steps in the right direction, joining a new karate club and performing specific workouts throughout the week, an injury that took me off my feet in early April saw me sitting still for almost two months while I recovered.
The worst part is this time, I had no choice. The end result has seen my weight fluctuate by only a few pounds; the issue is that I’ve lost a fair bit of muscle mass and gained a fair bit of fat. now that I’ve returned to the dojo, I find myself in a quandary over how to shed these pounds in a healthy, reasonable way. And that brings us to the topic of today’s post, which was supposed to actually be a video but the amount of time it takes to successfully take a video without mumbling over my words and looking like an idiot, edit and prepare the video, upload it to my YouTube channel and then link all my pertinent platforms so they receive the video for those who aren’t subscribed to my channel (GET TO YOUTUBE AND SUBSCRIBE TO MY CHANNEL!), it’s far more time-efficient to write it out. But I digress…
Diabetes and weight gain have something of an inappropriate relationship, feeding off one another like a couple of co-dependent leeches that can’t seem to cut me a break. On the one side, fluctuating blood sugars, poor management habits and gorging on sugared goods when hitting a low definitely don’t help. The other side of the Diabetes equation is that insulin is technically a growth hormone and will promote weight gain in the least wanted of places; namely, the gut and overall abdomen.
Although I’ve always been a bit on the heavier side, I’ve also remained intensely active, which has played a huge role in keeping the tide of weight gain at bay. Genetics also plays something of a role, with my father being a significant hefty man, sitting at over 300 pounds of raw, red-headed aggression. But my decades of constant exercise, karate and trying to mind what’s on my plate has played well in my favour. And then, 2009 happened…
In 2009, I travelled to Regina, Saskatchewan to undergo the Cadet Training Program at the RCMP Training Academy at “Depot.” I was subjected to a gruelling 24 weeks of intense physical and educational training, and the learning curve was steep. On a good day, I’d be out of bed between 4 and 5 am. I’d make my bed, shower up and dress in the uniform of the day. I’d attend morning parade, grab a brief, 10-minute breakfast before starting my day, which often consisted of several workouts of varying kinds and trying to stay awake through classes where we covered off the various subjects required by a police officer in the course of their duties. The evening would involve heavy amounts of study, followed by more workouts on our down time.
After 24 weeks of that bullshit, all I wanted to do was sleep. To put that into perspective, the basic training program for the Canadian military is anywhere between 10 to 12 weeks. All of that complaining notwithstanding, I arrived at Depot weighing a reasonable 185 pounds. I had just reached my 30’s and I still had that youthful energy that I sorely miss, these days. By the time I completed basic training, I had dropped to 165 pounds. I was the slimmest and felt the lightest and fastest that I ever had. Granted, this came at the cost of working out beyond what was healthy, functioning on minimal calories and severe lack of sleep. Some nights, my head wouldn’t hit the pillow until 1 am and I’d be up again at 5 am.
It didn’t take long for me to balloon up beyond the 220-pound mark, what with shift work, poor eating habits and the lack of consistent exercise. It wasn’t until 2016, when I returned to Regina to take a teaching position at the academy, that I was able to see some stability and start shaving down the weight I had gained. I had full access to the academy’s training facilities, I joined a local karate school and I broke out the bicycle and started making it a staple of my fitness regime. Without delving into some of the more unhealthy habits from my academy days, I was able to hover at the 200-pound mark for the longest time.
As of writing this post, I’m sitting at 208 pounds. Certainly not the heaviest I’ve ever been but I recognize that my muscle to fat ratio isn’t what I would like to see it at. To be clear, I don’t consider myself fat or even unhealthy; I simply recognize that recent events have put me in a position where I need to make a concerted effort to slim down in order to be healthier, whether I regain muscle mass or not. The burning of excess fat is important for overall blood sugar and Diabetic control, as well as cardiac and overall health.
Diabetes and weight loss will continue to be a challenge and the only thing that can really help is rolling up one’s sleeves and finding the inner strength to do what must be done in order to promote one’s health and overall fitness. And as much fun as it is to have others encouraging you and motivating you, never forget that the encouragement and motivation has to come from you. It’s you against you; the paradox that drives us all. ☯️