Book Review: The Blood Sugar Solution
For more than a year now, I have been working on a pretty aggressive plan to lose weight and control my less than optimal elevated blood sugar. I added significant daily exercise, worked with a dietician to limit food in significant ways, lowered stress, and increased my sleep. I added some supplements geared toward balancing my blood sugar and helping control my appetite and cravings.
I still have room for improvement in all of these areas, especially with respect to stress and sleep, but the changes I have made have been huge. I have committed to at least 5 miles of walking and/or running a day for more than a year now. Every single day. I have eliminated a bunch of foods that most people eat. I even quit a part time job that really made me happy because I needed less stress and more sleep. And for a while, it was really effective. In 6 months, I lost about 30 pounds. And then the weight stopped falling away and a few pounds crept back on. Not much weight. Maybe 3-4 pounds, but it was hard to see the scale creep up when I was working so hard that I felt like I should be invisible.
My dietician and I parted because she felt like she helped me as much as she could. My doctor said I am doing all things that I can do and that I should maybe accept that this is what my body should be – that I should continue to work on my plan and improve what I can – but that I should not stress over it because I am healthier and in a reasonably good place.
And I have still been really dissatisfied because my blood sugar has not optimized and I am hanging on to weight that has my BMI still just barely in the range of “obese.” How can I accept that as a good place to be?
Enter Mark Hyman and The Blood Sugar Solution.
I ran across the PBS special and picked up the book. My favorite thing about the book is that he admits up front that there are some people who do everything right and still can’t meet reasonable health goals. After every other book that I have read, and even to some extent my dietician, spend so much effort on trying to educate me away from processed foods and pop (which I have been avoiding for longer than I can count), this was a refreshing perspective. I am so weary of the judgment and criticism that I am somehow not doing enough or that I am too dim to learn about nutrition basics.
My second favorite thing is that Hyman establishes areas of concern for people with blood sugar and weight issues, which he calls “disabesity” (one of the things I don’t like about the book, frankly, because I am tired of being labeled with ugly words). In each area of concern, he has a quiz to help establish if this is an area that could be a problem for you. I found that I scored low to moderately low in all areas but two. This is a huge help because I can focus my supplements and energy on thinking about treating those two areas as key places to address.
My third favorite thing is that in following the plan since June 1st, I have lost about 10 pounds. My blood sugar is a little lower than it has been, and I am feeling better than I have felt in a long, long time.
The changes I had to make were not huge for me because I have been doing so much already. I cut out a few more foods. I will add them back in at some point and see what they do to me. But I’ll probably always want to limit them because there is some reason that they do not work for me, obviously. I added a few supplements and strategies. And voila. It appears to be helping.
It’s going to take longer than a month to really assure that it will be effective long term. But it’s off to a good start.