Sunday, May 31, 2009

What the heck is normal? (another goal reached)

 Woke up this morning….tired…sleepy…SORE, not as sore as previous days but sore nonetheless. I go into the bathroom and disrobe. That’s right, that means going nude, taking all my clothes off ...Danny (you know who you are).

 I do this every morning right before I weigh….I weighed 176 lbs!!!!

 One-hundred and seventy-six pounds, which is 56 lbs from my all time high in Dec ‘08, 36 lbs from my weight the day I discharged from the hospital, 2/15/09. This weight is important for ONE VERY IMPORTANT REASON which I will disclose later…(to keep you reading).

Goal Planning – I told folks that 190 lbs was my goal and it was, but it was just an intermediate goal. I flew or took a swan dive passed that pretty quickly. My next goal became 180 lbs, this one took some doing. I stayed in the 180-185 range for weeks, which is one of the reasons I signed up for P90X, despite all the running and light workouts, I was having trouble obtaining and maintaining a sub 180 lb weigh in…I had reached the dreaded “PLATEAU”.

Well, it took 7 days but today, Sunday, May 31, 2009 – I finally reached my TRUE WEIGHT GOAL, 176 lbs. Was it P90X ? It gave me a renewed determination that's for sure. Could I have done it without P90X? Of course, absolutely, positively…but with it, it took me one week to blow past a weight barrier that had eluded me thus far.

Side Note: Losing weight is not magic, it’s a matter of science (or math), take in less than you burn and you will lose weight. Consume 3,500 less calories than you burn and you’ll lose a pound. There are calculators that will help you estimate how many calories you “burn” at rest as well as while you exercise. You can approximate what your daily caloric intake needs to be to lose (1) pound a week. I’ll provide them in a later post.

 WHY IS One hundred and seventy-six pounds Sooooo important.

Drum roll please…. I had used BMI calculators to determine that at 176 lbs I am no longer “overweight”!!! TADA!

Using BMI calculators at my all time high of 232 lbs, I was technically…obese. I know what many of you are thinking….but Steve you still looked sooo good. LOL! About the only living creature that I would have looked good to, maybe a female walrus…but with the thinning hair…I doubt even that.

The day I was discharged from the hospital I weighed 212 lbs, I was borderline obese. But today, using the calculators deemed worthy by the medical establishment….I am not obese, heck, I am not even “overweight” …once again I have achieved the status of “normal”. I have not seen this weight since June ’00

Hey, thanks for hanging in and reading this post! If you have NOT read the earlier posts, please do. I’m told they were entertaining and in some cases, informative. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The doctor visit Tuesday, 5/26/09

YeeeeHaaah! - Much to tell today and it is all good.

Just returned from the doctor’s office, to the right is a picture of my “stat sheet”, for those of you who knew the “old” Steve AND DON'T BELIEVE HE LOST 31lbs. If you can’t read it, it shows my official weight is 181 and my blood pressure as 122 / 70. My blood pressure has been as low as 105/58, the day I received that reading I ran home and looked it up on the net to make sure I was ok.....I was. :)

What up? Not my HbA1C reading. The pic to the right shows my HbA1C test result to be….drum roll 5.8% which is very good news.

Non-diabetic folks have HbA1C tests in the 4.5-6% range….which means I am in the “normal range”. Now be honest, how many of you thought of me as ….normal. :)

My doctor told me that the day I went into the hospital, my test was so high, it wouldn't measure. The HbA1C measures your blood sugar levels over a 2-3 month period....this shows that Steve has been a very good boy.

My doctor was glad to see the results of course and he said that I didn't need to measure my sugar everyday but to check it periodically. I thanked him and he said, "don't thank me, you did it". I told him that the hope he had given me early on and the Low Glycemic Diet referral were keys to my success. All of this almost makes up for the fact that he's a NCSU grad...almost. :)

I have had so many requests for the Low Glycemic diet book I used (ok, one person asked) that I thought I would list it here. This author (Jennie Brand-Miller) and her team of experts have written numerous books on the subject but here is the book I read, “The New Glucose Revolution, Shoppers GI Values 2009”. The GI stands for Glycemic Index, they have a website with a lot of free info, their website is

If you have any questions, do NOT hesitate to call or email me.

Lastly, I spoke to my doctor about P90X workouts – he said that it would be fine for me to do the workouts, just don’t over do it etc.

All in all, not a bad day. Getting ready for my Day2 adventure with P90X.



My Quest Continues - P90X


I have been “working out” since 2/18/09, in those earlier days “working out” consisted of walking around while carrying 8 lb dumb bells doing curls, military presses etc. More recently, I have been using 20 lb dumb bells, doing push ups and running 6-8 miles per day. So, I thought I was in decent shape….as it turned out, I wasn’t as fit as I thought I was. After (3) months of working out 5-7 days a week I had reached what I feel, is a good weight for me, 180 lbs. I still have fat that I need to turn into muscle and towards that end, I started using P90X. It is a fitness system (with nutrition and workouts) that you often see on late night infomercials. 

Before I go further, I need to insert this paragraph. Perry (ex co-worker) was upset because I had not mentioned his name thus far in the blog. He felt that he had played a critical role in my improved fitness and deserved at least a mentioning. To be honest, he’s absolutely correct. He had been pushing me to diet and get fit for years, especially in the last year and he has been great at helping to keep me motivated. Perry was the first to mention P90X to me and at the time I said “no” because I thought it would be too much of an increase in intensity for me. His advice did help me get fit because I’d pick up pointers from watching the infomercials and implement them into my workouts. I felt that I was in decent shape and ready for the real deal, thanks Perry!!!!

 Ok, enough about Perry and how great he is, blah blah blah. LOL! 

Yesterday was day one – all I can say is WOW! it was intense BUT, you can do the workouts at your own pace. For example, the day 1 routine’s video is about 55 minutes long, my session took over 1 ½ hrs and it pushed me pretty hard. The session was divided into two sections Chest/Back and Abs. Both sections pushed me but the ab section…I could barely complete half the repetitions…but that is ok. The goal is to establish a base line and strive to improve.

As part of the “process” I needed to create “BEFORE PICS” – you have been warned, viewing these pictures may scar you for life, it may be weeks before you can digest solid food. The P90X program lasts for 90 days so I will post the 30-60-90 day pics here as well.

Enjoy the pics....I know you will!  J

Monday, May 25, 2009

Totally Nude Before and After Pics

I promised Bryan (a former co-worker) that I would post some “totally nude” Before and After pictures today. When I mentioned this to Bryan, he seemed overly excited about the pictures, which I thought was odd at the time, apparently he assumed they would be of me. :)

Soooo without further delay, here are the Totally Nude Before and After Pics.

Before After

Max, didn’t lose much be honest, he didn’t lose any. He does fine with the prepared meals but tends to eat a lot of snacks between meals.

Max didn’t help his cause with a less than enthusiastic work out regimen. He does excel in the Yoga Relaxation Therapy Sessions, I'm timing him now while I write this blog.

What's that Max? Yes Max, in 5 seconds it will be time to roll over, 5-4-3-2-1, GO!

Publish Post

Max's legal name is Cooksey's King Maximus, he's an AKC registered Yellow Lab and our youngest son. If you enjoy this post, let Max know about it.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Challenges - there are never problems, only challenges.

Bottom Line – Learn from my mistakes – when starting a training program, start out slowly and stretch properly before and after working out. (thus ends the public service announcement)

About (6) years ago, I was talking to a co-worker who was training for the Boston Marathon and I told him, "yeah, I'm thinking about jogging again, to train for a marathon". At the time I weighed 206 lbs which for me is a lot, I’m 5’10”.

He looked me dead in the eye and said, "Steve, I don't think your frame can handle jogging, you need to start out walking first."  I thought to myself, "what the hell, you jack a$$, I'm an athlete. Sure, an overweight athlete, but I can jog if I damn well want to, you don’t know who you’re talking to”.

So, I told him, “oh, ok, thanks for the advice.”

I mention this story because every time I injure myself I think about that moment. I have thought about that moment more often the last (3) months than I have the last (6) years.


1) With in the first week after returning home, I had a minor challenge. I hurt my back, I don't know what happened, all I know was...I couldn't move without severe pain. A visit to the doctor and some "real good" meds and I was up and working out the next a lower level of exertion.

2) I am telling the truth here for the first time. I suffered a torn meniscus in my right knee. It happened because I started jogging way too soon into my program. I should have walked for weeks....but I'm sorry I can't! Walking is BORING! Walking is for those who are "out of shape", who are not athletes. See the denial? It’s the same denial that Michael Jordan and Brett Favre went through…the very same thing. LOL!

So anyway, I was jogging and I felt a sharp pain in my knee, I instantly thought of what my co-worker told me (6) years earlier. I didn't want to hear, "Steve, you should know you are too fat to run." so I told a small, tiny, "story" about how I was walking when it happened.

 Long story short, I did not stop jogging (ran at least five days a week). My doctor gave me a knee brace as treatment and eventually the pain went away...the weight loss helped I think. :) I was fortunate, not all meniscus tears are of the healing variety.

3) Lost my job – WOW! this was important in many aspects. One, I was fighting depression from the diabetes diagnosis and then on top of that…a month later I lose my job?! In this economy?!? It was “all hands on deck”, let’s stay focused and motivated….keep our eye on the prize. “Our eye”, you know… me, myself and Steve. Steve knows what Bo knows.

The challenges I faced are minor compared to the challenges that many people face on a daily basis. Challenges like breathing, walking etc, we should be thankful for the blessings we have.



Saturday, May 23, 2009


The Diagnosis

Like many of us, through the years I have gained and lost a lot of weight. My weight chart looked like many stock charts (until the recent bear market), higher highs and higher lows. That all changed about four years ago when my weight simply continued upwards until I had reached 232 pounds in December 2008.

I will leave out most of the details except to say that in February 2009, I was hospitalized after what I thought was another bout of bronchitis. It turned out that my blood sugar was over 700 and I was suffering from diabetes. A nurse mentioned that I was close to going into a diabetes induced coma. Three days later I was discharged from the hospital with medications in hand.

The day I discharged I was on blood pressure meds, cholesterol meds, Actos and insulin. By far THE most disheartening prescription was the insulin, I had to measure my blood sugar and administer insulin (give myself shots) four times a day!!! Talk about your life changing events…... I was “scared to tears”, fearful of what lay ahead of me.

Good news, that was Wednesday, 2/18/2009. Today 5/23/09, I am medication free – no insulin, no Actos, no Blood Pressure meds, no cholesterol meds, ….”no nothing”. In the nex section I will discuss the next step…Surviving.


I’m sure that first section had you mesmerized, hypnotized and craving more of the story....well, at least it got you this far. Ok, on with the story. After being discharged I went through the whole range of emotions including fear, anger and appreciation.

1) Fear...the hospital did a lousy job of providing me with information about my needs…before I get on my soap box I will stop here and just say that I needed a lot more info than the hospital provided….a lot more.

2) Anger...I had put myself in this situation. In the past, my primary nutritional plan was to skip breakfast and eat as much fatty protein and "bad" carbs as you can the rest of the day. Ok, it wasn't my plan but that is what I did. I knew it was wrong but I did it anyway. My exercise regimen was comprised of six daily trips to and from my car....pretty tough stuff. :)

3) my stepmother Kathy and my niece Bridget, both are nurses and had they not been there for me, I honestly don't know if I could have survived. I know that sounds over dramatic and cliché' but it's the truth. The first two days after discharging I called them both numerous times with urgent, life challenging questions. As it turned out, they were not life threatening questions but that illustrates my point regarding a lack of information. For all I knew, my questions were life threatening. How many diabetics come home from the hospital (or doctor's office) with a diabetes diagnosis and have two nurses they can call at any hour of the day? …Not many. A home health nurse came out the next day, but I swear, she was no more help than the hospital...they hand you a food chart and think they are helping you.....

Over the next couple of days my sugar came down to the 144-220 range but these were still way too high. I was still taking (4) readings a day (pricking my fingers) and administering (4) shots a day. The pricks and shots were not painful, they weren't fun...the main reason I hated them is ... unless I wanted to go blind and destroy my internal organs, destroy blood cells etc ...I had to prick and poke myself four times a day!!! This aggravation was due to a LACK OF DIETARY AND NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION dispensed by the hospital! Had I been given proper information, it could have been avoided!! TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE PEOPLE!

At this point, I was surviving…but barely. I knew that I should eat from the basic food groups and that was about all I knew. I knew that I needed exercise…but how much? I was craving information and I did not know where to turn. I called my step-mother and niece a couple of times a day…but I hated bothering them with my questions….it wasn’t their job…they weren’t being paid for assisting. I survived for two days until my first doctor’s visit…it seemed like a week.

The Recovery

I visited my doctor two days after my discharge and he was encouraged by my progress and asked to see me again in a week. He suggested that I read a book on the Low Glycemic Diet, hinting at what I would find, he said, “it will provide nutritional information but it’s not really a diet….it’s a lifestyle change”. …was he ever right. Since my discharge, I had read everything I could find on nutrition (still do), so I picked up the book on the way home. I swear to you, as I read the pages it was like a nutritional epiphany…, I know this sounds exaggerated but to me it was a matter of life or death. I won't go over the details of the diet except to say in summary, eat veggies, whole grain foods, legumes (beans), lean meats and fruits....pretty simple right. Avoid non-whole grain breads, potatoes and ANYTHING FRIED!!!! Sigh, yes we must all give up our deep fried twinky pies. LOL!

A week went by and it was time for my next doctor's appointment. This time when I showed up, I had lost a little bit of weight, my blood sugars were consistently in the 90-120 range and I was feeling much better about myself. I attribute it all to the diet/nutritional change and my increased exercising program. At this point, the doctor was VERY ENCOURAGED and told me to keep doing what I'm doing. He added, "there is a chance you could reduce some of your meds/insulin." The doctor asked to see me again in two weeks. I was still required to read my blood sugars and take the shots every day.

During these two weeks, it gets real exciting…at least to me. I was now jogging and walking daily plus I was working out with heavier and heavier weights. Additionally, I was no longer having to take shots on a four times a day basis, just as needed. One night, I forgot to take my Actos and my overnight insulin shot…the next morning my sugar was 91 which was fantastic. Based on this result...the next day, I did not take the shot nor the pill on purpose, with the same result. From that point on, I stopped taking ALL MEDS.

Since day one, I was bound and determined to stop taking all of my medications. I had gotten myself into this mess, I can get myself out. By the time I went back to the doctor I had been off ALL MEDS AND INSULIN FOR SEVERAL DAYS and best of all, my blood sugar and blood pressure was staying within healthy ranges.

My doctor's visit - As you might expect, I was nervous about telling my doctor about my decision to quit taking all meds without consulting him. He came in after my vitals were taken and when I told him about my decision, he was calm but he said sternly, “I would not advise you to quit your medications cold turkey, it not safe…however, I am not going to suggest that you do anything differently BUT I want you to continue to monitor your sugar four times a day”. I was ELATED!

I was eating soooo “CLEAN”, that and the exercise had to be what contributed to my success. Had I been given this information day one in the hospital, I could have avoided many "readings" and many insulin shots....not to mention the mental anguish it would have saved me.


My transformation actually began Day 2 in the hospital when I began curling the large Aquafina water bottles and walking around my room. That day I was told that I was diabetic and that I would likely be on insulin for the rest of my life. That day I decided that I would do everything I could to reverse this, that I would not be chained to the readings and the shots. Since that day in the hospital I have worked out and either walked or jogged, at minimum (5) days a week.

Also, I stuck to a strict diet, the first two months, never cheating. Over the last several weeks, I’ve had a hand full of French fries but I have not eaten white bread, cream potatoes nor anything fried. I used to “own” a seat at the local Bojangles and Mexican restaurant…haven’t eaten at either place since 2/15/08. ( I wonder if my absence shut them down????)

What I do eat: veggies, veggies, raw fruit (not canned), lean meat, fish, seafood, legumes etc etc. Additionally I eat whole grain bread a couple of times a week , a couple of eggs a week, whole grain pasta once a week and rice once a week.

Here are my stats:







LOST 34 lbs


5' 10"

5' 10"

- no change …darn!


150 / 90

118 / 68




*** Running on average 6-8 miles, 5 times a week.

- highest - ran 10.6 miles on 5/15/09!!! (most ever)

Wrap Up

Obviously transformation is a life long process. I will continue to strive to learn as much as I can about nutrition, health and fitness but also I want to do my part to educate others.

Remember when I said that the lack of information was a big problem with my situation. As I speak to others diagnosed with Diabetes, that is a common thread that runs through many of their stories, I was not alone. Many of them had not heard of the Low Glycemic Diet or that there are “good” carbs vs “bad” carbs. This is very unfortunate and has lead to needless suffering, blindness and even early deaths.

I have found a fitness and nutritional program that covers all the basics and is endorsed by the American Diabetes Association if anyone knows someone that could benefit from this, let me know.

Take care and thanks again for reading this blog and allowing me to share with you.

Steve Cooksey