Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Me By The Numbers

This morning when I woke up my resting heart rate was 56 bpm. My fasting blood glucose was 91 mg/dl. My weight was 169.5 lbs. For a guy who’s 48 years old and 5 feet 8 inches tall, those aren’t bad numbers.

But I’m not completely happy with them.

I can’t make the age number get any smaller and I can’t make the height number get any larger, but I can improve all the other numbers.

I don’t know a lot about average resting heart rates but I believe lower is better. Generally I think the best measure of a heart number is how well you recover, how quickly you get back to normal after exercising. But the simplest measure is simply to count your pulse for fifteen seconds and then multiply by four to get an approximate beats per minute. If I remember right, Bjorn Borg, my pick for the greatest tennis play ever, had a resting heart rate of something wildly low, like 35 bpm. I’m guessing that was to a large extent genetics, but I notice that when I avoid sugar and keep my meals very “zone-aware” with healthy proteins, healthy fats and healthy carbs my resting heart rate can be as low as 44 bpm. I believe lower is better and I have been indulging lately in too many snacks. I can get better.

Unlike a lot of people who worry about chronic high blood sugar, I generally worry about chronically low blood sugar. I often suffer from what’s called “reactive hypoglycemia”—that is, if I eat a meal with a high sugar content my blood sugar will quickly get very high, sometimes into numbers like 180 mg/dl, and then quickly crash into 60 mg/dl type numbers. If I don’t watch what I eat my morning blood glucose numbers get low, I get mood swings and odd little illnesses. So, 91 mg/dl is in the “normal” range, typically considered as 90-120, but 91 mg/dl is just barely normal and given the range-of-error for glucose meters, may in fact be low. I need to be more careful about what I eat and stay away from high sugar snacks. I can get better.

My target weight range is 155-160. I am like ten pounds up. If I remember right, Jimmy Connors in his prime played at 155. I’m fitting comfortably into my 32/32 pants right now—I exercise regularly—but even though my waist isn’t bulging I feel fat. Ten pounds is ten pounds. I always feel better both physically and psychologically when I win the sugar temptation battle, avoid the snacks and get rid of the last ten pounds of fat. I can do it. I can fit comfortably into the 31/32 pants I have off to the side in my closet. I can get better.

Numbers are our friends.

At some point over the next few weeks, I may want to point my web cam at me and record some video (and audio!) for Impossible Kisses. I have one or two loose ends I very much want to tie up once and for all. So I want to look my best.

I can get better.

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