Today, I had a question from one of my readers and I would like to respond to that question in today’s post without placing their name out there. I understand how embarrassing some medical conditions can be and if you want your name linked somewhere in this post, simply let me know in the comments below. Otherwise, I’m simply going to address the question and I hope this is of some service to you.
The question is this(paraphrased, of course):
“I have a heart problem, epilepsy, and diabetes insipidus(water diabetes). How do I live with these conditions while reducing my tummy?”
I am assuming you mean you want to get a flat stomach or be somewhat close to having abs? If not having abs? This means we have to have a low body fat %. The body fat percentage must be around 12-14% for a female to have that flat stomach look you are going for; for a male, that would be around 10%. For the general consensus of people, this must be achieved through three factors(a balance of all three):
Your diet must be on point! You have to play around with your macro-nutrients and calories and see what works best for you. Without diving too deep on the calories, a web search will reveal that you may need to stick to a 2,000 calorie/day diet for maintaining your weight. If you are rather heavy, you may lose weight at 2,000 calories/day. However, for the average woman and someone who is already fairly lean this will simply maintain. I’d recommend eating about 1700-1800 calories a day. You can use a fitness app to track these calories or log them online, or on paper.
A general rule of thumb is that your calories should be a 40/40/20 split between protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Now, remember that protein and carbs have 4 calories per gram while fat has 9. This means that at a daily caloric intake of 1800 you should be eating about 180 grams of carbohydrates, 180 grams of protein, and 40 grams of fat. If you don’t agree with the ratio I’ve made, you can get a different result by plugging your weight and “weight loss” into just about any of the nutritional apps.
Resistance training is important because it improves the overall strength and endurance of your body. Also, it is well known that muscle burns more calories than fat for maintenance.
So, simply incorporate a well balanced training routine into your plan for getting that smaller waist and you should start seeing better results. A good split would be legs one day, chest on another, arms another day, and back/shoulders your last day every week. If you haven’t lifted at all you will see some good results in less than six months.
You actually mentioned that you’ve been doing some cardio so I would stick to that, and I actually wouldn’t recommend you do much more of it. You seem to be doing quite a lot already. I’d say that if you feel comfortable doing what you have done so far, keep it up. If you don’t see impressive results from the cardio, at least you are doing something to keep busy and it may have better results mixed in with the resistance training.
Now, to address the illnesses!
Everyone is going to have their own challenges in life and I am glad you came here to seek help on your personal dilemma of losing weight while dealing with such a myriad of sicknesses. The first thing I want to say is good for you! I am extremely happy for you in the sense that you are fighting the struggles in your own life and trying to do great things with your body despite the problems you are having. That is really inspiring.
I’m assuming you’ve been living with these illnesses for a while so you should know some of your limits with the heart problems. I’d say that you are doing great with the cardio, and when you add the weight training, be sure to take it slow since lifting will temporarily increase your blood pressure. Go slow, and know your limits. Now as far as the diabetes goes, I see that as something you may not be able to cure but you will be able to treat it with a good diet and lots of fluid.
I did a little bit of research on water diabetes and to my knowledge it makes you have to use the restroom a lot due to the body not producing enough ADH(antidiuretic hormone). Here is a information I am directly quoting from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases(NIDDK):
- Diabetes insipidus (DI) is a rare disease that causes frequent urination and excessive thirst.
- DI is not related to diabetes mellitus (DM).
- Central DI is caused by damage to the pituitary gland and is treated with a synthetic hormone called desmopressin, which prevents water excretion.
- Nephrogenic DI is caused by drugs or kidney disease and is treated with hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ), indomethacin, or a combination of HCTZ and amiloride.
- Scientists have not yet discovered an effective treatment for dipsogenic DI, which is caused by a defect in the thirst mechanism.
- Most forms of gestational DI can be treated with desmopressin.
- A doctor must determine which type of DI is involved before proper treatment can begin.
Due to the nature of this illness, I suggest that you drink more water. I don’t know how much you are drinking currently, but some research has shown that the majority of people are dehydrated. I just read an article saying that a survey done on 3,003 Americans showed that 75% of those studied were chronically dehydrated. This may be, in part, due to high sodium diets and even the weather. However, with your condition coupled with a statistic like that I would say a safe bet is to drink more water.
Also, on the topic of water, there have been many studies showing evidence that drinking a lot of cold water can increase your metabolism by 30%. Think of the fact that your water diabetes makes it very easy to become dehydrated, along with the fact that many Americans are dehydrated, and the likelihood that drinking water can raise your metabolism.
I would say that you should possibly try drinking 2.5 to 3.0 liters a day. Possibly more, depending on how severe your water diabetes is..
I recommend to you the classic advice of diet, weight training, and cardio! But I also invite you to start tracking your water intake! Make sure you are drinking plenty of cold water and let me know if this helps.