Prep to be fit and be fit to be prepped
The state of our physical fitness impacts our ability to survive and cope with a crisis.
When I met my husband, he was 6′ 5″ and 400 lbs. Medication side effects, illness and inactivity had taken him to that point.
He was so large that when requiring an MRI, he was referred to a veterinary clinic as veterinary equipment could accommodate a person of his size.
For anyone horrified by that, don’t be. It is common practice to refer persons to veterinary clinics who are larger than hospital or clinic MRI’s can handle. Just like railway scales are used to weight people who are unable to get an accurate weight otherwise.
What matters is getting the results be it for life threatening conditions via a MRI as was my husband’s case or finding a way to become more fit.
He was so physically unfit that he was unable to make the short walk to the street from his home and frighteningly out of breath.
In a crisis, how could he move fast enough or long enough to save his life?
The situation took a horrible turn when he ended up in cardiac ICU and was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. He was placed on insulin and oral medication for the diabetes and had developed a cardiac arrhythmia which required another medication.
I didn’t care what he looked like. I already decided that I really cared for him because of the person he is and I was terrified he could die early because of the morbid obesity.
Here’s how he became fit.
First, we worked as a team and together were educated by the diabetic nurses in a two session information and management course. We learned that diabetics with high sugar experience ravenous hunger. It is very real to them, but is a phantom hunger created by the high blood sugar.
We formulated strategies to deal with high blood sugar hunger. He drank water. I distracted him when he said “I’m so hungry” and I knew it was his sugars.
We put his diabetic healthy eating chart front and centre on the fridge door. It listed how he should build each meal with protein, carbohydrates, starches, and fats. It also showed him how many servings of each category were allowable for each meal.
I met with dieticians and received recipe booklets for healthy eating for diabetics. Most of the booklets were based upon legumes and healthy grains. I learned to cook healthy meals using the new methods they gave me. He loved the food!
The legumes and brown rice also are a big part of our pre staples today.
Next, we had to tackle his physical conditioning which would be the other component of managing his blood sugar aside from achieving better fitness.
When we began, it was hard for him to walk far. He had been crushed in a work related accident years before, and there was residual effects from that. His feet hurt, and he was easily fatigued and out of breath.
I found a way to make movement fun for him. There was an empty lot not far away at the end of a road. I would drive us there sometimes and we would waltz under the moonlight, very slowly. But he was moving and having fun. Getting fit should be fun, not a chore!
After we moved into our house, we adopted our first dog, a Samoyed, and she became his walking buddy. He could only make it to the end of the block, but the two of them kept going.
Little by little, they went farther as they could manage and soon he was walking over an hour twice a day. When she passed, our rescued border collie took her place at his side on his walks.
His cardiovascular improved. He wasn’t so winded at the slightest exertion.
And the best part, the weight was coming down as was his insulin dose. It didn’t take long until he was off insulin and the oral medication!
Our family doctor was amazed and told him that he was the first patient he had who had actually followed the medical advice for managing diabetes. My husband’s diabetes was in remission! About a year later, he was off the cardiac medication.
He also got a new wardrobe as his weight decreased.
There was no magic formula to how he achieved fitness. It was determination to survive that kept him motivated. His feet hurt at the beginning when he walked, but he pushed through that pain because he understood why it was happening and that once his weight was down, the foot pain would be eliminated.
He went from a size 56″ waist to a size 38″ waist and he did it in a healthy, sensible way. He went from 400 lbs to 225 lbs. He became fit.
He had to have another MRI, only this time, he had no problem getting it done at the hospital.
I told you how my husband became fit, because it is a part of prepping. We talk about possibly having to walk in a disaster or carry packs. We may have to defend ourselves in hand to hand combat. We may have to forage for food or haul water.
Many disasters invoke the need for labour intensive tasks. A physically fit prepper can do it. A physically unfit prepper can hurt themselves or worse, give themselves a heart attack.
I shared my husband’s journey to become fit to help anyone here who is struggling with achieving fitness. It can be done sensibly. Get educated, get resources, make the changes you need to make.
Last year, my husband hand dug and lowered a berm on the front of our property. People stopped and commented how fit he was and couldn’t believe his age.
He became a healthier person. He became fit. And if you are struggling, you can do it, too.