On November 30, I was at the doctor’s office for an annual checkup. I commented, “Losing weight is easy. Just don’t eat sugar.” Thirty-five days later, I want to share my perspective on this comment. I’ve learned a lot, and I lost 20 pounds to get to what the NIH health calculator says is a BMI of under 25.
When I got my bloodwork back, the doctor said there was nothing concerning. But I thought my fasting glucose levels were high. And I still think my fasting glucose numbers are high.
One view of losing weight is that it helps you get healthy. Another view is that you get healthy so that you can lose weight.
Confusion over health is rampant
It’s not like I wasn’t trying to be healthy. I’ve been drinking a variation of green smoothies with things like spinach, kale, almond milk, banana, flax seeds, chia seeds, and cocoa for years. My family won’t touch these. I couldn’t determine if the mushroom coffee with cordyceps did anything for me.
None of this stuff was bad, but I’ve rethought the whole smoothie equation. I might still have a smoothie, but it will be in the afternoon as part of a meal and not for breakfast.
Our food choices can be influenced by marketing. Some people are marketed low fat/high carb solutions. Some are marketed low carb/low fat. Some are marketed low carb/high fat. Some people are marketed vegan/locally grown.
Just thinking about food is overwhelming.
The food equation
Michael Pollen’s advice can easily fall on deaf ears, “Eat food, mostly plants, not too much.” Here is an explanation of this guidance on WebMD.
To this, I include
To make the above equation more real to me, I largely avoided foods made with vegetable oils, sugar, and unbleached flour. Heat damages the oils. Sugars cause spikes in glucose. Processed grains are converted into sugar more quickly.
Along with Pollen’s advice, I am trying to get more plant diversity and fiber into my diet. A gastroenterologist named Will Bulsiewicz, MD wrote a book titled, Fiber Fueled.
Sugar + Nutrition seems like a false choice
It seems normal to accept what’s presented to us as “healthy”. The lyric, “Just a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down”, seems to be taken literally when it comes to Vitamin D gummies. Why aren’t we able to get enough Vitamin D from the sun or some foods.
The first ingredient of the multi-grain bread is, “Unbleached enriched flour”. I think I’ll leave the problems of processed foods at that. I would still use unbleached flour in my own baking, just sparingly.
Adding intermittent fasting to my approach
My friend Andy suggested that I try intermittent fasting. This led me to a genre of YouTube presenters. I like Dr. Berg’s videos. He is prolific. His videos are specific, and he’s a good presenter who offers solutions to superficial issues (such as a skin tag) by explaining underlying causes.
Learning how your body works is very helpful. I didn’t know about the insulin/glucose relationship. I thought insulin was just a drug people with Type II diabetes take.
There are qualitative benefits to being healthy
My memory seems improved. I don’t have bags under my eyes when I wake up in the morning. I generally feel more alert. My mobility has improved.
My body doesn’t feel like it has inflammation. It used to be that I’d crack my back or hips as soon as I’d wake up in the morning. I don’t need to do this now.
This morning’s stats
Daily statistics are fun. They are objective. And they keep me motivated.
|Hours of deep sleep||0:58|
For some reason I didn’t sleep well. I think the night light in the bathroom bothered me. Usually it is closed, and usually I get two hours of deep sleep.
Last night’s swim might have affected my sleep
Another factor could have been that I swam a mile at a 1:50 pace before going to bed. The swim was easy, an average heart rate of 118 with a max of 123.
In December I came across Will Smith’s videos about losing 20 pounds in 20 weeks. It’s worth watching on YouTube. I’m not sure why it took 20 weeks to lose 20 pounds. He sure did a lot of exercising and weights.
I am exercising some each day. I might swim a mile, bike 20 miles or walk for an hour. And I probably could get my heart rate higher. The point is that I’m doing something.
Response to my efforts
Most importantly, my wife is supportive and bought a book about intermittent fasting at Five Below. I appreciate her open-mindedness and companionship.
Honestly, I can only hope that my friends are curious or supportive. I’m sure that some people will have underlying beliefs that cause them to be dismissive of the ideas that seem reasonable to me.
Learning – Health is not something to outsource
Learning changes my relationship with my doctor and hospitals.
I don’t take medications. I do get vaccinated and take precautions regarding Covid. The onus is on me to take responsibility of my health.
I go to a doctor to get checkups because I can’t get an echo cardiogram or other tests without a prescription. And I value doctors who know how the body is supposed to function and can look for problems. Still – preventing those problems and maximizing my health through what I consume, rest and exercise is something I can work towards daily.
Along with doctor visits, it’s essential to learn what I can from people like Dr. Berg and others (including Huberman Labs and Peter Attia). Ideally, when you’re sitting in a waiting room, there could be healthy lifestyle information streaming. There are services that offer this.
My hope for 2022
I want to have a positive influence on the health of my family and friends. Good health helps us manages life’s challenges. Poor health often leads to degenerative diseases – heart disease, cancer, depression, dementia and mobility issues.
Let’s work towards good health together.