When I finished my diet, and got the results of the 120-day "test" from my personal physician, it was then that I realized that poor eating habits directly tied to my cholesterol levels and high triglyceride counts.
Studies have shown that there is a definite connection between triglycerides and diabetes.
For sure, I was heading toward type 2 diabietes, stroke or a heart attack with my triglyceride counts way above normal.
Many people who suffer from diabetes have elevated triglycerides in the bloodstream, and I was certainly a candidate for diabetes - or worse. Excess carbohydrates, which contain sugars or glucose, seem to elevate triglyceride levels in the blood. My eating habits elevated my triglyceride counts to dangerous levels.
I also discovered that I could reduce my blood pressure if I ate right! My doctor took me off one of the two high-blood pressure pills when I met him for my physical exam. So now let me tell you the story...
I was an obese senior citizen with high blood pressure and a triglyceride count that would kill me at some point. So, I decided to get into a diet that would cause me to lose weight, lose the "gut" that I was used to carrying around for years, and try regaining some self-confidence that I remember having - once!
At the tender young age of 67, I still have a few goals left in the "bucket list". I got to combine three of them in one move back in July of 2010 - dieting, writing about it, and overcoming one of my lifetime fears.
Little did I realize the tremendous benefits of dieting -until I actually did it. The end results of my 120-day adventure ended up providing me with benefits that likely will save me from living an unhealthy, unproductive life as a fat man...and possibly dying from type 2 diabetes, a stroke or a heart attack.
I am told that America is experiencing a phenomenon of obesity. 52 percent of all of us are obese. How we can tell that we are obese comes in two sure forms: I got one of them by looking in the mirror and seeing this big, fat 225-pound man in his sixties. The other way that I knew I was obese was looking up my body mass index ("BMI") using the calculators for that found on the AARP website. My height and weight collided on the BMI calculator at a BMI of 30.98. Thirty is the line that confirmed what the mirror showed me.
"OBESE" - say it to yourself if you are fat and know it! I have no problem admitting that I was fat...or obese, and I don't shudder at saying those words. It's reality, so I deal with reality in "healthy" ways.
I'll take you on a short journey to let you know some of the things that prompted me to admit that I was a tub of lard - all the way to the end of my diet goal date of December 13, 2010.
The diet goal date would be December 13th, 2010 when I was scheduled to visit my primary care physician for a physical exam.
I had the desire to lose weight because my triglyceride counts were "off the charts" at 237. Triglycerides, to me, were indicators of a lifetime ahead of me of health deterioration. Triglycerides are those nasty, deadly cholesterol indicators that cause fat to stick to the arterial walls....slowly building up plaque (hardening of the fat) around those walls until the host becomes so restricted that he or she develops a stroke...or blows an artery in the brain...even worse.
Surely, the least I could expect would be type 2 diabetes....the worst thing would be a debilitating stroke. Dying doesn't bother me because I know where I'm going once I kick the bucket. How do I know? I write books on heaven and Biblical things, and have studied the Bible since the early age of eleven. I won't bore you with the details, but suffice it to say that I know where I'm going and walking through the valley of the shadow of death (23rd Psalm) doesn't scare me.
Before we start on that trip down through the "valley of dieting", however, I want to bring you to the last part of my experience - the doctor's exam. When I visited him for the first time early in 2010 (after having changed health care providers to save about eighty bucks), I was interviewed by my new physician.
I love this guy...he's professional - and funny!
After my first visit, Doc Blanchette said, "John...you could afford to lose a little weight! I'll see you again in June, and hopefully - you will have lost some of that 225 pounds that you lugged in here with you." June rolled by and he weighed me and said, "Congratulations, John - you've lost exactly two pounds in four months....way to go!"
Needless to say, I felt that I had let him down!
That would be one of the several motivating factors that drove me to finally decide to save my life - or at least make an attempt at weight loss...maybe a bit of exercise.
This time - at the December physical exam, my doctor congratulated me for real, and was excited about the fact that my weight was 50-pounds less than it was in June, I had dropped 6" off my formerly fat belly, my waist size dropped to 34" from 38", my BMI hit a near-perfect score of 26, my blood pressure dropped to a better-than normal range of an average 117/71, my HDL (good cholesterol) rose to nearly perfect (which is 60)...and my triglyceride count fell a whopping 153 points to a very healthy 84. My calcium levels were perfect, and my blood glucose (the indicator that tells the doc if we are heading toward diabetes) was also perfect. The side benefits that I had gained from the diet of my choice gave me so much self-confidence - buoyed by tons of compliments about my looks...and I gained.........yes I gained something.....my self-esteem.
When I first started the "diary of a dieter", I wondered how "big fat Marie Osmond" got to look so thin, young and beautiful in her TV promo for NutriSystem. I also wondered if she had to go through a lot of emotional hoops and a whole bunch of strenuous exercise regimens to get there. I was surprised to discover that I didn't really go through too many ups and downs. I did experience some days of disappointment when I "plateaud", but found out that this is normal.
I also experienced constipation some of the time. Here's where some humor came into my life of a dieter.
I had a little fun at CVS one day. I was in line at the checkout counter and the woman clerk said to the lady who was standing in front of a man who was in line in front of me, "Have a good one"...and the lady left the store. The gentleman checked out his items and the clerk said, "Have a good one"...and the FEDEX guy left the store. I stood right up in front of her...held the CVS brand bottle of Milk of Magnesia in front of her eyes, and I said, "And what will you be saying to me"?
We laughed, and I began to check out my stuff and pay for it with my Bank debit card. I was reading the little card reader in front of me, and waiting for instructions from the little beast....no, the card reader, and I said to the clerk, "Go"? She retorted, "I do believe you will"! We laughed again, and the other clerk two registers down began to laugh...as did her customers, but they had no idea why my clerk and I were laughing so hard at this point. "Have a nice day - I hope everything works out for you" (pun intended), my clerk said as she waved goodbye. I'm sure she filled the other clerk in on the full story after I exited.
I gained so much confidence doing this diet, that I convinced myself that I could do anything. My two worst fears were getting a tattoo and parachuting out of a plane! I decided, at my age, to get my first tattoo. I was told that tattoo parlors were "houses of pain". I talked myself into it. I did it (in fact, I now have two tattoos), and it was no big deal.
All in all, I learned something about myself as I wrote my diary of a dieter, and that was that senior citizens like me could do anything we set our minds to do. The motivation for me was the doctor's comments...and my brother once told me that he stopped buying fruit pies because I was getting too fat!
I had lots of other motivating factors, but the bottom line was that I did it...and I have learned all about foods....what to eat, and what to avoid. I learned why Americans are so obese, too. At first, I thought it was because food processors are loading the meat and veggies full of hormones, and we are consuming them. I still realize that they are, and hormones DO cause us to grow fatter, but the fact is that I could control what I eat.
Once I realized that pounds could come off, I was on the road toward a lifestyle of control over my weight. No more Oprah style yo-yo diets. She's the first to admit her frustrations with her weight fluctuations.
I also learned that I did NOT have to exercise...but tried walking on the treadmill...mostly for kicks. At first, I was "wicked tired" in ten minutes, and huffed and puffed and sweated like a pig. After about three times a week - for one week, I noticed that I never get tired - I'm full of energy all the time, I don't huff and puff anymore...(I just shoveled snow for about a half hour), and never break a sweat on the treadmill. The benefits of that regimen, I feel, contributed to my overall success with the diet.
If I can encourage any of you "fatsos" like my former self to look for and find a diet that works for you...no matter what your age or weight, I can tell you that the effort will not be a big deal (it wasn't for me), and the benefits may just make you live a lot longer on the planet. That way, you won't have to give your kids all that inheritance money.
I'm planning to buy a Harley this year!
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