"You’re on a fast road to an early death."
Me? Was my doctor talking about me? The same guy who won track medals at his town’s annual 4th of July open track meet? The guy who set a sit-up record in Junior High and was invited to the track team in high school? The guy who ditched more conventional sports for Ultimate Frisbee, and then went on to win a World Championship in Oslo and ended up in the Ultimate Frisbee Hall of Fame?
WHEE (Weight, Health, Eating and Exercise) is a community support diary for Kossacks who are currently or planning to start losing, gaining or maintaining their weight through diet and exercise or fitness. Any supportive comments, suggestions or positive distractions are appreciated. If you are working on your weight or fitness, please -- join us! You can also click the WHEE tag to view all diary posts.
Join me on the flip side....
How did I end up in this situation? The athletic guy with the runner’s body who used to be me was now just some middle aged, balding, overweight guy with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, high blood sugars, and high triglycerides. While still in shock, I heard my doctor – who is not particularly fond of drugs – go on and on about all the prescriptions he was writing – one for this symptom, one for that, one for the other, their potential side effects; and then other medicines to counteract the side effects, and on and on.
As he ended, however, he added one hopeful statement: "I think you could probably overcome all of this with weight loss and a good diet."
Nine months later I was forty pounds lighter, off almost all of medications, and within a normal range for each of the symptoms I described above (although, maddeningly, my thinning hair didn’t change). I felt healthier, slept better (my wife told me I’ve stopped snoring), and retained a nice bounce in my step.
It has been said that only five percent of those who want to seriously diet are able to stay on their diet for a substantial length of time.
Does nine months count as "substantial length of time"? I'm not sure -- but if it is, then I made it into the five percent.
How did I do that?
I'd like to write a series of diaries that explain what I did and my approach -- and to share my experiences and things I've learned along the way.
For now, however, rather than continue to talk about me, I want to pass on a useful health alert
Metabolic Syndrom is not a disease -- rather, it's a description of symptons. It's often described as a combination of five risk factors: abdominal obesity, high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and high blood pressure. I had all five.
Luckily for me, my wife (and my doctor) hassled me to get a physical after I turned 50, and I had a standard battery of blood tests run which revealed my problems. These problems -- other than looking fat around my stomach -- were all hidden. I didn't see any ill-effects from high cholesterol or sugar; my blood pressure, although high enough to damage my body, didn't effect me in any noticeable way.
The American Heart Association says that nearly 50 million Americans have it. And -- as my doctor told me -- this is something that can kill you. People with metabolic syndrome are at increased risk of heart disease, stroke, vascular disease, and type 2 diabetes – for starters.
The American Heart Association notes the following:
According to the ATP III criteria, metabolic syndrome is identified by the presence of three or more of these components:
* Central obesity as measured by waist circumference:
o Men — Greater than 40 inches
o Women — Greater than 35 inches
* Fasting blood triglycerides greater than or equal to 150 mg/dL
* Blood HDL cholesterol:
o Men — Less than 40 mg/dL
o Women — Less than 50 mg/dL
* Blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/85 mmHg
* Fasting glucose greater than or equal to 100 mg/dL
My public service announcement is simply this: if your waist circumference exceeds 40 (for men) or 35 (for women) inches then run, don't walk, to your doctor, nurse, or other health care profession, and inquire about this. Make sure you know your cholesterol levels, glucose levels, and triglyceride levels. If they exceed the numbers noted above, you need to do something about it. Now. To say that "your life depends on it", may sound overdramatic, but it's, quite literally, true.
(Insurance tip: when my doctor did my blood tests, insurance didn't cover a whole lot, and I paid an arm and a leg. When I got re-tested, I went to another company -- in my case "LabCorp" -- that was a "preferred provider" -- and I saved a lot of money. It was a hassle, because I had to make a separate appointment on a different day in a different place -- but as I've been tested about even two months, the savings has been significant).
(end of the public service announcement)
I hope to talk more about how I successfully battled my weight and health problems in future diaries.
UPDATE: Housekeeping: Please leave a comment if you would like to volunteer to write a diary.
Upcoming WHEE diaries:
Fri AM - Ed G
Fri PM - Brimi
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Tues AM - Clio2 (Kessler, Ch. 10)
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