The Silly Things That Make Us Sick, Fat and Old
Only a few years ago I was an old man, sick with lots of medicines. I was a diabetic, with high blood pressure, lots of cholesterol, way overweight and a brain on the way out. I was like most of the people my age. I was spending most of my time being inactive, watching TV, reading and planning for my next doctor’s visit so I could tell him how much my joints hurt. I really expected sympathy, but instead I got a lecture about the road I was heading down if I didn’t change my life. By that time, I was about forty pounds overweight, with a belly that required a belt 10 inches longer than I need today. My doctor said “Mr. Keiser, you are going to have to take this diabetes seriously or some bad things are going to start happening to you”. He continued by saying “you are at very high risk of heart attack, stroke, sight loss and other bad things”. When I asked him what I should do he said, “You are going to have to get active and lose weight”. I asked him how I could do that. He really did not have the time to get into it but told me that my health care provider did have some good classes that may help. It wasn’t until later when I started thinking about what it would be like once you had a stroke or heart attack if you lived through it. I hated the thought of being confined to a bed or wheel chair and having to have people take care of me. I loved the thought of living an independent life and going where I wanted to and when I wanted to. Although I was in my sixties I was just not ready to admit I was “old”. I had seen plenty of seniors that continued an active and productive life and I wanted to be one of those people. I signed up for the course on diabetes and looked forward to the day the class started. The class was a number of weeks in length and was held in a class room style. We got lots of information from people who were very well educated with lots of certificates. It was very apparent however, that these people did not have diabetes and were not going burdened with what we were. We watched movies and slide presentations and carried home a major boat load of paper. I never heard from those people again. It was as if: here take this ton of information and figure out how to implement it in your life. When I got home I tried to remember what the instructors said in class. I looked thought my written information to try to make sense of the life style changes I was going to have to make to turn things around. Wait... What? I was going to have to make changes in my life style? Oh, no I just want to take something to make it all better…or maybe not. That was where it really started to change. You find that all of that medicine does nothing to bring about a “cure”. The next time you go to your doctor they will increase the dosage or add an additional pill. I wanted to find out what was causing my health problems and what would change it for the better. I didn’t want to just take more and more medicine. I started reading everything I could find. I subscribed to newsletters from teaching hospitals, universities, laboratories, and govern-mental agencies, magazines and newspapers. My files started to fill up and my bank account went the other direction. Often times I would find a pearl of wisdom that I could actually use in my life. The first real breakthrough was the discovery of the use of journalizing to record my health indicators on a daily basis. The indicators were ones we have all heard of. They were simple to do, could be done in my home without running to a lab every day. I could afford the equipment and they actually reflected what was going on. By writing things down I could see what was helping and what did not have much of an effect. Here is what I started recording every day: first thing in the morning, blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, steps taken and my belly size. Notice I did not use weight, since it is not a good reflection of general health. Journalizing was a real revelation on so many levels. I could see what made a difference and what didn’t. I could begin to feel good about myself as things began to improve. I had real numbers to talk about not just subjective feelings. Now I could separate the “n ice to know” information coming out of science from the information that had a practical application in my life and its effect. The next direction my research had taken was to find out what causes poor health. By this time I had changed my career from a fat old retired guy to a health researcher. Along the way I began to see that much of the scientific research being done is so narrow and specialized that it is hard to apply to our everyday life. But, never the less, I did find situations or things that have a negative effect on our health. Many things by themselves may have little effect but when a host of situations come together they can be really bad. Many of the things having a bad effect on our health are not the things health care professionals are warning us about. Here is a good example: loss of sleep, poor self-concept, worry and disengagement with society. Many health care professionals tell us we need to be more active and get better nutrition. I found that it is true that nutrition and exercise is necessary, but that is not all there is. Turns out that poor health is a complex of causes many of which we have never heard of, Come read why and how I took this journey to discover “The Silly Things That Make Us Sick, Fat and Old”. The book is available on Amazon and as a Kindle book. Enjoy and get walking.