70 pounds overweight, 11 pills a day, out of breath and fatigued, and with symptoms of various horrible diseases, I’m not sure I’m going to be here at the end of the year. But I am sure that if I don’t do anything, I may not be here at the end of summer.
I sorted through suggestions, information, web sites, doctor recommends and determined… I have no idea. But I do know this: sugar is bad and is now in almost everything we buy. Bread. mayonnaise, ketchup, even lunch meat. Almost every processed food we buy is now loaded with it. Worse, most U.S. products are using High Fructose Corn Syrup instead of sugar. (Fortunately this is not true in Israel.) And because of it, even seemingly healthy foods (whole grain bread, granola, etc) are presenting a completely different nutrition profile than they were 20 years ago.
About the only processed or prepared foods I found in my house that have no sugar are hummus and soy sauce.
So I decided to try low carb, very low sugar, never ever any high fructose corn syrup, low processed products, high vegetable diet. Salad, meat, eggs, fish, cheese (not together!) That’s all. Nuts for snacks.
Not paleo, I’m not frying my egg in butter (I can’t completely overcome a generation of nutrition advice). Not Mediterranean, I like olives and olive oil, but not as a diet stable. Not avoiding carrots, which are higher in sugar content.
Not juicing, I want my vegetables with all their fiber. Not exclusively raw vegetables, cooked are fine as is soup.
But if it’s white (potatoes, rice, flour based), if it’s a grain (wheat, oats, spelt), if it’s processed or pre-packaged, it’s gone.
And some exercise. The bikes are broken, the skates don’t fit, the gym is too expensive. Oh my gosh, I’ve got to walk. Every day, no matter what, no matter how I feel or if the time is available, it’s walk or die. I’ll walk.
- WEEK 1 -
Diet - I explain to my wife what I’m trying to do, she sends me to work with a sandwich. I come home, it’s chicken and pasta. I get frustrated and snap at her, “Can’t you see I’m dying here??? Take away this poison!” She’s upset, I’m an idiot. Just because I’ve been freaking out and making life decisions doesn’t mean she can read my mind or automatically conform to every change I want. I apologize, she accommodates. She gets some details wrong a few more times, I gripe and complain some more – I’m still an idiot. She puts up with me and after a week has it all figured out, she’s a tzadekes.
The eating adjustment is a bit hard. We keep “extreme kosher”, the diet plus our kosher standards mean I can’t just run out and pick anything up if I want a supplement – even in Jerusalem. A bit more planning ahead is required.
And I’m getting some “carb cravings”. Sometimes I’ll eat a full mean, even a large one, and not feel full. I power through.
Exercise – I walk 2 blocks, I think I’m going to pass out. I can barely catch my breath. I’m passed by an elderly man using a walker. Am I really this out of shape? (YES) After 2 days of 2 blocks, I go 3 blocks (yay!) By the end of the week I’m doing 1/4 of a mile. This is sad, but there is progress. I’m somewhat able to breath by the end of the week.
WEIGHT CHECK – 245 lbs. I lost 5 pounds in a week! This is wonderful. It’s easy. Why didn’t I do this 20 years ago? In a few months I’m going to be a stick! And off all medication! I’m seriously excited! Ok, it’s hard, but I can manage this for 3 months. No problemo!
- WEEK 2 -
Diet – My wife’s in sync, the food is different and even interesting. She’s getting into varying the vegetables, I’m enjoying the meals. The carb cravings have cut down, everything seems ok.
Exercise – By the end of the week I’m up to a 1/2 mile. I can outpace the elderly gentleman with the walker now. It’s still hard to start each walk, but by the end of the week I’m enjoying it and breaking into a light sweat. My children have joined me a few times, and my wife is now joining me for the walks. It’s “our time to do something together”.
WEIGHT CHECK – 240 lbs. This is unbelievable! Some diet change and walking and life is turning around. In a few months I can become a frum model! Who knew this was so simple? Why didn’t anyone tell me this before? I rave about it in shul, one of the fellows who has diabetes is inspired to start a similar plan. Within a few days his sugar levels have dropped to almost normal! I’m beginning to think I’m a diet genius!
But there’s a problem. I took a blood & urine test per doctors instructions. Nothing’s improved, and there’s slight signs of blood in my urine. The number is low, but were always negative in the past. Could this be caused by the change in diet or exercise? I see the doctor, he’s not worried about given the number is low.
- WEEK 3 -
I walk out of my office at the end of the day and double over in pain. Intense agony in the groin area. Fortunately my wife is picking me up from work today. I beg her to quickly get me home so I can lie down. I’m panting in pain. She takes one look at me and says we’re going to the hospital.
She barges our way into triage, I’m begging to just curl up on the floor. They ask symptoms, ask for a urine sample. It’s brown, I’m bleeding internally.
I’m certain, given my many other symptoms, that it’s exactly like the article of the guy who lost his kidneys due to undiagnosed diabetes. I start to say viduy and goodbye to my wife…
…to be continued, G-d willing.