Thursday, June 4, 2009

Before and After: My Diet

So, here's a little bit about my personal history. I can identify pretty much with "before"/"after" stories, as I'm one of those guys who has a "before" and "after" myself. My story is this: in February of 2006, I weighed about 250 lbs, large but not crazy-overweight for a guy who is 6'6" tall, and I was getting regular exercise, a lot of it on my bike. On my annual checkup that month, my family physician told me I was borderline diabetic. This came as a rather nasty shock, as my dad was diabetic, and his diabetes (and associated heart disease) drastically shortened his life (he died at the age of 56, after his third heart attack.) It's hard to overestimate the dread with which I beheld diabetes, so to say I was motivated to change is putting it mildly.

My doctor told me I had to find (as she put it) "a new baseline" in my dietary habits. She directed me to the Whole Foods Diet developed by the Health Sciences Center of the School of Medicine at Texas Tech University. What I really like about this diet is one of its organizing principles: it's not how much you eat, it's what you eat. This is a controlled-carbohydrate diet that (other than refined carbos) lets you eat all the whole foods you want. I found myself eating a lot of fresh fruit, because of the convenience. No preparation, immediate hunger abatement. The important and fundamental thing is, I was never, ever hungry on this diet.

The results were, I guess you'd say, pretty dramatic. I began losing two to three pounds a week, which is a pretty fast loss on a sustained basis. I basically went from 245 to 195 in about four months. By mid-2006, I reached 195 lbs and stopped losing weight. My BMI went from 28.3 to 22.5. Since that time, my weight has stayed in the 195 to 200 range. These days, I'm on the diet for breakfast and lunch (I almost always pack my lunch to work) and eat pretty much whatever for dinner. I really like being in shape, my marginal diabetes went away (hopefully never to return) and I lost 20mm of mercury off the top and bottom of my blood pressure.

I think motivation is a matter of focus. I was focused on getting and feeling healthy and avoiding the history of my dad. Many people, when they change their habits, focus on what they're missing. I say, don't look back.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Hey, that's really inspiring to those of us which BMIs nudging over 25. I enjoyed the core exercising post too.