In July, I turned 62 and I’m a cliché. I say that because my next statement was going to be “wow, that sure went fast”. When I was young, I thought it was ludicrous for an old person to say that. Similar to other sayings like “your babies are babies only once, hug them every day.” “Yeah, no kidding”, I’d think. Now I think “Oh yeah, you were right.”
In my twenties/thirties/early forties, I worked as a tradesman in construction. It requires strength, a competitive outlook and a willingness to assess and implement risk to do well in construction. There came a time when I started to work out at home to build working muscle. Not useless beauty mass, but muscle that is used within the work day. My regimen included pushups, sit ups, stretching, and dumbbells, that’s it. My legs needed no help, they were already walking and lifting all day long.
The only reason I could stick to it was because I knew that strength would yield a positive result for me, my fellow trade-members and our employer. I had 17” upper arms and a strong upper and lower back. I could sweep up my children in each arm with no effort at all.
Now…not so much. The only sweeping I do now is with a broom.
I look at exercising with disdain to a certain degree. I know, it will make me healthier…that’s good. But traditional “exercise” is so excruciatingly boring that I just don’t do it. I have to make something of my time…so within that paradigm I will exercise my body/brain. I will walk a mile or two for photography and video making any time. I will build a raised planter and fill it with compost. Gardening makes me feel connected to the earth. It requires trips to the supply store, some mid-level lifting and a certain attention to “husbandry”. That word is probably not acceptable any more. Yeah….whatever….life is short…I’ll stick with what I know.
That word carries the idea of caring for something, and willing to know it inside and out, always being ready to serve it for its own good. That requires a different sort of spiritual exercise to go along with the physical. I say spiritual in the generic sense. Knowledge is not tangible until practiced, but it still has substance, it’s ”spiritual”.
As my body has grown older, I have come to the realization that with a sit-down desk job, I need to stretch as much as possible. It helps the muscles breathe and just aids in a more positive attitude. Not sure how that works. There is likely a chemical connection there and that’s great.
Today I go see my doctor. It’s been one year since I was diagnosed with a big fat ugly liver. Mmmmm, a fatty liver, inside a clinically obese body, with an unhealthy topping of pre-diabetes.
I was a walking poster-boy for what results from the SAD (Standard American Diet). Don’t get me wrong, I was eating healthy by most standards. Grass fed meat, free range this, organic that. Not too much sweetener….never cane sugar….just maple syrup.
The issue for my body was carbs….now I know I’m a cliché! Too much bread, pasta, tortillas and too many fruits. Yeah, it’s sad…too many fruits. Fruits contain fructose….poison for a guy like me. The issue is not so much the food. If that food is not burned off and burned off quickly it will store itself as fat…in the liver. While it does that, it will uptake any other unused fats into the liver as well.
This way of eating/living has probably killed more people than we can imagine. So what did I do?
I started smoking again. No, not really. But, I employed that same strategy as when I quit smoking in my early twenties. My daughter suggested I try the ketogenic method of eating. The keto paradigm revolves around a strategy of eating 70% fat calories, 20% protein calories and 5% carb calories per meal. In order to accomplish this I had to change my opinion of carbs. Carbs, like smoking, is a poison for me. Many people grimace at this idea. For me, I imagine myself slowly dying in a hospital, while the bill whittles away at my wife’s and children’s inheritance. So, with that image, carbs are my enemy looking to kill me.
It would be a disservice to the people I love to continue doing what I was doing.
I was and still am a carb addict. That is a serious condition millions of us deal with every minute of every day. Though, since I’ve been in ketosis (5 months) my hunger has walked away and leaves me alone. The carb diet will keep you hungry, even when your body doesn’t need any food. The keto transition simply resets the body to rely on fats for fuel. It allows one to eat less and not feel the heroin level pangs to eat again.
In order to do this, I bought a meter to make sure my blood levels were strong with ketones and that my sugar levels stayed in check. It wasn’t easy at first. I thought I was doing well….then I got the meter (after a couple of weeks) and realized I was nowhere near where I should be. It took about 3-4 weeks to make the transition.
Before going keto, I had lost fifteen pounds by simply eliminating breads and not eating after dinner. Fifteen pounds was my plateau. Every day was a struggle. I craved food constantly. I woke up hungry, I went to bed hungry. THAT is precisely what a carb based diet is designed to do if you are not working hard to burn them off immediately. It’s poison.
I hit ketosis in mid-April, and dropped another twenty+ pounds after three months. I am just borderline “normal weight” now. Most notably, I’m not hungry any more. I still work a desk job, and my “exercise” is still connected to creating something.
Today I’ll talk with my doctor about some things, including what’s up with my electrolytes etc.
I’ll get some labs done and I’m hoping my big fat liver is not so big, and not so fat anymore.
I do have to say that I feel so much empathy for women and this struggle. My wife tried this and it nearly killed her. She has an auto-immune disorder, along with Hashimoto’s and transitioning into keto may be out of the question. The hormonal relationship with food is also a completely different animal when it comes to being female. Such is life I suppose.
If you are interested in this my main sources are on youtube (of all places!). Search these sites and you can find out quite a bit about it.
Dr Ken Berry, Dr. Boz, Dr.Berg, Thomas DeLauer, High Intensity Health ….just search their name with –keto….you’ll find them.
Peace to you,