Calorie Restriction with Optimum Nutrition
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CRONing: a personal journey (page 2)

What about exercise? As mentioned earlier, my high metabolism kept me slim throughout my twenties (139 - 155 lbs at a height of 6' 1") so I really did not practice a regular exercise routine. Then, right around the time I turned 30, I started gaining weight. This weight gain was attributed to several factors: a decrease in metabolism, and perhaps more significantly, to an ever-worsening diet and lack of exercise. Unfortunately, I did not give this matter very much attention until I had reached a peak of 179 lbs, just shortly after my 32nd birthday, in October 1999. Life had become very comfortable up to that point. Although I was (and remain) single, I had a solid career, a wise investment strategy for my retirement, and was in good health. I hadn't suffered from a cold or flu in years. My employer actually commended me for having perfect attendance, year after year. In addition, I made it a point to see a physician every 6 months or so for a "routine" check-up; many even labeled me a hypochondriac for seeing the doctor so often without being ill! The simple set of tests he conducted (the ubiquitous stethoscope and blood pressure test) all indicated good health. The physician said I had "the blood pressure of a teenager." In fact, he went on to say that, as result of my weight gain, I looked healthier than I had in previous years. The weight gain concerned me nonetheless, although I was by no means obese -- especially given my relative height. Still something else was bothering me - perhaps it was that "hypochondriac complex" I was accused of, or maybe it was premonition or gut feeling. Whatever it was I had come to conclusion that I needed a thorough blood test. That same autumn, I persuaded my PCP (primary care physician) to write a slip for complete laboratory blood work.

My PCP, whom I had thought to be proficient up to this time, was turning into a disappointment! Although the test results had been in his hands only a day or two after they were done, I got his response several weeks later. And this was after personally phoning him with the query! He quite non-chalantly mentioned that my total cholesterol was at "borderline high risk" (217 mg/dL). Needing more info, I asked him to fax me the report. The medical terminology in the report was vague but after a bit of research I had also determined that my "bad cholesterol" (LDL) was high whilst the "good cholesterol" (HDL) was low. Further, my white blood cell count (WBC) was slightly higher than the upper normal limit.

This hit me like a kiloton of bricks--and truly frightened me! At this point I became convinced that not only did I have to improve my diet and begin an exercise routine--but that the best person to look out for my health was me, not the medical community or even friends and family…many of whom commented originally that I was a hypochondriac or that my personal appearance was better at the higher body weight! Never judge a book by its cover. And, like the popular X-Files TV series states: "Trust no one."

From November 1999 until early February 2000, I started to reduce my calorie intake but followed no real plan. During this three-month period, the quality (nutrition) of my diet improved significantly. There was more pasta, rice, yogurt, veggies and fruit - and less fat. Basically, what the USDA/RDA recommends…i.e., the infamous food pyramid. However, even this "high quality" diet was less than desirable relative to what lay ahead.

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