Just before I started writing this blog (back in February of this year) I wrote a short series about my health. I wasn’t sure when would be a good time to publish this series, so I’ve held on to it.
However, after a recent visit to the doctor, it looks like now is the time. Today’s post is just a general overview of my health history, however, the remainder of the posts will be about intermittent fasting. Since my recent visit to the doctor, I’ve taken up intermittent fasting again, so I thought this would be the perfect time to publish these posts.
My Physical Health and Diet – A History
I thought as a way to kick of a new series on improving my diet and physical health, I’d start by giving you a brief history of how I got to where I am now.
I’ve been fortunate to be born with good genes*. A reasonable appetite and great metabolism have kept me skinny my entire life. In the past five years as my metabolism has slowed down, it has been slightly more of an effort to keep my weight in check.
However, despite these positives, I’ve likely been one of the unhealthiest skinny people around. My diet throughout my 20’s has been terrible, consisting mostly of carbohydrates, dairy and more sugar than I care to admit to (I have a weakness, if not addiction, to candy).
In addition, the last time I exercised with any consistency was in college. This unhealthy combination caught up with me in my early 30’s when I woke up with excruciating pain in my abdomen.
Pain Like I’ve Never Felt Before
It didn’t feel like indigestion, but I took antacids just in case, with predictably unsuccessful results. The thought of appendicitis crossed my mind, but my stomach wasn’t sensitive to the touch, so I ruled that out. A couple phone calls to some medically trained family members (a doctor and a nurse) and some Google research gave me a tentative diagnosis of a kidney stone.
A trip to urgent care, then an MRI at a hospital confirmed this diagnosis. After an excruciating 2 weeks mentally and physically that involved another trip to the hospital, I passed the stone without surgery and vowed to change my ways.
The biggest change that I made, which has stuck to this day is to increase my water intake. I didn’t realize just how badly I was dehydrating my body until I learned how much water I should be drinking. Headaches and dry skin became a thing of the past and frequent bathroom breaks became the new norm. A tradeoff I’ll happily continue to make.
Old Habits Are Hard To Break
For six months I was successful with changing my diet. I increased my fruit and vegetable consumption from virtually zero to slightly above zero. I cut out most sugars but continued to consume large amounts of carbohydrates.
After six months I began to slip back into old habits, particularly around sugar. I convinced myself the problem was hydration and not my diet. Six months after relaxing my dietary restrictions I got another Kidney stone. Despite two more trips to the hospital and I was able to pass this one without surgery as well.
Lesson learned this time the changes became more permanent. I wasn’t perfect and still eat more sugar than I should during certain weeks, but I’d also detox my body after those weeks and eat mostly fruits, vegetables and a little protein for several days.
This has been mostly successful for the last couple of years. I did have a kidney episode after taking a vacation in which I consumed way too much salty and sugary foods and far too little water. This episode was brief and may or may not have been a small kidney stone.
Despite this shift in my eating habits, I still have a long way to go before I’d consider myself to have a healthy diet. Additionally, I know I need to add healthier exercise habits into my routine. I enjoy going for walks in the summer time but live in a State that gives me around 7 months of comfortable walking weather.
So I thought it might be advantageous for me to be more intentional about tracking my health choices. And this blog would not only give me the accountability to do so, but fit very much with my value of my family. After all, the healthier I am the longer I will get to enjoy my family.
* Outside of the whole heart disease thing.