I’ve been working on my physical health since the New Year and have been seeing some wonderful progress. I started out Vegan and then moved to a Nutritarian way of eating on Valentine’s Day. I also began tracking all my eating and activities using MyFitnessPal.com (MFP, I’m not an affiliate or anything, just a user), especially using the app for my phone. It’s super convenient and tracks what I need it to, even without having to pay for a membership. (I’m cheap.)
I’ve also been reaching out to people in the MFP community and getting connected, which is a stretch for me. I’m not an introverted guy by nature, but I’ve found that I have had a lot of fear in recent years and especially when it comes to being around people I don’t know. So, I’m doing as my counselor suggested and am taking some risks that are outside my comfort zone. Yes, I’m seeing a counselor. I started three weeks ago or so and it’s been very helpful already. (More on that at a later date.)
While it has been wonderful to connect to people who are on the same or similar journey as me, I am also sad. I am sad because I read post after post after post of people who are clearly interested (or even desperate) in losing weight and being more healthy but cannot seem to get there. I am well on my way to losing the weight I need to be healthy, but more importantly I am eating as healthy as I can and my body is happy about it! When I look at what I eat, I AM healthy…it’s just that my body needs time to absorb the nutrients, throw out diseased or damaged tissue, and replace it with healthy materials. I feel like I have won the lottery and found the secret treasure that leads directly to health; a “secret” treasure that has been hidden in plain sight for the past 20 years.
I’m nothing special and I’m certainly not the smartest guy in the room. I can’t pat myself on the back for finding the recipe, the path, the treasure map to optimal health because I had nearly put myself in the grave and it took a Come to Jesus meeting with my doctor in 2014 to get me to see what was going on and make a change. I was 325 pounds (at 6’2″ that is nearly 42% body fat!!! I had high cholesterol, trouble with my knees, my back, and just about everything. I was a wreck. And through a process I can get into during anther post I discovered Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Nutritarianism. I found the path to optimal health.
Even though I’d found the treasure it took me four-and-a-half years to finally claim it as mine. I tried doing some of it, part of it, most of it, etc. None of that worked. I yo-yo’d for years and ended up at my heaviest since that summer day in 2014 when my Doctor said, “Look, you need to make some changes…” And so, on Valentine’s Day, 2019 I began my Nutritarian journey. I believe I began the first day of my best life to be my best self. I feel wonderful. I am losing weight. I think more clearly. My mood has improved dramatically. I’m doing very, very well, and my friends around me can see the difference.
Briefly, the treasure is this: Health = Nutrition / Calories. That’s really about it. My health is a result of the food I put in me. My body’s default setting is optimum health and it is always working to get me to that point, I just need to give my body the fuel and building materials to get there. If I want my body to be working the best it can, I need to give it the best fuel and material: I need to feed my body the best food I can find it. If I feed my body the best foods, I will reach optimal health, almost automatically. Of course I need to exercise and perhaps takes supplements if I am deficient in something, but the overwhelmingly huge part of the health equation is what I eat. Period. That’s it.
I don’t weigh my food or count calories or figure out what kinds of macro nutrients I need to eat. I just eat when I’m hungry, don’t overeat, never snack between meals, and do some exercise throughout the week. I am losing weight, my eczema is clearing up, I am building muscle, and my mind is clearer than it has been in decades. I am getting more and more healthy every day.
Which is why I am sad when I read peoples’ comments in MFP and can just hear the concern, the desperation, sometimes the panic in their writings. They wonder why they aren’t losing weight when they have been counting calories, coming under their calorie goal, working out X number of days a week, and doing everything that conventional wisdom tells them they should be doing in order to lose weight. They argue over whether Keto, Paleo, Low-carb, Low-fat, intermittent fasting, or vegetarian are the best way to eat. They do need help. They need to find the key to health. And I believe I have found it.
But I haven’t been doing this long enough to say anything about it. My testimony is pretty much worthless at this point. Almost any “diet” a person goes on with the intention of losing weight will work the first month because it involves calorie restriction. I’ve entered my 6th week of being a Nutritarian, which is when the benefits really begin to kick in. I don’t have a testimony yet. I don’t have any experience on which to stand and offer something. I just read the comments and pass on by. In my own “blog” on their site I chronicle my journey and when I interact with new friends on MFP I may mention what I’m doing or give a tip or trick as long as it doesn’t fly too much in the face of conventional wisdom. Eating lots of vegetables has finally kicked in as a good thing in the last 10-20 years, but people still think they have too many carbs and so avoid them. I let people know I eat 4 fruits a day including berries, but I don’t expect that to get much traction because we have been sold the idea that fruit has too much sugar in it.
Why, if we have been evolving as a species for hundreds of thousands of years, are fruits and vegetables, which we supposedly evolved to eat as the optimal food, suddenly bad for us? Why don’t we consider the introduction of highly processed “food” and fast “food” in the 50s and 60s as perhaps the reason why 40% of us in America die from heart disease and 35% of us die from cancer? That’s 75% of us dying from diseases which were almost non-existent before the 1930s?
But I remember what I was like before 2015, when I read Dr. Fuhrman’s first book, and I read the comments and wait for the day when I can show the results of my being a Nutritarian. I do want to help people, but at this point I can’t, and I’ve learned enough in my decades on the planet to know that I can’t fix other people. Maybe I’ve started to grow up?
But then again, maybe I’m just a fatso who should keep his big mouth shut!