What was I waiting for? Reclaim your health at any age!
I’m up at 5:15 am after maybe five hours of sleep. My breakfast consists of coffee, bagel with cream cheese or a muffin on the way to work. Oatmeal and half a donut in the Doctors’ lounge after rounds, maybe some juice. (still no water). Then, I might stand for six hours in the operating room in one position. Back to the Doctors’ lounge for some chips, a yogurt or a real entrée, if there is anything left. Oh, don’t forget the cookie and more coffee. If the patient’s case was really long, perhaps a Full Throttle and a Snickers would keep me going to finish the operation. Another coffee on the way home, rush to a kids soccer practice and hurry to eat something at home. There was a possibility of a workout at the gym, but not a lot of energy. I’d probably be better off if I went to sleep earlier instead. A bowl of raisin bran or granola before bed was standard fare. A few calls during the night, and then I’m up again the next morning, following the same routine
Now, it was not always that bad but one can see how over many months and years, despite any effort to eat healthy and work out, that was a losing battle. If you throw in a bad knee, making it hard to do as much cardio as I needed, suddenly I was pushing 210 pounds. At 49, I found myself taking a Statin drug to lower cholesterol and my blood pressure was on the upper range of normal. I was still muscular and functional, but was getting a gut and my clothes were not fitting too well. Chronic low back pain followed.
Just as important, I had ups and downs in energy and was feeling tired and grumpy. It took seeing a photo (without my shirt) on a Mexican cruise with the entire family to put it in perspective. I don’t think it was the camera that added an extra 10 pounds. Now that is not to say that I was not in decent shape. I still exercised and watched what I ate. I have always taken vitamins and supplements but often they were still in my pocket at the end of the day.
Read my prior blogs to see what and how I made my transition, but needless to say, one year later I have maintained a 40 lb weight loss, have a resting heart rate of 48 (cardio beast), a normal blood pressure, and have more muscle mass and better definition than ever before. I still do not sleep enough. More important than just looking good and feeling good however, is the impact this lifestyle change has had and will continue to have on my heart health and my overall health.
Having no inherited cardiac risk factors, by maintaining an optimal weight and BMI, exercising regularly, eating healthier and more regularly, and by making sure that my vitamins and supplements are in me, not in my pocket, I have essentially eliminated my cardiac risk factors. No heart attack or stroke for me! The fact that cardiovascular disease affects so many people and is a leading cause of death, one can extrapolate that I have prolonged my life in the process.
Article By Jeff Pearl, MD
Dr. Jeff is a trained general, pediatric cardiac, and transplant surgeon. Nutrition has always been an important concern for surgeons in regards to patients healing from surgery. He has had a longstanding interest in health, nutrition and supplements, and been an advocate of the use of nutrition and supplements in the hospital setting to aid in his patient’s recovery. He has a history of basic science and clinical research and a keen ability to interpret studies and statistics to determine their true significance. He is the father and step-father to several teenage athletes and knows firsthand the challenges they face in balancing their time, eating habits and use of supplements. He is adamant about trying to educate our youth about better nutrition. Dr. Jeff recognizes the challenges that healthcare faces and the need for people to take charge of their own health and disease prevention. He loves being outside and is one of those crazy few seen hiking or biking in the middle of the day in summer.