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How I Lost Weight & Improved My Health, Until I Get Hit By A Bus July 11, 2014

Posted by Jim Berkin in Cooking, Food, General.
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A bus falling out of the sky, too. It’s just how my life works.

A few months back, I got bored waiting at a supermarket pharmacy counter, so I sat in one of those free blood pressure measuring chairs to see where my numbers would land.

I’ve always had relatively low blood pressure, anywhere from 110-120 over 60, never gave it much thought compared to other health related issues nearer & dearer to my experience.

Such as my genetically from dad ulcer-vulnerable stomach. Or the lurking fear that I’d wake up one morning and find a note pinned to my pillow from my penis after it had finally abandoned me for greener pastures.

So when this thing gave me a readout of 155/85, I wondered WTF? I hadn’t been overly stressed lately. I don’t smoke. I hardly ever drink coffee. And I hadn’t eaten a fifty pound bag of rock salt for lunch.

I figured it was a faulty machine, at least hoped it was a faulty machine. On my way home, I stopped at a different supermarket that had a pharmacy and a blood pressure video chair. Rolled up my sleeve & sat in it…. and 155/85 again.

A real kick in the ass – I’d been meaning to drop some weight and had never made a real commitment, but this put me into a small panic as I envisioned my post-stroke self, drooling in a wheelchair, thinking of endless dick jokes and unable to speak ANY of them. Truly a fate worse than death.

Getting more exercise was easy – that simply meant going back to my old habit of taking long walks after dinner. And there’s certainly a variety of walking routes & paths where I live. So, it was a 2-3 mile walk nearly every night, maybe anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour of brisk walking, some uphill, some flat, some downhill.

But you want to know how I lost somewhere between 15-17 pounds in 2 months, right?

It’s the practically-no-carb diet. It really works. Practically no carbs, no sugar, and all the meats, cheeses, veggies, nuts, etc. as you want. The more protein, the better for not feeling hungry. For a couple of months, I cut out as many carbs as I possibly could – no rice or bread or starchy sides with my dinners. No more potatoes or mac ‘n’ cheese. I made larger salads with more veggies and often added hard boiled egg white for protein. I cut out all pasta – this was the toughest thing to do, considering I would normally make it 2-3 times a week – did I mention I’m a gourmet cook and specialize in Italian food?

Oy.

One way around the pasta-less diet was to prepare some of the same sauces for pasta and have them only with the meatballs, sausage or seafood. I’d up the amount of meat and add sun dried tomatoes and/or mozzarella to thicken the sauce. Eventually I cut back on cheese since I wanted to avoid cholesterol.

I read labels studiously and figured I probably cut my carbs by 90% or so – I’d have a fiber-loaded cereal bar in the morning or a banana, but that was about it. No desserts except for small amounts of dark chocolate now and then.  Plain yogurt with actual fruit instead of the flavored kind. The other helpful thing has been a high protein shake I’d get at costco that, along with almonds or peanuts, would pretty much be lunch. Dinner would consist of some meat with spices, sauces, veggies and a salad. No beer, but wine was okay, also the occasional Jack Daniels and water with a touch of lemon. Can’t have a good meal without a drink.

Oh, and lots of beans. Not only are they low carb and high fiber and help lower blood pressure, but evidently living with all my farts has added years to my life, according to a new study.

10-best-meals-in-the-movies-4

Made a lot of varied en papillote recipes – basically, I’d spice up some beans or lentils (spices, chopped tomatoes, etc) and use them as a bed for seasoned/herbed medallions of boneless chicken or fish, drizzle with olive oil (that keeps it all moist), and seal in a foil pouch in a 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes (chicken) and 20-30 minutes (white fish). This & a salad made a solid dinner.

I watched my weight come down, slowly but steadily, after an initial faster clip (not sure why that happened, there’s probably some medical explanation for it). Lost 7 pounds in the first two weeks, and then about 5 pounds a month for the 2 months following. Then I started to ease carbs back in, even pasta, only in smaller portions than before. I’ve been maintaining the weight.

I cut back on salt for the blood pressure, but I’ve never been a huge salt consumer, and a blood test showed normal sodium levels.  I upped the amount of potassium in my diet by eating more bananas (despite the carbs in ’em) and spinach.  I’ve been taking two different supplements that supposedly lower blood pressure – turmeric (also from costco) and COQ10. I take small amounts of each with my usual vitamin in the morning. I have NO idea if they’ve been having an effect along with the diet & exercise, but I have no side effects from them and feel fine. The turmeric supplement mimics eating a lot of Indian food I guess, and COQ10 is produced by your body anyway, usually boosted by meat eating. 200 mgs every morning is all I take.

Quite fine, in fact. A month after I started this, my blood pressure was 135/75. A couple of weeks later, it was 125/70.

And the other day, I weighed in at 17 pounds lighter with a bp of 115/65. SCORE!!!!

Though if it drops below 90/50 and Hawkeye starts pounding my chest while screaming “Don’t let the bastard win!” I guess I’ll alter my routine.

Why am I posting this? Well, I figure I must have readers who want to knock their own numbers down. This worked well for me, it might work for others. This required a consistent discipline, but once I got used to the dietary change after a few days, it wasn’t that big a deal to alter my grocery shopping slightly and to get more creative with some recipes. I knew once I hit my target weight I’d have my beer and pasta back, but I’d have to be mindful of them and moderate. I’ll have to keep the discipline as far as the exercise goes, but I don’t see how that’s a bad thing – I like going for walks.

All without meds. Hopefully it will stay that way.

Your mileage may vary – but good luck with this – it worked for me, and I’m not selling or endorsing anything for a royalty (DAMMIT!!!! I want that MONEY!!!!)

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