On the day after Christmas in 2017 I was left debilitated, and it wasn’t the first time I had gotten massively sick over the holidays. After indulging in lousy eating and way too much sugar, I would lay in bed for days feeling miserable. To recover, I loaded up on supplements and slowly got back on my feet. I’m grateful for those products, but they only put a Band-Aid on what my real issue was. Even though I’ve been athletic for most of my life and have sons who help keep me active, I had become a sloth. I wasn’t just thinking, “I’m getting old.” I was starting to accept it!
I’ve been a clinical nutritionist for the past 13 years. While focusing on others, I ignored the slippery slope called age, and that left me really feeling it these past few years. It became evident at our family Christmas ping-pong tournament. I became lovingly known as “frail old man” and the title started haunting me. When my son kept encouraging me to get off my butt and exercise, my response was, “Leave me alone, I’m getting old and I’m not going to be a world-class athlete anytime soon.” I was giving in to age and resigning myself to becoming older, fatter, and weaker because I didn’t have an effective solution to do anything about it. It was affecting me physiologically, emotionally, and relationally. I was nappy, lazy, grumpy, and so uncomfortable. I was a mess! Some of you may know the feeling.
If a person is drowning because they don’t know how to swim, telling him to swim harder doesn’t help. I, like many of you, have dieted most of my life, but I was so tired of starving myself and exercising while knowing it wouldn’t work long term. This cycle was never sustainable for me. Sure, I’d lose 15 pounds in a few months, but the weight would come right back on. At some point, my willpower failed me. I was drowning and didn’t know what to do about it.
For years I held seminars for health care practitioners to learn about micronutrients and how they affect the body, but, on February 11, 2018, I learned something new that would change my life. There is a world of difference between supporting your body with supplements and the profound effects of macronutrients in your diet on your metabolism.
The doctor presenting that day went over vitamins and supplements that were familiar territory to me, but then he explained about macronutrients—carbs, protein, and fat. He described how the wrong ratios of macronutrients can lead to the horrific effects of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, which in turn leads to many chronic debilitating diseases. I realized I was slowly dying from the inside as well as on the outside from hyperinsulinemia. This disease is characterized by chronically elevated insulin levels. It described me perfectly! The doctor suddenly got my undivided attention. I was all ears and was determined to retain all the information he presented. I knew I didn’t want to die the same early death as my father did at age 48. I needed a sustainable solution for my metabolic health and the encouragement not to continue doing what I had been doing.
I continued to read and research, and I discovered that positive metabolic health is associated with minimizing prolonged elevated insulin and optimizing fat metabolism. That discovery led to the following questions: “How do I manage insulin and reverse my metabolic syndrome to save my life while also improving its quality for the remaining time I have left?” Ultimately, “How do I finish my life strong?” From there I began a deep dive into studying metabolism and the possibilities of regaining some control of my metabolic health, permanently losing some fat through sustainable methods, and getting rid of the “frail old man” symptoms.
The night I came home from the seminar I had told my family, “When I get down to 10 percent body fat, we’ll do a Spartan race as a team!” Of course, I didn’t know what I was getting into. They sneered and mocked a bit, but I was totally serious. Little did I know that I had set a course that would change my metabolic status and start addressing all the “frail old man” symptoms.
Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore was one of the first books I read, and I started following doctors (some of which you’ll read about in this newsletter) who are having success with the high fat-low carb lifestyle. I read books on metabolism and watched all kinds of YouTube videos. Armed with this knowledge, I was able to break old habits and start new ones and hope of some level of control re-entered my life. I adjusted my fuel source—that is, my macronutrients—and my whole demeanor started changing. I started feeding my body nutrient dense foods and removed all the “fluff” that sneaks in alongside real food. As I shifted my fuel source to delicious bacon, eggs, cheese, avocados, meats, fish and some organ meats, I never went hungry or felt unsatisfied.