Destination 210: Focusing on health, not weight

I’ve been dropping weight at a glacial pace for the last several weeks. It’s still coming off, but maybe at a rate of a pound a week, tops. I’m still losing fat mass, but that’s also going pretty slowly. I’ve decided to re-focus on general health, specifically eliminating the need for pills to lose weight and for blood pressure and cholesterol. Since I’m already working on both weight and exercise, I’m going to focus on the kinds of foods I’m eating.

The biggest factors in blood pressure appear to be potassium (which I know I’m low on) and magnesium. I’m adding in at least one sweet potato a day to get the potassium covered, and I’m going to increase my intake of dark leafy greens for magnesium. I’m also going to start doing some epsom salt baths as a way to increase my magnesium intake, something we already do with our kids.

Cholesterol is a lot more complex. There’s some competing opinions on what foods help, but there’s a general consensus around nuts, fatty fish like salmon, and olive oil. In short, you need some of the “good fats” around to keep blood cholesterol in check. Oranges and other citrus also seem to top out on the list, but the whole fruit, not the juice. Other fiber-rich foods like beans also get a nod.

Measuring results with blood pressure is easy. I already have an automated cuff I can use to take measurements at least twice a day. Cholesterol is going to be more complex since it’ll require a blood test and a trip to the doctor’s office. By my next annual check-up in September, I hope to be in good enough shape to stay off the meds. Why take what you don’t need?

Really, this is the nuts-and-bolts of nutrition and taking care of yourself. I started off reducing my incoming food, then added more exercise, and now am tuning the foods I consume. This is full-scale lifestyle change, not a “diet” where you hit a goal and stop. I’ll let Alton Brown bring it home.

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