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Simple Health Advice from a Cardiologist

slender dragonflyHere it is: stay slender. That’s it. (Assuming that you’re not doing so by smoking or taking diet pills or starving yourself. Notice that it says “slender,” not “skeletal.”)

Where did I get this piece of startlingly simple advice? From a cardiologist. Well, not from him directly, but from one of my stepsisters-in-law. She works at a local airport where rich people who own their own planes take off and land and is in charge of their fuel purchases.

A very interesting job, with lots of opportunities to meet people who’ve really gotten somewhere in life. And she’s the kind of person who can talk to anyone, anytime. So when she found out this man’s profession I guess it seemed natural for her to ask him what one piece of Health Advice he’d give if he could. He said, “Don’t worry about all these different diets, about whether or not you should eat red meat or butter or whatever. Just stay slender. That’s the only sure way to stave off heart disease.”

Isn’t that interesting? He also said, “Carbohydrates are killing us!” By which I assume he means refined carbohydrates, mainly sugar. (You knew I’d say that, didn’t you?) It must be very frustrating for him to walk through a grocery store. Aisles and aisles full of refined-carbohydrate products! (Remember what I call the candy aisle at Costco: “the poison aisle.”)

So here it is again, another instance of my principle that the boring procedures lead to the best results. We want drama, we want miracle cures, we want something to brag about. But those things never work, mainly because they’re unsustainable. You can only stay on the insane diet for a few weeks or months, but ultimately you just can’t do it any more. And now you’ve slowed down your metabolism enough (because your poor body thinks you’re starving to death) that you’ll regain more weight, much of which will be fat. And fat doesn’t burn calories at the rate muscle tissue does. So you’ve shot yourself in the foot two ways: slower metabolism and higher body-fat percentage. No wonder each cycle of crazy dieting results in a new, higher plateau weight. I read somewhere, I think it in the old Fit or Fatbook by Covert Bailey, about a woman who had gone through several of these lose-and-gain hoop-de-doos, and she said that she’d be so grateful to be able to be back at her weight at the beginning of the whole rollercoaster, the weight that she’d thought was too high and that she’d wanted to reduce but which now seemed unattainable.

For me, one big non-dramatic weight-loss strategy is to eat a small dinner and then no more food until breakfast. I don’t always stick to that: sometimes it just seems like a long time until morning. But brushing my teeth right after dinner is very helpful. (If I do it, that is.) Let’s see—this is Dec. 14 (my dad’s birthday), so there are a little over 2 weeks left in the year. I’d like to be down about 4 pounds from what I was this morning. That’s very doable, even with Christmas dinner in the mix, with the highest recommended loss of no more than 2 pounds per week. (Liz Craft said on yesterday’s podcast that she wants to lose 25 pounds in 2018. She should be able to meet that goal in the first quarter if she meets the 2-pounds-a-week limit.)

Heigh-ho, my friends. Be boring!

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Simple Health Advice from a Cardiologist


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