Rick’s Health Story: How It Started
In my thirties through my fifties, my energies were spent on being a good husband, father, provider, community and church member, friend, and singer. I paid some attention to exercise, and even ran the Boston Marathon twice. If I could run 26 miles without stopping, especially at 5’11” and over 200 pounds, well, I must be doing something right. My nutrition at home was quite good thanks to my wife Jody, but I consistently made poor choices when given the chance, especially at work, dining out, and on the road, which was often.
I gained a pound or two or three every year, and over time developed hypertension, obstructive sleep apnea, and high cholesterol, etc. My primary care physician put me on different combinations of medications to control the hypertension and cholesterol. We paid scant attention to underlying causes, and worked on treating symptoms with pharmaceuticals. We rarely discussed losing weight or nutrition. Perhaps he knew I had little appetite for dieting. I had plenty of colds, moved less, got hurt more often, and of course recovery takes more time with age. I was generally puffy and inflamed, and even though I used a CPAP machine to sleep at night, I never felt fully vigorous. Unfortunately, it’s a typical story.
So then what happened? Jody had just finished Gary Taubes’ book “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It” and she wanted to share it; she knew it would appeal to me, and I’d learn a lot. From the blurb on Amazon: “He reveals the bad nutritional science of the last century—none more damaging or misguided than the “calories-in, calories-out” model of why we get fat—and the good science that has been ignored. He also answers the most persistent questions: Why are some people thin and others fat? What roles do exercise and genetics play in our weight? What foods should we eat, and what foods should we avoid?”
That book launched me! Finally, the scientific research story, told in words we could all understand – destroying conventional wisdom and exploding myths, sure, but mostly just giving us the science underneath what we’d been reading in dribs and drabs, all in one place.
Much more learning followed – it was the beginning of a great and healthy and on-going adventure. And here’s what happened: we had welcomed granddaughter Molly to the clan, Jody got a new haircut, and in the 8 months after finishing that book I dropped 40 pounds, stopped all the meds, tossed out the CPAP machine, and regained vitality.