Over the last 20 years as an outpatient anesthesiologist, I’ve become quite proficient at formulating a plan of how to safely and efficiently anesthetize a patient based on laboratory data and personal interview. I establish an objective, strategize tactics, and then execute the plan. I’ve been quite successful, certainly not perfect, nonetheless, I’ve become an expert. The same approach can be extrapolated to life. Success is only possible when our values align with our actions. Let’s take health for example. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, I want to be healthy, yet they consume a standard American diet, skimp on sleep, and don’t sustain exercise. Where is the disconnect? Where are they misaligned?
Nutrition and exercise is a great step off point for health, but mindset is necessary to sustain health. This blog will not provide a one diet fits all or the exercise plan that guarantees the best body composition. Those are all tactics. What people need first is an objective. Name your goal. Write it down. Studies show that people who write down their goals are far more likely to accomplish them. Once you establish your objective, start small. Success results from small investments over time. Know what kind of changes you want to make. Accept what you cannot change. Unlearn old beliefs about yourself. The journey to health is not paved with one way signs. I will explore bioindividuality in future posts and talk about how despite the human genome having only 20,000 genes, the way we code for them is almost infinite, thus the study of epigenetics, or how we express or suppress those genes based on lifestyle choices.
Nine months ago my objective was to lose weight and improve my energy level. Being an avid physical activity enthusiast, I had also been pursuing a journey of nutrition that spanned the last decade starting with eliminating gluten, then dairy, then sugar and in the last two years animal products. The vegan diet left me 15 pounds heavier, after two years of predominantly consuming carbohydrates from non wheat grains, fruits and vegetables. Despite consistent exercise and a “clean diet” I was sluggish, swollen and packing on the pounds. I was also starting to get forgetful and experience brain fog. The conventional wisdom of most traditionally trained doctors like myself was eat less and move more. That’s what I was doing!! What if, WE WERE WRONG? What if the calorie in calorie out model of obesity was just that, a model or hypothesis? This realization led me to research and extensively study the newest literature on nutrition, health and longevity. What I discovered was nothing new in human biochemistry but rather a more than three decade long propaganda campaign to change the American diet. The media has the most influence on our culture and let’s face it, most people believe what commercials tell them. When I read the science on metabolism in relation to macronutrients ( fat, protein, and carbohydrates) I learned that the reason I was gaining weight was because I was over consuming carbohydrates. I adopted a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet and within two months, I not only lost weight, I lost body fat, I regained an enormous amount of energy and I felt great. In fact, feeling good allowed me to dream new dreams. There was actually a physiologic explanation for feeling good, my brain was thriving on ketones for its energy source. Then I got off social media. We become so distracted by other peoples lives that we don’t have time to figure out who we are because we’re comparing our lives to others. So despite the perfect nutrition and exercise plan, we have to show up for life and own our own moments. Instead of stressing about the future, I had to learn to be aware of the present. Stay tuned for future posts on the benefits of meditation and its effect on neuroplasticity, the forming of new neuronal connections in our brains.
My next post will dive into what the ketogenic diet actually entails, what foods are high in healthy fats, what foods to avoid and why our bodies love ketones. So ask yourself, are my actions misaligned with my goals? If health is your goal, then now is the time to start making small steps towards achieving that goal, starting with mindset. If not now, then when? And finally, let’s stop feeling guilty about self care. If we don’t put ourselves on the top of our to- do list, then the people in our lives don’t get the best version of us.