I mentioned on Twitter a few days ago that I was thinking of setting myself a small, achievable health challenge starting today. Well, I have started, and I decided that I would blog about it as I went. I’m normally not one for sharing health concerns left, right and centre, but nonetheless I have discovered after I tackled the Couch to 5K last year that there’s something about putting my intentions out into cyberspace that makes me stick to things longer than normal.

I’m not that great at sticking to things, you see. I think my personality type likes starting things, but finishing things is not my strong point…which is, oddly enough, the exact opposite of my wife, who loves finishing things.

Anyway, before I start to waffle any further, here’s where things are at:

I want to feel more fit. I don’t have a target weight I want to be, or anything like that – but for the last couple of years, every time I go to the doctor, my blood pressure creeps up a bit worse; every time I get a cholesterol test, it looks worse than it did before. In other words, on the scale of things, my health is in decline. To be honest, it’s gotten to the stage where I’m rather terrified of going to the doctor for fear that they’ll diagnose that it’s so bad that I’ve got six months to live. Yeah, there’s issues of mortality there which I probably need to tackle, because I’ve got a limited run on the planet one way or the other.  I know this. But part of me thinks that shortening that run because of something as stupid as, say, liking corn chips is really stupid.

So I’m trying for 90 days to see if I can bring about some changes. I don’t want to set up a huge, daunting routine, and also I’m currently in need of a new pair of running shoes (ruined by aforementioned Couch to 5K), so I don’t want to get into running again right at the moment. So I’m going to try three things:

1) Doing some exercise six days a week. I’m thinking a half-hour walk on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, I thought I might have a crack at one hundred pushups, because I’ve usually focused on walking/running and haven’t really done much muscle work and it sounds like a good challenge. More on that tomorrow.

2) Avoiding junk food on weekdays. This is not an easy one. I hate to admit it (I much prefer looking perfect – don’t you?), but junk food tends to call me, on average, every two days. Sometimes every day. We have a bit of a love/hate relationship, but that’s another story. Either way, I want to see if I can avoid it on weekdays. (We’ll see how we go on weekends.) The exception to this is the traditional office birthday cakes, which are always awesome. But only one piece.

3) Having a green smoothie every day. If you’ve never had one, they are the most phenomenal invention. You take some greens (lettuce, spinach, etc.) add slightly more fruit than greens, a bit of water, and blend it into a drink in a blender. Because there’s more fruit than greens, it takes like fruit and not like spinach. But because there’s so many greens in there, you get a much bigger hit of vegetables than you would if you were eating a salad. It’s quite ingenious.

Anyway, so far the walk is ticked off, so is the junk food (but it was cake day – so that probably didn’t help) and I’m about to go and drink the green smoothie that I just blended up. And because this blog post is long and banal enough, I shall go post a review I wrote a while back that I haven’t had a chance to get up, just to break the monotony.

2 thoughts on “Day 1 of 90: Why I Hate Doctors

  1. Matt,
    Thanks for this. I have been good at starting things and less than thorough at pushing through to completion over many years.
    It’s encouraging to find someone else who does likewise.

    If I might comment on the exercise thing in general, I personally find it easier to train for something specific, such as City2Surf or the Gong Ride. I find it hard to maintain the exercise program when the event is over.

    Phil C

  2. Good for you Matt!

    Phil’s right – a couple of years ago I was running just for the sake of running and I got pretty fit, but after a couple of weeks off due to a work trip and a cold, I never got back into it. The only reason I managed to stay semi-fit at that point was a combination of weekly soccer and mid-week training, plus riding to work 1-2 days a week to give the family the car.

    If your cholesterol levels are ticking up then I’ve got 3 things you can add to your diet:
    – Almonds (10 a day is supposed to be the magic number)
    – Avocado (replace butter/marg on your sandwiches with avocado, much nicer and much healthier, and an order of magnitude cheaper than the logicol type spreads)
    – Oats. Oatbran muffins, fruit-oat loaf, rolled oats for breakfast.

    You might also want to check out a book called “sweet poison”. It’s by a lawyer who was in a similar situation and sat down to review some of the research on cardiac health, and one of the things he found was that too much sugar made things worse than the traditional bugbears like fat and salt. I haven’t read it yet, so it could just be a fad – time will tell I guess.


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