Metabolic Syndrome

Metabolic Syndrome is the name for a group of risk factors that raises our risk for heart disease diabetes and stroke.

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute our risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke increases with the number of metabolic risk factors you have. In general, a person who has metabolic syndrome is twice as likely to develop heart disease and five times as likely to develop diabetes as someone who doesn’t have metabolic syndrome.

As mentioned, the diagnosis can be made using any three out of the five. Example,

  1. Large waistline (greater than 35 ” for Women, greater than 40 ” for Men) Also is called abdominal obesity. Excess fat in the stomach area is a greater risk factor for heart disease than excess fat in other parts of the body.
  2. A high triglyceride level (greater than 150 mg/dL), or being on medication to treat high triglycerides.
  3. A low HDL cholesterol level (less than 50 mg/dL), or being on medication to treat low HDL cholesterol.
  4. High blood pressure (130/85 mm Hg), or being on medication to treat high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage your heart and lead to plaque buildup.
  5. High fasting blood sugar (greater than 100 mg/dL), or being on medication to treat high blood sugar. Mildly high blood sugar may be an early sign of diabetes.

Therefore, it seems to me that for me (with 4 out of 5) negative indicators all at ones, the writing is “on the wall” so to speak. Do something about it now, or wait for the consequences. Not a fun proposition. I have tried diets and exercise. I have my stationary bike right in my room. I have no excuses. I just simply like to eat and don’t like to exercise. That is what got me here. That is what has to change now! I think I have found the best way to do it quickly and I want to share my journey in my Blog.  If you share my concerns, I hope you’ll join me.  I welcome comments from fellow dieters and otherwise health conscious individuals.

Obesity

So What Got America This Fat?????

More than one third of all Americans are considered obese.  More over, this already large population has been increasing each year (up by 23% since 1990) and is projected to continue increasing unless we do something about it.  Education and awareness of the problems are necessary in an effort to curve the current trend.  This is projected to have a devastating effect to the cost of healthcare as obesity related illnesses begin to emerge.  Some of these related illness are associated with an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and some types of cancers, to name a few.  At this time, the costs of these illness have already reached $147 Billion/year and are project to increase as the obese population ages.  Moreover, the future does not look promising if we fail to reverse the current trends.  In fact, current studies predict that 42% of Americans will be obese by 2030.  That translates to 100 million obese Americans!  A 6% increase from the current already high 36% considered obese today.  The projected increase in medical costs associated with this increase alone is approximately $550 Billion over the current expenses.  Although the numbers are staggering, the more tragic reality is that these numbers are directly related to preventable illnesses and higher mortality.

So what got America this fat?  The answer is three fold, according to Scott LaFee from the University of California, San Diego.
Not only do we eat too much.  What we consume has way more calories than our body needs to maintain its proper function.  Part of the problem goes with current portion sizes.  CDC statistics show that the average restaurant serving is 4 times larger now than it was 50 years ago.  When we eat too many calories, the body uses what it needs and “deposits” the rest (usually around our waist, thighs, etc).

We do not exercise as often as we should.  According to a Gallup poll approximately one third of Americans get no daily exercise.  The result goes to joins that become stiffer as they age.  The stiffer the less active we become and set a viscious cycle.  The less active the more we deposit the calories we eat. 

We do eat, unhealthy foods very often. We then tend to develop high cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, all of which increase our risk for heart disease and other illness.

In short, we are not taking care of our bodies the way we should and our bodies are reacting to our lack of care.  The reaction is proportional to the action.  For those of us who do not like to exercise and eat right, there is a very simple equation…”we pay now or we pay later!”  That is, we sacrifice our bad habits and do things right, or we will pay with our health and will limited by the consequences.

Our children share in our bad habits.  They are eating unhealthy foods.  They are going to the same restaurants that serve the large portion sizes.  To make matters worse, some are even “supersizing” their already large servings.  Most are not getting enough exercise because they are spending too long in front of a TV or computer screen.  The outcomes are predictable and tragic.  Many children are already overweight in America.  Time is of the essence to get them in the right tract before they develop the inevitable health issues that go with being overweight.

Cardiac Procedures

Here is small collection of videos that are useful to provide information on important facts about heart disease diagnosis and corrective procedures.

* Cardiac Catheterization

* Angioplasty & Stenting

* Coronary Bypass

Journey Against Metabolic Syndrome – Week Three

This week the weight loss seems to be reaching a slowing down point.  That tends to happen in every diet.  The way to break it is usually adding more exercise.  I am trying to build that into my routine, but it is not easy for me because I hate to exercise!

My results this week are one more pound lost for a total of 11 pounds.  In terms of inches I am much more happy.  I have lost another 2 inches for a total of 10.5 so far.

This week I have continued the daily lunch salads and the brisk walks during lunch to and from the salad bar.  I have cut down the juices to two per day.  One for breakfast that incorporates carrots and some fruit.  One during the mid afternoon that includes celery, cucumber and any other green like Kale and one apple to help the taste.  The mid afternoon drink helps to curve the hunger.  Lets face it, no matter how big the lunch salad, it does not get me to dinner.  In the past, I used to have some kind of snack if I did not have a hardy lunch.  Now I juice!  It is much more healthy and helps not feel so deprived.

 

Journey Against Metabolic Syndrome – Week Five

I hope by now you have noticed that the date stamp on these posts is off.  The reason is that I am blogging as I have time and not always as things happen.  Having said that, I am actually off by a week or so.

This week I am almost back on track but I have only lost 1 pound of the two I gained.  The reason I say I am almost back on track is that I have participated in all the celebrations associated with family and my new lovely granddaughter Elise.  However, I have made sure I am eating more vegetables than protein and I am skipping the sweats altogether.  The other issue is that I ran out of most of the vegetables.  I have not had time to purchase fresh organic produce.  The juices I have made from what I had in my refrigerator and that was cucumber, celery, carrots, oranges and apples. However, even with this partial getting back on track, I do feel better than last week and I am no longer bloated.

I am back eating salad every day at work but I have not had time for my daily one mile walk.  Therefore, this week I am at negative one pound (negative because it is part of the two I gained last week).

Journey against Metabolic Syndrome – Week Four

This week my journey against Metabolic Syndrome has taken me off track!  But for a very good reason.  My granddaughter Elise Marie was born.  My daughter went into labor a week early and we had a storm in the golf.  All at the same time.  My daughter and I were in the hospital during a lock-down due to the storm while her husband went home to secure the house.  As a result, there were not too many eating choices and my trusty juicer was far far away! I was back to my old eating habits, sandwiches, french fries and even a few sweats, not to mention a coke or two.

So at the end of the ordeal when I finally got home, I had gained 2 pounds and felt very bloated.  I have to admit I felt discouraged.  After all the reading and discipline it only took a little sidetracking for me to gain 2 pounds.  That thought was not helping me stay the course.  But my friend, who is doing this with me and had no family emergency kept me on track.  She was quick to remind me that we had decided on a lifestyle change period.  It did not matter if I gained as long as I go right back to my new lifestyle.

So this week’s report is a negative 2 pounds.  We will see what happens next.

Research into the best juicer for my purposes

It turns out that there is a lot more to a juicer than I could ever imagine.  Much information is written on this subject and there are dozens of YouTube videos comparing the various types of juicers.  I had no idea, but there is a a whole community out there and lots of people that are avid juicers who can offer a wealth of information on the subject.  One that I have learned a lot from and who I recommend to anyone who is interested in learning more about this subject is John from Discount Juicers. Here is one of his many videos.

I viewed many videos like this one and in the process of narrowing down my choice.   Will update soon.

Well Friday came around again and I am very happy to report that I have lost a total of 10 pounds (or 4 more pounds) and 8.5 inches.

When I refer to inches I am measuring the following areas of my body: waist, abdomen (or belly), chest circumference, hips, and upper leg.  Once I measure all of it, I add the inches.  I am most interested in reducing my waist to less than 35 inches since that is one of the indicators for Metabolic Syndrome for women.

This week I have tried to “improvise” with the juice recipes and I have not been too successful.  Most of them have not tasted better than the ones from the Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead site.  The reason for the improvisation is that I have wanted to use all organic vegetables and I am still trying to find the best sources for the produce.  So at times is has been hard to find all the types of vegetable one juice takes i.e. Kale, cucumber, celery, apples all organic.  When I have not had all the ingredients it is recommended that you substitute with another vegetable of the same color, since the color is directly connected to the nutritional properties of the vegetable.   Unfortunately, the substitutions I have made are good for the colors but not so good for the taste! Nonetheless, I have drank all my juices and I am seeing the results to I am very happy and feel very good.

Now there are a couple of more people in the office that are getting interested in trying the juices and it has become a nice source of good conversation during lunch.  We are trying to learn more about nutrition, what are the properties of all the produce, what is healthiest for adding to our juices, etc.  The beauty of this, is that even if you don’t really like too many vegetables, you can still enjoy the benefits by juicing them and “drinking” them, instead of eating them.  Juicing gives you the possibility of actually meeting and even exceeding the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables for a healthy diet.

Now that I know, my general medicine physician approves of how I am doing this diet (3 juices daily plus a salad for lunch, for dinner more vegetables with a small serving of a protein) and that I can actually stick to this, it is time to do the research to invest in a higher quality juicer.

I will share my finding here.

 

Journey against Metabolic Syndrome – Week One

I decided to record my weight and total inches lost every Friday until I reach my goals. The first Friday I had lost 5 pounds and 6 inches.

This week I incorporated eating a salad for lunch (I can’t work my high stress job on juice!).  So instead of 5 juices per day, I drank 3 juices and had two meals.  The meals were mostly composed of green vegetables.  For lunch a salad with mixed greens and toppings like, olives, artichokes, bell peppers, garbanzos, cucumbers and asparagus.  The salad was different each day to make it more interesting.  Also added a balsamic vinaigrette.  The evening meal was either baked or steam vegetables or hummus and wheat crackers.

I also incorporated walking one mile a day this week.  I do it at lunch by choosing the long route to the salad place.  Half mile to the cafe and half mile back to my office with brisk walk.

I have to say that I already feel more energy and feel lighter on my feet.

So here is my plan.  I currently have 4 out of the 5 indicators to grant me a diagnosis of Metabolic Syndrome.  This is not good and I intent to reverse that path by applying the principles of a more wholesome diet.  I will incorporate juicing and a bit more exercise.  I will also cut down in portion size and favor vegetables over protein. I am not a nutritionist.  I am a laboratory scientist.  I know of enough medicine to be dangerous!  It is time to apply what I have learned to my own body.  I hope to interest some of you in this journey since I am putting myself on the line here and do not plan to fail.

 

I can not believe I did it.  But I did.  I have lived the past three days making juices from several fruits and vegetables (some of which I did not even know existed until now). Examples of vegetables I had never heard of are:  Fennel Bulb, Swiss Chard and Kale.  The others were more common to me like, spinach, celery, cucumber, tomatoes, basil, parsley, ginger among others.  The fruits I used are: pears, apples, blackberries, blue berries, clementines, oranges and strawberries.

I have to say that most of the juices I tried were very tasty.  The first part of the day was not bad, as the afternoon came, it became more difficult.  The only way to do this for me was during a weekend.  I can not work on juice fuel!  but I can certainly juice on a 3 day weekend.

The effect of the cleans is obvious as you make many many trips to the rest room.  However, the fruits, vegetables and water keep you hydrated and with enough potassium to feel relatively fine and with energy.  My purpose is not to detail the diet, for that I suggest you visit the Join the Reboot site.  That is the source I am using for this journey’s diet plan. My purpose is to share the journey which means more to  me than the recipes themselves.

Outcome of my three day fast was a loss of 5 pounds.  Not bad for 3 days!

The fight is on and the goal is to loose 20 pounds, lower my Cholesterol and take off a few inches from my waist.

I will blog about the rest of this personal journey.  I hope it can serve to motivate those who read my posts.

 

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