Since joining Microsoft back in mid-2006, my weight skyrocketed about 15% or 30 pounds. A large part of this can be attributed to the abundance of unhealthy, free food at Microsoft, but that’s only half of the story. When I worked at University of Calgary, I had to walk at least a mile and a half each day to get to and from various transit points. Now, the parking lot is at best 50 meters away from my building. While I might have complained about walking around in -20 degree weather in Canada, I really had no idea how good it was for my health. Up until recently, I didn’t know just how bad Microsoft’s free perks such as unlimited soda and the constant supply of junk food outside co-workers' offiices were really harming me either. That said, my health is my own responsibility and I shouldn't have listened to the demons in my head that kept telling me to eat more.
Flash forward to January 2011. An annual check-up revealed that my “fatty-liver” condition (human equivalent of foie gras) diagnosed in 2008 had progressed such that I now have either gallstones or possibly even a growth in my gallbladder. I was only 30 at the time! Any ways, this was exactly the ‘scare’ I needed for a major lifestyle change. My amazing wife letting me know that my snoring had gotten far worse since moving to Seattle wasn’t enough. Fear of cancer and Microsoft’s announcement that our 100% healthcare would disappear in two short years skyrocketed me into action.
By chance, I came across a wonderful blog post, http://www.crockford.com/pwl/, by Douglas Crockford which explained our society’s current obesity epidemic and gave some awesome advice on losing weight. If you haven’t read this post before, I highly recommend it as it’s quite logical and well thought-out.
Concurrently, I was also trying to abide by Dr. Sandra Cabot’s advice she gave in her book, the Liver Cleanse Diet. The basic premise of the book is that the liver is solely responsible for removing fat from the bloodstream, and an unhealthy liver implies you’ll pack on the pounds. Well, the way my “fatty-liver” was diagnosed was via blood tests looking for chemicals the liver releases when it’s under duress.
- No more sausage biscuits for breakfast. Instead, my wife or I typically juice apples/carrots/celery/kiwi/etc. or eat a bowl of oatmeal followed by a cup of black coffee
- Replaced Indian food, pizza, and burgers for lunch with either a low-fat salad or a turkey (Subway) sub. The former set is incredibly high in fat
- Take double the daily recommended amount of Milk Thistle, a herb purported to protect the liver
- I used to eat 90% meat/cheese/dairy/flour for every meal, and perhaps 10% were fruits and vegetables. Now more than 50% of my food intake comes from fruits and vegetables
- Portion control, portion control, portion control. My wife’s culture “loves you with food” which needed to change to “love you with less food”
- Limited my intake of fats to those found in avocadoes, nuts, and lean poultry. It was hard to give up cheese and red meat, but it has paid off
- Severely restricted my intake of alcohol. While it doesn’t necessarily add fat to my bloodstream, it does hurt one’s liver. Over the course of three months I’ve had a grand total of four beers
- Severely restricted my intake of refined sugar. Had only one coke in three months and all the oatmeal cookies I’ve eaten have been low-sugar and low-fat. Have had a few peanut butter and honey sandwiches though
- For two weeks I took a commercial (As Seen on TV) product called the “The Cleaner”. Basically just pop some pills every day and have weird looking bowel movements
- This is perhaps the most difficult, yet also the most important facet of my diet – do a gallbladder cleanse. After finishing “The Cleaner”, one evening I downed 1.25 cups of the finest cold-pressed olive oil I could find chased by 1 cup of fresh lemon juice; all over the course of three hours. If you want to do this, be forewarned the next day will not be fun by any means. I didn’t *really* start shedding weight like crazy until after the gallbladder cleanse
- I even jumped off the wagon for four days while on a business trip last month and have lost five pounds since then!
- the look of shock from people who haven’t seen me in a while
- a recent blood test indicates my liver function is back to normal
- a sleep study performed after I’d lost about 15 pounds showed I was no longer snoring excessively nor breathing incorrectly
- my brain is operating at a frequency I quite honestly haven’t experienced since 2004
- far less tired yet I’ve also been getting less sleep (i.e., maybe six hours a night)
- lost 31 pounds to date. After another five I plan on relaxing the diet just a bit