Day 01 – Jumped The Gun

Day 1 – Water Fast
Weight BP Systolic BP Diastolic
177.4 140 90
Body Fat 27%
Chest Rt. Arm Bicep Lt. Arm Bicep 2 in above navel Navel 2 in below navel Hips Widest Point Rt. Thigh Lt. Thigh
38.5 12 12.5 38.25 38.5 38.5 38 22.5 22.5
 I made a last minute decision. I decided to begin with a water fast today.  Knowing that I was starting the potato fast soon and this would herald my attempt to move to a very strict plant based diet, I spent most of last week having a fond farewell to all the junk I eat. I really didn’t eat terribly before this, but I didn’t worry too much about my diet either. I ride my bike about 8 – 10 miles every two days. I swim, I run, I do weights. None of this is intense, I just want to get better at sprint triathlons. I am not as consistent at these exercises, but I usually get 1 hour of workout in 5 days a week or more. Because I do this, I haven’t worried about diet.
I started doing running about 18 months ago and dropped a solid 15 pounds. I thought if I added more exercise, I would drop more. That hasn’t happened. This past summer, I have raced triathlons, won a mile swim, and cycled with the scouts repeatedly.  I took up teaching swim lessons after decades of not doing so. I love it. I wish I could fully replace my computer consulting income as a swim instructor. I can’t, but I can still do it on the side and love doing it. Being active is not a problem.
What is a problem is my BP. I had gone to a doctor for a physical before scout camp and all seemed well except my BP  160/80.  Another time I had it taken at it was 170/83.  Just before I started reading on this, I was coming to the personal conclusion I had read about and accepted as a theoretical possibility: I could not exercise my way out of a bad diet. My diet isn’t all that bad. As it turns out, you can’t exercise your way out of a mediocre diet either.
As I reflect on it, my diet is pretty bad. I would bring leftovers from home. Pasta, rice, cheese, heavy sauces. My wife is an excellent cook but our views on healthy foods diverge. We eat a lot of vegetables and fruit. Vegetables are not just a side dish thing, often they are a main dish thing. They are, however, cooked with lots of the SOS (salt, oils, and sugar). Plus, there are always boxes of crackers, bags of cereal, chips, and sundry dessert items. I managed to get to the 180 from the 195 on exercise. This did not remove the pregnant look I am currently sporting and my BP says all is not well. It could be worse, much worse, but, I am not shooting for “it’s not that bad” result.  I would prefer, “holy carp, your health is amazing” as the response.
My cholesterol is likely bad too. I haven’t tested it yet. I tested it a while back and as always it is dangerous. If I go to the doctor for a cholesterol test, I will get told to go on meds.
My whole family has high cholesterol. All my brothers and sisters have it. This includes the one who is a third level black belt in multiple martial arts disciplines who is older than me but looks a decade younger. Since I look younger than my age, she looks amazing. Even she is having challenges. She eats well, but not well enough. Not for somebody whose levels are in the 300 range.My sister has always encouraged me to get healthier and I have made lots of half-axed efforts to do so. Since I took up my running, cycling, swimming, strength training, my efforts have been more full donkey. Now I am going to go extreme, even too extreme for her. For now it is enough to know that in a family with varying lifestyles from very healthy to horribly unhealthy, cholesterol remains high regardless.
This diet is my last attempt at changing this before deciding on medication. It is my first attempt at getting what has historically been a good BP down. It is my attempt to increase longevity, by decreasing calories.  It is my first attempt at a diet in 15 years.
I set my goal to start on the first day of September, which would give me the Labor Day weekend to get through the feel like shittum wood phase (man, I love the Old Testament). Penn mentions that in his book. As mentioned earlier, I became very non-vigilant about the food I ate the two previous weeks. Knowing what was about to happened, I had my last fix and ate a lot of junk over that time.
 Bad idea. I suspect it only makes the potato fast that much more difficult. So I decided last night to preempt potatoes with a water only fast. I am shooting for 72 hours. This means my 14 day potato only diet begins at that time. If I can’t go 72 hours, I will make 48 and start potatoes 1 day early. Either way, a few days of not eating should make the potatoes a welcome break. Around 9 pm tonight will be 24 hours. That will be when I take my home cholesterol test.
(Follow up: I did my home test and my cholesterol came in at 265. That is still high, but it’s  the lowest measurement I have ever had. I makes me question the efficacy of a home test. For now, I will use it as a baseline.)