Wake Up And Decide To Change: Health Edition

I just want to acknowledge that this week and last week’s main Moontower essays were kinda snippy. It actually betrays how I’m feeling lately which is extra cheerful. My birthday was 5 weeks ago and since then I’ve given up drinking, processed carbs, grains, caffeine (I cheat about once a week on that but I’ve also been mostly off caffeine since January), and very spicy food. I’m not even drinking bubble water or diet soda. The only liquid I have today is flat water. I’ve also been exercising 5 or 6 days a week even if it’s just attending a foam-rolling type class.

I’m 44. I have high blood sugar, high blood pressure, acid reflux. My family history isn’t great. There’s no imminent problem, but I’m not elastic anymore. It’s harder to lose weight even when I try. It will only get harder as I age, so it’s wise to rediscover higher self-expectations today (yesterday really, but you know that saying about the best time to plant a tree).

I’ve always been unbending about my cold-turkey interventions. It’s not rooted in logic. It’s just what works for me. The interventions self-reinforce each other. When I eat clean I want to exercise and when I exercise I want to eat clean. Irrational or not, I don’t care. I know the desired outcomes and rather wasting time with precision (ahem, analysis paralysis), I’d rather carpet-bomb myself.

Those who know me well, know I’m both a hypochondriac and have a history of self-hacking interventions. I was hardcore paleo for almost 8 years I won a clean eating contest in Crossfit at age 31 and just kept going. Incidentally, I started the contest the day after attending the Kentucky Derby so it was a great way to recover from all the mint juleps and Pappy Van Winkle that ICAP pumped into us. And a mystery I’ll never solve — eating paleo1 somehow cured my lactose intolerance.

Fun fact: Yinh and I even hosted a 9-week paleo challenge for our friends and family. We literally spent 4 hours a night scoring more than 50 people’s food choices (you had to take photos of every meal). The prize pool was about $2,000 and your odds of placing were proportional to your final score. I’m proud to say that there were 2 more challenges led by “graduates” of the first one. We stepped down from administering them because it was way too much work but I’m glad we kickstarted it. Most importantly, everyone learned about what they put in their bodies.

Just a shout-out: I’d bet most of the contestants were the first subs who agreed to receive an email called “Moontower” many years later. Those who have put up with my whimsical ways for decades…hi, I love you all 🙂

There were other interventions too. I did Atkins in college after gaining a Freshman 30. I can remember eating 1/2 stick of butter as a meal once, determined to get the right color on those keto-stix. It’s also what got me into diet soda which was a crappy parting gift. I did intermittent fasting for 3 years from 39-42 years old. Yinh thinks my bizarre experiments struggles have to do with going on Weight Watchers in middle school because I was a fat kid from ages 6 to 13. I’m not sure if WW mattered because puberty was a major reset for me as I lengthened out. Still, weighing my food and knowing calorie counts is muscle memory. I’m not sure if this obsessiveness is a net positive but it’s easy for me to just decide I’m going to cut X or Y. (I’ll admit, cutting booze is hard socially, but since my peers are now older I don’t have to deal with immature peer pressure. Everyone that’s older gets it. In fact, I have felt more respect than judgment from others which is flipped from how this would have went in my 20s. It’s still hard. I like beers and cocktails. We’ll see what happens on all that. For now, I’m fine tee-totaling).

I have never set a time limit on my interventions. I just start. Actually, that’s not true, I once watched a totally unconvincing documentary called What The Health. I was cursing at the screen because I thought it was such cherry-picked garbage that Yinh almost fell off the couch when I announced I was “going vegan” for the next month after watching it. The movie was stupid but I thought the experiment would be fun. (Side note: we want to French Laundry that month for our SIL’s birthday and I stuck to my guns opting for the vegetarian menu. That was a waste of $$).

Anyway, I don’t know how long this will go on but my energy is up, my workout capacity is increasing, albeit from a low level, and my I’m more bushy-tailed than usual. Maybe those cranky takes were just the last of some residue I needed to shake, but upcoming Moontowers will be more focused on usefulness, growth, learning, and all that other quaint stuff done in my California sober (I recently heard this expression) way.

  1. Yinh being the most amazing wife decided to experiment with some paleo recipes for me even though she didn’t do the diet herself. The blog she created still has a long tail of visitors more than 10 years later!


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