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From Risky Health Status to a Better Life
Date:1/15/2010

uncles and grandfathers die of diabetes, heart failure and cancer. In the United States, 66 percent of adults are overweight or obese, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Weaver told me I needed to do more -- and fast. I needed to work out more often, for one thing. "Your weight wasn't moving, and your body was showing these horrible changes," he said. "Someone else can do the same thing and it would work, but it wasn't working for you."

He also recommended immediate changes in my diet, changes I recognized from my work as a health writer:

  • No more white rice or white flour, and cut out as much sugar as possible. "Those are high-glycemic foods," he said. "You get a big sugar rush and a big insulin rise, and that worsens the metabolic syndrome."
  • No more alcohol. I live in the Northwest, where microbreweries and wineries are gifted and numerous. But alcohol also contains a lot of sugar and could scar my liver in the state it was in.
  • No more fatty or greasy foods. I needed to lose weight and get my cholesterol down. Fat contains more calories than either carbohydrates or proteins, and saturated fat pumps bad cholesterol into the bloodstream.

I left Weaver's office scared and shaken -- but also determined. I made all the changes he recommended. I began drinking water or sugar-free drinks and changed to one-percent milk. I ate only whole-wheat bread and pasta, and indulged in them sparingly. I cut my intake of red meat and began eating chicken, fish and vegetarian meals more often.

Another new habit was reading food labels very, very closely, paying attention to both the nutrition information and the ingredients list. I didn't buy foods high in sugar or saturated fat. Anything with partially hydrogenated oil was out because that indicates trans-fats. My wife began to refer to me as the "Food Nazi."

My day started with a bowl of steel-cut oatmeal sprinkled with some
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