Health Experiment '08, Final Tally

The most popular request I get sounds the same, no matter who asks it.  It begins with a statement like, “I’ve tried to stick with diets before, and I just can’t do it, and I’m not going to exercise….”

Then comes the request:  “What ‘vitamin’ can you give me for _________ ?”, (fill in the blank with your favorite symptom or disease).

SO, in order to physically demonstrate the inherent fallacy of this request, I performed a Health Experiment on myself throughout 2008. 

During the first six months, I did everything right – the right diet, (Doug Kaufmann’s Phase One Diet), the right proportion of calories, (mostly following Tom Venuto’s sports nutrition principles), the right supplements, and proper exercise.  By the end of the first six months, I had zero symptoms, had lost fat, gained muscle, and felt fantastic.

During the second six months, my plan was to abandon every good habit except for the supplements. In effect, I wanted to do what others are asking me to do for them – give them the right supplements, while eating poorly and not exercising.  Predictably, I’m now loaded with symptoms, which I’ll detail below.

 

A TWIST SINCE NOVEMBER

Because so many old symptoms were returning, I thought I’d just cut the experiment off early.  But instead of stopping it, (and without announcing it on this website, on my radio show, or on Doug’s show), I decided to take it up a notch. 

Since November, in addition to abandoning the diet and exercise, I’ve also stopped regularly taking all supplements except a multivitamin.  I can’t even remember a time when I’ve abandoned every health principle like this, but it was probably around Jr. High.

In short, I’ve left myself completely vulnerable, health-wise.

 

MISERY

When I switched to the “throw out everything except the supplements” portion of the Experiment, predictably, the following symptoms have returned:

  • Weight gain
  • No energy/brain fog
  • “Restless Leg Syndrome”
  • Insomnia
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Depression

So, without the diet or exercise, it got pretty bad.  But the worst was yet to come….

COMPLETE BREAKDOWN

When I stopped taking supplements altogether, it was as if the health levee broke.  A TORRENT of health misery has absolutely overtaken me. 

Since Thanksgiving, I’ve basically had one long sinus infection, with only a day or two of respite.  That means that I’ve had a month-long sinus infection, and have had neither supplements nor diet nor medicines to “break the fall”.

Most incredibly, my old nemesis – psoriasis – has returned with a vengeance.  Folks, if you have this skin condition, and it’s just a simple rash on the top of your hands or covering a patch of leg, you have it easy.  Without exaggeration, I am literally covered from head-to-toe with psoriasis.  It is red, scaly, plaque-like, itchy, and is so obtrusive that it simply consumes my thoughts all the time.  I can’t go anywhere without long sleeves, long pants, and I’d prefer to wear gloves because it’s so unsightly.

So, in addition to all of the other symptoms, November and December have been a giant coughing, snorting, sneezing, sore-throat, swollen, scaly, itchy miserable experience. 

My whole life has been affected by this.  I’m not sleeping, and when I’m awake, I’m not fully “there”.  This is only the second article I’ve written here in December, and now you know why. 

THIS IS LIFE WITHOUT HOPE

While I was struggling to sleep last night, a thought hit me:  This is what life is like for many, many people.  This is life without hope.

If you don’t know how to eat well, (or just refuse to), and if you don’t exercise, and merely take a handful of supplements, you’re never going to reach any appreciable level of health.

If you don’t eat well, don’t exercise, and take no supplements, you’re setting yourself up for disaster, just as I’ve (artificially) done this year. 

THE ONE THING I WOULDN’T DO

I admit to playing this extremely fast and loose.  I really should never have done this, and I’d be lying if I told you that I wasn’t a little overwhelmed by all of these symptoms.  Yes, I’ve had these before, and yes, I’ve overcome them, and yes, I have a strategy to overcome them again.  But it’s still scary.  I mean…. have I gone too far this time? 

But even in the midst of overwhelming symptoms and concern that I may have bitten off more than I can chew, there’s one risk I haven’t taken:  Taking pharmaceutical drugs!

To me, if you abandon your diet, your supplements, and your exercise, you’re taking a huge risk with your health.  But if you add pharmaceutical drugs on top of it, I believe you’re almost guaranteeing your health demise.  [I say this as a former pharmaceutical rep.  Listen to me very carefully:  I’m horrified by most drugs, most of the time.  Yes, you need them from time to time, and thank goodness they’re available when we need them.  But the pharmaceutical industry has given us the impression that they’re these harmless little goodies that you can “just ask your doctor” for, and get huge payoffs with virtually no risks, and I simply don’t believe it.]

NOW WHAT?  THE RECOVERY PLAN

So now that I’ve taken myself to depths of my old symptoms, what’s the plan?  Originally, the plan was to do the 2008 Health Experiment, report on it, and be done with it.

But here’s what I’ve decided to do instead:

I’m gonna take you with me for the recovery!

Many of you who listen to SuperHealth or watch me on Know the Cause have heard of my heath recoveries.  Maybe you’ve read other people’s books who have included “before and after” photos.  To hear these stories, it sounds as if one day, a person is sick and overweight, and the next day, they’re well.  They sort of sound sterile and not all that challenging, really.

The truth is, the “before and after” stories don’t tell the whole story.

The simple fact is, recovery is hard and it takes time.  There are mess-ups, mistakes, relapses, and times when you feel like you’re not making any progress.   One month you’re at a particular weight, and you work and work and don’t cheat and double up on your exercise, and when you step on the scales the following month, you’re actually heavier than before!

I know.  I’ve been there.

And now, I’m going there again.  Except this time, you’re coming with me. 

In 2009, Lord willing, I’m on the road to recovery.  I’ve never experienced every symptom, simultaneously.  This is going to be a HUGE challenge.  (It’s also going to be a huge risk.  After all, when was the last time you announced on the internet that you’re sick, and that you’re gonna document your recovery, publicly!!??) 

Nevertheless, that’s the plan.

When I succeed at something, you’ll know it.

When I fail, you’ll know it. 

When I find something that works, you’ll hear about it.

If something purports to work and doesn’t, I’ll tell you about it.

The fact is, many of you have told me about your health failures, and what I’ve discovered is thateveryone fails.  Those of us in the media don’t talk enough about our failures – only our successes.  But my other health discovery is that those who succeed in overcoming health challenges, (or any challenges), are those who keep going after they fail.  Some people set a New Year’s goal of losing a certain number of pounds by March, and if they haven’t lost it by March, they simply give up.  Don’t make this mistake.

LESSONS #1 - #3

  1. Set reasonable goals with reasonable time frames in order to challenge yourself and stay focused.
  2. Goals should be more about actions, (things you can control), instead of outcomes, (things you cannot control). 
  3. Time frames are supposed to be “Inspiration Dates”, not “Expiration Dates”.  In other words, if you want to lose so much weight by June and you don’t succeed, don’t stop.  Re-adjust and keep going!

(Believe me, writing these down are just as much for myself as they are for you.  I need to hear these all over again.)

FINAL THOUGHTS

When Doug fields questions on his TV show or at his seminars, he’ll often say something like, “I wish you and I could trade bodies with you for the next year so I could show you how to do this stuff every single day”. 

Well, we can’t trade bodies with you, but I’ve officially crossed over the tracks from “Health” to “Sickness”, and if you’re sick, you and I have something in common.  You’re not in this alone.

Happy belated New Year to you.

 

 

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