May 2021 – Biannual Health Test Results and a Happy Ending

My biannual blood test results for May 13, 2021 are in, and they continue to be great. I also had an echocardiogram and X-rays taken, and the doctor said they were all normal. And I’m at the lowest weight of my adult life – down 133 lb to 151 lb.

My blood sugar remains normal, without medication. It even dropped some more. My cholesterol is fantastic, and blood pressure is great. While I continue to (very very very slowly) lose weight the doctor strongly emphasized that I shouldn’t lose more weight, should add more calories, and concentrate on physical training. He said I do not have any more worries about weight or diabetes and sort of lectured me a bit on that. 

Some nurses who saw me were raving about how good I looked (they remember me from before), and one of them who is sort of chubby wanted details of what I eat, so I introduced her to the Japanese version of Dr. Greger’s, “How Not To Die” on Amazon. 

The rest of this post are details, if people are interested in numbers, and some nice news at the end.

What I eat and don’t eat

Just to “sum up” I follow WFPB (whole food plant based) eating: mostly vegan, no oil, very limited nuts, and limited sugar and salt. No intermittent fasting, no keto, lots of carbs including potatoes and fruits. I stick to low calorie density foods to help with weight loss. For example potatoes are surprisingly low calorie and bread is very high calorie. I guess going forward I will have some higher calorie density foods like more rice maybe? Or maybe some more fruits. I’ll see. 

For more details on the specific things I eat and the people in the field I follow take a look at my post from  November, 2019: November 28, 2019 – quarterly test results | Doug Reports

Basically I eat lots of veggies, including starches, and have fruit every day. In other words, I eat lots of carbs. Carbs do not impact negatively on blood sugar or weight. 

Logging with MyFitnessPal And Current Weight

I log my food and exercise calories in MyFitnessPal, and keep within 1550 net calories per day (food calories minus exercise calories). I recently upped that a bit, and I guess I’ll up it some more. 

Today is my MyFitnessPal Streak Day 3,280. Daily logging in MFP has been a great sanity check and prevented me from having a complete rebound when I fell off the wagon in the past. 

My current weight is down to 68.6 kg (151 lb). My total weight loss is 60.4 kg (133 lb). 

This means I have lost 46.8% of my original weight, and am at a normal BMI of 22.7. I’m at the lowest weight I’ve been in my entire adult life. 

Anyway, I will continue healthy eating and doing as much exercise as I can.  I’ll continue eating this way for life. It’s healthy, and I enjoy what I eat. There is no feeling of deprivation at all. I’ll just try to add more muscles and not lose more weight. 

More on the “E” Word

Exercise… 

I have been taking my puppy, Pao, who will be one and a half years old this month, for walks to the park and along the river, so that helps. I’ve also added an extra morning walk for shopping because I have extra energy.  

I finally did start doing some resistance training using my bullworker. I’d like to go swimming if it’s safe. I generally feel like I have more energy lately, and have been moving faster. 

Blood test results

Here are the latest and previous results. Normal ranges are in parentheses. 

Total cholesterol (120-219)

2021: May 13: 124

2020: Nov 19 – 123; Aug 20 – 108; May 21 – 124; Feb 20 – 120

2019: Nov 28 – 118; Aug 29 – 116; Jun 8 – 136; Mar 19 – 133

Holding steady in the low-but-normal range. Low is supposed to be heart healthy. 

HDL good cholesterol (35-80)

2021: May 13: 50

2020: Nov 19 – 53;Aug 20 – 39; May 21 – 43; Feb 20 – 40

2019: Nov 28 – 46; Aug 29 – 40; Jun 8 – 34; Mar 19 – 38

Normal range. 

LDL bad cholesterol (70-139)

2021: May 13: 47

2020: Nov 19 – 47; Aug 20 – 46; May 21 – 56; Feb 20 – 54

2019: Nov 28 – 55; Aug 29 – 56; Jun 8 – 73; Mar 19 – 72

This remains very low, and lower than normal range.  But, again, that’s supposed to be great for your heart. 

Triglycerides (30-150)  

2021: May 13: 48

2020: Nov 19 – 56;Aug 20 – 69; May 21 – 93; Feb 20 – 107

2019: Nov 28 – 62; Aug 29 – 79; Jun 8 – 129; Mar 19 – 114

This went down even more – my lowest ever – but well within normal range. 

Blood Sugar HbA1c (4.7-6.2)

2021: May 13: 5.4

2020: Nov 19 – 5.5; Aug 20 – 5.6; May 21 – 5.8; Feb 20 – 6.1

2019: Nov 28 – 5.9; Aug 29 – 6.1; Jun 8 – 5.5; Mar 19 – 5.9

2018: Dec 20 – 6.5; Sep – 8.2; June – 10.8

This dropped some more again. It has now been in the normal range since March, 2019 and I’ve been off blood sugar meds since November, 2019. 

And my blood pressure was a great 109/55. 

A note about honey

Yes, I know it’s not vegan. But as I said I’m “mostly” vegan. And so are most WFPB sources. For the past few months I had been eating a 50 g bag of hard candies that are 100% only honey. I felt it was keeping my mouth busy and making it easier to stick with my diet, and made dog walks more fun. They were really tasty. In the back of my mind, though, I wondered what it might be doing to my blood sugar. As you can see, it had no bad effect at all. My blood sugar even dropped some more. 

Nevertheless, I felt the 200 calories a day were a waste. And, in fact, I was practically forcing myself to finish the bag in the evenings. So over a week ago I dropped them. I wondered if I had become addicted to them and how easy they would be to let go of and was surprised to find that I didn’t miss them one bit! Walks were just as enjoyable. And I had more of a calorie buffer that allowed me to eat some strawberries, have larger potato servings, or munch on some veggies as snacks. Lately I really love sliced raw eggplant sprinkled with nutritional yeast. 

And, Finally the Nutritionist 

The nutritionist was very pleased, and said… she believes… our work is done! 

She feels I have everything under control. 

We got misty eyed,  and I thanked her for her support over the years, and we bowed at each other, and said goodbye. 

I just want to tell everyone how important healthy eating is. Truly, if I can do it anyone can. 

Major Milestone – 60 kg Lost (down to 69.0)

It feels strange, because I just posted about breaking the 70 kg barrier 5 days ago, and getting into the 69s. There I gave lots of details, and included a before-and-after photo. So please read that post for all that.

Sometimes after hanging around at a certain weight for a number of weeks, and getting down to the next kilogram (in this case, I dropped below 70 to 69.6) I will slide through that kilogram mark. It’s happened many times before, and it happened again today, and this morning, after 5 days of consecutive losses the scale hit exactly 69.0 kg (152 lb) this morning. That means I have lost exactly 60 kg as of today! That’s 132 lb lost total.

A 60 kg lost milestone is worth mentioning I think.

Other stats of note: My current BMI is now 22.8, and I’ve lost a total of 46.5% of my initial weight.

As I mentioned in my last post I am no longer trying to lose more weight. That was the first time ever that I said that! On the other hand, I don’t want to gain weight either. I’m trying to glide into a smooth maintenance landing, but I’m being careful. I did tweak my calorie limit a bit, raising it some. But my weight loss had already slowed to a crawl, so I need to be careful.

The only things I’ll repeat from my previous post are that I eat WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based), I don’t do intermittent fasting, I log calories with MyFitnessPal, and today is MFP streak day 3,248. Please see that post for more about the WFPB people who have influenced me, recent adjustments to my diet (basically just being more careful about calorie counts), more about how much my health has improved, my philosophy about healthy dieting, and my latest before-and-after photo.

The day has come – down 131 lb, under 70 kg

I can’t believe this day has come.

And I can’t believe I’m saying this: I no longer feel I need to lose any more weight. This is the first time I have ever said that, even though my doctors have been telling me that for months now.

This morning, after the scale had been toying with me for several weeks in the 70 kg range: one day 70.4, then 70.2, then 70.8, then 70.6, then 70.4, then 70.2 – back and forth for several weeks now – for the first time in my adult life I weighed myself this morning and the scale read ... 69.6 kg!

I ran and got my iPhone to take a picture. I weighed myself multiple times. I know it will still oscillate going forward, but as of today I officially broke through the 70 kg barrier for the first time and am in the 60s!

I’m going to repost my before-and-after photo from last week here. Forgive me, it’s a special day. I know I need a haircut. And I obviously need smaller clothes. But I like the photo.

In this blog post from last week you can read all my healthy blood test and other stats, and details of what I eat, which I won’t repeat here. I’ll just mention that I eat WFPB (Whole Food Plant Based), I don’t do intermittent fasting, I log calories with MyFitnessPal, and today is MFP streak day 3,243. I’ve had ups and downs over the years, but kept logging which kept me from full rebounds. Most of my weight loss was after recommitting to WFPB some 910 days ago, after being inspired by Dr. Michael Greger’s “How to Not Die” which is a health book rather than a weight loss book. Others in the WFPB community like Chef AJ, Potato Strong, and Plant Based Gabriel have also been inspiring and supportive. (I feel like I’m thanking people after accepting an Academy Award.)

Some exciting numbers and milestones (I love milestones):

  • I broke through the 70 kg barrier and now weigh 69.6 kg = 153.4 lb.
  • I have now lost 59.4 kg = 131 lb. So that’s another milestone – losing more than 130 lb.
  • My BMI is down to 23.0.
  • I’ve lost 46% of my original weight.

I’m absolutely certain at this point that any remaining issues I have with things like my stomach slightly protruding need to be dealt with by exercise, like resistance training. I’ve put it off forever, but as of today, in addition to my long dog walks, I actually took out my long-neglected Bullworker and used it, at least some. I really need to get some upper body muscles back.

But as for losing weight, I am done. There are possible other milestones I see not so far ahead, like getting below 150 lb. Or getting down to exactly 69.0 kg so I can say I lost exactly 60 kg. But if you think like that there is no stopping. So at least as far as intentional weight loss goes I’m declaring that my job is done.

I’m not necessarily changing what I’m eating, or the amounts. My weight loss already slowed to a crawl as it is. Or I may change my daily net calories limit from 1500 to 1600 or a bit more for added flexibility. I’ll see how it goes.

In case you’re wondering, the only change I’ve made lately is trying to being more accurate in how many calories I’m consuming. I think I had been underestimating in some areas, like the calories in my salads with homemade dressing. I’ve just been more conscientious about getting calories right. As I always say, “calories count, whether you count them or not.”

Eating WFPB helps. Sticking to lower calorie density foods (e.g. potatoes instead of pasta) helps. Sequencing (eating non-starchy veggies first, finishing up with satisfying starches) helps. Avoiding trigger foods (I can’t stop at one banana) helps. Just common sense stuff. In the end, weight loss does come down to controlling calories though. And WFPB eating is the best way I found to do that, and also become healthier overall.

Anyway, I made it. I’m here. I never thought this day would come and it did.

The health benefits of green tea

My sister was suggesting I drink more tea to help get over a minor weight loss stall. Actually she suggested replacing all my water with tea, which sounded a bit extreme to me.

My weight loss isn’t stalling anymore. All I did was cut back on the amount of flaxseeds I was adding to my salads. As usual, these things happen when you are miscalculating calories.

But I was curious about what Dr. Michael Greger, author of “How Not to Die,” thought of green tea. Basically did he think it is safe or something to be cautious of?

It turns out he highly recommends it!

Here are some interesting articles from his site, where he writes:

Tea consumption is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, and premature death in general, with each additional cup of green tea a day associated with a 4-percent lower mortality risk. So, perhaps “drinking several cups of tea daily can keep the doctor away,” as well as the mortician—but what about cancer?

You can read the full article here: https://nutritionfacts.org/2020/05/07/using-green-tea-to-help-prevent-cancer-and-treat-cancer/

Now I’m not going to replace all my water with green tea. I like water too. I don’t think it’s all or nothing. But since I do like green tea, and since this is the home of green tea, and there are some brands that I especially like, I’m going to start drinking more of it each day.

What about decaf tea? I don’t like the idea of it. After all, the caffeine can also help keep me awake after dealing with Pao since early in the morning every day. So what does Dr. Greger think about it? It turns out that caffeine in green tea (not so much in coffee) has arterial and heart benefits! Take a look at this article: https://nutritionfacts.org/2016/08/23/role-caffeine-artery-function/

So I’m going to be drinking more green tea going forward, but not giving up water, and the tea I drink will be normal, plain, unflavored, unsweetened, fully caffeinated green tea. Just the way people like it here in Japan.