Back during my undergrad, I was anorexic and out of shape. I drank multiple pots of coffee and decaf daily. In addition, my diet consisted of a bit of hummus and pita bread at dinner time. As a result, I could barely run ten strides without petering out.
But then I met a mentor who got me in top physical shape. Soon after, I started meeting with the university wrestling team, paying for private lessons from a five-time world champion and Olympic contender. After that, I exercised for up to five hours intensely daily. But my diet was still poor: mostly pizzas and power bars.
I later stopped exercising and started eating sausage, cakes, cheese, and ice creams. But unfortunately, it wasn’t long until I grew deathly ill after developing a chronic condition. I would frequently throw up on the side of the highway and grew so sickly that I convinced myself I had two years left to live. Given this, there was no way I could hold a job.
But then, a dear friend with a PhD in Biology encouraged me to read books on diet and nutrition. So, after reading countless books on diet and disease and using a diet app that recorded all my nutrients, I devised a high-fiber diet. It had no added sugar, no added salt, no oils, no processed foods, no bread, and nothing cooked. Instead, it mainly consisted of fruits, vegetables, canned salmon, beans, sweet potatoes, nuts, and seeds. I also started exercising, working up to two hours of fitness daily.
My diet turned my health around and enabled me to enter a decent career. However, the diet didn’t build much muscle. It just kept me relatively lean. But I slept a lot during the day. So, when I started my full-time job, I stopped exercising.
However, over the last four months, I started exercising again and went on a new diet with surprising results. I’m exercising two hours a day, six days a week. I focus on weights (using bands), cardio, lots of ab work, and a stretch, and I have more energy and health than I’ve had over the past fifteen years.
But my diet is high in protein. I eat a baked chicken leg and thigh, a can of salmon, plain Greek yogurt, and many almond/cashew milks daily. In addition, I put matcha tea in my milk, yogurt, and water. (In short, I’m addicted to matcha tea.) I eat an orange, apple, berries, cucumber, sweet peppers, celery, and nuts daily.
But the surprising result is how healthy I feel and how radically my body has changed. For example, just yesterday, I carried a four-liter jug of milk in one hand like it was a feather. This surprised me as I struggled to hold a four-liter jug with both arms, huffing away, around six months ago.
I’ve only been sick once on this high-protein and matcha tea diet. Likewise, my energy and health are a thousand times what they used to be. And the muscle gains are significant.
The strange thing is, I think I’m in menopause, yet I feel the happiest I’ve ever felt and healthier than I felt since my late 30s.
The key takeaway is that you can choose to be healthy and fit despite disease, age, or condition. At least, that’s my philosophy. For instance, suppose you have disabilities such as prosthetic limbs or partial or total paralysis. In that case, you can still do exercises to increase muscle tone. Even in the case of complete paralysis, you can still train the musculature of the eyes to use technologies that aid in, say, writing books. I’m not an expert in assistive technologies. However, I believe the trend is toward thought-activated typewriting. And who knows what technology may offer tomorrow.
And I’ve heard of great cancer recovery stories that involve fitness, diet, cold therapy (such as cold showers and ice baths), and deep breathing techniques.
So, if you choose a diet, choose health. But don’t be afraid to research and experiment with diet and fitness regimens, as there are no failures, only data. Then, use that data to get optimal results.
As a final caveat, the only published diet I would have considered was from a book called How Not to Die. But its app had some poor advice when it came to carbs. (If I recall correctly, muffins were on the list.) However, the last time I looked, the app made much better carb recommendations.