Small Habits That Keep You Healthy, Even When You Don’t Care To

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

On July 14 2017, I visited my doctor’s office for a Fasting Comprehensive Metabolic Panel. These were my results:

  • Glucose, 98

  • A1C (blood sugar), 4.9

  • Creatinine/BUN ratio (kidney function), 9.8 – LOW

  • AST/ALT (liver function), 20/13

  • Cholesterol, 224 – HIGH

  • Triglycerides, 76

  • HDL cholesterol, 154

  • LDL cholesterol, 55

  • Hemoglobin/Hematocrit (iron), 12.5/27.7

  • White blood cells (inflammation), 7.2

At that time, I was in the middle of the core classes for my dietetics program. I was probably taking Research Methods or Foodservice Management, either way I was definitely getting my ass kicked. I was also deeply unhappy at home. I felt like my whole life was collapsing + I was in a constant state of extreme stress.

The stress continued to build up as I entered my internships.

From March to August I worked in hospitals where I ate greasy lasagna, fried tator tots + cookies FOR FREE Not to mention that I was drinking a LOT in the evenings + weekends. At one point I thought my lax attitude was so impressive that I decided to just let myself eat all the unhealthy stuff I could until I graduated in August, just to see how my lab results would change. I figured that if they got worse, I could document my journey back to good health + share it with ya’ll.

On August 17 2019, I went back for another panel. Here’s what happened:

  • Glucose, 70 – improved 28 pts

  • A1C (blood sugar), 5

  • Creatinine/BUN ratio (kidney function), 14 – improved 8 pts

  • AST/ALT (liver function), 28/15

  • Cholesterol, 215 – improved 9 pts

  • Triglycerides, 61 – improved 15 pts

  • HDL cholesterol, 133

  • LDL cholesterol, 70

  • Hemoglobin/Hematocrit (iron), 12.4/39.7 – improved 12 pts

  • White blood cells (inflammation), 4.6 – improved 2.6 pts

WTF?! How could my blood sugar, kidney function, cholesterol, triglycerides, iron + inflammation actually improve??

You may or may not have heard me say before that DIET ISN’T THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE. Turns out, my body proved it for me. (You might notice that my HDL + LDL shifted in undesirable directions, the only evidence of my failed experiment.)

Yes, I had fried chicken, grilled cheese sandwiches, mac-n-cheese, cheesecake + coffee with cream for six months straight – and that’s definitely enough to eff up ANYONE’S blood work lol.

But I also held fast to a few tiny healthy habits that I created years ago + now they’re just a part of who I am – I don’t even have to think about them anymore. They kept me healthy, even when I didn’t care to. THAT’S the power of small habits!

For me, those habits are:

  • Sleeping AT LEAST 7 hours a night (no matter what!)

  • Chugging 24 ounces of water as soon as I wake up (Japanese water therapy I read about a long time ago)

  • Meditation (morning or before bed, whenever I could fit it in)

  • 20-30 minute walks in the afternoon/evening (sometimes 5, other times just in front of the TV)

  • Fasting (most Tues + Thurs nights, with the occasional 3 day fast Mon through Wed)

  • ALWAYS being kind + gentle with myself and NEVER making myself feel bad for doing what I felt like I needed to to stay sane!

So I have two questions for you…

When was the last time you got your numbers checked? Do you know current state of your health?What foundational h