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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 habits have you created to keep you moving forward in the direction of healthy – no matter what madness is going on around you?

*If you don’t know your numbers + you don’t want to visit a doctor, any Lab Tests Now (or similar facility) will do a CMP for $80.*


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