A lot of people have noticed that I’ve lost a good bit of weight, and have asked if I’m OK.  So, this is obviously of limited interest to people on the blog!  But instead of answering each query, I thought I would waste a blog post and say something more broadly.  Or less broadly.

The short answer is that I’m more than OK:  I’m in the best shape I’ve been in for probably thirty years!

So here’s the deal, for those who want to know, and even for those who don’t.   This past April I went in for my annual physical and my blood tests came back: pre-diabetic.  I thought there must be a mistake.  Pre-diabetic?!?  I didn’t have the typical indications: no history in the family, no high blood pressure, and so on.   Well, I was a little overweight.  OK, maybe you think more than a little, but still.  I had been working out regularly, sleeping well, and was in good cardio-shape.  But, well, I did have a bit of a beer gut.  Years ago my daughter suggested that the easiest solution was to stop drinking beer.  But that seemed impracticable….

I wasn’t going to take the diagnosis seriously until my wife Sarah told me in no uncertain terms that in fact I *was* going to take it seriously.  I knew nothing about diabetes, but I do now, and my deep and genuine sympathies go to all of you who are suffering from it.  It’s a serious and big deal.

So I decided that I had to lower my blood sugar.  My first thought was that I had to cut way back sugar consumption.  But then I thought, wait a second: I have no idea if eating less sugar leads to lower levels of blood.  I mean, if you eat a lot of hair does that give you more hair?  So I decided to see a dietician.  Most brilliant decision of my adult life.

I had already moved toward eating a more Mediterranean diet, and the dietician got me on it big time.  I love it.  This isn’t a diet that gets me to lose ten pounds in a month only to gain it back in the next two weeks (I’ve been on tons of *those* diets over the years; quite ridiculous really).  It’s a matter of a completely different attitude toward food and a new way of living.  And I’m completely committed to it for the long haul.

Basically it involves a low-glycemic diet that avoids all processed foods (i.e., much of anything that has a label on it!) and most white things (white potatoes, bread, rice, pasta).  It involves consuming masses of fruit and vegetables, much more fish than meat (I grew up in Kansas: beef really was what was for dinner, every night!); nuts and seeds; olive oil, avocados, and so on.

The great thing about this diet is that I’m almost never hungry.  And the secret is this: strategic snacking.  Every late morning I’ll have a small piece of fruit and six almonds (really: six); same thing every late afternoon. That way I’m not ravenous at meal time (or any other time).  So I’m eating three full meals a day (e.g., a massive salad for lunch with salmon and sunflower seeds and olive oil and vinegar for a dressing); plus two snacks.   I’ve moved to red wine, which I drink almost exclusively (except for the occasional scotch before bed.  OK, and a martini once or twice a week, but who’s counting?).   In any event, the different drinking habit is all to the good because I absolutely love good red wine.  Most nights I try to restrict myself to two glasses (though that gets cut in half if I go for the martini).

In addition to the diet, I’ve tried to up my exercise regime.  (I have a small exercise room in my basement.)   The problem is that I travel so damn much.  I was in California four days last week; I’m off to Utah now as we speak for four days this week; next week it’s Florida for two days.  And I’m teaching full time, directing a handful of PhD dissertations, chairing two committees in my department, and, well, trying to write the next book!  So there’s not a lot of time for the ole cross trainer.  But the weeks I’m *not* traveling I try to work out 4-5 times a week; this week it will be more like twice.  But I’m trying!

So I started this new regime last April, and the lowdown is this:  I lost a pound a week for seven months.   I’m now just working to maintain the weight.  I tend to put on a pound or two when I travel (it’s hard to maintain a diet on the road, let alone exercise) and take it off when I’m back.  But I’m basically on the target weight I want to be.  I’m in better shape than ever.  I’m not *quite* as strong (it’s easy to tell if you regularly lift weights), but I’m also 60 so can’t expect too much.  But I have masses of energy (it helps to sleep a lot and to drink less) and feel great.

So thanks to everyone for asking, but I’m more than AOK!


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