Saturday, July 18, 2015

Benefits (and drawbacks) of adopting a healthy lifestyle

If you read the previous articles about the way I was able to reduce my cholesterol level by 10% in 90 days without using any medicament, you may ask yourself the following question:
"is it really worthwhile to cut down on the tastiest foods on earth and to sweat so much, just to lower a stupid value?"
Well, it's not only about cholesterol and triglycerides. There are many more things involved: feeling fit, healthier, keeping your weight under control, getting more information about your health and breaking the chains of commercial brainwashing. Of course, also some negative effects should be taken into account. Here below, a list of pluses and minuses I have experienced so far.

Positive effects of daily physical exercise

- Runner's high: much better than any drug! When performing a moderate / high aerobic exercise, our body produces endorphins, which are responsible for feeling so "high" after a long run. It's a mix of excitement and exhaustion. In my case, no matter how bleak the world around might be, after a 5 km running at a decent pace (5 minute / km) everything seems peachy. The only disadvantage: I learned that it's better not to drive right after the running session. I feel usually too relaxed to be able to focus on the road. 

- No belly and tonic muscles: I'm not so interested in getting my body shaped like a body-builder. It's enough to have functioning arms and legs. In the last 60 days of my training I paid more attention on my upper body and I included more push-ups, sit-ups and pull-ups in my sessions. When I touch my body, I feel new small muscles whose presence I ignored. Furthermore, my belly is flat and now I can easily wear trousers which I found hard to button up last summer.  

Negative effects:

- Injuries: as far as I've experienced (now and in the past) it's almost impossible not to incur injures when I train daily (or 6 days a week). Usually, when I feel a pain on my leg or foot, I interrupt the training period till the pain ceases. I wouldn't recommend to bite the bullet and to ignore the problem, it's an approach that will definitely make things even worse. 

- Boredom: to repeat again and again the same exercises and to run miles and miles can be tedious. I try to overcome this obstacle by changing progressively my exercise sessions and by challenging myself setting new targets (right now my task is to run 10 km in less than 50 minutes).

Positive effects of a cholesterol-lowering diet:

- light & fit: I feel much lighter and I can keep my body weight under constant control. As I wrote in the related posts, beginning the new diet might be hard (my motto is "starting is half the battle!") but after some weeks I was able to ignore the temptation of the poisoning food I used to eat. Now I understand how intoxicating junk food, chips, soda, pastry were. I recall feeling heavy and queasy after those sticky noshes, which had a negative impact even on my mood. 

- saving money: according to where you live, vegetables, fruit and fish can be more expansive than meat and junk food. However, the extra cost of a healthy diet can be set off by deleting unhealthy food and alcohol from your shopping list. 

Negative effects:

- time: a certain amount of time is required to take on a healthy lifestyle, both for cooking & eating and for your daily exercises. I would also add a third task, which is getting information (online, discussing with like-minded people and doctors, reading, watching programs and videos about health). Not everybody can afford that. If you want to seriously deal with it, you should consider that your choices will affect your daily time management.

-  social life: sad but true, if you decide to eat healthy and to start running, there are chances that you will be doing it alone. I forgot how it feels like drinking liters of beer with buddies, ordering shots at the disco at night or consuming cocktails at the sunset bar. Unfortunately, in our civilized western society everything seems to spin around money and alcohol. If you want to interact with people, you should participate in these crazy alcoholic gatherings. Since I started my new diet, I must say that I've radically stopped hanging around bars, disco, cafes, parties, and these changes have affected my social life. On the other hand, I'm spending more time with my family and with my 5-year old nephew, who drinks nothing but milk, water and fruit juices. Regarding doing sport, you will realize that running is not the most popular discipline. It involves pain and it's neither "social", nor competitive, so it is hard to find a pal to run with. When I run, my best friend is my MP3 player. If you want to join me, just give me a holler!

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