50 Year Service Checkup

A graph showing a weight loss of 8.1kgs over April, May and half of June for the year 2024.
One quarter down, another to go.

I turned 50 this year. It was back in February now (I’m writing this in June 2024) so nothing too new, although I did feel this one more than 40. 40 felt just like another 30 really, another milestone but double that is still only 80 and there’s a decent chance I’ll make it to that unless a major incident turns up, my dad is 81 this year and still going strong. 50 though, double that is 100 and that’s a less likely outcome, meaning there’s a rather large chance I’ve already lived more than half my life. Okay, so the first few years are out of memory and 5-15 is getting a bit hazy, so in terms of what I can actually remember maybe not quite so close, but you can’t argue with numbers!

But thoughts of long term mortality aside this was also the year I got called in for the old 50,000-mile service check, which was brought up at my ‘yearly’ Asthma check up that I last had in 2018, ahem.
For the most part things were good, even the blood sugar which I had feared might be a problem was within the bounds. My cholesterol however was a different story. It was already high at the last blood test in 2018, and four years later things have only worsened, with my level being up to 4.9 on whatever scale that uses. The limit at which one should start on medication is 5.0, so I had a choice to make; start taking the pills to control it or get my weight and exercise regime in order. Now I’ve nothing against drugs when they are needed, but if one can avoid such an outcome it’s always preferable, and so I find myself with six months to ‘have a go’ before a new round of bloods.

To be fair my weight had gotten out of control since around Covid time maxing out at 125kgs, though the usual process of losing during the summer working months and reclaiming the fat over the winters was still in play. Apparently I should be closer to 80 according to most charts, although last time I hit 90, many years ago now, everyone started saying I shouldn’t lose more, but still that’s a long way from 125!

Cutting out the saturated fats was not so much of an issue. Most of what we eat was pretty lean anyway, so it’s mainly been the chocolate bars and biscuits that I’ve had to knock on the head, which has been a tough one for a grazer like me. Now it’s all nuts and protein snacks, and for the most part just eating a normal amount of calories as opposed to the 3000ish I guess I must have been eating to maintain that outlandish weight. Oh and oats, lots of oats, and peanut butter on apples slices, all quite tasty things as it turns out, so no real hardship there.

Exercise-wise things took a while to get going. The suggested heart rate zone is around 150bpm for a man of my age and on the first day this involved lightly jogging for a few minutes and then walking to get the rate down again, such was my level of (un)fitness. Thankfully though it appeared my heart’s ability to tone up outstripped my other muscles as within a couple of weeks I was struggling to get my legs to keep going long enough to keep the heart rate up. Eventually though things evened out, and I even managed to ‘run’ a 5K without pauses or slowdowns for,I believe, the first time in my life.

3 months in and I’m down over 8kgs. Whether or not that’s actually having an effect on my LDL score obviously remains to be seen, but the fact I can actually sustain a bpm of 150 for a good half hour now has to be a decent sign of heart health, which is what it’s all about at the end of the day.