In May this year I turned 42. I figured a prudent step might be to go see a physician and get a medical check-up just to see if anything was amiss. I’ve spent so much time in the last ten years trying to cajole my late mother into seeing a doctor, it seemed a bit hypocritical not to.
I found the kind of General Practitioner I’ve always fantasised about: Dr Nick Bassal. Nick started the Wholistic Medical Centre a couple of decades ago to provide integrated health management. There’s four medical doctors and a whole crew of naturopaths, osteos, nutritionists, masseurs, acupuncturists and so on. I like using alternative therapies, but I’ve always wanted a GP who could refer me to what was the right one to use. Now I’ve got one.
The check-up involved mostly blood tests, which showed skewed liver numbers. We followed up with an ultrasound which showed I have a “fatty liver“: my spreading girth (or “central adiposity” as the medicos like to euphemistically phrase it) is accompanied by visceral fat around my organs and fatty pockets inside my liver. Early signs of Metabolic Syndrome, says Dr Nick. The liver condition will get worse if I don’t change my lifestyle – pockets of fat in my liver gradually squeeze healthy liver cells rendering my liver less functional. Diabetes, cardio-vascular disease, cancer.
Well. That’s why you get a check-up I guess.
So, off to see Gerard the naturopathically-qualified nutritionist to talk about my diet. I saunter in holding a food log from the previous month anticipating a relaxed chat about ways I could improve my diet. Gerard has other ideas.
He hands me a booklet called “Whole Life Vitality” which firmly lays down the law on (previously loved) foods which are forbidden and (previously ignored) foods which are now mandatory. And 60 mins of exercise per day. Every day.
No potatoes of any kind. No white rice. No sweets or chocolate. I count my blessings that he crosses out the “no coffee” part, but seriously, is life worth living without potatoes?
I take a deep breath. It’s not that bad. I’ve done crazier diets and this one’s for serious (as my beloved sister likes to say). I need to work out how to keep this up basically forever or at least until my live gets less fatty.
This is my fourth day. It takes a lot more forethought and planning about my diet than I’m used to. My usual approach is to just do what ever I’m doing until roused by hunger pangs, survey the immediate environment and scavenge food. This approach will no longer work.
I’m kind of in shock about it all. It all seems a bit big. I’ll try to check back in when I’m the swing of things, if that ever happens.
Wish me luck!
Edit: all posts about my fatty liver lifestyle are here: Fatty liver