Saturday, February 9, 2008

Paleo Diet - Day 98

Pretty good news, this time. First off, my weight has fallen by 3 more pounds, to 187 lbs. That's a total weight loss, now, of 46 lbs. since beginning the diet on November 2nd.

Where my BMI (Body Mass Index) is concerned, I'm now at 25.4, still in the "overweight" range, but I have only 4 lbs. left to lose before I'm in the "normal weight" range.

My blood pressure is down from last week, at least on the more critical diastolic side, to 129/80. So, I've risen 7 points on the systolic side and fallen 6 points on the diastolic. Ideally, both should be going the same direction, downward. However, I believe I may have an answer as to what's happening, currently. According to several sources, the consensus is that the diastolic pressure (resting pressure) is more important, because having a higher resting diastolic pressure is more dangerous to one's health. Secondly, the systolic pressure is the measure of the blood's "surge" on each heart beat. The stronger the surge, the higher the systolic pressure. A resting systolic pressure of 120 or less is safe and is considered "normal." However, according to this article (, by Norman M. Kaplan, MD and Burton D. Rose, MD, "Systolic pressure generally rises with increasing age, while diastolic pressure reaches its peak in the fifth decade and subsequently falls; these features are a reflection of the slow development of atherosclerotic rigidity of the large capacitance vessels." Kaplan and Rose go on to say that, "Among participants less than 65 years of age, increases in the systolic blood pressure were linearly related to increases in cardiovascular and all-cause mortality at all diastolic blood pressure levels. By comparison, the correlation between diastolic blood pressure and mortality in this age group was 'hockey stick-shaped'. This shape corresponds to a flat region of risk with diastolic values below 80 mmHg, with a marked increase in risk occurring with values above this level."

So, if I'm interpreting this correctly, it means my rise in systolic pressure over the last three weeks, even when accompanied by a decline in diastolic pressure (which, as of today's reading is now at the peak of the "normal" range) is something for me to be concerned about. So, I'll want to get my systolic pressure down, obviously. It seems to me the one variable most likely to account for this rise in systolic pressure is the addition of strength training (via the Total Gym) to my exercise regimen. As I mentioned last time, I'll need to moderate this by cutting back to, perhaps, 3 days per week, while, at the same time, increasing my walking (aerobic) exercise to temper my blood pressure. I lost sight of that goal this past week, but I will definitely institute it, now that I know what the rising systolic pressure actually indicates.

Meanwhile, where my blood sugar is concerned, it's varied a bit all week, from a low of 86 on Tuesday evening before dinner, to a high of 130 after dinner last night. Not helping matters was staying up late last night (almost 3:00am) and having a meal around midnight, which resulted, again, in a higher blood sugar reading upon waking this morning: 122. So, as I commented last week, I need to resist the temptation of eating after, say, 9:00pm, and, if I'm feeling hungry, I should just go to bed, instead of eating again. Self-discipline seems to be in order, here, both for my use of the Total Gym, and my weekend late night eating habits.

But, despite these two instances, overall, I seem to be improving, with a lower diastolic pressure, lower weight and lower BMI, and the overall trend in my blood sugar is it is now remaining in a relatively safe range and there is no evidence of being in the diabetic range, lately. I'm only a little over three months into the diet, so far, and if, as Cordain suggests, I'm among those who need a year on the diet to see total recovery, then I have about 9 months left to go, which means I should be back to completely normal in all respects by my 56th birthday in October. That would be the best birthday present I've ever had.