Last week was my first day in cadaver lab. It was by far the coolest experience I’ve had thus far in medical school. How very grateful I am for those kind people who donated their bodies to the University Medical school so we could practice and learn skills and techniques to help others in the future.
That said, several of the cadavers, including ours, possessed an incredible amount of adipose tissue (read: fat). It is the grossest tissue there is. It’s yellow, buttery, and smelly. It seriously looked like a bit vat of butter right underneath the skin on one cadaver. Fat is vital for survival in small quantities, yet most americans now carry around more than they need. And to their detriment. Hence the topic of this blahrg.
Lately, I’ve been trying to get healthy, and so should you. That means exercise, (at least thirty minutes of moderate activity a day), eating less salt (about a teaspoon or less a day), losing weight (having a BMI around 23), eating plenty of vegetables and fruit, among others. Now, these are simple changes, but sometimes hard to implement. Along with that, there are also about a trillion people offering advice as fact about what diet to use or what new fad will change everything. Most of it is bullshit. Let me say just a couple things: First, weight loss happens by changing your caloric intake. It is extremely hard to lose weight by exercise alone. Someone who walks briskly for an hour, depending on his or her weight, may only burn a couple hundred calories. That’s an Oreo cookie. Exercise is vital, but should really be for cardiovascular exercise, and not the sole tool of weight loss.
Second, we gotta cut down on salt. Cutting down salt, lowering blood pressure through exercise and healthy eating and possibly medication, refraining from or stopping smoking, and losing weight, all dramatically reduce the risk for stroke. Dramatically. Smokers can be back to baseline within about five years, and other health benefits start almost immediately. Removing salt from the diet prevents cardiovascular problems that ultimately end in stroke or heart attack. And losing weight does it all.
Let’s be healthier guys. For all our sakes. Let’s quit the bad habits and increase the good. We can lose weight gradually, but the other crap let’s fix today.