Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Seven healthy years spent in the Zone

Last Updated Aug 2007

Dear Dr. Sears,

Seven years ago when I was 67, I decided to experiment with your concept of the Zone lifestyle. I had seen a review of your best-selling book, "The Zone," but put off seriously looking into it until I began experiencing a number of maladies often associated with aging: ischemic attacks (twice hospitalized), pre-diabetic symptoms (insulin resistance), osteoarthritis in my hands, precancerous colorectal polyps, squiggly writing (trembling hands), rosacea, beginnings of glaucoma, weakening eyesight, and last but not least emerging erectile dysfunction. For a guy whose family history includes incidence of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and dementia, my symptoms could be nothing but harbingers of serious trouble of one kind or another as my body grew older. Unknowingly, I let precious time slip by as initially I experimented with the USDA Food Pyramid, plus the diets of Dean Ornish, Andrew Weil, and other nutritional programs. They just exacerbated my symptoms. One fateful day, I picked up your "Mastering the Zone" from where it rested on my brother's coffee table. As I perused the book, I felt compelled to at least experiment, so I went home, bought a copy, and embarked on the Zone lifestyle. Initially, I found the Zone difficult to follow, but I persisted. Within a couple of weeks I began to feel very positive changes in my mind and body. My mental and emotional outlook became much more lucid and positive. During the following summer, my annual health examination by my physician confirmed dramatic changes for the better. Laboratory test results confirmed, and have continued to show each annual exam since, that I am, indeed, "in the Zone" During the summer of my first year in the Zone I attended my 50th high school class reunion (Class of '47). Frequently my classmates accosted me with, "Bob, how come you look so good?! What are you doing?" More specifically, as a result of practicing Zone lifestyle principles, my medical records attest I have raised my HDL cholesterol from a low of 35 to 52 (expected range 45-150), lowered my LDL cholesterol from 170 to 139 (expected range 130-159), reduced my overall cholesterol from 228 to 196 (expected range 150-240), and brought my ratio of LDL cholesterol to HDL cholesterol down to 2.67 (expected level under 4.0). Further, I have reduced my triglycerides from 168 to 91 (expected range 30-160), so now my triglyceride/HDL risk factor is 1.75 (anti-deterioration from aging level is less than 2.0 according to your research). And my fasting insulin level has been 8 (expected range under 10). My blood pressure has been 120/80 or less. Osteoarthritis is no longer spreading through my hands -- it has vanished -- and my handwriting has become firm, confident, and clear again. The rosacea that had been spreading over my body is gone. I haven't needed but small changes in my eyeglass prescription, some years none at all, and a symptom of emerging glaucoma ("cupping" in my optic nerve) has stopped. I have regained full erectile functioning (without Viagra). Ischemic attacks are history. Two follow-up colonoscopies have showed no recurrence of pre-cancerous polyps, and tests for prostate cancer showed negative results. My only remaining challenges, which are structural, not due to disease, are a partially enlarged heart, a rotator cuff problem, and occasional pain from a shoulder separation incurred during my high school baseball and football days. Unfortunately, the Zone lifestyle isn't likely to correct those conditions. Among Zone lifestyle factors, I emphasize Zone nutrition because I have learned that while exercise, meditation, proper hydration, et al, are important to health and full functioning -- hence a more enjoyable aging lifestyle -- it is the Zone nutrition formula that is the critical factor between success and failure in my health and slowing deterioration from aging. If my current state of health is any indicator, I can now expect my currently 74-year-old body to die some day from just wearing out, not from disease (the latter seems to be the present norm in our culture). Need I say it? I have an itch -- a big seven-year itch -- it is to 'sign up' for a lifetime hitch in the Zone. Thank you, Dr. Barry Sears, for your genius, research, and the hard work required to produce the Zone Lifestyle principles. I deeply appreciate your efforts!

Warm regards,
Robert J.
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