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In a Nutshell: You can lose weight and potentially live longer and more healthily, by eating only 600 calories per day for two days a week and your regular amount of calories the other 5 days a week. Now that you've got or are working on creating cash flow for life, why not try to make that life last as long and as healthily as you can?

Your money will last a long time, how about your life?

The one chart I'm happy to see going down
“Overweight and obesity now cause about 1 in 7 of all premature deaths in Europe and 1 in 5 of all premature deaths in North America.”
Baseball players who weigh 80kg (176 lbs) or more, have an average lifespan of about 61 years, whereas those weighing 10kg (22 lbs) less have an average lifespan of about 66 years (based on a study referenced in this online article ). Now that's just one study. But there's a bunch of evidence out there that shows the fitter you are, the longer you'll live. (Assuming that being fitter doesn't drive you to do things like running with the bulls, snowboarding into trees or parachuting into shark infested waters.) Now when you're 61, how much would it be worth to you to live for 5 more years instead of 0 more years?

Assuming you're like me and have spent a lot of time getting your financial house in order, that means you have a portfolio that is going to provide you with cash flow for a very long time. There's not much point to that if you're going to keel over long before the money runs out. So now that you've got cash for life, how can we extend that life for as long as possible and make it the most enjoyable life possible? Well being as fit as you reasonably can be as you age will be a big part of having a long enjoyable life.

Clearly being fit with a normal weight can help extend your life span. Apparently it has other benefits as well. Being overweight or obese is clearly linked to an overall increased risk of cancer. According to research from the American Cancer Society, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 8% of all cancers in the United States, as well as about 7% of all cancer deaths. Being overweight or obese is linked to cancers such as cancers of the breast, colon, rectum, uterus lining, espophagus, kidney, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, cervix, ovary, and prostate to mention just a few. 

A BMI (body mass index) of greater than 25 has a strong positive correlation with chronic heart disease, stroke and respiratory disease mortality. In fact, overweight and obesity now cause about 1 in 7 of all premature deaths in Europe and 1 in 5 of all premature deaths in North America. ( more info here )

BMI is a somewhat limited but useful indicator of how healthy your weight is based on your height. Below 18.5 BMI is considered underweight. 18.5 to 24.9 BMI is considered normal. 25 to 29.9 BMI is considered overweight. 30 BMI and higher is considered obese. You can see what your BMI is by looking at this table, if you know your height and weight... 

In Canada 61.2% of adults were overweight or obese in 2015. 34.6% of adult Canadians were overweight (BMI of 25 to 29.9) and 26.6% of adult Canadians were obese (BMI over 30) ( ). That's a lot of people who are not living the longest and healthiest lives they can. So I figure sharing my story might help someone out there.  

For a while I was bordering on the BMI range of 27 which is well in the overweight range, and then I saw a couple of videos that helped me get to where I am now in the normal weight range of a BMI of 23. Not only have I hopefully increased my longevity, but hopefully I've reduced the risk of health problems like the ones listed above. An additional benefit is just feeling better. It's amazing how shedding pounds can make you feel better just getting out of bed, walking up a flight of stairs or going for a very long run. (Each pound of weight you lose is 4 pounds of force taken off each knee which is why running feels so much better now that I've lost some weight... ) Also the mirror is a much more enjoyable thing in the house. 

So what were the two videos that triggered the change? The two key videos I saw that helped me get to a normal weight were, "Obesity: The Post Mortem" on Netflix. Here's a clip of the behind the scenes video. Just seeing what excess fat looks like internally helped me understand that even being a bit overweight can't be good for the body.
Obesity: The Post Mortem - Eww that's what fat looks like on the inside?
Eat, Fast and Live Longer - The 5:2 diet worked for me, will it for you?
​​​​​The second video I saw that triggered the change was also from the BBC, "Eat, Fast and Live Longer" by Michael Mosley. It's a bit tricky to find a video online that you can watch from Canada due to BBC copyright restrictions, but I found one on Vimeo...

Before watching these videos and losing the weight, I'd always been an active person, I've run a marathon and a few half marathons, and have always run regularly, have played tennis regularly in the summer, and have gone snowboarding regularly in the winter. I am definitely not a sedentary person (which is why I write blog entries so infrequently!), I prefer to keep moving rather than sitting around. Despite that I always seemed to stay in the overweight range no matter what I did. 

But the 'Eat, Fast and Live Longer' video has had a real and so far, lasting impact. You can watch the video above to get all the info... but in short... if you restrict your calorie consumption to 600 calories per day for 2 days a week (consecutively or not), and then eat a regular amount of calories the other 5 days (for me that's about 1600 calories per day), you will lose weight. 

For me, I dropped from a range of 182 to 187 lbs to a range of 162 to 167 lbs (fluctuations can be based on water, food, bowel movements, exercise, and timing of weigh ins, among other things). Essentially I experienced a 15-20 lb drop in weight from following the reduced calories for 2 days and regular calories for 5 days method, which is now referred to as the 5:2 diet. That's about 80 lbs of pressure off each knee when I run in addition to all the other benefits which hopefully include increased longevity, reduced risk of cancers, heart disease, respiratory diseases, stroke, and reduced IGF levels, reduced triglycerides, reduced risk of diabetes, reduced LDL, and possibly just possibly delaying the onset of brain diseases like Alzheimers and dementia. 

IGF or insulin like growth factor has been linked to growth of cancers in the body. Reducing protein intake from an average of 1.67 g kg −1 of body weight per day to 0.95 g kg −1 of body weight per day for 3 weeks in six volunteers practicing CR resulted in a reduction in serum IGF-1 from 194 ng mL −1 to 152 ng mL −1 . ( more on this here ) That drop in serum IGF is believed to result in a drop in risk of certain cancers. 

Studies have shown alternate fasting in mice results in growth of brain cells. And so there is a body of work underway to determine if there is the extrapolation that alternate fasting in humans can result in brain cell growth and delaying the onset of brain diseases. 

I also found with the 15-20 lbs weight loss, my first snowboarding trip with my nephew just a few days ago at Calgary Olympic Park, strapping into my snowboard bindings was much easier and much quicker. I was up and ready to go when my 12 year old nephew was (and sometimes I was ready before he was!), unlike the year before when he had to wait and wait for me to get my bindings on. So there are countless benefits to losing the weight, that's just another one of them.

I've also started doing the P90X workout to get even fitter along with continuing the alternate fasting method of the 5:2 diet from the Eat, Fast and Live Longer documentary.

Well enough sitting around typing on the keyboard... it's a bit cold out here in Toronto, but it hasn't been cold enough to have any nearby snowboarding options, so I may as well go for a run!

​Before I go, remember, I'm not a dietician, I'm not a health expert and I'm not a doctor, I'm just a guy with a blog...  so if you're going to make any drastic changes, check with a health professional first.

Until next time... 

Be a SmarterSquirrel... Save. Invest. Enjoy!

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Not a doctor!
Lessons Learned:
  • Since you've created cash flow for life, you should make sure you get to enjoy that cash flow with a longer life
  • Reducing your calories to 600 calories per day for two days a week and eating normally for the other 5 days a week can help you lose weight and maybe even live longer and healthier
  • Weight loss and alternate fasting can increase longevity
  • Weight loss and alternate fasting can potentially reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, knee pain, and maybe, just maybe delay onset of brain diseases
  • Losing weight not only makes your life last longer, it just might also make your life more enjoyable! It certainly has for me!
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