Do You Want To Fix Your Health Problem, Or Do You Just Want It To Go Away?


Hi folks,

I often encounter people with health problems or training injuries who complain about them, describe them in great detail or the symptoms at least, provide a litany of health specialists consulted and so forth, but when I suggest that they might actually work on the issue themselves they look extremely confused or nod their head and continue in the same old way to repeat the story to me a month or a year later. I will mention that I have heard their story before, and I ask if they took my advice, which is always the same: keep a written record.”

How are you going to fix a problem if you don’t really know what is going on? Furthermore, if the problem extends over several years, the fluidity of memory issue will lead you away from the underlying aetiology (cause) of the symptoms. I guess that my background in scientific research guided me to this approach, but I had other experiences that supported an identical conclusion. For instance, I am a ‘genetic hyperlipidemic’, with a resting serum low-density lipoprotein level over 2000 mg/dL, whilst the accepted healthy level is less than 100 mg/dL. We discovered this interesting fact in my research laboratory in Geneva, Switzerland, 25 years ago whilst running protein binding studies using my serum as a test medium. The only thing that really corrects this lipid profile is exercise combined with diet. When I say exercise, I mean LOTS of exercise. I was guided to this valuable conclusion by keeping written records whilst working through the variables. Drugs help only transiently and they come with side effects, such as muscle damage. Ironman training brought my lipid profile to within the normal range. I have my exercise motivator right there.

Photo of one of my vegetable sauté breakfasts taken with my Blackberry. Can't wait to get my iPhone in September, as it has a MUCH better camera.

As I entered triathlon training about 15 years ago, I realized that nutrition would be an important variable. Consequently I sought advice from a professional nutritionist. The first thing this lady said was “you need to write down everything you eat and when you eat it for one week,” and then we’ll look at your data. I was provided with a book of forms to fill in, one per day. I returned one week later and watched the fascinating analysis of my food intake, and I was provided with sample meals to ensure, (1) that I did not exacerbate my hyperlipidemia, and (2) my caloric intake was sufficient for my training and that it was timed appropriately. Ever since, from time to time, I will repeat this process, except I use my computer and the many food analysis tools available on the Web. Data is the key. Not impressions. Not vague memories. Data!

Based on my data I managed to solve my problem and I am still competing in Ironman races at the age of 68. No heart attack yet, touch wood! Furthermore, my diet has changed over the years to include more fish, especially salmon, vegetables, and fruit. Nutrition is a constant challenge for the Ironman, but you’d better get it right or you’ll bonk, and that is never fun (well, not on the bike or the run!).

-k Your Medical Mind



  1. Hi Kevin, this is Kamran – we met briefly yesterday (I was the guy with the crutches). Great blog! It looks like we have some similar interests. I’m particularly interested in longevity and healthspan and as you know CVD is still the #1 cause of mortality. I was wondering if you’ve ever measured your ApoB level? ApoB is now thought to be a more accurate prediction of CVD risks when compared to traditional LDL levels. Here is an article that explains it well:

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Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.