Half effort will get you half results

Greg walked into the office.

"Just back from a 10-day Caribbean cruise, Doc. It was fabulous."

"Yes, but I see you're 14 lbs heavier. What happened?"

"Well, you know, a 24-hour a day open brunch. Anything and everything you wanted. But I only had dessert twice."

"Did you exercise?"

"Come on, Doc! It was vacation!"

With this serious indiscretion, Greg gained 14 lbs in 10 days. That's a total surplus of 49,000 calories Greg put in his body over that period. 49,000!

Greg had started the cruise 40 lbs overweight. Now, he's 54 lbs overweight. The pre-diabetic tendency he showed earlier was now full diabetes. All associated lipoproteins blossomed with it--small LDL, a drop in HDL of 5 points, triglycerides skyrocketing to 320.

He blew it.

Can Greg turn back? Yes, he most likely can, given a serious and rapid effort to lose the weight he gained on the cruise and more.

But can he do it? I doubt it.

Someone who allows himself to gain an extraordinary quantity of weight, completely neglects exercise, then blows it off as having some fun will never succeed.

In all honesty, this is someone who shouldn't waste his time in the Track Your Plaque program. He will fail--period. By failure I mean he will experience explosive plaque growth over the next few years and then end up with stent(s), heart attack, bypass surgery. Some people will die. He will also--should he survive--experience the long-term complications of diabetes, such as retinal disease, kidney impairment, loss of sensation to his feet and legs, and on and on. His life will be substantially abbreviated.

To me, there's no choice. But Greg and many people like him are fooling themselves if they believe that a half-hearted effort will allow them to succeed in controlling or reversing heart disease. Maybe we'll come up with some magic supplement or prescription medication that will erase his heart disease in a few days.

Don't count on it. I'll make no bones about it. Controlling and reversing heart disease requires a commitment--a full commitment to eat and live healthy, to follow the advice we give, and not engage in serious indiscretions that erode your efforts. If you believe that taking 40 mg of Lipitor is all you're going to need to regress heart disease, plan on your first stent or heart attack within a few years. And you'll hobble to the doctor's office in the meantime.

Comments (3) -

  • Chris Hepworth

    4/18/2006 12:56:00 PM |

    Dr Davis,
    Thank you for taking the time to post these comments. I can only speak for myself, but I find this information very motivating. I need frequent reminders to "do the right thing" especially in terms of diet, and this blog really serves that purpose.

  • Pat

    4/18/2006 3:32:00 PM |

    Boy, this article really hit home with me.  It is so hard to stay motivated, especially when my family thinks I am nuts.

  • Bob Kampmann

    4/18/2006 11:59:00 PM |

    Dr. Davis,
    I am so grateful for both your Track Your Plaque Program, and for the tremendous amount of personal effort you put into this blog and your web site.  It is humbling knowing that you want good results for me at least as much as I want them for myself. Thanks for the straight talk too it really is important.