Health assessment follow-up: Michael

Reviewed by our expert panel
Health assessment follow-up: Michael

Have those healthy habits been maintained, or has the going got tough and those good intentions been derailed? We revisit Michael to see how he's doing with his diet and exercise plan.

See Michael's original health assessment and recommendations.

Michael was our first health assessment participant. At 37 he regularly experienced painful gout, with high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Looking closely at his food intake, it became apparent that he didn't really eat fruit, fish or dairy foods – in part leading to a diet higher in energy and lower in the protective unsaturated fats (for blood cholesterol). He had a low water intake and rarely exercised.

  • A larger breakfast of cereal, milk and fruit
  • Healthy morning and afternoon tea, including fruit or yoghurt
  • Healthy lunches – minimising takeaways and focusing on healthier options or bringing lunch from home
  • Drink more water – 2 x 750ml bottles plus other fluids

Michael also joined the Millennium Institute gym to do a combination of weights and cardiovascular exercise five or more times per week, and also cut alcohol out of his diet.

Not only was he 6kg lighter than at the start of the six weeks, he reported less symptoms of gout and felt great overall. His blood test measurements, including total cholesterol and blood triglycerides, were now in the healthy range. He was amazed how small changes in his lifestyle and habits added up to big changes in his health status and well-being!

Michael initially warned us that he had a habit of stopping his 'health kicks' after six weeks or so. However, a few months later he has only gained 0.5kg – he still enjoys a similar, healthy food intake since we last saw him and has only added small low-fat ice creams for dessert. Other major changes include re-introducing small amounts of alcohol on occasion and a change in his exercise program to about 3-4 times per week, including more strength training and slightly less cardiovascular exercise – all of these would bring about a plateau in his weight loss.

Michael's cholesterol and blood triglyceride levels have raised slightly – a reminder to view six weeks not as a 'health kick' but a change in lifestyle that should be maintained. His next goal is a half marathon and he will have a tailored exercise program including much more cardiovascular exercise – the energy burning exercise – so he is looking forward to starting to see some more positive changes.

First published: Dec 2006

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