dish of vegetables, fruit and legumes

“Experiments in Truth” – How an old dog learned a few new tricks

Sacramento, Calif.- If you are looking for a New Year’s Resolution for long-term improved health, Dr Dennis Godby, Naturopathic Doctor. Dennis shares what he’s learned in his journey as he inspires others to take the first step towards a healthier lifestyle.

1) Start with a concrete, rational plan “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”


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2) Understand Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss:

Body composition can be divided into many categories, but for our purposes here, if we are talking about fat loss, there are two: fat mass, and non-fat mass (everything other than fat). So, if a person has a body composition of 18% fat, then, by definition, 82% is non-fat (everything else, such as blood, muscle, organs, bones, etc).

3) Assess Percentage Body Fat vs. BMI (Body Mass Index)

Body Composition

If you are interested in accuracy in assessing and improving your body composition (non-fat mass to fat mass), then percent body fat, not BMI (Body Mass Index) is the ideal starting point. As you might guess, a measurement that attempts to analyze your body composition from a height x weight (BMI) perspective, is not very accurate for a significant percent of the population. While BMI and weight have some validity, if you want accuracy, and science, use the BIA (Body Impedance Analysis) test, or others, that measures percent body fat, intracellular water, resistance, health of the cells, etc.

Dr. Godby’s 76 day diet (nutritional plan)

There are no words to adequately describe the jubilation and inspiration I felt during and upon completion of my 76 day nutritional regime changes. The results were less important than the journey that started on September 9, 2021.

Here’s how it worked:

  • My diet consisted of mostly plant-based (wild caught salmon a few times a week and I cheated with cheese, occasionally, the latter half of the 76 days), and it was free of: gluten, dairy (except the cheese), alcohol, simple carbohydrates and sugar.
  • I recorded all of the food I consumed on a nutritional app., and exercise recorded on I-phone and Apple watch. The app I used, and continue to use, is “Cronometer.” It is a free app – the URL is www.Cronometer.com/Mercola.
  • Regarding my food intake, I estimate that I was able to record the food and drink consumed about 95-98% accurately. According to the app, I burned 2,382 calories – and if I add the 5% margin of error – the average calories consumed for the 76 days would equal 2,486 calories.
  • My original intention was to do the diet for 90 days, but after experiencing an unintended 10 pound weight loss, within just a month or so, I decided to end after just 76 days (and, Thanksgiving just around the corner didn’t hurt, had a modest affect).
  • While my actual diet consisted of “real food,” it also consisted of a medical food/drink, with 15-25 grams of protein, and additional vitamins and minerals. Any supplement that had any calories, I recorded in the app. The other supplements, I did not.
  • One of the primary personal motivating goals of the program was to lower my percent body fat (which has always been a lifetime goal), and improve my “six-pack,” not the beer, six pack, but the abdominal muscle 6-8 pack.

Let’s Look at the Numbers:

  • Calories burned according to the Cronometer/Apple Watch/I-Phone was 2,845, including 687 calories of actual exercise per day, 1,725 calories for Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), the calories of energy needed to continue bodily functions), and 433 calories for movement not associated with exercise, but, activities of daily living. On average, 2,845 calories were burned, 2,486 were consumed (adding an additional 5% for margin of error), equals 359 calories under consumed, multiplied by 76 days equals 27,284 calories divided by 3,500 calories per pound of fat, is 7.79 pounds. I lost 8 pounds on the scale, and lost 4.3 percent body fat according to the Seca BIA machine, starting at 15.3% to 11.0% . 4.3% body fat x 160 pounds starting weight equals 6.88 pounds of fat loss, with 1-2 pound lean tissue.
  • My blood uric acid (most known for increasing risk for a very painful condition called gout), started on Day 1 of diet at 6.4 (4.0 is optimal), 35 days later, it went all the way up to 7.3, the highest of my life, but after switching the fruit in my smoothies to one cup of organic frozen cherries, 35 days later, it was all the way down to 4.9 – the lowest I can remember.
  • My testosterone levels increased from 784 to 864, a 9% increase over the course of just 76 days.
  • Even though I was aware that balsamic vinegar had sugar, I didn’t realize until I started the diet, that the balsamic vinegar I had been using for years, had a whopping 9 grams of sugar or 2 1/4 teaspoons of sugar per tablespoon of vinegar. I have not used it since that day I learned of the sugar bombing my salad.

Part 2 of my journey to follow:

  • blood tests results
  • exact foods eaten on diet
  • high intensity interval training
  • weight lifting
  • walking
  • metabolism
  • and more

How will you begin to prepare?

Until the next installment, how will you begin to prepare for your own journey to improved health and fitness? Averaging about 20,000 steps per day leading up to the diet was the springboard that I used in preparation for my 76-day fitness journey and nutritional plan. After increasing my weight training from 1 to 3 days per week, as well as, beginning High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), and averaging 33 daily flights of stair is how I completed this journey. I have now begun regular meditation.

In conclusion, as Tony Robbins says, “you can’t manage, what you don’t measure.” Many Americans have easy access to an abundance of food and alcohol, little to no exercise built into their daily routine, compromised sleep due to stress-filled lives, along with other medical conditions. Monitoring one’s nutrition and daily activity is most often on the back burner if even considered at all. However, doing so has so many tangible and intangible benefits.

As you can see, you CAN teach an old dog (65 years of age) new tricks!

Be on the lookout for part 2 in the second week of January!

Dr Dennis Godby

Dr. Dennis Godby, Naturopathic Doctor, Sutter Medical Foundation.
He may be reached SAC-ND.com , Facebook or at his Sacramento Office (916) 446-2591.

Explore additional topics from Dr. Godby at Natural Wellness.

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