My August Fitness Challenge is over. Today, I’ll tell you how I did, but first, something else…
One of the biggest questions Americans have about early retirement is health insurance:
Health insurance is expensive!
My insurance is so great at work!
What if I get sick?
Early Retirement And Health
I have a friend who likes to drive massive vehicles. He states that driving a jacked-up, full-size pickup truck will save his life in an accident. I drove his truck once and it handled like the Love Boat.
For those too young to know what the hell the Love Boat is, this is what I mean:
The Love Boat does not handle well. Neither does my friend’s land-yacht of a truck.
When driving, I prefer to drive the smallest, most nimble car. I agree that my friend’s behemoth of a vehicle is safer in an accident. However, in a nimble vehicle, I’m less likely to get into one in the first place. And this is how I think about my health.
Pills Or Prevention?
There are a lot of pills for health maladies. Cholesterol, obesity, blood pressure, on and on. Often, we’re treating the symptom and not the cause. Obesity leads to hypertension which leads to a heart attack or a stroke. Instead of hypertension drugs, what if we paid more attention to our body?
Compound interest works the same way for your body as it does for your money. Debt often leads to more debt. Small health problems often lead to larger ones. On the good side, a little money will turn into a lot of money. Take care of your body and you’ll be less likely to develop a nasty condition.
And if I’m sounding preachy, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m guilty of NOT treating my own body right. Before retirement, I rarely exercised and ate loads of crap. At one point, I weighed in at over 180 pounds; way too much girth for my narrow frame. My excess weight caused hypertension. Not good. But, I turned the ship (way too many shitty boat metaphors in this post) around after I quit formal work.
Without a job:
- I have time to exercise
- I have the willpower to eat healthily
- I’m not stressed
Some are worried about their health if they quit work.
I wonder what would have become of mine had I stayed at work.
The Worst-Case Scenario
However, you can’t diet and exercise your way out of everything. Some of us are fortunate to have a sound mind and body at 90 and then die quietly in our sleep. For others, not so much:
Backup Plans For Backup Plans
My plan is to always carry health insurance. Right now, I’m fortunate to have great coverage through Mindy’s job. If she were to quit, we’d get a high-deductible plan. If that didn’t work (chronic illness?), I’d consider moving to another part of the world where health care is more reasonable. My backup plans are made possible by FIRE:
FIRE is what allows me to have a high-deductible plan:
…and move to another part of the world for health care.
Yay, no job!
How I Did With Weight Loss
On August 1, I weighed 161.6. During a summer of travel, I let myself go a bit. And by “I let myself go,” I mean this:
At the end of August, I had dropped down to 151.8 for a loss of 9.8 pounds. Woot!:
- Intermittent fasting is the real deal. Not eating until noon is hard at first, but you get used to it. There is no magic here; you’re just strategically cutting out one meal per day.
- I’ve also been on a low-carb kick. Ketosis! I LOVE bread and sugar though, so this wasn’t easy. If I knew I was going to die tomorrow, this is what I’d stuff my face with:
What Didn’t Work
Exercise. I didn’t do much of it. Unplanned events consumed my time:
- On a whim, we bought another home (more on this very soon including a YouTube channel)
- We sold the NSX (more on this soon too)
I am retired, yet I have NO time. At least not right now.
Also fighting for precious minutes is finishing work on my current home so I can sell it. Yes, we bought another home and our current one still needs work:
Trust me, it will all make sense soon. I hope so. Ummmm, yeah. What could possibly go wrong?
The Main Thing I Learned
Exercise is important but takes time. Eating less takes no additional time:
Eating less > Exercise
Where do we go from here? I don’t know. Well, actually I kinda know.
The trick isn’t to go on some fad diet for a couple of months:
**looks in the mirror, thinks of keto, sighs, looks down with a frown**
The real goal is to develop habits and diet you can execute for the long-term. And by “long-term,” I mean lifelong. I feel confident I can keep up the intermittent fasting from here on out. Only 45 years to go if I make it to 90! But is it really 45? When I’m 80, I’ll probably throw in the towel and eat cherry pie, brownies, and beer for breakfast. So yeah, only 35 more years of tofu and broccoli.
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