The importance of preventative health
MrWhoseTheBoss made a video talking about his health suffering. This is the written transcript for a video I made about it.
David: MrWhoseTheBoss. He's a tech YouTuber with more than 10 million views. And today he released a video called my health is starting to suffer. I'm David, a doctor in Australia. And I wanted to talk about this video, because it's a really good video and actually wanted to elaborate more in depth about stuff he talks about and I don't really talk much about medicine on this channel, but I wanted to make this particular video because preventative health is something that's really important.
If you can prevent diseases from happening, that's better than having the disease and then trying to treat it later. It's going to be cheaper for you, and it's going to be more effective and well, you don't have to have the disease. The thing is, there's a lot of actually quite simple things that you can do to take care of your health.
I'm not just going to talk about the specific clinical recommendations that we have, but also to try to tie in tech, because that's kind of mostly what this channel is about.
The usual caveat is that this is general advice. So if you have any specific stuff related to your medical conditions would have a place at your local doctor, but let's get right to it.
MrWhoseTheBoss: Making YouTube videos has started to come at a cost to my health. This is kind of an embarrassing video to make, but I think it's funny time to explain to you how I've managed to get myself into a bit of a hole but then also at the same time, how I'm going to try to use technology and use the tech that I'm surrounded by all the time to get myself out, to, and to transform my life.
And I want to start now. Okay. Here's the thing with maybe for the last few years, I've pretty much concentrated my entire being on just one thing and one thing only, and that is increasing the average watch time on my videos, not money, not subscribers.
But this constant push to optimize all the time. It's starting to damage me.
I was pushing harder than ever to deliver the video with more energy because the stats are telling me that that's making it more enjoyable.
And then literally Downing honey and ginger afterwards to suit my throat because it hurts so much. I'm falling asleep next to my laptop. And I'm just getting really little, really poor quality sleep because my mind just will not switch off anymore.
And then I'm fueling myself with caffeine and junk food the next day, just so I can keep going. I genuinely, I feel like I'm accelerating my own aging process. Like if this could just be a coincidence, but a year ago I did not have a single gray hair, but with my car levels of stress, they're just popping out everywhere.
Growth doesn't mean anything in my favorite watch time. It doesn't mean anything if I'm not healthy enough to appreciate it. So this is the challenge right now. I am 84.5 kilos. I have a 21.3% body fat, and I can do about seven decent quality pollups before it starts to look like I have a problem. So I want you to give me three months.
Let's set a date. Let's say, let's say the. And on that day, I will post a follow-up video where I will have to show you how much of a transformation I've managed to make.
David: So whenever you try to set a healthcare goal, we often use what's called smart goals.
Smart goals stands for specific measurable actionable, relevant and timely.
The specific aspect of things means that you can't have a vague goal, like get fitter because you don't know how to take actions towards that goal necessarily.
Rather if it's, I want to achieve a certain weight, that is good. If you want to achieve a certain exercise goal and say, I want to exercise 20 minutes a day. That's really good.
Measurable, of course, just being the number actionable, meaning that you can actually physically do it in your day to day life.
Relevant is related to the attractiveness of it. And I think that this is actually a really important point because if someone tries to give you a goal and you just try to do it from extrinsic motivation perspectives, those goals don't tend to stick .
Often, there is some specific reason that you have in mind that you need to really grasp on to and think, you know, I don't want to get a stroke like my dad did. My dad's okay by the way. It might be, I don't want to get diabetes because I've seen someone with diabetes and that ended up horribly. Having the reason for the goal can help you psychologically motivate yourself to achieve it.
And then timely means that you have to set some sort of deadline for it
and that's kind of what MrWhoseTheBoss has done here. He's added these layers of accountability. And I hope I really genuinely hope it works out.
MrWhoseTheBoss: I'm going to start literally the minutes that we turn the camera off, I said, number 10, I'm going to switch from sitting all day with my computer to standing. I just set up this adjustable desk that can transition between both states. Cause apparently just the action of standing can burn hundreds of calories per day.
So we will see if this turns out to be a game changer.
David: Sometimes you might have a sedentary lifestyle where you actually have to sit hours at the office because that's just the nature of your work. But if you actually get little breaks in between, that can be really helpful. It's actually. From a musculoskeletal perspective, even if you just make sure to get up every hour and go for a small walk around the office, that can actually be very beneficial to you over the longterm.
It's trying to fit these little things into day-to-day life that can be really helpful.
I recently got a personal trainer and he's making me do a hundred pushups challenge, which means that actually I'm spreading out those 10 push outs throughout the day. Which means I'm actually in dividing those a hundred pushups throughout the day, doing it at times where, for example, I may have just sat down for an hour and now I need to do 10 pushups.
It's these little actions that lead to good habit change rather than the drastic ~"~I'm going to not eat anything for the next three days and then lose a whole bunch of kilograms~"~.
I will talk about diet a bit later on, but let's keep going.
MrWhoseTheBoss: We looking fluid standards board, which, because it requires balance, but also keep my core active. You want I type way.
David: When you get a bit older, having good core balance is actually really important for preventing you from falling over.
When you're younger and you fall over, you kind of just graze your arm. You don't really feel too bad about it. You sort of brush it off and not worry about it too much at all. But when you actually get older falls can be really dangerous. Especially if you have something like osteoporosis, where your bones are more fragile, and that's when actually being able to do balance exercises can help you prevent that from happening.
Exercise, like Tai Chi can be beneficial, for example, there are other sorts of exercises that are really good for your bones which actually involve short, sharp impacts like that, because that actually helps to rebuild the bone up.
Another really big benefit is that a lot of older and younger people actually get lower back pain from just staying in one position for too long.
While sometimes you might think, Hmm, therefore I just need to rest my back pain until it goes away actually the opposite is true. Often that we find that with lower back pain in particular, if you actually move around and sort of keep mobile, that's actually much better for your back pain long-term and becoming de-conditioned.
MrWhoseTheBoss: I think I get so absorbed in my work that I always and completely forget to drink water. And honestly, like having more water is, is world's simplest life hack. It makes your brain work better. It makes your body work better. Even boost your metabolism to help you burn fat.
David: In terms of how much to drink generally speaking. And this is going to vary depending on your body size and a lot of other factors, but about three to four liters per day is probably about that people need, depending on if you're a man or a woman, depending on how big you are.
And that can help your body in a lot of ways. For example, sometimes when we feel hungry actually, is that we're feeling thirsty and we just need to drink some water.
And so if you drink some water that can help a little bit to 1. either alleviate the thirst that's there, or 2. If it's not thirst, you can distract you temporarily and help you get over that hunger pang initially, if you're trying to lose weight, for example.
It's actually quite fascinating because toxins tend to go inside the blood. Blood goes to the kidney and that kidney converts their blood basically into urine. And so that's how you pee out toxins.
So by drinking water, you actually increasing the blood flow to the kidneys and actually keeping them healthier as well.
Evolves around sleep. I'm sleeping late and I'm sleeping poorly. So we're going to try a few things the first, and this is going to sound like I'm 10 years old again, but I'm going to start to give myself a bedtime. I feel like this whole mindset of I will not sleep until this video is perfect.
It's not giving my body the chance to get into a rhythm, which I feel like it is asking me for. So when I can't control, when I actually fall asleep for this period, every single day, I'll be in bed at 11:00 PM
David: This is such a nice and concise explanation of sleep hygiene and sleep hygiene. It's something that I'm personally not very good at, but I will explain the theory in depth.
Your body has what's called a circadian rhythm. This is the natural sort of hormonal cycle of when your body releases melatonin. And that makes you want to feel like you want to go to sleep.
With our body we have this thing called the circadian rhythm. It determines when we feel like we should go to sleep. And when we feel like we should wake up. The thing is that in the modern day, the circadian rhythm is often very disrupted because of the fact that we try to push our bedtimes later and later and later.
Sometimes we have phones and computers and those shine blue lights into our eyes.
And when you actually have these receptors in your eyes, that will detect light because obviously that's how you see things, but it actually affects the hormones in your brain as well. It affects the melatonin levels that you get in your brain.
So trying to sleep at the same time each day is definitely going to be something that helps you increase your regularity.
But there's a lot of other things that you can do in sleep hygiene to improve it as well.
For example, trying to keep your room temperature cooler can sometimes help.
Trying to avoid using screens before bed, maybe like half an hour or an hour or two before that can help as well.
This is a really important point. You want to try to keep the activities that you do in your bed, basically for sleep or for sex and nothing else ideally.
The problem is if you try to do other stuff, when you're in bed, that you start to associate bedtime with other things so that, that natural feeling of wanting to lie down and then go to sleep immediately, doesn't actually happen.
Instead you may even bring back feelings of stress when you're in bed, because you've just associated it with work, for example.
So in terms of the things that can help people sleep, with regards to tech. The app Headspace is very good because it has these sleepcasts that are like recordings, that help you get to sleep with very, very relaxing stories. That's very, very useful.
There's an app that you can use, which helps you time your breathing in and out. And often deep breathing exercises can make you feel really relaxed as well.
You might try, for example, inhaling for four seconds, holding it for four seconds and then exhaling for four seconds and doing that for two or three minutes, that can help you feel relaxed as well.
And your phone will often have different things that can remind you to sleep on time. And also wake you up at a certain time each day too.
If you are snoring or you're feeling really sleepy during the day, please see a doctor about that because there's a thing called obstructive sleep apnea, where if someone snores, they actually wake up a whole bunch of times during the nights unconsciously, and they don't even realize it. But there are treatments for that. And so that can be really helpful.
MrWhoseTheBoss: But it links to this is no matter what, leave my laptop alone to stop working 10 minutes before that 11:00 PM bedtime. And then to use that 10 minutes to practice meditation, I've never probably done it, but I have a lot of good things about the Headspace app. So I'm going to use that every night I'm until the 31st of August, and just see if and how that changes my life.
David: So mindfulness and meditation is a really, really helpful thing, but people's mental health as well as people's ability to de-stress.
We actually got taught about in medical school by a doctor called Craig Hassed.
It's not just about thinking, oh, I need to concentrate more on my feelings. it's actually about being very consciously aware of the sensations that you're feeling and then using that awareness to bring attention to it, but then letting the feeling pass.
The Headspace app describes it like this. If you have a road and there's a lot of traffic on it, you don't have to run out into the traffic. You can just watch the cars pass by without that feeling of being stressed.
They actually put these Buddhist monks into a functional MRI machine. And MRI is a big scanning machine that can actually scan the electrical activity on brain for the functional MRI in particular. And they found that the monks that meditated had a certain part of the brain activated all the time that was, they wouldn't have been meditating, but it was still active. And that part of the brain is activated during meditation. So often what you'll find with mindfulness as you practice more and more is that even when you're not meditating, it can actually have a really good benefit on your life.
Headspace is a really good app. I've used Headspace in the past, so I can highly recommend it both personally and professionally from a lot of patients who have used it as well.
Waking up by Sam Harris is also a really good app. Although some of the meditations later on do become about stuff like the light of consciousness and really, really deep topics so really great also from a spiritual perspective.
But for the purposes of sleep, also quite useful, especially in the first half of the meditations. That sounds kind of freaky if I explained it like that, but it's actually a really, really good app as well.
Calm is another really great app also focusing on mindfulness and things that can help you sleep too.
So I've actually tried all these apps at different times, especially when I was getting really stressed as like a junior doctor. But Headspace is probably the one I'd recommend for most people and then maybe Calm.
These apps, unfortunately all paid subscriptions. So if you didn't want to pay, you could probably just YouTube mindfulness and you might find some stuff on it.
MrWhoseTheBoss: Now, in terms of food, I'm not about to start taking creatine or weight loss supplements.
My plan is to go all natural, but to keep it simple, because I don't want to spend all day meal planning. So it's basically going to be a case of swapping out the pizzas and the milk chocolates and the bubble teas, as good as they are for fruits, vege, nuts, and dark chocolate. I imagining this is going to be easier said than done, but you know, I like my good chunks of cucumber and trying new, different kinds of fruits.
I mean, it can be fun.
David: In terms of the dietary recommendations, you should enjoy a wide variety of foods. Having five serves of vegetables per day and two serves of fruit.
If you're talking about vegetables, one serve can be something like one cup of cabbage or lettuce, two medium-sized carrots or like six broccoli pieces.
And if you're talking about fruit, a fruit serving can be like one apple, one banana, or maybe seven strawberries, for example.
To be honest, don't get too stuck on the exact numbers. Just generally trying to include more healthy fruits and vegetables in your life can be really helpful.
One of the best ways to do that is if you're cooking stuff that you actually like to eat that just has a lot of incidental vegetables.
For example, one of my favorite foods recently has been tacos. Tacos has a corn chip and meat but actually you can add lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado and it tastes really, really good.
Actually, I'm getting hungry thinking about it.
Even if you prepare a bowl of fruit so that when you go to the fridge and you're going to go snack on some other sort of sweet, you actually just see this delicious fruit bowl instead, naturally you gravitate to what's easy. And that's a concept in atomic habits, a book that I really want to talk about at some stage too, because it relates to healthcare too. In terms of other things to do with diet, trying to reduce the amount of saturated fat that you have, things like extra Virgin olive oil are actually really good for you.
So these are what's called poly unsaturated fats, and they will actually help improve your cholesterol and improve your blood lipid profile. It's the sort of deep fried stuff and really meaty fats that you get, that aren't as good for your body.
Generally speaking, you want to try to avoid things like soft drinks, especially carbonated soft drinks, like Coke or lemonade. But even limiting food juices because actually food juices tend to spike up your sugar quite high quite quickly, too.
If my mom or friends are watching this. Yeah. They're probably laughing right now because I do often sneak in soft drink to my meals.
But actually reducing that and replacing that with things is something I've been working on too .
For example, and this is not a sponsored segment. This is just me talking about stuff. I do. Like, I just like to have a few bottles of green tea just sitting around in the fridge so that whenever I feel like having a soft drink, instead of doing that, I'll just like literally grab some green tea and that satisfies my thirst usually.
There are some meats that are really good. Having lean meats, like for example, fish and chicken, they can be really good and not increase your cholesterol too much.
Things like red meats tend to have a bit more cholesterol so you probably want to not have those as much if you can, from a cholesterol perspective. But obviously that can be good for iron, if you're iron deficient or whatever.
And then try to have things like grains and cereals and nuts and seeds also very good. But you've got to make sure to not increase your carbohydrates too much because that can really sort of mess with your weight and insulin resistance and stuff.
MrWhoseTheBoss: I think it'd be fun. But what I've been neglecting more than anything else is exercise. I felt like I found out when the pandemic first started and everything went remote.
I just stopped moving out. Everything has done while sitting in a chair at home now, which is, you know, it's very efficient, but it just means that all that going out and about that used to happen naturally now has to be a conscious effort. So to get around that, I'm going to make absolute sure that I'm getting my steps in.
So every single day without fail, I will do a 30 minute uphill, fast walk on a treadmill.
And then the plan is to compliment that with three, four workouts, where I really pushed myself, what I'm going for here is progressive overload.
David: Let's talk about exercise because exercise is super-duper important. . Exercise help you sleep better. It actually helps you feel better from a mental health perspective as well.
It helps to keep your bones healthy and your muscles healthy,
It helps reduce the risk of heart disease, your blood pressure, reducing the risk of type two diabetes or strokes or some cancers. And even Alzheimer's Dementia.
Everyone, no matter what age you are should be doing some form of regular exercise.
In terms of how much we recommend, traditionally, we recommend about 30 minutes a day on at least five days of the week. So in other words, 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity. Moderate physical activity is activity that makes you huff and puff.
That said if you can accomplish that, even just getting a little bit of exercise is very, very beneficial.
Don't see exercise as a pass or fail thing. You know, if I do my exercise, I pass. If I haven't done my exercise, I failed. Instead, try to incorporate it in fun ways in your life.
Maybe it's a sunny day outside, today might be the first day to go for a run.
I personally used the Nike run club app. It's a really, really good app. It's not sponsored at all. And it has some guided runs that can help you actually just pick up the habit of running.
It's not like it's trying to push you to run hard, but it's actually trying to gently guide you into running more sustainably.
If you're a bit older, actually doing regular weight-bearing and resistance exercises can be helpful for your muscles and preventing falls risk and that sort of thing as well. They can prevent you from falling over and getting fractures. So incorporating not just the aerobic exercises, but also things that increase the strength of your muscle is really important.
If you find exercise boring or strenuous, try to make it more interesting.
Even if you have other medical conditions, it's still really important to do exercise because it just generally improves health outcomes across the board. And it makes you feel better as well. You actually feel a lot less stressed and more relaxed after doing exercise.
Listen to audio books, which help you learn stuff. Watch podcasts or watch Netflix while you're doing the exercise. And just tie really fun things to the actual exercise itself. you can increase the amount of fun by making it a group exercise for example.
Personally, I've invested in a personal trainer recently, and that's actually been really, really good because they've just given me an app with like a bunch of check boxes. And I have to make sure to do it, because he'll be watching.
This is the final part of the video, where I really want to talk about some of the stuff that MrWhoseTheBoss's boss didn't talk about.
This is a general recommendation as a doctor, but you do need to talk to your local doctor for more specific advice. And obviously I can't take responsibility for what you do for your health on the internet.
If you have had a family history of early heart disease or early medical conditions, it's often worth just bringing it up with your doctor. But especially if we've had a family history of early cancers. In other words, you know, your mom or your dad, or your sister or brother or grandparents got cancer early, it's actually worth having a chat with your local doctor about what sort of screening you should do for it.
You see, there are screening programs that you can do to try to prevent any serious cancers from cropping up. In Australia, for example, we have a cervical screening program, where women every five years will get a cervical screening test.
There's also breast cancer screening programs. So for example, in Australia, once you turn 50, we usually recommend that you get a mammogram every two years, which is kind of x-ray of the breast.
And so if you are unlucky enough to get a cancer, you're gonna catch it in the earliest stage, hopefully, and then that's going to mean that instead of having a really huge extensive surgery or even something uncurable, you can actually get it a lot quicker and take it out a lot quicker whilst it's still tiny and small.
There's like too many specifics to talk about in this specific video. But what I want to say is that if you are over 45, especially talk to your doctor about these sorts of things, they can just do a general health checkup.
And you can just mention, oh, by the way, my relative has this. Should I be concerned about it?
If you are having that kind of conversation with the doctor, it might be worth asking your relative how old they were when they got the particular condition, because that actually does make a difference as well.
The number of relatives and how old each relative is. But you know, if you can't remember or you don't want to ask them, totally fine. Just mention it.
Even if you haven't had a family history of cancer or other medical conditions, it's still worth going to see your doctor at about 45 to 50 years old at the very least just to get a general checkup.
They can check things like your blood pressure. They can consider doing a blood test, like a cholesterol check, for example.
And then you might find something that you can do right now, which is actually quite simple to prevent you, for example, getting heart attack in 10 years time.
This is my concluding note in this video.
Sometimes we see medical conditions and we see what has happened over time. And we sort of see this person has had a high cholesterol and high blood pressure that's been uncontrolled. And now they've come into you five years later, after having five years of uncontrolled blood pressure blood pressure cholesterol, and then they've come to you because they got chest pain and you're worried, crap, they might have a heart attack.
So doctors perhaps get a unique perspective compared to the average healthy asymptomatic person, the person without symptoms. They haven't had any health problems in the past. You can see that by the blood test or by the measurements that that person is actually going to head in a bad direction.
There was a quote that I saw from Twitter talking about car mechanics, but it applies especially to your health. If you don't schedule for maintenance of your car, then your car will schedule the maintenance for you. And so your body and your health is the same, make sure to take care of it.
And if you can prevent things from happening, you might just save your own life one day.
Look, it can be inevitable that you get medical conditions at some stage in your life.
That's just the nature of mortality and our temporary existence, unfortunately.
But you can actually do things to have a quality life for a longer period of time. And that is definitely worth doing.
I'm Dr David Liu. Feel free to subscribe. I do feel like this is important video to make, because it's so timely and important, and preventative health is really important.
So you make sure you take care and I'll see you in the next video!
This video, whatever YouTube has decided to recommend today. Yeah. Anyway, ciao.