Has your doctor ever made you feel crazy?

When “eat healthy and exercise” wasn’t helpful advice

Kaki Okumura
8 min readJun 6


Illustrations by Kaki Okumura

If you’ve been reading my writings for long enough, you know that when it comes to health, I rarely say that you need to do anything.

You don’t need to cut calories, eliminate carbohydrates, cut out sugar, go to the gym, start HIIT, start running, or lift weights. There are multiple ways to find good health, and you should do what feels right for you.

So when I say you need to do something for your health, please know that I say this with every ounce of my being that I strictly believe in it: you must advocate for your health.

The following is a rather long, anecdotal story of a recent experience. It is not every person’s experience, and it is not medical advice. It’s slightly different from my usual writings, but I hope you find it useful.

You know your health best, and you must advocate for it

​ ​Test 1: The diagnosis

Around three months ago, I had my annual doctor’s checkup. They asked some routine questions, took note of my vitals, drew some blood for testing, and I went home. As a person who takes reasonably good care of my health, I wasn’t worried.

But about two days later I got my blood test results back and my cholesterol was very high. Concerningly high.

I was confused at first, because around the same time a year ago I also had an annual check-up and everything was normal. Nothing about my lifestyle had changed significantly since then: I ate in moderation, exercised regularly, and my diet was well-rounded with vegetables and fruits. What could be going on?

I wanted to avoid the usual lecture of how I needed to eat better and exercise well, so I told my doctor that I already did those things.



Kaki Okumura

Born in Dallas, raised in New York and Tokyo. I care about helping others learn to live a better, healthier life. My site: www.kakikata.space 🌱