A week before Thanksgiving in 2008 I died. One moment I was answering questions, the next I had multiple nurses and doctors over me trying to figure out what happened. This all occurred about an hour after a doctor placed 3 stents in one of my arteries using a procedure called angioplasty. I needed the procedure because I woke up with a burning sensation in my chest. It turned out that one of my arteries was completely blocked. They (those people that can count that high) claim that the heart will beat about 100,000 times in one day and about 35 million times in a year. I guess mine decided it needed a 30 second break (or about the time it took you to read this far). But why did it stop? The doctors never found a medical reason for it. In any case, not very many people get a second chance at living so from that moment on I have been committed to changing my life and transforming my health. I realized that I can’t take care of my family if I don’t first take care of myself.
At the time of my heart attack (and no it wasn’t a Fred Sanford it’s the big one moment) I weighed in at 270 pounds. Few people would have classified me as obese, but according to the BMI (Body Mass Index) chart I was. At night I slept using a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. A contraption that straps to your head and forces air down your nose to keep your airway open. I used it for years because at night I would stop breathing without it. During this time my cholesterol and blood pressure numbers were through the roof. So after many years of unhealthy eating, lack of exercise, and sleep deprivation, my body woke up screaming it needed help.
After returning home from the hospital I knew I needed to make major changes in my life. I spent the next couple of months working out at the heart center. I also began to use my neglected YMCA membership consistently. Eventually I purchased P90X and Insanity workout programs to help push me and maximize my results. Probably the biggest change was my diet. I gave up soda, fried foods, red meat (a recommendation from my cardiologist), limited my sweets and salt as much as possible, ate more veggies, and incorporated Shakeology into my diet. This worked for me as I began to lose weight. Not as dramatic as a Biggest Loser contestant, but my weight was dropping every week. After 7 months I had lost nearly 50 pounds and nearly a year after my heart attack I had lost over 70 pounds. I went from a size 42 to a size 34.
So why did I tell you all that? I want you to know that you can be healthy. I have coworkers, Facebook and Twitter friends that have lost 80, 90, and more than 100 pounds. I was able to transform my body by being consistent at exercise, making healthy choices in what I ate, and making sure I was getting enough recuperative sleep. I am not going to lie to you and tell you it was easy, it wasn’t. But I made a commitment to myself in 2008 to be the healthiest I can be. 2012 will be no different. If you are making a resolution this year to get your health back, what are you doing to get there? You don’t have to make major changes all at once (although you can). Simple changes over time can have dramatic impact on your health. Whether it’s exercise or eating better the library has books and DVDs that will help transform your life. But it all starts by making a commitment to yourself. You can do it!
Here are a few exercise DVD recommendations:
- Extreme Makeover. Weight Loss Edition: the workout
- Zumba Fitness: exhilarate: the ultimate Zumba fitness DVD experience
Here are a few cook book recommendations: