Saving My Life
As of this article’s date, I’ve lost approximately 38 pounds and dropped from a waist size of 40 inches to a lose 36 inches. It’s been a long nine months, during which time I’ve had to endure the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, Easter, two family vacations and a job which requires me to eat out several times each week. My secret? Just a desire to live longer than most of my family.
I can vividly remember sitting in my doctor’s office that Tuesday morning, thumbing through an old magazine in a numb haze. It had been barely 48 hours since my mother had passed away, seemingly a victim of an ongoing heart condition. Even with a history of coronary problems, she seemed to be in great health of late and was enjoying life. She had recently celebrated her 66th birthday, retired from a long career as a critical care nurse and was planning her next vacation adventure. Nobody expected her to simply die without warning while sitting at the breakfast table, enjoying her morning coffee. It was a devastating kick in the face to both my sister and me.
Over the preceding two days, I had thought a lot about my family and something oddly obvious occurred to me. It seemed that a most of my family had died at a young age. I flipped through some family records only to confirm what I already expected. It seemed that a vast majority of my extended family had died at an early age, with most attributed to some type of coronary problem. As I watched my kids run through the house, I decided that I didn’t want to suffer the same fate. I picked up the phone and scheduled an emergency visit with my doctor.
He was nice enough to fit me in the next morning and we discussed possible options to improve my health. To be clear, I was not in horrible health and was reasonably active with camping and other physical activities. I was, as my doctor put it, way over my ideal weight. After talking about the situation a bit, we decided that an appetite suppressant might be the best alternative to fad dieting or starvation. I starting taking the new drug later that day and made a conscious effect to change my eating habits.
Over the next few months, I satisfied my desire for fatty, high calorie foods simply by cutting the portions in half. I turned to small chunks of dark chocolate to curb my sweet tooth and avoided most pastries or desserts. My dining choices turned to grilled fish or meat, lots of vegetables and whole grain breads. Although I didn’t cut out starches, I did cut the portion sizes and avoided excess butter. I also found that eating six to seven small meals per day helped keep my appetite in check and allow me to stay within my dietary limits. Whatever I was doing, it was working. It seemed that simply cutting my caloric intake and increasing my activity level was actually helping me to lose weight. No fad diets, exercise machines, sweat suits or starving myself into a coma.
In all, this has been a successful dieting experience which I intend to continue for many years. I have learned that I don’t have to deny myself the foods that I love, but just to love them a little less. It is my hope that this change in my eating habits and weight will allow me to outlive my family history.