Posts Tagged heart attack

What’s Your Choice? 50 Years of Denial or 30 Years of Pleasure?

I met a 40-year-old woman yesterday whose husband used to go to the gym religiously and turned into quite a hunk, she told me. She knows what a fit body can look like and the work it takes to make one.

She is now 30 pounds heavier than she was 20 years ago, has a serious cholesterol problem and really intends to start exercising and cutting calories. She’d like to have her old, slimmer shape looking back at her in the mirror. Her only concrete effort so far is cut back her three-cokes-a-day habit (at 150 calories each) to one a day.At least it’s a start.

I told her how I gave up everyday cheese, my favorite source of protein, when my own cholesterol shot up. She said she loves cheese too, and can’t yet stop eating it regularly. Why is it so hard to take those steps to better health? Are we all just too busy? Or too lazy?

My son was impressed by the web site I found of a man who lost over 200 pounds. He found pictures of a different man who lost 400 pounds. Clearly those are horribly unhealthy cases of obesity. Those heavyweights can barely walk to the bathroom is my guess. It’s easy to see that they finally decided to alter their limited, immediate daily activities.

But if you are only 30 pounds heavier than you used to be, what’s the big deal? It’s not that bad, and the food tastes so good, and maybe you won’t continue to gain just a pound or two a year. And maybe the cholesterol won’t keep rising up and blocking arteries and lead to a heart attack. Just maybe.

Last night we went out to dinner, and I ordered the only soup—potato. I started to send it back after it arrived, because it was half cream. I need to avoid dairy products, because I want to keep my cholesterol down. My son said he would eat it, so it stayed.

Now here comes the silly part. With recent stories of two people dying of heart attacks, a friend who says he eats extra calories, because he could die in 10 minutes, and a woman telling me how much she likes cheese, I am sitting at the table wondering why I don’t have at least a taste, one spoonful, of this incredibly delicious-looking soup. After all, I rationalized, I just did 5+ hours of exercise in the last day—more than enough to offset the cholesterol damage that might result.

Absurd, right? No moderation here. Pretty extreme. One damn spoonful. Will I die on the court? If I am going to die, I may as well enjoy some potato soup. So I did. Had four spoonfuls. And swallowed each one so slowly and lovingly that you might have thought I was tasting fine wine or rare caviar. Swirling the juice around on my tongue. What a nutcase I am.

What is the goal, really? Read the rest of this entry »

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Managing Your Food…If You Can

I have learned that as undisciplined as I am when it comes to exercising, I am very disciplined compared to others when it comes to eating. My father always said that “You are what you eat.” My wife calls me the “food police.” Since high school when I weighed 170, I have reached 185 pounds and dropped to 163 or so. But that drop was during a brief period when I jogged for a couple of months on a dare to run in a seven-mile road race.

It took me years to realize that when my clothes became tight, it was NOT because they were shrinking in the wash—I was gaining fat. So I would then give up the desserts I love and bread and muffins and lose the weight. I was that disciplined. Once the pounds were gone, I was back to ice cream every night, and sometimes three desserts a day between Thanksgiving and New Years. Predictably I regained 10 pounds each December…that I would then lose over the next few months.

About two years ago, my cholesterol rocketed up to 239, which is almost heart attack range I read—so I instantly changed my diet and my life. I began exercising daily on a rowing machine that had been gathering dust, gave up ice cream, chicken skin, sea urchin and many other high cholesterol foods. Within three months I was down to a cholesterol number of 178. Amazed everyone. I stopped the rowing. Now the number is 204. Not bad. Much safer.

But I asked my doctor at this year’s physical why people who say they want to lose weight continue to eat foods that are clearly fattening. “I can’t lose weight,” they whine, and then they drink almost a whole bottle of wine, snort that blue cheese down or have just a “tiny” spoonful or two of cake or ice cream at most meals. “Not everyone is as disciplined as you,” doc pointed out. “They don’t want to give up those good tasting foods that you can avoid.” Even though some of them go to the gym more than I do, spend an hour on a machine to lose 300 calories and then have one drink or dessert that in five minutes puts all those calories right back on them. Not logical…but people aren’t logical. Read the rest of this entry »

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