It's been years since I've felt the need - or more accurately - the desire to blog. But a recent health scare, and the fortuitous referral of a cardiologist has rekindled my desire. I was losing weight steadily when - as often happens when the motivation isn't clear or life gets overwhelming - I stopped losing and started gaining. Slowly and imperceptibly at first, but then clearly gaining. I decided to try a popular weight loss program that had been recognized in U.S. News and World Report, and although I was concerned about the prepared food I was going to be steadfast. And then I added green tea, metabolism boosters, BCAAs - you get the idea - adding instead of stopping to identify and set goals, motivation and sustaining plans for when the going got tough. My critical stop came one early Saturday morning when I was in boxing class, determined to push through the exhaustion from being up too late cleaning for Christmas holidays, which I had tried to beat back with more green tea. Suddenly the warm up exercise became hard, I was dizzy and short of breath with fluttering in my chest. I recognized that I had flipped into atrial fibrillation!!
As a health care professional I knew my options but cold logic flies out of the window in the heat of such a moment. Short of breath and occasionally dizzy, I tried to calm myself as I drove to the local ER. Three hours later I was back to my old rhythm, with a distinct dark line - a burn mark on my chest to remind me that my zeal for a "quick fix" led to the need for an electric shock to jolt my heart back into its normal rhythm.
I was referred to a very wise and kind cardiologist who recognized my desire but also my need for supervision and support. Instead of a lecture, I was referred to a terrific trainer who has helped me to take the long slow winding road to weight loss through hard work, and to appreciate/anticipate the challenges while celebrating the daily small victories.
Do I still sometimes make poor choices? Of course, I'm human! I also celebrate that during the Thanksgiving holiday I lost a pound instead of gaining three. Fluid shifts that leave me with puffy feet don't send me into a downward spiral looking at the 2 pounds that magically appeared overnight - and that will be gone with some exercise and extra water. My pantry had a great catharsis - and is happy to report it is no longer bloated with supplements. In short, I learned that there is no short cut to weight loss success, and that honest hard work go a lot further than deceiving myself with the latest "get thin quick" supplement.
Ways to motivate myself have replaced the ways I found to berate myself - which has made me happier, more eager to succeed and more successful. I'm not anywhere near my goal but I feel and look better. I still have bulges, wrinkly skin and cellulite. But I have stopped comparing me to others and even to the distance runner I was 30 years ago. I am thankful for every sunrise I see - a year ago in an East coast ER - short of breath and dizzy with a heart rate of 193, I wasn't so sure I would see any more of them.
When I get discouraged I look out of the window of my office, which is next to a very well maintained and manicured cemetery. Every day is an opportunity to greet the sunrise, work toward my goal, and embrace my current fitness. Those manicured headstones serve as a powerful reminder of what I have right now - and to embrace it while I can.