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Monday, February 3, 2014

Heart Attack? What's Your Risk?

A few years ago I was a heavy smoker and a heavy woman. I smoked 1-2 packs of cigarettes per day, weighed 320 pounds, and ate incredibly unhealthily. Not only did I not exercise, I would get so winded trying to walk across a parking lot I would have to either walk very slowly or stop to catch my breath.

I can't even imagine what my risk for heart attack or cardiovascular disease was at that time. I can't tell you, because I was too embarrassed to even go to a doctor. I didn't have regular physical exams, checkups and honestly, I didn't want to know. You can't fix what you don't acknowledge, and I wasn't ready or able to start healing the physical stuff while I was still trying so hard to heal the inside (emotional and spiritual) stuff.

My current employer offers a partial physical exam. They test blood work, urine, weight, hearing and eye sight. Although I am scheduled for a full annual exam with my own general practitioner in April, I thought it would be a good idea to take advantage of this free exam and benchmark the start of 2014. Since I have renewed focus this year and am actively losing again and actively exercising again, my hope is that when I compare my January and April numbers it will show marked improvement.

Still, I'm pretty happy already with the first set! All my numbers fall in the "healthy" or recommended desirable range!

So how do you go from a-heart-attack-waiting-to-happen to falling within a healthy range? You know what I 'm going to say, right? ONE NEXT RIGHT CHOICE AT A TIME!

Remember, I stopped smoking, then gained even more weight. Then I added one new thing at a time, starting with "drinking more water." Then I added "one healthy fruit or vegetable" to every meal. If I went to McDonalds for a Big Mac, I'd start with a side of apple slices. If I went to Wendy's and got a fried chicken sandwich and a large Frosty, I'd eat a small side salad first, no matter what.  Then I started walking on a treadmill...going 2 mph for 5 minutes!  No kidding!

Now I am able to lightly jog an entire 5k, participate in obstacle course/mud runs and I have lost 80 pounds.  It all adds up!

Now that I am refocused for 2014, my next right choices are going to be easier. I already drink water all the time. I already eat salads all the time. I already love fruits, veggies, and know the difference between processed frankenfood and REAL food. I just need to make next right PORTION choices and next right GET OFF MY ASS AND WORK OUT choices.

Okay guys and can't fix what you don't acknowledge. If you have any recent cholesterol numbers, go to the NIH: Risk Assessment Tool for Estimating Your 10-year Risk of Having a Heart Attack and see where you stand.(I am in the 1% range. 1 out 100 people with my stats have heart attacks.) This information can either reinforce your past and current next right choices, or help shape your future ones!

One thing is for sure. Doing something is better than doing nothing, and starting today you can choose to decrease or increase your risk for a heart attack. As always, the choice is ours!

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