From last one up the mountain to the heart health of an athlete
If you struggle with self-care and avoid the doctor, or believe you can’t change your health trajectory, please read on!
Dejavu?! Last week, I found myself in the exact same situation almost six years to the day (Oct. 2010-Oct. 2016). In a a hospital gown at the doctor’s office sitting on the edge of the bed talking with my doctor.
While the scene was the same, the visits and the results were not.
In 2010, I FORCED myself to go to the doctor for a medical exam after a nearly 20-year avoidance of all things medical. I had to have medical clearance to participate in the weight-loss boot camp that I was signed up for in Nov. 2010. Of course, my sheer terror of all things medical and the shame I carried around related to my weight, had me procrastinating and cutting this mandatory doctor’s visit pretty close to the start of the boot camp.
As you can perhaps predict, the actual experience of visiting the doctor for the first time in 20 years wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I had made it out in my head to be (often the case with our fears). Though I had myself worked up to a state of near panic going in so who knows how that affect my blood pressure!
The doctor’s sage advice that stuck in my head from that terrifying visit in 2010: “I’m going to clear you for the weight-loss boot camp, but I want you to keep your competitive spirit in check and be the last one up the mountain.”
I had shared with my doctor that one of my fears about weight-loss boot camp was that I would look ridiculous and be way behind everyone else. I did not want to be the slowest, the last one up the mountain.
Now, fast forward six years to Oct. 2016.
This time as I sat and talked about the results of my now annual exam (yes I go every year). This is what I heard from my doctor: “Lori, your blood pressure is that of an athlete in training. …You’re heart sounds good. You have the heart of an athlete.”
Tears. Both times.
The first time my tears were out of sheer fear — fear of the experience of going to the doctor, fear of what would happen next in weight-loss boot camp, fear of looking stupid and being the last one up the mountain… And, when I really let the doctor’s words sink in: fear of actually having a heart attack on the mountain! Honestly, in those moments, it was all about fear. I was scared to death to embark on this journey.
This time, my tears were that of overwhelming gratitude. Gratitude that I pushed past all of my fears and found my healthy and happy Lori. Gratitude that I’ve been able to defy the statistics and have now have maintained my weight loss for nearly five years. Gratitude that I now climb mountains for fun! Gratitude that I’ve been able to reverse the risk that runs so high in my family for ALL the obesity related diseases — stroke, heart disease, diabetes… And, gratitude that I’m now practicing self care and going to the doctor every year and putting myself out there to help others who might be feeling exactly like I was now almost six years ago. Yep, tears of total gratitude.
And guess what? If I can do it, so can you!
It’s totally possible. And it’s not anywhere near as hard as you think it is in your head. I promise. I know that if I can find my way from living totally out of the equation at 381 lbs — unhappy and unhealthy — as a girl who didn’t believe she was enough, all the way to the other end of the spectrun — healthy and happy girl living in the center of her equation and practicing self-care… Well, you can, too!
I must give a shout out to Anita, my new doctor who has now been with me five years at a Women’s Health Center. Not only is she a great doctor, but we talk about my work to help others who are struggling and she is supportive of sharing the In the Equation message. Who would have thought it would come full circle?
I am grateful for this experience last week where I received confirmation that I am healthy and being active and working at it every day is the key to managing it. I am grateful that I read my labs now and know my numbers, taking responsibility for my health. And I am grateful that I can share the message here with you. Even if I only help one person take the leap — it will be worth it.
If anyone reading this can relate to how I felt six years ago and wants to talk, PLEASE contact me here. I am happy to talk to you.
Today, I just had to share my experience as another key milestone in this ongoing journey to live wholeheartedly — healthy, happy and WHOLE. #forevergratefulgirl #healthymatters #yesyoucan!