There is a difference between having heart disease and choosing to live with it.
Having heart disease is passive.
Living with heart disease embraces change and celebrates life. Some causes of heart disease are related to genetics or biology, and those are the cards we are dealt at birth. My other risk factors increased because of my choices: my diet, weight gain, and lack of exercise.
It became a song that repeated itself, a verse each year, same song, different year, could be better but it got a lot worse. And finally, that song erupted like peanut butter, jelly, and a baseball bat. Except it was weight gain, lack of exercise, and a heart attack.
To choose to continue to sing that song would be having heart disease and continuing to make the mistakes that got me here.
Choosing to live with heart disease is to change those mistakes and resolve to do better. For me, those changes include:
- Eating a lower fat, lower salt diet.
- Drinking water instead of southern sweetened iced tea and coffee. I inhaled iced tea. And I probably drank half a pot of coffee a day. Now, I’m down to a cup of coffee a day. And each day begins with a pint of water.
- Scheduling my diet to include fruits and vegetables. I always ate them before, but now it’s imperative. The more fruits and vegetables I eat, the less room my diet has for cheese, fried chicken, and Cheetos.
- Logging my diet. Today is Day 26 of logging My Fitness Pal to track what I eat and measure the portions.
- Exercising today. I can’t procrastinate till tomorrow, which I had done for years. Now it has to happen, and logging it into My Fitness Pal gives accountability for me to make sure it happens.
Those are just the steps in choosing to live with heart disease. When I follow those steps, I’m really venturing on the real path, which is is celebrating life and making the most of the time I have with family and friends. If I stray from these steps, each step I take in the wrong direction leads me to not simply having heart disease but choosing to let heart disease have me and take me sooner.
I’ve heard that some addiction recovery programs say you have to choose to end the addiction for yourself. For me, the most powerful motivation for me to make and continue lifestyle changes is different. I want them to have more time with my husband and kids, so we can build memories together.
Then comes my challenge to you. If you don’t have heart disease, choose to live without heart disease!
Make healthier choices, starting today, RIGHT NOW, and make sure that your path never has to follow my new journey.