My goal moving forward in life is to be an example for others to follow. Over the past several months, I have really turned my life around. Since April 1st, I began reading the Bible and spending time in prayer not only for me, but for others. This helps me to start my day off on a positive note. In all my years as a practicing Catholic, I was never taught to read the Bible. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I never read parts of the Bible on different occasions. About 8 years ago, I was involved in a Wednesday evening Bible Study Group as well as a Friday Morning Men’s Prayer session. We mainly did certain scriptures, but I never spent time actually reading the Bible as a book. Today, I am almost 3/4 through the Bible and it’s by far, the most amazing book I have ever read in my life. It’s hard for me to believe that this book was written over 2000 years ago, yet I can relate to things so clearly that are happening today. Talk about history repeating itself. In September of this year, I was commissioned in our Liturgical Ministry as an Usher and Eucharistic Minister. This too has both my wife and I more involved in our Church Family than ever before. I don’t just practice my Catholic Faith now on Sunday for an hour, but try to live my life as an example to others. The hardest thing for me to have accomplished is to quit with the foul language. It had become part of my daily language. Once I began to curb my mouth of the foul language, it is incredible to hear how others use foul language. It’s probably the hardest thing I had to do. I have slipped a few times, but I can honestly say, I have cleaned that part of my life up as well. After not cursing so much, it really sounds terrible to me to hear others use such foul language just to emphasis a point of view. I never throw a stone, I’m as guilty as the next person, I just choose not to curse any longer in conversations. It’s actually a breath of fresh air to say the least.
As for my Heart Healthy Lifestyle, this is how I try to be an example to others. My wife fixes me several meals a day that are all calculated and discussed before each day. We plan our meals with such emphasis on freshness, quality and healthy choices. We typically eat home 5 days a week dining out on Friday night, which is our date night as well as Sunday Brunch. This too is under a rotation as not to become too boring. Our meal plans revolve around 4 different protein choices; Skinless Boneless Chicken, Skinless Boneless Turkey, Pork and Seafood. Along with these proteins I normally will add either a Soup or Salad, and 3 Vegetables, mainly greens like Broccoli, Asparagus, Brussel Sprouts, Green Beans, or Snap Peas. As for breakfast, this too is on a rotation of Egg Whites, Cold Cereal like Cheerios or Special K with Skim Milk and a Banana as well as Hot Oatmeal with Raisins. For lunch, I typically have Soup and Salad or choose to have an 8 oz. Oscar Meyer Low Sodium Turkey Breast with fruit and a Chobani Yogurt. As long as I keep the meals fresh and rotated, I never get bored. As for a mid day or evening snack, it’s Sugar Free Popsicles for me. They are only 15 calories and some nights I eat 8 small popsicles. The one habit that is sometimes hard for me is to not venture to eating dry Cereal late at night. It can be habit forming just like anything else. The key to this healthy meal planning is consistency. I never deviate from the meal plans above. If I do, for me, it could be life altering and I could begin to gain weight and go back into major Congestive Heart Failure. My wife can be extremely tough on me at times, but I know its out of love and not meanness. She is my Nurse Ratchet whom takes care of me 24/7 for my own good. As for dining out, I always try to eat as Healthy as possible still counting calories and listing my food intake as close to the portions I am allowed at each meal. It’s about discipline. As for alcohol, I choose not to drink any longer. It’s not that I can’t have a glass of wine or some type of alcohol, to me, it has become empty calories that are not needed and I also don’t have to worry about taking Heart Meds with Alcohol. End of the Story!!
As for the last example and most important, exercise. Over the past 7 months, I have been committed to exercising at least 4 times a day. For 4 of the months, I worked very hard with a Fitness Coach that helped get me stronger and worked on my core area, which is my weakest area of my body. I can now get off the floor without holding on to a piece of furniture. During the last few months, I have also been fighting knee pain. I have needed 3 different injections since August 16th, 2 Cortisone shots and One Shot of Synvisc, which is a very thick gel that helps cushion and lubricate joints. I will eventually need knee replacement, but I will hold off as long as possible. My Orthopedic Surgeon recommended that I take up swimming for awhile to keep the pressure off the knee. As a promise to myself, I will work even harder to reach my goal weight of 235 lbs. as a gift to me and my Heart. My wife has been a huge support and keeps me on the up and up when it comes to physical activity. It’s what is needed the most to keep my Heart pumping correctly. I’m extra proud that I have not seen the inside walls of a Hospital for over 3 years running now. Hopefully, the next time I need to visit a hospital is to have the battery and 4 main lead wires replaced in my Pacemaker/ Defibrillator, which is approximately 4 years from now!!
Will to Live – Road Trip – Visit to New Orleans – Part 96