What's up, Team? I hope this finds all of you well--literally and figuratively. This will be short and sweet, but I hope it will make us all think.
I was just thinking this morning about all of the things that we do in our lives and how, for the most important things, we generally have a game plan. That is, there is some bar we seek to get over or at least up to. For work, that might be one thing. As parents even we nudge our children to work hard in school because a goal has been set. And the bottom line is this: Goals require game plans.
What is your goal? I mean, specifically when it comes to all of this stuff we've been doing and talking about? That's the million dollar question.
Now. Of course our goals can be broken into little mini-bite sized ones but usually there should be some overarching big one. At least, that's what I think.
Here is what I mostly hope every person reading this aspires to have as either their main goal or at least one of their big two:
To personally reduce my modifiable risks of HEART DISEASE and CANCER.
Okay. So let's just get real again since that's what we do on this team, shall we?
Let's imagine the photo above as all of us standing in a ginormously long line. All of us different people with different stories and builds and everything. Despite all those differences, the reality is the same. Hands down, the thing most likely to cause any of us DEATH or DISABILITY is heart disease. Period, period, period--end of story.
When I say "heart disease" let's also include all forms of atherosclerotic disease like strokes, etc. Because that counts, too. Yeah, that.
So anyways. Let's draw all of our attention to that second word "DISABILITY." I've been thinking about this a lot lately. I think since Deanna left us, DEATH has always seemed like the worse possible thing that could happen with heart disease, but recognized that the aftermath of can devastate families just as much from what I've seen.
Imagine if suddenly you couldn't walk more than a foot without being severely short of breath. What would that mean to your family and wall that you do? What if a stroke left you unable to speak or move the dominant side of your body? How would that affect everything you do? Well? Because THIS? This is as real a possibility as the whole DEATH part.
Sometimes I imagine if Deanna had been left unable to talk or move. Like if her cardiac arrest had ended not in a sudden death but instead severe anoxic (lack of oxygen and blood) brain injury. It's so hard for me to picture us rolling her over and propping her up or cleaning off her tracheostomy tube. And please--let me be clear--I am not making light of the many reasons that people become or are born with disabilities. I'm not. But I am making sure that we are going at everything with our eyes wide open to heart disease as a cause of acquired disability. Even in the younger of us. And yes, I know this sounds super grim, but I need our team to recognize that we are running from more than just death. We are.
So let's regroup. Let's look at our goals and come up with real game plans. I know it's time for me to look at mine again.
Are you getting at least 150 minutes or more of cardiovascular activity?
Do you know your BMI?
Are you realistic about trying to get it lower?
What are you eating?
Are you thinking when you eat?
What example are you setting for your family?
Will you be the catalyst for a generational tradition of fitness or a generational curse of inactivity?
How much are you drinking?
Are you separating weight loss from exercise and tying it to what you eat?
How do you feel? If you feel bad, what are you doing about that?
Who is your doctor?
When did you last see her or him?
What is your blood pressure?
What is your cholesterol level?
Are you up to date on your age-appropriate cancer screenings?
What is your family medical history? Do you know it? Does it affect your health risks?
What excuses are you making?
What foods are in your house that you KNOW should not be?
What do you want? For you, for your family, for your peace of mind?
Because this is stuff we have to KEEP ON ASKING ourselves. Over and over and over and over again. These realities DO NOT go away when we ignore them. They don't. So we have to go at them head on. We do. We DO!
Remember: Anything I say here is a word for ME too. Every word. I need to hear it and read it and digest it all right along with you. But at the end of the day, only you will be accountable for these questions. You can talk about it all you want but a lot of it is visible.
And let me just say again--this IS NOT all about weight loss. It isn't. But the reality is that being overweight dramatically increases your chances of DEATH or DISABILITY from heart disease--and also increases your risk for A LOT of cancers, too. So no matter how you look at it, it is what it is. We just have to acknowledge that fact even if we don't like it.
And slim folks? Don't think we don't see heart attacks and strokes in the slight ones. We DO. So know that you still need to be doing all of these things. You DO, too.
So there. That's the deal. Let's get on board with our game plans and get vicious with them. And let's rage against this machine called heart disease.
You feel me?