Most people who first meet me would describe me as happy, bubbly, and one of the best compliments/descriptions I have ever received was by my love who said I was filled with a "zest for life". Those are all true *most* of the time, but there is a reason behind it which I do not share with too many people, until today...
When I was two years old, I was rushed to the emergency room for a high fever, and stomach flu which would not subside. I laid in the ICU for several days approaching what the doctor’s prepared my mom for (the worst), as they could not diagnose what was wrong with me, or why nothing was staying down. They ran superfluous arrays of tests, poking and prodding me to no avail. Until a young cardiologist discovered I had a heart condition, a rare one. Every year since I was two I had to go to a Cardiologist for an annual check-up for my condition (for those curious, it’s a mitral valve cleft) in laymans terms, this fancy jargon translates to the fact that I will need open heart surgery to replace the valve… eventually.
I have known this my entire life, and frankly it’s a tad scary for a young kid to think about- and is not much easier for an adult to digest. Anyone who has a young child knows the thought of what if’s and why’s for a small child are endless as they try to process and understand life. Two of my favorite books (fittingly) are Randy Pausch’s “The Last Lecture”(the lecture turned novel written by a man dying of cancer…but the book strangely enough wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment) ; Tied for my favorite book is Mitch Albom’s “Tuesday’s with Moorie” (the reflections of an old man giving a young man a second chance to reinvent his life), both are amazing “must reads” which every person should read to revaluate their life and how they will enjoy their precious time on this earth. So I have spent every day of my life with this conscious knowledge of the inevitable, and decided I would not let fear overcome my life, my love, my passion, and my chance to be happy- every single day of my life!
I know you are thinking, “OK, Why do I tell you all this, and how does this relate to getting fit, or happy?”. Well, too put it nicely, I was “pleasantly plump”. There are many reasons for why this occurred, but if I were to be honest with myself, none of it matters as much as why I hesitated to make a change. Part of it was I was scared of changing and pushing myself (both physically, and mentally), part of it was “I did not have the time”(I have heard this one tons of times), part of it was I did not know where to begin? Someone once told me, “every time I see you, you are always smiling”. Although I smiled and felt happy, I felt something did not add up, I felt the person on the outside did not match the person on the inside. I was not reaching my full potential, and deep down, I was unhappy about the way I looked, and wanted to look better, and more importantly feel better. I share my journey to get fit, health, and happy with you in the hope that perhaps you can relate to me on some level, perhaps I can inspire you in some way, perhaps my words can help motivate you to take action and control of your life, health and happiness the way I did- and continue to strive to.
In the beginning I haphazardly went through the “motions” of getting fit. I tried the diet fads, you name it, I tried it… Atkins, South Beach, NutriSystem, Weight Watchers. It was around this same time, I was extremely successful diving myself into work, working constantly, coming home and feeling mentally drained and too tired to work out (sound familiar?). But I was dieting, wasn’t that enough? It was around this time, my cardiologist appointment turned up some unpleasant news. My condition had worsened, and my status was now upgraded to severe. Houston, we have a problem. One of the Weight Watchers mantras then became ever so clear to me: “this is NOT a diet, this is a LIFESTYLE CHANGE”. I packed my things and went on a trip to Costa Rica, I kayaked, I horseback rode, I zip lined. I was active… and I liked it! My endorphins were pleased, it made me feel better, healthier and happier. I came back and made it my mission to live a more active and healthy lifestyle. I finally figured out the secret… Do you want to know what it was? It’s so simple, it’s scary. No crazy diets required-- Calories in, vs. calories out. Shocking? I know! Sometimes the obvious is more easily digested in pretty packaging and fluff- but that is all there is too it. I do not mean to oversimplify, as obviously there is a lot more to it, mentally, physically, and emotionally- sweat and tears, and above all the right attitude, but at the core most simple definition- that's it. Knowing that makes it easier to start. I had to stop waiting for the perfect time, as there is no such thing. I had to just begin... I began to eat healthier, I began to move more, I began to try new things and challenge myself. I made a commitment to take care of myself ala the old adage “take care of your body, and your body will take care of you”. Put quality nourishment in your body to fuel you, get active doing what you love, get fit (magical side effect), learn to love you, and get happy!
So being a closet nerd and techie-a-holic I wanted to help you get on track for your goals, whatever they might be. Over the next few days I will share a list of the top techie devices, tools, and methods, which have helped me have great success, and I think can help you meet your goals. Stay tuned!