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Sep 27

Posted by: ACHA
9/27/2013 1:52 PM  RssIcon

By Jon Ritchings, Jr.

Last night after a day of 16 hours spent on my feet, I went to bed and lo and behold, for the first time in more than a year I had some edema in my left ankle. I tell you this because I know exactly why it happened.

Over the summer I've put on about 10 pounds. I haven't been exercising regularly or eating very well. Seems simple, but I think it can happen to anybody. You see, I lost my focus on my health. Often in today's world of go-go-go, we lose focus on the things important to us. It could be anything—family, success, or in my case, health.

I made my health a priority of my focus about 12 years ago and so I have tried to eat a low-sodium, low-fat diet and walk on a regular basis. During those years, I was in heart failure, and if I cheated on my diet I knew it by the end of the night.

Since my surgery last year I haven't had this instant feedback to inform me that I needed to refocus and correct the behavior. My newfound culinary freedom—combined with a busy and hectic summer that included a great vacation, making new friends, playing music nearly every night, the death of my grandfather, and thinking about going back to school—has kept my mind from focusing on my health and let the evil salt creep into my diet.

So I find myself in the situation that I need to lose about 30 pounds. I was 20 pounds overweight at the beginning of the summer and out of shape. With that in mind I would like to make a promise to myself, and I guess to you guys as well—to refocus on my health and make it a priority. Decide what's a priority in your life, make a game plan and refocus your efforts to reach your goals.

Jon Ritchings, Jr., is a 40-year-old father who was born with pulmonary atresia and hypoplastic right heart syndrome. Although he has made a career in retail, he prefers to be outdoors kayaking and taking photos. Jon likes to draw inspiration from quotes and one of his current favorites is from Lao Tzu: “I have just three things to teach: simplicity, patience, compassion. These three are your greatest treasures.”

Copyright ©2013 ACHA

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