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Let’s Get Physical

Nov 22

Posted by: ACHA
11/22/2013 10:31 AM  RssIcon

By Clare Almand

I used to be a real health nut. I worked out at least five days a week, watched what I ate, and read all those fitness magazines. I felt strong. I felt healthy. I was 18 and terrified of gaining the Freshman 15.

My hard work and constant fear of being overweight successfully kept the pounds off for most of college. But over the years, the fear and discipline has gradually declined to the point where I have finally gained those 15 pounds, albeit eight years later.

I recently went on a freelance assignment, which relocated me to a hotel. For two months, I spent 12 hours a day in an office chair and then traded that chair for a bar stool at the hotel restaurant. My diet was bad; my movement was minimal. Needless to say, when I finally got home and got on the scale, it wasn’t pretty. Mostly because the scale didn’t give me a number, it just read, “GO RUN” in big digital letters.

My heart condition being stable has kind of been a double-edged sword. I should be more conscious of my health because of my condition, but that was never the main reason for my eating healthfully and exercising. And now that I am actually approaching an unhealthy weight, all that discipline and fear that I had as a teenager should be coming back in full force. However, it’s not that easy. The holidays are coming up. That means a lot of temptation with fatty foods and sweets.

So, how does everyone do it? If my CHD isn’t enough of an incentive to kick my butt into shape, what will do the trick? What works for the rest of you?

Clare Almand was born with Shone’s syndrome and has undergone a repair for coarctation of the aorta, multiple atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect repairs, aortic valve replacement and an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation. She has a B.A. in Media Arts and Design with a minor in Creative Writing from James Madison University. Clare works at a TV production company and writes screenplays in her spare time. 

Copyright ©2013 ACHA

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4 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Let’s Get Physical

I always intend to "Start tomorrow." I can identify with your post. Just this week, I have set a goal to put 100 miles on my tennis shoes before Christmas. It will stretch me, but I know my heart is healthy enough to do it now; and the best thing I can do 7 months post-surgery is get up and move; and eat right! I know, too, that once I get into the exercise mode, I will feel so much better--more energy! So, that is good motivation too. Perhaps I need to change my intention to "start today!" In a recent discussion with my doctor, we decided 85% of the time is a good goal for consistent exercise and eating healthy. So...those are the things I am doing right now! But it is a lot harder to be healthy at 30 than it was at 18! In the long run, it is worth it. Now...to act!

By Carrie on   11/22/2013 12:09 PM
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Re: Let’s Get Physical

I've given up being Cookie Monster II.
I can go into a store now and bypass all those luscious looking, gooey donuts, and all of the bakery department.
My mission there is to walk 17 aisles twice and climb 50 steps (the store has a 2nd level) in 20 minutes. I have to walk up and down a few times until I reach 50. Works very nicely for good exercise. I get a tad SOB but it passes quickly. Then I walk out the door and go home, so i won't be tempted by any other good looking stuff.
My doctors and nurses are pleased with the plan and my success. Also, it helps the heart pump to continue to function well.
Connie

By Connie on   11/22/2013 2:02 PM
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Re: Let’s Get Physical

I set exercise goals and nutrition goals that I try to stick with.

On the exercise front, over the past few years my target has been to run one or two five-K races a year. Now, at 56, I have started to train for a half-marathon. I am searching for one of the easiest ones to run; meaning flat and moderate temperatures. I also keep an eye out for fitness challenges. The latest challenge I read about in Runner's World is to run every day from Thanksgiving to New Year's day. I am definitely in! Rhode Island has ShapeupRI which is a team step competition that I try to compete in annually. I have found Planet fitness to be a very economical health club. No pressure, great hours and plenty of machines.

On the diet front, I limit my meat consumption. No poultry at all, red meat maybe a half-dozen times a year, and fish generally once or twice a week. Sweets are my downfall. I think a pH balanced diet is the best way to go. With children it is hard to avoid sweets and unhealthy snacks. I am always trying to shed the last ten pounds!

TOF repaired July 21, 1969! ICD installed July 2009!

By Bill DiLibero on   11/22/2013 2:05 PM
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Re: Let’s Get Physical

I totally feel my heart condition is the key reason why I make sure to stay physically active and healthy, especially as I get older. I always used to think I needed to stay in shape in order to do whatever I wanted, whether that was hunting, backpacking, running, playing sports, etc. But after my open heart surgery this past June, I believe staying physical and healthy is a life style choice you make daily to keep us with congenital heart conditions, out of the surgical room! The better you take care of yourself, the better your replacement valves will work and last.
I am luck that my job as a forester keeps me outside hiking. I try to stay in shape for that and to keep up with all the guys I work with! As for incentives, the best way to keep up on my exercise is signing up for races. From 5ks to half marathons....I set up a training schedule that I work towards. It is easier for me to have a reason as to why I am working out and a race does the trick for me. A schedule is nice because then I don't have to think about what I should do to exercise since I always have something planned. Make sure to mix it up as well - my cross days are filling with cross country skiing, hiking, elliptical work, pilates, boot camps, and Yoga. :)

By Kelly Norris on   11/26/2013 9:00 AM

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