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Baby Steps

Jun 19

Posted by: ACHA
6/19/2014 12:25 PM  RssIcon

By Jon Ritchings, Jr.

I am loving this summer. After an extremely brutal winter it’s been wonderful getting outside again. The winter cold forced me to give up my daily walks. I’ve worked hard nearly every day to get in even better shape than I was last year. Well, that and lose the 20 pounds I gained.

I’ve set two goals for myself that I intend to hit by the end of September. One is to be able to run the three miles that I currently walk every day. The other is to lose those 20 pounds I gained this past winter. I’ve tried to do this a few times since my last surgery. In the past I’ve gone at it full blast, changing my diet and adding a lot of exercise all at once. Usually I do well the first few weeks, losing a few pounds and feeling good about the changes. Then, life gets in the way and the whole thing falls apart within a few days.

I know there is someone out there who has done this as well—tried to jump in with both feet and then fizzled out quickly. This time, though, I’ve decided to add little things at a time. About six weeks ago I started walking my three-mile loop again. A couple of weeks ago I felt well enough to start running part of it and so each week I run a little bit more of it.

This week I’m working on my horrible pizza addiction. No, I’m not giving up pizza. I’m making my own. They take about 30 minutes to make using an eight-inch flour tortilla as a thin crust. Best thing is that it allows me to use leftovers from the fridge and they taste even better than the store bought stuff.

Now I know you’re wondering how much headway I’m making toward my goals. So here’s the update: I’m running about a half mile out of the three miles each day and I’ve lost two pounds. I know, not a lot of weight loss for six weeks. I’m not worried, though, because I have lost enough around my waist to need a belt to hold my pants up. So I hope by making small changes in my life I can make big changes in my health.

Note: Always make sure to check with your ACHD cardiologist before beginning any exercise routine.

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.”

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