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Heart Health

Friday, September 16, 2011

By Kelly Deeny

I have an aversion to exercise. I know, I know. I’m a heart patient. I should be taking great care of my precious ticker. But I really despise exercise just for the sake of exercise. Going to a gym, running on a treadmill or doing weights just isn’t motivating to me. For others it is but this is about me so…I hate exercising!

I was a tiny child. My parents had to beg, plead and prod me to eat. Eventually I caught on and cheese became my favorite food. Ah, dairy—I love thee! Growing up I was never overly concerned with fatty foods or how much mayo I put on my sandwich. I didn’t start putting on some weight until my high school years. Part of my slim figure could be due to my metabolism, but I truly believe it was because I was an active child. Afternoons were spent riding my bike, walking to my friend’s house or playing hide-and-seek. As children we loved being outside. That was fun for us! I often wonder if the same holds true for this generation of children.

Once high school arrived my priorities and responsibilities changed. I had homework, new stressors and fun was hanging out on my friend’s couch watching TV. My inactivity within the past two years is a significant factor in my weight gain. I don’t need a healthcare professional or my cardiologist to tell me for it to be any more true. I much prefer taking a walk around the neighborhood or local park over an indoor fitness center. I need inspiration, motivation and a need for connectedness with my surroundings. I like to think when I walk so if there are a dozen TVs, machines and talking around me I get easily distracted.

Now food’s an entirely different story. I want good-tasting food again! Bring back the tasty French fries, the fried chicken and butter. I can’t stand anything low in fat or fat-free. I can tell the difference. There IS a difference. Why are we sacrificing taste when it’s our lifestyle choices that need scrutinizing? Not the fast food industry. If I eat a cheeseburger with fries and a coke every day then the problem’s with me—not with the food I’m eating. Healthy eating and great flavor can go hand in hand. It is possible. But I’m not going to eat something that takes like cardboard simply because it’s better for me.

There are plenty who disagree fervently with me on this topic and I welcome the discussion. As a congenital heart patient I’m truly not on the healthy food kick. It’s all about balance. About choices. Instead of having ice cream twice a week I’ll cut it down to a weekly treat if I haven’t been very active. I still eat food that others consider hazardous to my health partly because I’m stubborn, but also because I have just as much say as to what goes into my food and what’s being taken out than any doctor, lawyer or politician!


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