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Drastic Change

Monday, July 22, 2013

By Alissa Butterfass

The other night my husband and I were watching the television show Restaurant: Impossible—Chef Robert Irvine visits a failing restaurant and over two days works with owners, chef and staff to revamp the business. In this episode, the restaurant's owner expressed doubt that her party boy son, who served as the restaurant manager, could change his ways to become the responsible adult necessary for the job. When my husband lamented that the mother didn’t have faith in her son, I said, well, it’s really hard for a person to make such a drastic change. My husband smirked at me asking, “And how would you know?”

I know because I am in the midst of drastic change.

Drastic change is passing by the chocolate bars at the grocery store, instead of buying two of them and eating them as soon as you get home.

Drastic change is giving up Diet Coke for water, eight times a day.

It is cutting up fresh fruit into a clear container, and keeping it at the front of your fridge, highly visible and at the ready next time you crave something sweet.

It is crunching on sugar snap peas instead of potato chips.

It is automatically asking for fresh fruit instead of French fries with your omelet, and paying an extra $2.50 each time you do, all in the name of better health.

Drastic change is staying upstairs after you put the kids to bed, instead of joining your husband in the family room to watch TV, because the family room is too close to the too tempting snacks in the kitchen.

It is trading ice cream for frozen yogurt and pretending not to taste the difference.

Drastic change is making time to exercise, even when you don’t make time to clean the house, cook dinner or pay bills.

Drastic change is not showering first thing in the morning, and instead putting on workout clothes in anticipation of a morning walk.

Drastic change is becoming obsessed with how many steps you have taken.

It is going the long way, instead of the most efficient way, because you want to get in the extra steps.

Drastic change is wondering whether someone who gets out of breath so easily, who can’t jog for more than five seconds, could possibly train for a 5K running race.

It is the frustration of still gasping for breath as you climb the stairs.

It is knowing that you are improving your heart health but uncertain you will ever actually notice the difference.

Drastic change is wanting the morning walk. It is needing the morning walk. It is realizing that your morning walk is necessary for not just your physical health but also for your mental well-being.

Drastic change is apologizing to your husband for resenting the afternoons he opted to go to the gym on his day off rather than spend those few hours with you or the kids. Because now you get it.

It is reminding yourself that it is not a short-term diet but a process of developing new behaviors that will hopefully last a lifetime.

It is joy as scale goes down. And keeping at it when the scale goes up. Especially when the scale goes up.

It is knowing that so many people lose the weight only to gain half, or even all, of it back. And believing that you will NOT be one of those people.

It is being sad and scared that these changes need to continue a lifetime, even after you reach your goal weight.

It is wondering if you will ever get to just enjoy dessert—to truly savor it, without calculating what other food or exercise choices you need to make as a trade-off.

Drastic change is setting a good example to your kids about physical fitness, exercise and healthy eating.

Drastic change is knowing that at the next cardiologist appointment you won’t get the “you need to lose weight” lecture. And looking forward to showing the doctor what you have already accomplished.

Drastic change is bad meals, bad days and bad weeks and making a decision to stop them and try to do better. Not next week. Not tomorrow. Right now.

It is knowing that you won’t meet your goal by your original deadline. And not getting discouraged. It is going on, not giving up.

Drastic change is not easy. It is not always fun. It is scary. It is about facing your own shortcomings and flaws, and challenging yourself to eliminate them. It is modifying your life in a way that can be effective and realistic for long term. It is just the beginning.

This is drastic change. And I believe I can do it.


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The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

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