11 Oct

Weight and heart attacks

I posted the following on my LiveJournal, but it is all about my weight, so I am going to post it here, too:

Erin got a very sad phone call last night: one of her friend’s husbands died of a heart attack. It happened suddenly and unexpectedly. And it has really scared both Erin and me. Because this couple was a lot like us. They met via the internet. They married close to the same time that we married. Their baby boy is six weeks older than Colin. The husband was overweight.

So now, aside from being sad for the widow, we are now faced with seeing a possible future. The husband was 10 years older than me when he had his heart attack. Is this the road that I am headed down? Do I have a heart attack waiting for me in a decade?

This is my greatest fear. I’m afraid that I will have a heart attack and leave Erin and Colin. I don’t want Colin to have to grow up without a Dad. I know how hard that is, and I don’t want to put him through it. I also know how hard it is for a single mother to both work and raise a child. I don’t want to put Erin through that.

But my weight is not good right now. It’s actually very bad. Yet I continue to fall into the same trap, the “bad things only happen to other people” trap.

I see this in others around me all the time. People who drive to fast or drink too much or smoke. They all say the same thing, “Ah, I don’t have to worry about accidents/alcoholism/lung cancer. Bad things won’t happen to me.” Which is only true until it does happen to a person. I’m sure that most people who are killed in traffic accidents never expected to be killed in a traffic accident. Never expected to be in an accident at all. Because that only happens to other people.

So I can see this behavior in other people. But I am just as guilty of this when it comes to eating. Because while having a heart attack is a very real fear for me, I don’t actually think it will happen. Because stuff like that only happens to other people.

Now, however, the chance of having a heart attack at an early age seems much more real. And much more scary. Erin’s friend’s husband only got to experience the first year of his son’s life. Colin is going to turn a year old at the end of this month. That parallel is far too close for me to ignore. This has made me realize that bad things can happen to anyone, including me.

And so I am dedicating myself to get as healthy as I can. I’m not going to be unrealistic about this. I will never weight 150 pounds. But I can be okay with this. The way I see it, dropping 100 pounds should be my goal. This’ll take me down to 225. Which, while not an optimal weight, is about a thousand times more healthy than what I am at right now. And that is a thousand steps towards doing what I need to do to be around for Erin and Colin for a long time.

This is a journey of a thousand miles. And like the Taoist saying, it starts in the simplest, easiest way imaginable: with one step.

I have taken my first step with this entry. Wish me luck.