A Father’s Heart: A Journey From Loss To Health

Time Is Precious
The phone call came crashing in a dark desert night.
I’ll always remember the feeling.
My Mom got the news that my Dad was having a heart surgery.
Separated by state lines and divorce, all I could do was hope my Dad would be okay.
I can’t remember if I talked to him or my Step Mom.
I honestly can’t remember if it was his first heart surgery or the triple bypass that came later.
What I’ll never forget were the feelings.
My Father, whom I loved dearly, suffered a heart attack and his life was in jeopardy.
Helpless, I cried. As a 12 year old boy I wasn’t ready to lose my Father…

Years later studying health I learned about cardiovascular disease and the hereditary genetic predisposition but most importantly I learned that it was a lifestyle-related disease. We’ve heard the term so often that we’ve become numb to it: lifestyle-related. That means that your lifestyle plays a critical role in your health or the lack of it. As a society we’ve somewhat accepted these diseases as norms but they’re only normal because of the lifestyle choices people so often make.

Lifestyle diseases include heart disease, stroke, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and diseases associated with smoking, alcohol and drug abuse.

  • Nearly 35% of Americans have metabolic syndrome.[i]
  • Metabolic syndrome substantially increases the likelihood for heart disease and/or diabetes[ii].
  • One in every four deaths in the U.S. is caused by cardiovascular disease[iii].
  • Obesity and childhood obesity, along with type 2 diabetes in children and youth is also on the rise[iv]. (Read my article HERE for more on lifestyle-related diseases.)

The projected future of our nation’s health is getting worse[v] unless we do something to radically change the trends.

WHICH SIDE OF HISTORY DO YOU WANT TO BE ON?

 

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I don’t know where you are on your health journey or if you’ve experienced the same kinds of losses I have. But what I can tell you is that your health matters! If you want to have the greatest impact on your family, friends and the world, you have to take care of yourself first.

Here is a testimony from an online client of mine, who is a family man and business owner:

“Keeping the pillar of health strong is key to happiness on my journey. For me it used to be really one focus all the time but I’m beginning to realize success is 3-4 key areas and you have to push in all of them. For me it’s family, business, health, and spiritual life. Health is a huge, often neglected pillar that I think heavily impacts how you do in the other three. If I don’t feel healthy I struggle with my relationship with my wife. I feel less confident so business struggles. I feel less confident – it’s less sex, which impacts my relationship with my wife. I get more stressed out, which impacts my daughter. The cycle goes on. So exercise is proving to be a constant, not a ‘now and then.’ The years of hard consistent progression in the gym dramatically impact my overall well being. Even if I’m not rock hard with abs, I’m still happy.”

SO WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT YOUR HEALTH?

Let’s look at four basic health standards that less than 3% of Americans meet:[vi]

  • Activity: Perform 2.5 hours per week of moderate or vigorous activity
  • Nutrition: Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
  • Body Composition: Keep your body fat percentage under 20 percent (for men) or 30 percent (for women)
  • Lifestyle: Don’t smoke, keep stress levels low, sleep enough

So what areas are you strong in? Where could you use some work to add to your health? Maybe you are unsure of your own limiting factors and could use some help on your health journey. For example, if you’re new to exercise start with the basics. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help.

Thankfully my Father survived this health scare. Unfortunately, he didn’t change his lifestyle enough. I often wonder how things would have been different if he had.
It motivates me to live a healthier life for my wife and our one year old son, whom I wish dearly my Father could have met and held. It is my deep WHY behind wanting to help people live a healthier lifestyle they never thought possible.

I’m a personal trainer and online nutrition coach in Los Angeles. I help regular people find meaning in their health and fitness journey through habit-based coaching. I’d love to help you if you want to change. I offer a free consultation and I’d love to hear about your story, learn more about where you are and connect.
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[i] Aguilar M, Bhuket T, Torres S, Liu B, Wong RJ. Prevalence of the Metabolic Syndrome in the United States, 2003-2012. JAMA. 2015;313(19):1973–1974. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.4260

[ii] Isomaa  B, Almgren  P, Tuomi  T,  et al.  Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality associated with the metabolic syndrome.  Diabetes Care. 2001;24(4):683-689.

[iii] CDC, NCHS. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2013 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2015. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2013, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed Feb. 3, 2015.

[iv] Ogden  CL, Carroll  MD, Kit  BK, Flegal  KM.  Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012.  JAMA. 2014;311(8):806-814.

[v] Rowley, William R. et al. “Diabetes 2030: Insights from Yesterday, Today, and Future Trends.” Population Health Management 20.1 (2017): 6–12. PMC. Web. 25 Jan. 2018.

[vi] Reeves MJ, Rafferty AP. Healthy Lifestyle Characteristics Among Adults in the United States, 2000. Arch Intern Med. 2005;165(8):854–857. doi:10.1001/archinte.165.8.854

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