I almost died at the start of this year…and I learned something important during my heart surgery recovery that I need to share with you.
I always say, what’s the point of living a really long life if you can’t do the things you enjoy? I mean, yeah, there are things out there that are bad for you. But, guess what?
We’re all human. And if some of those things bring happiness to our lives, then why should we always shy away from them?
What Matters to You?
I like catching up with my friends for an annual get together and drinking a few beers and eating some finger-licking BBQ. I also love taking my kids out for a pizza after they’ve played a baseball game. At the end of the day, I want far more out of my life than simply living to be healthy 100% of the time. Sharing good times and having awesome experiences is worth more to me than living a rigid, “no, thank you” lifestyle.
Within reason, of course.
Make Practical Lifestyle Changes
As you know, I underwent an emergency angioplasty early this year when doctors discovered one of my major arteries was nearly 90% blocked. If it had gone unnoticed, I could have died. And although genetic factors played a role in the condition, it was partly a result of lifestyle.
But during my recovery, I’ve adopted some new habits. And I’m still able to do all the things I enjoy. For example, two weekends ago, I drank beer and ate stadium food during a reunion. Just a couple of days ago, I hosted a pizza party for the kids at our family home. Generally speaking, I watch what I eat and drink about 85% of the time, while I let loose to enjoy the flavors I love—I’m a bit of a foodie—for the other 15%.
In my recuperation period, which has been going on for almost six months, I’ve shed almost 40 pounds. And my condition has improved greatly. Under the care of my doctor, I’ve begun a well-rounded fitness program that includes resistance and cardiovascular training at a safe intensity.
Remember to Enjoy Life
Sure, I might not beat Usain Bolt in a race or win a Strongman competition, but those aren’t my goals. My goal is to improve my heart health, so I can stay alive. And that doesn’t mean giving up all the things that give me joy.
There is so much information out there about what’s good and what’s bad for you that it really has the potential to suck the pleasure from life. I’m sure you don’t want to think about all the bad press you read on ice cream or wine last week every time you want a scoop or glass. And you shouldn’t have to. But it’s also important to remember that over-indulgence is really what poses the danger.
Balance Is Key
If you take anything from this, I hope it’s that you see health isn’t so black and white. It’s about operating in that gray area, where healthy choices and moderation overlap with enjoyable indulgences. After all, you want to live life to its fullest.
If you’ve had a health scare like me, you really get a sense of what’s important in life. And can come up with a plan to help manage your condition without living in a bubble. And, of course—and this is the most important part—consult with your doctor about what you can do and how often, in order to stay as healthy as possible.