Saturday, May 04, 2013
Five years ago, my dad had a heart attack. They caught it in time and put in a stint and he recovered well. He was told to eat better, lose weight, stop smoking cigars and reduce the wine drinking (he's a bit of a hedonist, lol).
After his heart attack we pleaded with him to listen to the doctor and eat better and drink less. He did for a while. But then he didn't. And he gained more weight. This is a man who worked 80 hours a week for 45 years and is now finally retired and wants to spend his time eating, drinking, relaxing and driving his Airstream trailer all over North America. He barbecues almost every meal. Eats red meat several times a week. His wife (my stepmom) was the former cigarette smoker that had quit smoking cigarettes but had slowly replaced them with cigars. When he had his heart attack, she vowed that was it! No more smoking! And they did quit smoking. Not soon enough for her though because she got lung cancer. She has been cancer free for 2 years (thankfully). When she was recovering from cancer they told her to cut down on her drinking.
While they have stopped smoking cigars, the two of them are back to drinking about as much as they always did. And I don't think they even realize it themselves. They will polish off a bottle of wine with every dinner and tell us they just had a couple of glasses. Only they didn't mention the other two glasses they had started at about 1pm in the afternoon. So by the end of the night, they've had about a bottle each. Don't get me wrong, they're not 'drunk', but they have to be consuming 500 calories a day in wine at least. I'm pretty sure those studies that say 'red wine every day is good for your heart' don't mean a BOTTLE a day.
Yesterday and today we had a new scare. Dad and Stepmom were going to be leaving next Wednesday to go back to Phoenix to pick up their Airstream and continue their cross North America tour. Dad finally admitted to stepmom that he'd had some tightening in his chest since DECEMBER. She freaked and sent him to the doctor right away. Well his doctor is concerned enough that he sends him to the cardiologist who tells him they have to do an angiogram immediately. So they did that today and of course they found blockages in his arteries and put in two more stints in his heart. That's three total now. They say next time it may have to be open-heart bypass surgery.
Now, my dad is a smart man. He is an architect, he's educated, knowledgeable, informed and he has family that loves him and don't want to lose him. He knows what to eat, how much to eat. And yet - AND YET - he still cannot bring himself to eat properly and take care of himself.
I had an interesting conversation with my brother today about it. You may remember him, he's the lifelong fit guy that just stops eating cheese for a week and drops 5 pounds (sigh). Well he was ranting and raving about why Dad can't take care of himself and just go on a diet. And I quote, "IT'S NOT THAT HARD." (ain't that the understatement of the century?)
And once again it became very obvious to me that in spite of my brother loving him and loving me, he just will never understand the headspace of someone facing a challenge like that. I tried to explain to him that there's more to losing weight than just counting calories. The biggest obstacle to him... is him. But brother just doesn't get it. It doesn't compute for him. And I doubt I'll ever make him see. But I understand Dad and where he's at. No matter how much we plead and beg and swear our undying love to him, the only person that can really make my dad go on a diet and be serious about it is him. He has to want it. He has to want it SO bad that he is finally ready to make the changes. I know this because it's the same for me. Since I was 8 I've been on various diets. But the only time it really really works is when I want it to work. I have always believed that any eating plan - be it Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Atkins, South Beach - whatever - will work to lose weight if you want it to work. It's not the calories in calories out problem - it's the mental aerobics you have to do upstairs.
And we all have to get to that point before we can really make the turn around. We have to reach that rock bottom point where we say NO MORE. This path is no longer an option and I must make a u-turn and not look back. I'm hoping that this latest scare will get him to that point because I can't put him there.
As an update for the curious about previous blog entries:
"Why are there skirts on plus size swimsuits?" - I got my swimsuit in the mail and went swimming tonight for the first time. I LOVE IT. The girls stayed where they were supposed to be. And I was skirt free. :)
"Always a Bridesmaid...Never the One with Some Say" - this was an interesting one. I had some really thought provoking answers to this. Some were posted on the blog and some were emailed to me directly. I also talked to Mom and friends about it. Because that's what I do in situations like this - get everyone's opinion. It seems the consensus is that I have two choices - tell him I'm not doing it or just wear the damn dress. And several people believe that the dress will actually be flattering (though I may have to make some 'bra' arrangements). Anyway, the final verdict is... I'm just going to suck it up and do it. It gives me all the more motivation to stay on course and continue eating right and exercising. And it's only one night. I could always bring a 'for later' outfit if I really felt the need.
Ok - end of novel. It's a gorgeous sunny, warm weekend here on the west coast. I hope it is where you are too. Have a fabulous weekend! :)