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Home | News | Still Going Somewhere: Steven’s New Year Journey
Photo by Steven Cottingham

Still Going Somewhere: Steven’s New Year Journey

The most popular resolution made on New Year’s Day is to get in shape, to get fit. That’s followed by eat right and take care of our bodies. Health, and getting in better health leads the way for 2019.

After a few days or weeks, those resolutions are forgotten as we feed our need for some quick to eat, or just simply thing we don’t have the time to ear right or exercise.

We all take our health for granted until we end up in the emergency room.

That’s what happened to me this past week, a trip to the ER that led to some discoveries about my health. That, of course, let to further talks with my doctors.

Now, as you are reading this, I am undergoing a procedure at a hospital here in town. Nothing too serious, or so my doctor says.

Yet, when they decided to “go in,” I think that’s serious enough.

I didn’t make any resolutions to better my health or my diet. I’ve had my doctor tell me, time and again that I’m going to end up in an emergency room or the back of an ambulance and the cause will be something with my heart. He was right. I hate to admit it, but he was right.

Heart disease accounts for up to twenty-three per cent of all deaths. That number averages to about 635,000 people per year. For the most part, it’s preventable.

Heart disease is most common among men, but the number of women who are experiencing some type of heart-related issue is on the rise. It’s also common among those who are overweight (I’m in this category), or obese. People who are over the age of fifty-five (I’m only forty-eight), and those who have a history of heart disease, or heart-attacks in their family.

I don’t smoke; I’m not yet in my fifties, so why me? Why did I have to have this issue, and now of all times?

For me, it’s my diet. I don’t eat a healthy diet at all. Fast food is usually the answer to “what’s for dinner,” often because of my long hours working. I can recite the menus of several fast food restaurants.

Tufts University, the University of Cambridge, and Montefiore Medical Center discovered that almost half of all deaths, caused by heart-related issues, stem from a poor diet.

Sugar-sweetened drinks, processed meats and sodium intake are just some of the key factors. Think about, how many times do you reach for that can of Dr Pepper rather than a bottle of water or orange juice? What about those chicken nuggets, or the processed foods on that dollar menu you’re looking at for a quick meal?

My doctor tells me that I need to give my diet a major overhaul. I need to eat more vegetables and fruits, he said. I’m also told to eat more nuts and fish – and not the fish sandwich from McDonald’s. I’m also told I need to cut out the sugar-sweetened drinks and lay off the salt. (The food linked to the most deaths? Salt).

It’s hard, changing your diet after decades of eating almost anything and everything when you are running around chasing a story.

Other advice he had for me?

I need to exercise for at least thirty minutes per day. Walking is a good place to start. It’s a good place for all of us to start! I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve driven to Walmart to pick something up, rather than walk. Seriously, I only live about a half-mile from Walmart, I should walk it if I’m not doing a lot of shopping.

How many times do you catch yourself walking from your house to the car, and then the car to wherever when you could have walked it without a problem?

I remember seeing a movie with Steve Martin, I think, where he got in his car to drive five houses away to visit someone. Sadly, that seems to be what most of us are doing when we could literally walk and add some years to our lives.

I also need to lose weight. A lot of weight he says. I’m just a slap away from 300 pounds. This morning, when I was weighed, I was 278 pounds. Seeing that was sort of a “what the hell” moment for me. I have no idea how I weigh so much.

“Diet and not exercising,” said my doctor.

Here I am, forty-eight years old. I’m out of shape, I eat anything, and everything I can and I’m having a blockage removed from an artery.

Take a bit of advice from me, if you made a New Year’s Resolution to eat better, to exercise, to improve your overall health, keep it.

Don’t find yourself on the receiving end of a heart attack.

***
Have a story you want to share? Get in touch with Steven at Steven@EPHeraldPost.com or call 915-201-0918.  Follow Steven Cottingham
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About Steve Zimmerman

Steve is a writer, photographer, and poet. In addition to his freelance work for the El Paso Herald-Post, he is a videographer, and is launching a weekly podcast based on his forthcoming book, “Leap of Fatih” which will be released in 2019 from HarperCollins. Through his company, Still Going Somewhere, he is producing a series of micro-documentaries with individuals who have survived the Holocaust. You can contact Steven at 915-201-0918, or by email at steven@epheraldpost.com. To learn more about Steven, visit his webpage at www.StillGoingSomewhere.com

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One comment

  1. Good advice. We all could take better care of ourselves.

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