Living with high cholesterol and facing my increased risk from heart attack and/or stroke and one of its evil twins, high blood pressure, is what I write about every week. I try my hardest to provide information, tips, solutions and advice grounded in guidelines and science. It is easier to share this type of information with everyone and most of it is very helpful or least it has been to me. The studies, diets, and information have helped me to make significant and what I refer to as wholesale operational changes in my life. What are wholesale operational changes? Wholesale operational changes are diet changes—giving up burgers, bacon, and cheese, working exercise into each and every day, giving up a cigar habit, and generally taking care of myself. How have I done this? Very slowly and with great difficulty, but the theme behind the results is Self-Mastery. Self-Mastery has meant not letting my body win the argument be it for extra sleep so that I miss my morning workout, bad food, or extra helpings of great food.
Self-Mastery starts first thing in the morning for me. This has been without a doubt the most difficult of all, required the most diligence on my part and has been my first step in attaining mastery over my body’s whims and cravings. It is s achieving the moment of victory which starts each day awakening and arising with the alarm early in the morning and refraining from hitting the snooze button and falling back into a blissful slumber. It has been noted that if one cannot muster the strength to master oneself out of bed each morning, there will be no other victories that day. It is true. Each day that I hit the snooze button, I wake up late and miss my workout. I am then more inclined to grab a soda, cookies in the break room, or the late afternoon candy bar fix. The day got off to a bad start so why not? To stay motivated, I use positive images to persevere in waking up and exercising. I think of all the positive changes getting up early and on time bring to my day: a sense of accomplishment at winning that big victory, more time to get ready so a more relaxed approach to the start of the day, and time also to walk my dog in peace and quiet before everyone else is up and out. I also think of leading and know that leaders who are top in their fields don’t coddle bad habits or seek to under-achieve. So, why should I? We should all be leaders in our lives.
Self-Mastery continues throughout the day by doing my work to the best of my ability and giving the task at hand the time and attention it deserves. It continues into the evening by not allowing myself to eat more than I need to or should be eating just because it tastes great. All of this, believe it or not, makes for discipline, which, in turn, makes it that much easier to get out of bed on time the next day setting off another day of victories in the battle against cardiovascular disease. All of this snowballs into days and then weeks of success.
This is really hard work and it’s hard to stick to it, but the results are so worth the fight. I am stronger now as a person and more emotionally mature as a result. This in turn impacts positively all aspects of my life, heart health included of course. It has also positively impacted the negative things happening inside me. My blood pressure is coming down, my weight is stable (I have lost some and am no longer gaining,) and my cholesterol is in check.
So, I urge you to give it a try. Start with a victory that is small yet strategic. Move when that alarm goes off in the morning. You will be thanking yourself further down the road.
Published On: May 23, 2011