Last week I went shopping for some new clothes. I hate clothes shopping and often get very frustrated. Expecting to not have any fun at all, I was a bit reluctant. However, I really needed some good clothes!!
Imagine my surprise when I had some decent luck. Not only did I find some clothes which fit, I had to request smaller sizes in practically all the tops and at least one pair of pants. I’m not sure that last time I had that particular experience. It was probably the time that I lost weight in school and got down to about 160 lbs, fitting into sizes 10-12. That was during graduate school and I was fasting one day/week and taking some sort of pills to boost my metabolism. Shame on me for not knowing exactly what they were, but my recollection is that they were some type of thyroid medication which were provided from the doctors at a medical weight-loss clinic.
This time, I’m not taking any unknown pills...ever. It just isn’t copacetic with my new way of leading the life of an empowered patient. I want to know all about what is prescribed for me, everything I take, and how it is supposed to benefit my health. In fact, we should all take an active role in our health and healthcare.
Yesterday, I packed some of those new clothes and hopped a train to Philadelphia. It was an easy ride during which the time passed very quickly. Sitting nearby were two nurses who had just attended a conference in Baltimore regarding eHealth and teleMedicine. One of the nurses was a home healthcare nurse and when I heard that bit of information, I gave her big kudos and thumbs up. She asked if I was a nurse and I explained that I am a patient, one who lives with chronic illness and is friends to several other patients who do need the help of home care nurses.
Another train passenger nearby was very interested in talking to the ladies. He is someone who works on the rails of Amtrak (literally works the rails in maintenance and repairs). A bit of information which came up in discussion was that he smokes and drinks....plenty. One nurse suggested that he was a perfect example of “what not to do” as a patient or person who simply cares about their health. No, drinking a 12-pack of beer over the weekend is not a good idea no matter who you are or what the condition of your health is.
I laughed a bit to myself. Here I am trying to do better with eating well and steadily losing weight. Whether or not being overweight ‘might’ have contributed to developing two incurable, autoimmune, inflammatory diseases doesn’t really matter. My health suffers now and his probably will later. The difference is that I’m doing something about it now.
As a result, I am very proud of myself to be succeeding. I have lost 44.3 pounds in 38 weeks. That’s amazing in my book!! A steady 1.16 lbs/weeks which fits the recommended 1-2 lbs/week weight loss which is reasonable. At this rate, I will definitely achieve my desired 20% weight loss by the end of the year.
Before having started this year with a public journal of my own journey, I would not have believed that I could do this. I ignored the recommendations of doctors to lose weight for years, just like the Amtrak guy was ignoring the gentle suggestions that he should stop smoking or drinking (so much).
I’m not really sure why this attempt at taking control of my health is working so well. In one way, I don’t really care; I’m just glad that it is. On the other hand, I’m interested in how more people could have a similar experience.
How do we use online tools or websites to motivate others to DO SOMETHING to improve their health? What can other people or companies do to help us help ourselves? These are things which I’m pondering this week while attending the ePatient Connections conference in Philadelphia.
Please share your thoughts below. Where do you find motivation to make positive changes?
September 19, 2010
Weight: 230.4 lbs
Blood Pressure: 125/75
September 26, 2010
Weight: 227.3 lbs
Weight Loss Year-to-Date: