In my mid-30s I was serving as a pastor of a church on a full-time basis. I was also a full-time student working on a Master’s degree. Seemingly every moment of my time was accounted for. I made hospital visits, conducted weddings and funerals, attended church meetings and services, drove 70 miles four days a week to attend classes, and so on. I stayed up late at night studying for exams. I woke up early each day to study and prepare for the many tasks before me.
I ate fast food on the run and on a daily basis. I had no exercise program of any kind. One Sunday morning I woke up at my regular time to prepare to travel to the church. I had an enormous pain in my lower left abdomen. Every slight movement caused pain seemingly to shoot through every part of my body. I was fortunate enough to have a doctor who was willing to make house calls and within 30 minutes he was at my home. He immediately diagnosed me with diverticulitis which is a severe infection of the colon. He said it was caused by stress, poor eating habits, and not drinking enough water.
Thankfully a heavy dosage of antibiotics saved me from surgery but I dealt with painful flare up ups every few months over the next decade. Within a few months of my encounter with diverticulitis I was running across the campus to hand deliver a paper to one of my professors. I had made a commitment that I would never turn in any assignment late. So, I had stayed up all night completing it. After I delivered the paper I took a heavy sigh and started my walk across the campus to my car. The next thing I remember I was being woken by people standing over me who were telling me I had passed out and fallen to the ground. I got up and even though I felt severely light-headed I drove myself to see my doctor (I know, bad choice). He examined me thoroughly and gave me an EKG which revealed heart palpitations.
My doctor stated that the palpitations were caused by heavy caffeine intake. Of course I didn’t argue with him about that because 3 to 5 big mugs of coffee per morning was the norm at that time. He also had taken some blood and sent it to the lab. A few days later he called me in and told me the bad news (bad news for a 37 year old man that is). He said I had very high cholesterol and my triglycerides were off the charts. My blood pressure was seriously high as well. So at 37 I had diverticulitis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. My doctor’s exact words were, “Tony, you are a serious heart attack or stroke looking for a place to happen.” Needless to say that got my attention.
He recommended massive lifestyle changes that included daily exercise and eating a healthier diet. Well, I did this for a period of about 6 months but once I started feeling better I took myself off the statin drugs and stopped exercising. I gradually returned to my poor eating habits and the old lifestyle became mostly the norm again. It wasn’t long before I started feeling tired and lethargic again. I simply wrote that off to aging.
When I was 43 I was finally finished with school and had begun a career teaching at a university. My only exercise was to play a round of golf once or twice a month. Of course anyone knows that playing golf is about as straining as taking a bath, especially if you ride in a golf cart. I had little energy and hardly any zest for life. I was tired and bored. I had worked for 14 years to eventually earn the degree and credentials to teach at the university level. Now that I had arrived it was not all I had hoped for. Actually getting there was more fun than being there. My health was bad and my career was not as satisfying as I had hoped. Can you relate?
Now allow me to fast forward 8 years or so. One morning I was getting out of the shower and I dropped my towel as I was drying off. When I bent over to pick it up I caught an angle of myself in the mirror I had never seen before. I had noticed that my suit jackets were more difficult to button but I didn’t seem that “fat.” But as I was leaning over all I could see was flab and fat hanging off my body reaching toward the floor. I immediately, while still dripping wet, got on the scales. I weighed 195 pounds!!! Now, for my 5’ 7” frame that was at least 30 pounds too heavy. I had not realized that over the years I had gradually put on the weight. It was centralized in my chest and stomach.
I went to my doctor to have my cholesterol checked and get his insights into the weight gain. He discovered that my cholesterol was over 240. He merely chuckled when I asked him about the weight gain. It reminded me of that scene in The Santa Clause when Tim Allen was visiting his doctor about his weight gain. That is a very funny scene in my opinion. My doctor simply told me that with aging comes a more difficult road when it comes to managing weight. He encouraged me to take up an intense exercise regimen.
My passion was born on the day I saw myself in the mirror. I was sick of being weak, tired, and fat. I didn’t just want to get in shape, I DESIRED it. That desire burned with intensity inside me. That is when I came up with what I call DETERMINED DECISION. It simply comes down to this:
- Many people WANT to lose weight but never truly DECIDE to lose weight
- Many people WANT better relationships but never truly DECIDE to have them
- Many people WANT better overall health but never truly DECIDE to have better health
- Many people WANT a better or different career but never truly DECIDE to attain it
I could go on and on with the above list. The point is that to change anything in life takes far more than wanting something to change. If anyone wants something to change then it has to burn within them so much that they will make a DETERMINED DECISION to attain that change. This means no excuses. It means exercising in spite of the pain and drudgery of exercise. It means making the calls you never want to make. It means enrolling in the courses if that is what it takes. It means getting up early and starting to write the book (as I am doing) if that is your passion. A DETERMINED DECISION that leads to MASSIVE ACTION is the key.
Honestly I hated what I knew I needed to do. I knew I had to hit the weights and put my body through pain. I knew I had to get my heart rate up and keep it up for 20 to 30 minutes a day, every day, as long as it was going to take. Many people whine about the pain of exercise, so they don’t exercise. Many heavy-set people get very winded when they exercise so they quit. They actually would rather be out of shape than to get winded for a mere 30 minutes a day! How crazy is that? When we cross that 50 year mark these decisions are even harder to make but are more important than ever. If we don’t take control at this stage how much more difficult will it be even later in life?
I am going to close this at this point because I think the point has been made. I hope your interest and desire has been peaked enough to read on and even share with other friends and family the link to the book below. As you read through each of the chapters please remember that DETERMINED DECISION is the foundational premise of every concept. Without it nothing will be gained.
Dr. Guthrie has a passion for maintaining health and wellness. This shows clearly in this blog. He also enjoys playing golf with his daughter Kara and reading.
FREE Download – Click on Book
Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/in/tonyguthrie