Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hi, My Name is Jenn and I'm Overweight.

Like a lot of women, I spend more time than I care to admit worried about my weight, and while I cringe at Victoria's Secret ads, I don't think I'm all that caught up in comparing myself to the images of women we see in the media.  I've had two kids.  Nothing short of a time machine is going to make me look like Katy Perry, and to be honest I don't want to look like Katy Perry.  So while I hate catching the reflection of an undiscovered fat roll in the mirror, I've been unmotivated to lose weight.  My husband thinks I'm hot and I've proudly carried two children, but....there's always a but, isn't there?  I'm increasingly aware of how my weight affects my health.

In 2006, a week before we found out we were expecting our son, my mother suffered a heart attack.  She was 45 years-old and had low blood pressure and low cholesterol.  The morning of her attack she was driving my siblings to school.  She felt so awful that she made my 15 year-old brother turn around and drive back home.  He called to ask me what an anxiety attack felt like.  After getting some more info, it became clear this wasn't anxiety and I told him to take her to the hospital.  Thankfully they called my dad first and he called for an ambulance.  They told us later she would never have made it to the E.R.  She had a heart attack and 12 stents were needed to save her.  12.  My mom, who is a bit overweight, but eats pretty well and walks everyday almost died at 45.

My husband was freaked and brought home garlic pills, red wine, and baby aspirin.  We were going to take care of my heart now.

I got a positive pregnancy test a week later.

So now four years after my mother's heart attack, to the date I think, I'm still overweight and very much at risk.  The facts about women and heart disease are grim:

  • Worldwide, 8.6 million women die from heart disease each year, accounting for a third of all deaths in women. Three million women die from stroke each year. Stroke accounts for more deaths among women than men (11% vs 8.4%) with additional risk for CHD unique to women related to oral contraceptive use in combination with smoking.
  • 8 million women in the US are currently living with heart disease; 35,000 are under age of 65. Four million suffer from angina.
  • 435,000 American women have heart attacks annually; 83,000 are under age 65; 35,000 are under 55. The average: 70.4.
  • 42% of women who have heart attacks die within 1 year, compared to 24% of men.
  • Under age 50, women’s heart attacks are twice as likely as men’s to be fatal.
  • 267,000 women die each year from heart attacks, which kill six times as many women as breast cancer. Another 31, 837 women die each year of congestive heart failure, representing 62.6% of all heart failure deaths.

    To learn more visit Women's Heart Foundation
I have two beautiful children, and I would like to have more.  I know I can't avoid taking action any longer even though it's scary!  I really don't want to go to my doctor and get bad news, but I know I have to.

So I'm going and I want to start exercising.  About an hour ago I pulled out my old sports bras, they were a bit snug but that might actually help.  I'm also going to scrounge up the money for some new running shoes that fit my post-pregnancy feet.  My idea is to do the Couch to 5k program, but I'd love suggestions if you have them.


Go Long! Go Green! said... [Reply to comment]

You go girl!!! Finding the exercise that works for you and is exciting will be your best bet!! I always have my 21 month old say ... "go mama go" when I am running with her! Gives me some encouragement!!

PS> Now Following you ... would love a follow back! Found you on M&P's site!

Julian@connectedmom said... [Reply to comment]

I totally hear you about being afraid of bad news.

I've been avoiding a physical for that exact reason. I am terrified that I am going to be told that my inability to get my weight under control has resulted in IMMINENT DEATH!

I am going to be taking a fitness coarse called 'bellyfit' that combines tribal dancing, palates, yoga, and meditation for a 'whole body fit'. I think that taking a class and having the direction and motivation of a group will help.

We're on a REALLY tight budget too. I found this class at my local YWCA for a super low price, and even cheeper low income pricing or even free classes are an option as well. Definitely check out your local woman's organizations to find out if there's anything like that available to you!

Good luck mama, I'll call and schedule a physical today, and we can hold each others hand in spirit ok?

Tammy said... [Reply to comment]

We should make this a group effort. Build a support team and encourage each other! You can do it, mama! We all can!

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