Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Thoughts on a Healthy Lifestyle

I read about an interesting study done recently that looked at sudden cardiac death in women and lifestyle factors associated with risk reduction.  Sounds kind of boring, I'll admit, but the gist of the article is that a healthy lifestyle significantly reduces the risk of sudden cardiac death in women.  This is important, because for everything we know about cardiac disease in men, the disease often manifests differently in women.  Sudden cardiac death may be the first indication of underlying cardiac disease in some women.  So I'm all about preventing it.

Four lifestyle factors in particular were found to have the greatest risk reduction, and they shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone.

  • Not smoking - kind of a no-brainer.  I've never been a smoker, and I'm very glad of that.  I have so many patients who want to quit smoking and just can't; it makes me sad for them.  The decline in lung function and subsequent functionality is a tough consequence for people to understand, especially early on, when they don't feel poorly.  It's not until significant lung function has been lost before people start to become symptomatic.  
  • BMI <25.  I'm still working on this one.  I've struggled with my weight my entire life, but at least I'm headed in the right direction at this point.  I haven't hit the magic number yet, but I'm hopeful that in the next year or so, I'll be where I want to be.  Maintaining it is a whole other story, but one step at a time...
  • Exercise at least 30 minutes per day.  I meet this goal on more days than not.  I generally exercise in the morning when I first get up.  Some weeks are better than others, but in general I try to be a fairly active person.  Even if I'm not running or something like that, I like to be out in my garden pulling weeds and such.  I make it a point to go up and down the stairs in my house multiple times per day.  
  • Eat a healthy diet - defined as high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy oils, and moderate in alcohol.  Yep, this one I've got covered.  In spite of my problems with my weight, I don't eat poorly on the whole.  I'll have a cheesy poof here and there at a party, and I do indulge in sweet desserts from time to time, but my daily diet always includes at least 5 fruits and vegetables, olive oil, and some kind of whole grain.  I eat mainly lean proteins and fish.  I do drink wine, but it doesn't get out of hand.  
I felt pretty good about my risk of sudden cardiac death after evaluating the lifestyle factors.  There's room for improvement for sure - I need to work on getting in more dedicated exercise, and I'm still working on getting my BMI down to where it should be, but overall, I think I'm doing the right things for my health.  And that makes me feel good.  

Thursday, June 30, 2011


I've been a member of Weight Watchers (again) since December.  As far as weight loss programs go, I like it - it's user-friendly, effective, and an overall healthy diet plan.  And it has worked really well for me.  I've lost 25 pounds, and then 6 weeks ago began gaining tiny little bits each week until my 25 pounds lost were really only 20 pounds.  And that frustrated the hell out of me.  Weeks where I would track every bite, exercise every day, and drink my water religiously would yield the same result as weeks where I slacked on exercise, loosened my portion sizes, and bought diet soda every day.

This week was the first week in over a month that I've seen a loss on the scale.  And it makes no sense.  I was at a wedding this past weekend, didn't track a thing, drank a bottle of wine, and got next to no exercise.  When people talk about lack of motivation to keep going, this is it.

I am a rule-follower.  Set something up as a rule, and I will follow to the best of my ability.  And when I don't follow the rules, I blame myself for the consequences.  But weight loss isn't like that.  It's not linear, even though we measure it that way.  Weight loss does not always follow "If this, then that" causality.  Sure, if you look at the broad picture, it does, but I'm talking week-to-week, because that's how I measure my weight.  Over 6 months, what I've done has added up to loss overall.  But what I did this past week should not.

This is the hardest thing for me to grasp and accept.  That I can follow the rules and not necessarily see the result I want.  I'm an achiever, that's how I roll.  And I have difficulty having faith that if I keep following the rules, it will even out eventually.  Instead, I choose to mostly close my eyes, try to do the right thing, and push through.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Why is it that days off seem to go much faster than the work week?  I was out of town for a cousin's wedding this weekend, and I'm so glad I ended up taking today off...I needed to recuperate from my travels!

Weddings have always been something of a double-edged sword for me.  It's fun to get dressed up and let go a bit.  I enjoy seeing my extended family, since they live far away and I don't get to visit with them all that often.  But I always end up somehow feeling like the clock of my life just sped up and I can't slow it down.

I haven't yet decided whether I want to get married or not.  It's not like this is a question on the immediate horizon of my life, but I feel like my ambivalence probably affects my dating life as a whole.  I don't want to get into a relationship without really understanding what I want.  The truth is, I'm not someone who is unhappy being single.  I don't love it 100% of the time, but the amount of time I spend feeling satisfied with my life is somewhere in the 90% range.  I haven't decided whether having someone else will enhance that feeling or not.

That's not to say that I'm opposed to the idea of marriage - I'm just not sure if it's right for me or not.  I suppose the answer to that question may depend on who I meet or date and how I feel about them.  But sometimes I think I hang in dating limbo because I'm afraid I will meet someone I truly care about, and then I'll have to give up my single life, my cherished time to myself, and make room in my routine for someone else.  It seems silly, doesn't it?  Either choice leaves me grieving for the loss of the other...

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Seven Year Itch

after a seven-year hiatus, i finally made my way back to my blog...

i actually had thought that my blog had magically vanished into the ether of the internet.  what happens to all the old pages that no one ever looks at?  there's a tree-falling-in-the-forest question in there somewhere...

i just went through and read all my old blog entries from when i posted on a regular basis...its funny to think of what's changed and what hasn't....

i'm years wiser (or seven years older, at least) and with a new perspective on the whole blogging thing.  who knows what comes next?

Friday, September 10, 2004

Welcome to the World...

Olivia Lynn Griffith
7 lbs 4 oz
20 inches
Congrats Becca and John! (and Aunt Emily too...)

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

i saw the passion of the christ today, and i can't say that i loved it or i hated it, but i will say that it made me think. not so much about the religious ideas surrounding the crucifixion but about the process of the movie and what it accomplished. i came up with a few conclusions.

** to start, my medical-mind has a huge quibble with the film, and though i know it doesn't really have anything to do with the point of it, i found myself utterly distracted from the quarter-point onward by the fact that the violence is ridiculous. it is ridiculous. no one would have lived through that scourging. never mind the fact that the 40 lashes were actually 72 (i counted), when they dragged him away, there were about 6 units of blood left on the ground - this is certainly enough to send someone into shock such that they would certainly be unconscious if not dead already. if that wasn't enough, the crown of thorns would have certainly finished the job - the skull is one of the most vascularized areas of the body, which means that when it is pierced, it bleeds profusely. to expect that a person with that kind of injury externally (i won't go into what must have occurred as internal injuries) would then be able to walk let alone carry anything is absurd. and i'm sure there are all sorts of arguments why this doesn't really matter, or how God gave jesus the strength to keep going to carry out this ultimate plan, but i think most who belive in God would agree that God made our bodies, including the way they work. if jesus was, indeed, a human form of God, his physical body would be just as fragile as anyone's, no matter how transcendant his spirit. this may not matter to most who see the film, but it mattered to me, because i felt that the complete lack of realism in this aspect meant that the rest of the movie lost some meaning.

** i wasn't at all impressed by the acting, particularly jim caviezel as jesus. granted, he spent most of the movie bleeding everywhere and dying, which didn't exactly give him much range to work with, but overall, i was underwhelmed by the portrayal of the characters. the most impressive was pilate, followed by mary (jesus mother), though neither had a whole lot of range either.

** visually, it was a beautiful film. the attention to details, even in the areas of violence, contributed to an artistically stunning film. though the violence was disturbing and extremely gross, it made me feel things. i don't always feel things while watching a movie. but during this film i was in turn saddened, grossed out, frustrated, exasperated, and angry. not many films make me go through so many emotions that haven't been manufactured by plot points. i think that less could have been more where the violence was concerned, but that was mel gibson's choice, and i'm sure there are many who disagree with it.

** i found it ironic, given the amount of blood shed by jesus, that i saw this film using a free pass that i got from donating blood. i can't really recommend paying to see it (though i guess you could say i paid in blood, all pun intended) but if you have a chance to see it for free, it may be worth the discussion it can create more than the entertainment of something like "eurotrip".

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

taking it on the chin...

okay, so i got sucker-punched by bryan for not updating my blog more frequently, and my answer is this...i have a real job. so there.

that being said, here are a few little tidbits until i can come up with something really interesting to say.

-- taxes suck. i just finished mine, and goddam local tax in maryland just ate half my federal refund. AND, someone told me today that they read in a magazine that maryland has the ugliest population in the country. to be fair, florida had the stupidest population, and i think that is worse.

-- i regret to say that i watched the finale of average started out innocently - i started watching the show halfway through when i realized that a person i knew from my cleveland days came on as one of the "hunks" who also happened to be a jackass, and i really only wanted to watch until he got kicked off. but the part of me that requires completion in all things couldn't leave it alone. it also sucked. see bryan's blog for the whole recap. i agree wholeheartedly with all his conclusions and i would add only that my first thought when she revealed the "shocking secret" was "who's fabio?"

-- i got to see the chihuly exhibit in columbus this weekend, and also got to see leno tagliapietra's work at the columbus art museum. glass is beautiful.

-- golfers are big freaking babies. i watched the match play between tiger woods and davis love III with my dad this weekend. if it wasn't tiger complaining that people were TAKING PICTURES of him (the nerve), it was davis love having a fan ejected for chanting "no love" during the match (which he deserved, as he was sucking terribly). i like to think that for prize money of $1.2 million and $700,000 respectively, they ought to be able to play through some heckling.