Another Transformation Story

Eat well, Sleep well, Move well!

Eat well, Sleep well, Move well!

Months back I wrote a post about how it has taken me years to get my team of doctors on board with the fact that a 60+ guy can eat bacon and eggs, lose weight and do CrossFit.

There were times over the past three years when I’d yell at these guys because they were stuck in their old mindset, even though the evidence of my improved health was right before them.

Last week I had appointments with my Primary Care Physician and my Cardiologist. It was quite amusing. Each of them was eager to see me. It’s almost like they are living healthy lives vicariously through me. How bizarre is that?

My PCP visit began with the following dialogue:

Doc: I quit eating grains!

Me: When did you do that Jack?

Doc: Over a month ago.

Me: How do you feel?

Doc: Amazing! I can’t believe how much energy I have.

Me: Have you lost any weight?

Doc: Yes, I’ve lost 11 pounds in just over a month.

Me: That’s great. Are you doing any exercise?

Doc: Not yet, I don’t have time.

Me: Are you getting enough sleep?

Doc: I get 5-6 hours sleep.

Me: I want you to make exercise a priority, and you should make an effort to get 7-8 hours of good sleep, every night. I’d like you to work on that, OK?

Doc: Yeah, you’re right, I need to become more focused.

Me: So, Jack, why am I here?

Doc: It’s your annual physical.

Me: OK, then can we start talking about me now?

You can’t make this stuff up.

The physical went well, my weight is down five pounds, blood work is excellent, blood pressure still on the edge. Doctor Jack went on to tell me that he sees patients who have undergone “transformations” before, then they have reverted back to their overweight, sedentary selves by the time they have their next appointment.

He is thrilled and “inspired” that I have sustained this for three years.

A few days later, I met my cardiologist. He is also amazed by my sustained transformation. He asked me about my blood pressure and weight, and I whipped out my stats from my iPhone.

He asked about CrossFit. I mentioned that I am doing few WODs and focusing a couple nights a week on Olympic Weightlifting. He looked puzzled, so I explained I was learning Snatch and Clean & Jerk. Then his face went ashen and he said, “You mean those lifts where you throw the barbell overhead?”

I explained that it is not brute force, but technique. He was still amazed and said, “Yeah, but you’re in your sixties, should you be doing that?” Again, I reminded him that moments before, he was delighted with my weight, EKG, etc. He chuckled and agreed, “Chuck, you are not my normal patient. I tend to forget that. Just keep doing what you’re doing. See you in a year!”

I used to write about how food and fitness was transforming me. Now I can write about how transforming myself, is transforming my doctors.

How are you having a positive influence on your doctors? Are you able to open their minds to new ideas? It takes time and patience, but it’s almost as rewarding as lifting a barbell overhead.

Impacting People – A Sequel

Coffee Shops are great places to engage with fascinating people.

Coffee Shops are great places to engage with fascinating people.

One of the things I find most liberating about growing older, is the sense of emboldenment that I feel in approaching strangers. I used to watch in awe as my grandfather said things that were on his mind, to complete strangers, without a shred of self-consciousness.

Now I find myself doing it. I have discovered the world is filled with fascinating people and if you want to engage them, you’ve got to make a move.

In September I wrote a popular post about how some people have tremendous impact on those around them. In that piece I mentioned that I had observed a very fascinating individual in a local Starbucks. If you read the original essay, this one will make more sense to you. (Go ahead, follow the link and come back, I’ll wait for you.)

In my original post, I expressed my dismay that I had not seized the moment, “I have been kicking myself ever since, for not introducing myself, and taking a moment to know this man.”

Yesterday, I was having my “lunch” at Starbucks, and I  encountered this same gentleman. Having missed the opportunity to engage months back, I took advantage of the opportunity for a “do over”.

I mentioned that I had overheard his chat in September and I asked him how his performance went. His face lit up to realize that I remembered such detail from a conversation I heard across a noisy room three months ago.

He told me his performance of the “writings of abolitionists” was well received and the hosts want him back next year. He then mentioned he was leaving the coffee shop to do a dramatic reading of an abridged Dickens “A Christmas Carol” at a local Council on Aging.

just show up, and do the work…

Having just spent a few weeks memorizing a chapter of the Bible, I asked him if he had any tips for developing memorization skills. I was amazed by his answer. Not simply because of what he said, but also how he said it. He used a metaphor of a barbell.

“The brain is like a muscle. If you want it to be stronger, you have to exercise it.” He went on to describe how an empty barbell is challenging to a novice. But over time, with patience, persistence and repeated practice, you get better, you get stronger. You can lift more weight – you can memorize and retain more verse. He also added, that once you have achieved it, you must continue to exercise it, in order to preserve your victory.

He explained that you just show up, and do the work, and in so doing, you will be rewarded.


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