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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's unofficial

Better U

Today was my appointment with the cardiologist for the Better U challenge. Though the 12 weeks of the challenge doesn't officially start until January 1, 2010, as far as Dr. Branyas is concerned it's all systems go from here on out.

All in all, the appointment went well. Dr. Branyas spent a lot of time with me, going over my blood work and discussing my lifestyle habits that need a little, shall we say, tweaking (ok, overhauling).

The good news:
  1. My EKG was normal.
  2. My blood pressure was only mildly high.
The bad news:
  1. My good cholesterol is low.
  2. My bad cholesterol is high.
  3. My C-reactive protein, which is associated with inflammation that can lead to clogging of the arteries, is almost 3 times what it should be. Dr. Branyas said that 60% of their open heart patients have high bad cholesterol and high CRP.
The hard to swallow news:
  1. I need to lose 47 pounds just to be considered "overweight" and not the other "o" word.
Wow. That one was like a punch in the oversized gut. Trust me, I'm well aware of my size and my weight. But looking at it in that way was really a wake up call.

I talked with the good doctor about my food vices -- sugar and fried foods. She said she's never, NEVER, eaten at McDonald's and that once she went into one to use the bathroom and she was sickened by the smell of the oil in the air.

Are you kidding me? That's one of the best parts of McDonald's -- the smell of french fries getting all crispy, soaking up all that offensive oil. But Dr. Branyas assured me that soon I'll find it just as wretched as she does.

When she asked me what I usually order -- a #3 with a Diet Coke, I proudly told her that I always ask for them to only put 1 slice of cheese on my quarter pounder instead of two. Amazingly, Dr. Branyas was underwhelmed by this information.

Then she asked about my exercise routine. I knew it would come to this.

"Oh, I walk about 6 times a day -- from my office to the printer about 100 feet down the hall."

I admitted that I own an elliptical machine and it's located just 24 short stairs from my bedroom. That's when Dr. Branyas laid down the new law. Exercise. Every day. In the morning. Before the shower.

"Tell yourself that you cannot get in the shower until you've exercised," she advised.

Little did she know that not showering might not be such a big threat. I was sitting in her office, after all, unshowered. What can I say? I was running a little behind schedule this morning.

But I agreed. Elliptical before shower. Daily. 10 minutes a day to start is all she asked. That can't be too difficult, right?

So I've decided that since I'm going to be spending so much time with this contraption, the elliptical should have a name. My first thought was Jillian.

I posed the question on Facebook and got Attila and Torture. A few other people took the tack of naming it something more appealing, like Patrick Dempsey, George Clooney and McSteamy. Not a bad idea - spending time with a Hollywood hottie every morning doesn't sound so awful.

But I still haven't settled on anything. Maybe I'll give it a spin tomorrow and see if a name comes to me. And I'm open to your suggestions, so please, lay 'em on me.

The rest of the appointment went well. Dr. Branyas said she expects that by the Go Red for Women luncheon on February 26, I will have lost 20 pounds. (Really?!) I left the office armed with lots to read, a new cookbook and a fast food guide, feeling hopeful, slightly overwhelmed and inexplicably craving McDonald's.


Eternal Lizdom said...


I'd love to know more about your fast food guide!

Sharon said...

Oh! How about "Killian", which is an actual name (Irish), but taking Kill+Jillian?! LOL I think it's fitting. Killing your fat away...

I think you can lose at least that much by Feb. I wouldn't be surprised if it's more, if you stick with it strictly.

I don't know if I believe her when she said she has never eaten at McD's. I call her bluff!

Wanna know something about me?
I had a health screening for our life insurance, and it came back that I have high blood pressure. WHAT?! I am no longer overweight, I am actually under my WW goal weight. I exercise. I eat well. But I have blood pressure higher than they'd expect to see in a 29yo. :( It may be a hormonal imbalance, but still. It ticks me off.

Good Luck, Amy! Please update-here, Twitter, or FB-and share once you've done the exercise. :)

Momza said...

Yea for you! I would love to have to guiltily (is that a word?) answer to someone.
I'm not huge on McBarfo's--but I do love those fries once in awhile.
Thanks for sharing your info...I"m taking notes: no shower before exercise! Thats a great idea!

Micah and Emily said...

Best of luck with everything Amy...piece of the hell out that exercise machine!


Jenny McB said...

Good luck! Once you give up on Mickyd's you won't want to go back. Have you watched the documentary, Supersize? That might help.

Think about the losers on the biggest loser, they all did it by increasing exercise, no quick fix for them.

Amy said...

@EternalLizdom - You can buy the fast food guide for $3 here:

@Sharon - The first day went ok. I spent 15 minutes trying to figure out how to turn on the DVD player, then 10 minutes exercising.

@JennyMcB - I have seen SuperSize Me. Maybe I need to watch it again to refresh my memory.

Nate's Mom said...

Wow Amy! I am so excited about this opportunity for you, and that you are sharing it with us. I want to tag along with you. 20 pounds by the end of February...with Christmas in there? You can do it, but it won't be easy. I am hoping to get an eliptical for Christmas. Just 10 minutes a day? Even I could do that.

Sheri in CA

ruth holladay said...

Another good post about this long process, Amy. Your candor is going to be your best asset; you are very upfront about everything, and that's a good no-bullshit strategy.
I don't have room for an elliptical, but I left her office and bought two exercise videos at Half-Price Books. I really like "You THE OWNERS MANUAL" which has a good cardio workout that I mostly stumble thru...
Anyhow, we are all in this together and we have nowhere to go but up (or down on the scale)! Keep your chin up and you will prevail!!!!

Vicki said...

Will you being doing a regular posting on this,like you did BL?
I,too,have the lovely eliptical machine. A combination birthday/Christmas gift (that's what happens when you're born in December!). Used faithfully at first. Along with Weight Watchers and the machine,lost two pounds a week for two months. Then I quit. How stupid of me. GOOD LUCK!!!

Amy said...

@Vicki - I will be doing regular updates, either on this blog or on a blog set up by the local American Heart Association. Once I know more about that, I'll post a link.