Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Getting through life with family makes a difference

Week three came and went and I continue to make some progress.  I did real well in the early part of the week and then gained some weight toward the end, but still had a net 2lb loss, which was actually the original goal.  The part that I have really appreciated over the three weeks is the support of my immediate family as well as that of extended family.  With some graduations from college last week, we had some family in town who wanted to actually go walking with me.  They were excited for my changes and wanted to be supportive of me.  I had never walked the newly finished portion of the Jordan River Trail from the "Chevron Mile" in Davis County to 1700 N by the new Northwest Middle School.  We decided to on the Legacy Parkway Trail at the end of Center Street in North Salt Lake and walked toward 1700 N, just over three miles.  I had the extra challenge of pushing my brother's grandchildren in a stroller, but I survived.    Part of my participation in the My Heart Challenge is trying to show a good example to not only my own kids but to others. The need for each of us to see if we can't make some improvements in our own health is critical.

Also in week three, I went on what I hope is the first of seven walks.  I invited my colleagues on the council to take me on their favorite walk within their district and the first one to take me up on the offer was my colleague, Jill Love, who represents Salt Lake City District 5.  She wanted to show me the McClellan Trail and some of the surrounding neighborhood.  It was not only informative, but we got our walk in for the day!

I also started using a fun app on some of my bike rides and walks, called, MapMyWalk or  It uses the GPS unit on my phone and tracks my route, gives me speeds and elevation and of course lets me post it to Twitter or Facebook.  Tonight I went on a ride with my daughter: (Jessica's Bike Ride) or a few days ago, I walked to work with Cathy (Walking to School with Cathy).  Again, it's been very helpful to have the support of my family and to share this experience with them.  They in turn have benefited and are making some changes too!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sometimes success is measured in not regressing!

In week two, while a number of of milestones were accomplished in my quest for a healthier heart, the numbers in the weight loss category isn't quite the same pace as last week.  While it would be easy to get discouraged by that net 1 lb, what it doesn't really reflect is the fact that in the out-of-town conference I attended, I would have put on 3 or 4 lbs from a lot of the big dinners provided.  I actually found myself turning down desert, drinking a lot more water, taking smaller portions, all significant in itself.  I also found myself walking a lot more at a quicker pace and doing some things I hadn't done for a while.  I felt better about myself and even played golf for the first time in a few years.  Fortunately or unfortunately, my golf game gave me a lot of walking between shots as I pushed my ball up the fairway.  I did get my first par on 3 par hole, which is very significant for me!

One of the tricks to getting my aerobic exercise is taking my pulse on a regular basis while doing the exercise.  I've never been good at taking my pulse, and frankly don't really like the feel of blood pumping past my finger!  Cathy has always pulled the teeth in our family and frankly enjoys inflicting the pain, and I kill the spiders and clean up the throw-up!  Meagan, my exercise coach at IHC recommended this pulse oximeter that you can get at most drugstores or online (Walgreen's in this case) for under $50.  Not cheap, but I can take my pulse on demand as I walk or exercise and see what my oxygen levels are as well.  I get a pretty good pace going in order to get the heartbeat up and going. 

This week I also started more consistently doing my strength exercises.  While I can lift a great deal, I've never liked doing strength exercises, especially my upper body.  I always did them during basketball, and when I worked out at BYU it was 1984 when their football team took the national championship and we followed them in the weight room.  I always had to move the pin on the weight all the way up and some of the football players even made fun of me.  However it felt good to stretch muscles that I forgot existed and I feel a lot better than I have for years.

Finally, part of my goal in helping others by helping myself has started to pay off.  My family is participating and making some changes in their own health.  I've had a lot of people who have recognized their own needs, and even had a colleague in another town approach me about how they could get involved.  He is running for his county's commission and that county's status is not good and some changes need to be made as well.  While not perfect, we've come a long way.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

My Healthy Heart Challenge

Well, I think I've done it.  Burned the ship, of no return.  I've done the thing that no smart person would have ever thought to do, admitting on TV that I was going to make some changes in my life and try to get a healthy heart (and the rest of the body that surrounds it).  Smart people would have at least gone to the "Biggest Looser" to make money but I had to go into a deal with other Mayors, Council Members and City Managers around the County in Intermountain Health Care's My Healthy Heart Challenge.  I can't tell you how often I've been on TV and seldom people have seen the spot, but on this one, everyone seems to have seen me.  Next time, I decide to make some kind of life changing decision, remind me to do it in private!

As part of the health challenge, I went through a stress test with a cardiologist, met with a dietitian, and did a partial workout with an exercise physiologists to help me understand what I need to do.  I've set a course over the 100 days of the challenge to make some behavioral and activity level changes that I'm hoping to accomplish.  I'm hoping this effort is not just for me but maybe an example to others, especially in my district to make some significant changes in their own lives.  I've really appreciated the effort that my family has made to join me in the effort and we're all trying to help each other make the changes that will be necessary for us all.

I'm planning to take some documented walks (along with a number of undocumented ones) to show people different places to walk in Salt Lake City.  I welcome friends and others to invite me to "go on a walk with them".  As much as I would hope, I know this isn't going to be a perfect effort, I've already experienced some slow starts in the process.  My logs and exercise sessions aren't quite what I want, but I've started.  I'm already benefiting from some changes, and it's only been 10 days.  In my first 10 days, I've lost 12 pounds, but I have a long way to go.

I just want to throw two things out there that might help you.  I've found a very functional tracker that has both web applications and apps for my phone and iPad.  It's  The thought of adding things to my booklet they gave me was very intimidating, but this has been something I can handle.  I've been amazed at how easy it is to find food and the difference in things that I eat.  Homemade stuff saves in a lot of categories!  The other place I would encourage you to track is and you can see my progress as well as the other participants.  You will also find some helpful information and recipes and maybe you'll find a video of our walk together!  If nothing else, lets sit down over some apple splices and mozzarella cheese stick snacks!