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Name: Ted P.

Age: 70 years old

Location: Chambers Center for Well Being -Atlantic Health System

Health Challenges: High blood pressure, risk factors for cardiac disease 

Greatest Motivation: I’m healthier, I have more energy, and I don’t have to take naps all the time because I’m just not tired. My wife often jokes, “Where did my husband go?” because I basically came back from the program a different, better person. I’m thinking more positively and I feel magnificent. At 70 years old, I simply want to keep going. I want to hit that “100” number and be healthy when I do so. I know that it’s a cliché to say, “life is not a dress rehearsal,” but it’s true; we all have a choice to shape our lives, turn them one way or the other, and make the right decisions. 

His Story: At the end of last May, I was feeling tired and sluggish, and getting a bit dizzy going up and down the stairs, so I went to see my cardiologist. I’d also gained several pounds over the previous few years, so it was definitely time to check in. During the appointment, my doctor mentioned that my triglycerides were increasing and that my HDL and LDL values were upside down. Immediately, I realized that I had to make a drastic change—particularly to my lifestyle and my food intake. Up to that point in my life, I’d exercised very little and basically eaten anything and everything that was put in front of me. I realized that my habits had to change, and I had to make a life or death decision.

“My wife often jokes, ‘Where did my husband go?’ because I came back from the program a different, better person.”

With some pressure from my wife Ilene, my doctor told me about the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program. (Intensive Cardiac Rehabilitation) He said that “there’s no magic pill that I can give you to help your problems go away, but this program will teach you how to eat and live in a healthy way. You should try it.” Well, I had some decision making to do, so I read up about the program, looked at some participant testimonials, and asked questions about it. From then on, I bought into the Ornish Program completely; I made a commitment to myself and signed up. After the Ornish orientation, I started eating a healthier diet and I lost 3 or 4 pounds before the program even started. That type of immediate impact told me right away that, “there must be something to this program. You’d better listen to these people.” After all, I do have a lot to live for.

In the weeks since I started the program, I’ve lost over 30 pounds and my blood pressure has returned to a normal range. I feel at least ten years younger than I actually am — and I’m thinking more clearly than before, too. I’m healthier, I have more energy, and I don’t have to take naps all the time because I’m just not tired. My wife often jokes, “Where did my husband go?” because I basically came back from the program a different, better person. I’m thinking more positively and I feel magnificent.

I exercise every day, do yoga, and meditate…yes, there’s a new me!!! And I like it!

Each of the components of the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program—exercise, nutrition, group support, and stress management—has been beneficial for me and indicative of my overall improvement. For the exercise component, I’ve mostly noticed my improvement on the treadmill (my stamina increased) and in my weight loss. At the beginning of the program, for example, the instructor asked me to bend over and touch my toes. In response, I kind of scoffed at her; I was happy to touch my knees, but I knew there was no way I could get to my toes—not with my stomach in the way. But now, I’m able to go down well past my toes at a moment’s notice. It’s really amazing. I exercise every day, do yoga, and meditate…yes, there’s a new me!!! And I like it!

By the way, I had a wonderful support person in my wife Ilene. She cooked the Ornish recipes and ate, exercised, meditated, and walked beside me through the whole process. She even lost 15 pounds along the way. I’ll be forever thankful for all that she’s done.

The other component that I’d like to touch on is stress management. Because of that aspect of the program, I’m more patient with people and a better listener today than ever before. This improvement has clearly shown up in my business relationships—I’m handling difficult work situations far better than I used to—but it’s also had an impact on my personal relationships. For example, my wife and I have gotten closer in a variety of ways; we’re now able to discuss things without me becoming short-tempered, we come to better resolutions, and simply put, we work together better.

Today, I’m very motivated to continue following the program and improving my well-being. First and foremost, I’m motivated because I love what I do and I enjoy my relationships with my wife, family, and friends. But beyond that, at 70 years old, I simply want to keep going. I want to hit that “100” number and be healthy when I do so. I know that it’s a cliché to say, “life is not a dress rehearsal,” but it’s true; we all have a choice to shape our lives, turn them one way or the other, and make the right decisions. This program taught me what those “right decisions” are, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that. I love the Ornish Lifestyle Medicine Program — it’s changed my life.

 

Contributed by

Adam Farina
Contributor

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