The fact that I just narrowly avoided death hit me like a ton of bricks. I was afraid I would have had a heart attack all over again. During my last check-up, I could hear my doctor's voice echoing back to me. "Your blood work is concerning. You should start watching what you're eating a little more closely.
"Oh yeah, sure thing," I said to him. "I'm going to start cutting down on junk food and eating more vegetables after the holidays." Then
the winter turned into the spring that turned into the summer, and, well … I was in a hospital bed with my frightened husband next to me, and my doctor calmly told me how lucky I am to be alive.
I don't think I've ever felt worse.
The rest of the time in the hospital was a blur of blood tests and blood tests. They recommended that I take blood thinners to help reduce the risk of another heart attack. Oh yeah, and I had two other arteries that were more than 85 percent blocked, so if I didn't follow their instructions, I’d be back in this hospital room. I was devastated by it. I almost left my husband as a single father because of my eating habits. I blinked back to the moment I found my own mother in the living room, barely able to move with chest pain. She's made it through a heart attack, but she's never been the same.
Right then, I promised that I would never do that to my children and my husband. I was going to change my life and be healthy and good for them.
Spoiler Alert: My new determination only lasted two weeks and a half.
I was a machine for those two and a half weeks: choosing the right food to eat, drinking plenty of water, exercising every other day. I felt unstoppable! Until, I stepped back to the doctor's office on the scale.
It was a follow-up appointment, and I was really excited for the doctor to tell me how well I was doing.
"Well, it looks like you've actually gained a pound or two."
"That's-- what?!" In the office, I replied in anger. "I've been doing everything right since I've been discharged. What's happened?
"Well ..." he shrugged, barely looking over the charts in his hands.
"Sometimes that's just what happens when women of your age want to start to lose weight."
Women of My age?! I screamed inwardly. My doctor called me old.
At the time, I was only 42, not feeling great about that, and his comment didn't help. "Diets and exercise can be quite effective for women in their 20s and 30s, but sometimes for women over 40s, we see the opposite effect," he said.
Containing my frustration, I asked, "So what can I do to actually make progress to release this weight?” Again, my doctor was shrugged. "The only thing I would recommend is to continue with what you've been doing. You might run a couple more miles every day. Let's hope it works and we'll see results," he said. MILES?! I could barely get up the stairs in my home without getting winded. How was I supposed to start running a few miles a day?
My entire world has come crashing down once again. I met my husband in the lobby and I cried all the way back home. If I wasn't able to get rid of this extra weight, I felt that another cardiac episode was inevitable. But if my body doesn't cooperate with me ... what else can I do?
Back to junk food and laziness.
My husband tried to support me, but I could tell him he didn't know how to console me. My girls couldn't understand why mommy was so sad all the time, and why she couldn't play with them in the yard.
I received a phone call from Beth during this dark depression. It's been 10+ years since I've seen her name appear on my caller ID. Frankly, when she moved to California with her new husband, I thought she'd lost my number.
Why would she call me now, though?
"Hey girl, I heard what happened," Beth said when I picked up the phone. We haven't spoken in 10 years, but we got right into it. She and I have always been close, even if we don't talk on the phone often.
"Yeah ... things haven't been so great lately. It feels like my body's conspiring against me. It's awful,” I said.
“Listen, I will be in town for the next few days. Let's get to meet up. I have something that I think is going to help you.”
At that moment, the thought of going out to the world was almost too much. All those people in a restaurant staring at the "big whale" trying to maneuver between the tiny tables. I've shut out those thoughts. I had to find the strength to keep going. Maybe seeing an old friend and hearing about her life would help me get away from the funk I've been in.
"Ok," I said to her. "How about Angelo's Diner at around 7 pm tonight? "Then it’s a date.” She said, and then she hung up.
I asked my husband if he knew that Beth had been back in town for a couple of days.I thought maybe he saw her and asked her to make a call to cheer me up. It seemed odd that she would call out of the blue, but sometimes the Lord works in mysterious ways, I said to myself.
When I got to the dinner, Beth said she was inside. So I walked in and scanned the tables for her. Where was she then?
Then I saw her...what the?
Beth sat at the counter table, but it wasn't the Beth I remembered from high school.
Beth and I were both struggling with our weight during high school. We 'd try fad diets together, try jogging together, and try to cook healthy things every once in a while. Nothing worked for us, but we were stuck together and supported each other in those tough years.
But the Beth I've been looking at here ... well, she's transformed into a healthy, gorgeous woman. She must have been 40 or 50 pounds lighter, and she and I are the same age!
What was going on here?
Beth saw me and asked me to come over. She gave me a big hug, and she told me how good it was to see me. I'll be honest with you, it was great to see her. We caught up with life as the evening wore on, and what had happened since we last saw each other. Eventually, I had to talk about my cardiac episode.
"It was the most frightening thing Beth had ever happened to me," I told her. "And now the doctors say that I have to release this extra weight, but my body has been fighting against me. I've actually gained some weight since I left the hospital, if you can believe that.”
"Honey, I really believe that. That's why I was trying to meet you. Not just to catch up, but to show you something that I think can help,” Beth said. "How can you help?” I asked.
"Just wait until they get the bill and I'm going to show you."
"Well, it's cryptic," I said. "Is that what you're trying to show me part of how you got into such a great shape?
"It's not just part of it, it's the only reason I'm still breathing," Beth said.
Turns out, Beth had a mortality brush of her own a few years earlier. It was exactly the same situation. She was overweight, ignored medical advice for years, and had an episode like mine. The diet and exercise worked a little better for her, but after a few weeks she stalled to lose weight. That's when she started to do something she kindly referred to as her "ritual."
"Once I started doing the ritual after the meal, it was like something I clicked on in my body," she said. "Suddenly, I was losing weight and making progress towards my goal like a fool."
We were almost finished with our food, so it would soon be time for her "ritual."
"Can I watch you do this?" I was nervously asking Beth. It really seemed too good to be true, and I didn't want to get my hopes up on it. "Of course," she answered.
When the waiter came with a check, Beth asked for an extra glass of water, and it made no sense what she did with it. Beth could see that I was skeptical about that.
"Tell you what," she said. "Check this video. I’m going to text it to you. It's going to tell you everything you need to know. Believe me, by the end of that, you 're going to wish you've been doing this for the last 20 years.”
"Okay," I agreed. We paid for our meals and went to our cars. "Thank you Beth," I said as we hugged our goodbye. "I really did need this."
"Thank you for watching the video. You know, seriously, don't forget.”
By the time I got home, everybody was already in bed. My husband had left a note on the counter that he hoped I would have had a good time and that there would be leftovers in the refrigerator. I was sitting on the couch to unwind a little with my phone before brushing my teeth. There was a text coming from Beth.
"Let's see what this video is all about," I said.
It was an hour later before I knew it, and my brain was reeling from the knowledge shared in the video. Could a little ritual really make a difference? My eyes were open to new opportunities.
For the first time since the hospital, I was hoping I could have the body I 'd always wanted.
To see that same video for yourself and learn the Simple Morning Ritual, click the button below: