Tops on my list are a good report last week in San Antonio from my lung transplant pulmonologist, Dr. Luis Angel, and my to-date, 14 pound weight loss.
Dr. Angel was pleased with my success. "Losing weight is always very important for lung transplant patients if they are overweight, " Dr. Angel said. "It is better for your overall health . When you exercise, it's not just the muscles getting better, but the heart and lungs, too, because they need to provide oxygen to the muscles. So you are improving your cardiovascular function."
He does not recommend specific fitness, diet and weight loss programs "because everyone is different. People adjust differently to different programs."
Dr. Angel does advise against "extreme" programs that encourage "quick" weight loss because "that weight loss is not sustainable" for someone of my height and weight. He defines quick weight loss as "more than five pounds per week."
He does approve of my weight loss goal of 15 pounds -- and the fact that I am considering trying to lose another 10 beyond that. He especially likes my slow weight loss approach of 1/2 pound to 1 1/2 pounds a week.
To succeed at dieting, Dr. Angel said, "You need to cut down on the number of calories you eat and you need to exercise consistently over the long term."
Dieting, Dr. Angel emphasized, "Is not easy. You need to have discipline."
"It is very easy to gain weight and it can be very hard to lose weight."
"But if you are consistent," Dr. Angel said, "you can do it."
Moving on to more "thanks" in my life.
I'm thankful to be alive and in as good health as I am, in large part to Juanita Gutierrez of San Antonio who donated her late son's organs so others could live. I received Edgar Gutierrez's right lung 11 years ago come Dec. 2nd. I can walk my dog, Oscar Wilde, 7, and play with my doxie MayBelle, 17, every day thanks to that transplant and my right hip replacement surgery three years ago.
I'm thankful to my family and friends for their support. Especially their understanding, and pitching in, when I'm not feeling well.
And although I can't work full-time because of my health, I'm very thankful for my job consulting with the Center and the people who are employed there. It helps give me the mental challenges and satisfactions that make me want to keep myself fit!
I am thankful I was born basically without much of a sweet tooth. Among my favorite foods are salads, and my biggest problem is portion control (not of salads but of pasta and ice cream, my only irresistible sweet).
And I thank God. He gives me what grace, discipline and strength I have.
By Lee Kelly
Kelly is an internationally award winning writer who consults with the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.
Catch up with Lee's previous "Losing It" posts: