Our physiology lab this past week dealt with the cardiovascular system. The experiment we conducted was essentially making observations from an EKG. I hooked my lab partner up to the machine and made measurements after various stages of exertion. I chided my friend a little bit since his resting heart rate was 97 bpm. I told him that his resting heart rate was twice what mine used to be. This got me to wondering what mine was. I checked and it was 95. We shared a chuckle that ever since we had decided we wanted to go to medical school, each of us had become far less healthy than we used to be.
I’d known this for a while, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve been able to see it. I’m really unhealthy and, at 34, am not an invincible adolescent anymore. I was 29 when I finished undergrad and weighed about 180 lbs. At the time, I was riding something like 10,000 miles a year and had a resting heart rate of about 42 bpm. I now spend something like 40 hours a week hunched over a computer in a cubicle along with 20 hours or so studying for my classes. As if my sedentary lifestyle weren’t enough, my diet has become the very definition of unhealthy, especially when coupled with the amount of beer that I drink. Add it all up, and I’ve gained almost 50 lbs in the past couple of years, since I decided to apply to medical school two years ago. This is ridiculous – how am I ever going to be able to convince an obese diabetic guy to change his life if I’m living as unhealthy as I am?!
I had a suit made in early 2007 for interviews that spring. The summer and fall before I had been riding a lot and was pretty fit. I don’t even want to know how it fits right now. Enough. I’m tired of not making exercise and a healthy diet priorities. I’m tired of climbing a single flight of stairs and being out of breath. I’m tired of eating food that came out of box.
Everything I’ve read about success in medical school, as well as practice, has always mentioned the need to maintain balance and priorities. I’ve realized that if I don’t make this a priority now, I’ll never make it a priority at all. I don’t want to get into and complete medical school and residency, only to find myself 10 years from now sitting in another doctor’s office telling me that I need to start a statin regimin. Fuck that.
I have no excuse. Exercise? I started riding bikes after I graduated from high school. Cooking? Please. Years spent slaving away in restaurants. Time? I have time to sit on the couch, drink beer, and watch The Wire ? I have time to exercise and cook real food. Motivation? If I’m lucky, I’ll get a couple of interviews when I apply and I don’t want to buy a new suit.
So, 50 weeks. 50 lbs. That’s the deal. America is an obese nation and I’m tired of being a fucking statistic.