We all start somewhere.
This is where I started at age 18, an overweight college freshman who ate way too much pizza and ice cream, drank too much soda, and barely exercised.
If you scroll down to any post on this blog, you'll see pictures of me now. It's a big difference, not only in how I look, but also how I feel.
I share this because I talk about lifestyle change all the time with my patients. Diet and exercise are such important parts of heart health. Patients have said in various manners, and others have silently thought, how can a slender cardiologist who eats healthy and exercises regularly relate to me?
I can relate because, as you can see above, I've been where you are. I made my own journey from overweight unhealthy college student to fit and healthy cardiologist.
Just before starting medical school, I began exercising. And over the course of medical school, my eating habits improved. I ditched regular soda during my first year of residency. During my second year of residency, I ran my first marathon -- slowly -- in just under six hours.
Then, I started incorporating more vegetables into my diet. During the second year of my cardiology fellowship, I went vegan. And, over the past five years, through triathlon training and working with excellent coaches and personal trainers, I've become a better athlete, far exceeding my running times from when I was ten years younger.
In the meantime, I've struggled with my eating habits, particularly at night, when I have had tendencies to overeat. A couple of years ago, I worked with a nutritionist to help get some of my eating habits in check.
I'm certainly not perfect in how I eat, but I've come a long way. And I understand from my own experience that lifestyle change comes in baby steps. It doesn't happen overnight. But with time and with effort, we can all adopt healthier lifestyles.