One of my favorite patients is 83 years old.
She began her weight loss journey with my practice about 10 years ago.
I was very skeptical. How could a 73 year old change her life?
The average life expectancy of a female in the US is 79 years. How much longer did this 73 year old woman have to live?
She was at this point, a retired physician. When I asked her why she was interested in significant weight loss at this poit of her life she specifically mentioned knee pain limiting her mobility and activity.
She was using motorized scooters when she went to the grocery store or department stores. She had recently retired from the practice of medicine and she had a dream to travel during her retirement.
I hope I have her determination to change her life as she did at the age of 72. I hope to have that strength at this point of my life.
A common human trait is to lose hope in our ability to change our future. But that ability is in all of us.
I’m thinking of a passage from Victor Frankl’s book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.”
Victor Frankl spent 3 years in the Nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz.
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms-to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.
And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”
My patient who inspires me so much, this 83 year old retired phsycian, made a decision. At the end of her career, with reduced mobility and delaing with chronic daily knee pain, she chose to change her life and change her future.
She went on to lose weight gradually and consistenly. In her mid to late 70’s she fulfilled her dream of travel and went on a walking tour of Italy. She changed her life in her 70’s.
As she tells it, she went from not being able to walk all the way through her local Walmart without using the motorized scooter, to walking through the ancient ruins of Rome, Italy.
All because at the age of 73, she chose to do something her future self would be proud of.