Friday, July 24, 2009

Over my head....

I think I almost killed Bouhie. Last night after realizing that I didn't know how much Bouhie should eat or exercise, I decided to re-read some of the WW materials. The very first thing they mention is how if you have high blood pressure you should be very careful, not over-exert yourself and consult your doctor before taking on new exercise. It suggests doing things like slow walking to get started. I thought about how Bouhie said in passing that when he doesn't exercise regularly his blood pressure goes way up, and then later that he was dripping sweat after doing 2 rounds of 8 extra big flights of stairs (I only suggested one trip). I did tell him to slow down if needed, but my directive to walk the stairs may have been like suggesting that he play Russian roulette. Horrifying!

I had a slight panic attack picturing the poor man unconscious or dead on the landing of the stairs. Maybe I'm in a bit over my head. He only works Thursdays and Fridays but next week I'll suggest that he consult his doctor before taking on so many flights of stairs.

Earlier in the day however, before I knew this, I made a trip downstairs to meet up with him. He's such a nice man and seems to really want to change his lifestyle. He is from Ivory Coast and unfortunately, he has succumbed to the American diet and sedentary lifestyle, while eating an Ivory Coast diet of chicken gizzards, rice and few vegetables.. He told me what he eats, and while he didn't write every single thing down, I got the impression he's eating an ok diet, but waiting too long between meals, and eating big portions.

I drew a picture of a plate and told him to eat mostly vegetables. His reaction was at once utterly shocking, endearing and kind of sad. He listened patiently, and as if I were a real expert, and contemplated what I said. It seemed like he'd never heard this notion of eating a lot of vegetables before. He told me Africans don't eat a lot of vegetables. My Nigerian friend eats loads of vegetables so I don't think it's an African thing like he says, although it may be an Ivory Coast thing. I talked about portion size - kind of guessing, and he said he'd eat what I suggested. I even told him to ask his wife to use 2 tablespoons of oil when cooking stews. We talked about eating one chicken thigh, or 3 drumsticks (this took some drawing to make sure we were discussing the same animal parts). He told me he likes gizzards, and wanted to know how many he can research chicken gizzards.

He definitely doesn't exercise enough but he's working on that.

He did 2 rounds of stairs yesterday and told me he would do 3 today - this was before I read about the high blood-pressure thing. Since he's a security guard he sits a lot, but picks a place where he can stand as well sometimes. I felt badly for him, as he seemed honestly to have no idea about nutrition or healthy lifestyles, but he really wanted to learn. He even had a text book he was reading on basic matters of health. He must be eating more than he says he eats, but he's so open to change and has so much weight to lose that even doing something simple like increasing exercise, taking a walk with his wife at night, eating more vegetables, will make a difference. It is kind of shocking to me how he listens to what I say, at least so far. I'll work on some basic concepts of how to get more movement into his life, more vegetables, and greater understanding of nutrition. I'll also insist that he get a check-up with a doctor. This is a very different client from my fellow slightly out of shape, over-educated moms. I hope I'm able to do right by him.

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