Jun 4, 2013

Canada Stroke Awareness Month - Day 4 - Stroke Prevention (2/2):

As mentioned in Part I - About 1/6 people will be affected by a stroke within their lifetime. I talked about; High Blood Pressure (Hypertension), High Blood Cholesterol, Atrial Fibrillation, and Diabetes.

Within this second part, I will talk about overcoming stroke triggers that a person needs to dig deep within their own heart, ultimately to save their own life, including;

• Being Overweight (Physical Inactivity)
• Excessive Alcohol Consumption
• Smoking
• Stress

Some of you might have sat there and cringed at the thought of overcoming even one of these factors. It's possible that each one of you suffers from at least one of these triggers at this very moment, maybe sometime in your past and possibly in the near future, so I will go about this with a soft tongue.


Being Overweight:

Losing weight affects all of us differently. For some of you, losing weight might not be as simple as eating better, since you might not feel in control over your weight due to; an eating disorder, or medication you take (i.e. Prednisone). I am here to tell you first off, you're not alone and you have the power to change!

I too have suffered from a little weight gain over the last 4 years. Not being able to use my legs has put me in a position to be very lazy at will. In my earlier years, I used to have an actual 8-pack for a stomach, ripped back muscles and a strong inner core. I miss those days like a plague. Every time I look in the mirror, it's a constant reminder of what I used to look like, compared to what I actually look like now.

So what am I doing to help?

Small baby steps. I got myself a doorjamb chin up bar that has multiple angles on it. With this I don't go do a crazy session daily, no instead I pull myself up 1-3 times every single time I walk by the chin-up bar, no matter what I'm doing. It's like an obsession; I can't go past the chin-up bar without touching it, that's my promise to me.

Something I do which can seem strange at times was taken by the late, great Bruce Lee who mentioned ways to work out using your home as the source. One of those ways includes; every time you pass through a door, you must push on both sides of the door frame outwards like your he-man trying to bring down the house. Sometimes my friends look at me funny, but understand what I’m trying to accomplish once I tell them what I'm doing. For me to go into my kitchen, I have to pass by 2 door frames there and back. That's 4 times in one trip I am strengthening my inner core.

Instead of using a mop to clean my entire place, which is covered with hard floors, I use a sponge which forces me onto my knees to painstakingly scrub the entire place, one small section at a time. Do this and I swear your arms will burn afterwards and you'll feel a little tired, but also energized afterwards.

Every Sunday is garbage day; I am very environment conscious and recycle practically everything I use up during the week. With this I meticulously take out one or two pieces of recycling material to the blue bins outside until all the materials are all sorted out. Remember the door-jam thingy? And the chin-up thingy? I pass through 3 doors and the chin-up bar each time I go outside, not to mention down the stairs and the same training obstacles coming back. So that's; 2 sets of stairs, 6 door-jam pushes, and 2 chin up sessions for every little piece of recycled material that leaves my place.

Sounds crazy? It works big time and when you start doing it over and over, it becomes as familiar as walking, you don't even think about it after a while, in fact, you'll find yourself stopping at every door-jam by habit.

"By achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, you can significantly reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.  A healthy weight can also help control other conditions such as high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes." Source: HeartandStroke.com

"Another way to determine if your weight falls within a healthy range is to calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI)." Source: HeartandStroke.com

Calculate your BMI with this chart:


Excessive Alcohol Consumption:

I can see you right now, "I don't have an alcohol problem". Keep telling yourself that, you're right! Well in your own mind anyways. The easiest way to know if you have an alcohol problem is to ask your friends and family members if they think you do or not, they'll tell you the honest truth and yes, the truth might hurt for a while, but accepting will become easier over time.

Many years ago, I too had an alcohol problem, I used to drown my illnesses with booze so that I would feel like a normal person, but what I didn't realize is that it affected all the closest people around me. Knowing that is what helped me to control my urges and to eventually stop from being a non-functional alcoholic. These days I've learned to control my consumption to; sometimes a glass of wine during dinner, or a couple of beers while watching a UFC fight with friends. The point is we each have it within ourselves to stop loosing the fight and start gaining our lives back, one less drink at a time.

There are many groups and organizations out there ready to help, but you have to want it bad enough to change. You would think that a stroke, or death might be a motivator, but sometimes those aren't enough, you need to find what that one thing is that will motivate you to change. For me it was my health and my son, I didn't want to continue on a path to destruction and not be around later on for my son.

What did I do? Easy, just stopped going to bars all together, found another way to socialize and banned alcohol from my home. That's it, that's what broke the camels back so to speak.

Whatever you decide, I can't do it for you. Your "WHY" must be deep and personal and be strong enough to sometimes piss you off to the point that you're almost mad at yourself for being this way. That motivation can drive you in ways you never thought possible.

If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to no more than:

• two drinks a day, to a weekly maximum of 10 for women*
• three drinks a day, to a weekly maximum of 15 for men*

“A drink” means:

• 341 mL / 12 oz (1 bottle) of regular strength beer (5% alcohol).
• 142 mL / 5 oz wine (12% alcohol).
• 43 mL / 1 1/2 oz spirits (40% alcohol).

View the low-risk drinking guideline:



What can I say about smoking? well 1st of all, I was a smoker for 20 years! I'm 34 now and I smoked for 20 years, you do the math! I recently just quit since I had to in order to be accepted into a rare treatment for Hyperbaric Oxygenation Therapy, due to the fact that smoking reversed the affects of the treatment.

I'm not too sure what you tell you that you haven't already heard from your own doctor about the risks of smoking. I think that's why I won't spend too much time trying to convince you to stop, I'm sure you've had numerous people who have tried and failed.

I'll leave you with this quote:

"Being smoke-free has enormous benefits for your health and the health of the people around you. Once you become smoke-free and avoid exposure to second-hand smoke, you will immediately reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke. The sooner you become smoke-free, the sooner your body can start to recover and it doesn't take long to see the effects." Source: HeartandStroke.com

• Within one year of quitting, the risk of dying from smoking-related heart disease is cut in half.
• Within 10 years, the risk of dying from lung cancer is cut in half.
• After 15 years, the risk of dying will be nearly that of a non-smoker.

Enough said.



This one mental battle can be triggered from anywhere. Stress can be an instant nuisance or a battle raging internally over a period of time. The fact is everyone at one point in their lifetime feels the effects of stress at least once.

I barely get stressed out over anything, and trust me I have a lot in my life to be stressed about, but I've trained my mind to overcome stress and not to let things bother me in ways many people can't imagine. I'll give you a quote my doctor once said to me a little while ago, "Martin, I can't believe with all that you have going on physically with your conditions, I'm amazed at how you can keep your composure like you do!" You know what I told him? "Doc, it's not that things don't bother me, it's that I don't dwell on them when they occur, in one ear and out the other and move on with my life making decisions to better myself, that's it!"

I told my doctor one time, "you could sit there and tell me that I have cancer and I would tell you, ok let's get started on treatment!" See It's not that I don't feel anything, it's that I don't let the thought stew in my mind, the longer you dwell on the things that bother you, the more power you give to them.

The key is to keep in control and be mindful of what you think about. Most stress, depression, and anxiety are self afflicted in our own minds. We do it to ourselves essentially.

Stress is completely manageable by not giving negative thoughts the power to stress you out. There are many triggers in life all around us, the key is not ignore them, but to face them head on and decide right then and there that those triggers no longer have power over you, essentially you are in control of your mental health.

Remember, it's not about being heartless and not caring, in fact the opposite; it's about feeling it and releasing it right away. You must feel the triggers that stress you out in your life, but then release them immediately to prevent those feelings from taking over and sending you into a deep dark cavern of a looping mental battle you can never win.

This doesn't happen overnight, but I affirm to you that the more you become aware of what stresses you out, the more you can release the power it has over you and start to feel at peace with yourself. You must accept that life will throw you curve balls all the time, it's the universe's way of testing your will power, testing your determination and willingness to live happy.

As you can see, I'm very passionate about this subject, that's probably why I'm in the final process of publishing a book about the very thing I just talked about titled: "The Secret Ingredient to your Noodle!"

In Conclusion:

The best way to wrap up this II part series is with these affirmations...

Self awareness is only powerful when knowledge is understood and applied, only then can it manifest into true wisdom!
- Martin R. Lemieux

I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
- Maya Angelou

Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.
- Les Brown (lesbrown.com)

"Our tendency is to pray for miracles. But in most situations, it is more appropriate to pray for opportunities.. Visionaries look for an opportunity to do something."
- Andy Stanley, Visioneering

Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.
- Buddha

Either you change with me, or lose me to change!
- Martin R. Lemieux

Yes, you can be a dreamer and a doer too,  if you will remove one word from your vocabulary: impossible.”
-  Robert H. Schuller, American Reformed Church Minister


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  1. Thanks for spreading the word and helping to keep us all informed Martin

    1. No problem Hayley :) Always glad to help others with information!