On Feb. 16, Joe Piscatella will be in Fort Dodge for a special heart event. You may have heard of him, as he is one of the country's most respected experts on how to live a healthy lifestyle in the "real world." He is the author of 12 best-selling books, and a frequent guest on "The Today Show," CNN, FOX News, and "Good Morning America." He knows the science of healthy living, but also understands the practical application as well. At age 32, he had heart bypass surgery. Today, he is one of the longest-living survivors of bypass surgery in the world.
In 1977, Piscatella started noticing slight chest pains while playing tennis. He thought he had bronchitis, but it did not take long for his doctor to diagnose him with heart disease. He was told by the doctor to "use the time you have, make your peace, get your affairs in order and say your goodbyes." He was told he would not see his children graduate as at this time they were 4 and 6 years of age. Even after a successful heart bypass surgery in the 1970s, the news was grim as this was before we became a cholesterol-conscious nation. Thirty-five years later, he is doing well because of the changes he made in how he lives his live.
Piscatella changed his lifestyle first by studying his diagnosis, and then adopting a healthy lifestyle and maintaining a positive attitude. His philosophy: "You can't change the cards you were dealt with, but you can change the way you play them." This was a suggestion by his wife, Bernie. He ate healthier, managed stress, began exercising effectively and kept a positive attitude. He started the Institute for Fitness and Health, produced videos and has presented many motivational programs about diet, exercise and reducing stress. He has had more than 2 million people attend his seminars. His videos and books are used in the Cardiac Rehab program at Trinity Regional Medical Center and in many other rehabs across the country. He has been involved in Cardiac Rehab seminars and is the only non-medical member of the National Institutes of Health Expert Panel on Cardiac Rehab. He is not a doctor, but he knows about healthy eating and the health impact of our diet choices.
Piscatella is an entertaining, high-energy speaker with a definite message to his audience. He wants everyone to be healthier, and to take responsibility for their own health. He wants to give people the inspiration and motivation to take steps toward a healthier lifestyle. He uses his own experiences to bring humor to his presentation. His wife, Bernie, is an expert in preparing heart-healthy meals and has recipes in his books. She was determined to gather these recipes and prepare foods to keep her husband alive. Piscatella says, "The journey with her has been a gift from God."
Piscatella is the designer of community and corporate wellness programs as well. In one program, 650 people lost 4,200 pounds. Some of his clients include the Boeing Co., Exxon/Mobile Pipeline Co., Sprint, U.S. Naval War College, Cleveland Clinic and Federal Reserve Bank. Time magazine calls him "a force for positive change."
In his book, "Prevent, Halt and Reverse Heart Disease," he discusses ways to improve heart health by incorporating in daily life aspects of healthy diet, an exercise plan and ways to reduce stress. In his second book, "Positive Mind, Healthy Heart," he provides a daily devotional/motivational story in easy to read fashion based upon his personal experiences. In his third book, "Road to a Healthy Heart," he discusses many aspects of a healthy diet and includes 300 recipes.
On Feb. 16, Trinity Health Foundation and Trinity's Healthy Living Department will sponsor a free community health presentation by Piscatella. His topic for the evening will be: "Living Healthy in a Double Cheeseburger.com World." The presentation will be held at Fort Dodge Senior High's auditorium. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with a preshow starting at 6:15 p.m. starring Trinity's own health experts. According to Teresa Newman, manager of Trinity Healthy Living, Piscatella's books will be available for sale following the event along with a book signing by Piscatella. Additionally, a free gift bag will be given to each attendee.
This event is for everyone, even if you do not currently have heart disease or a family history of heart disease. Prevention is the key. The more you know about the "hows" and "whys" of being healthy, the more empowered you can be to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Understanding both the risks of unhealthy living and the benefits of healthy living can help motivate you to live a more healthy life.
Don't miss this educational opportunity.
To register for this free event call 574-6335, or register online at www.trmc.org/healthyliving.
Bev Wilde is a registered nurse on the staff of Cardiac Rehab at Trinity Regional Medical Center.