“Burned Out”- Out Side Looking In: Louisville’s Weight Problem!



Dead at 33!

“Ok, you need to get out of bed, NOW! Grab a few things of value and get out the door; there is a fire!” And then she was gone.

My girlfriend the nurse practitioner was out the door and in rescue mode before I could wipe the sleep from my eyes. As I ran to the window I saw what she had just heard. A young woman fifty feet away was pleaded for her life on her apartment balcony.  Oh snap, there is a fire and its frickin close.  For the very first time I was forced to decide what was important to me and get out the door; a moment I never will forget.

With flames hot enough to melt the top of the ladder, it was obvious something needed to happen and happen fast or things were about to get ugly for us, but mostly for her. Selfishly, part of me peered up and thought, “Oh God, five minutes and I will have lost everything.”  The heart of me was thinking, “Step over, jump, do something woman or you’re going to die.” Then she vanished into the dark thick smoky air.

The next five minutes seemed like an eternity as we watched the flames slowly dissipate under the flood of water; we had survived a close one. The lady was not so blessed. As we watched while being carried out to the ambulance my girlfriend whispered, “She won’t last.” Her body was so badly burned it made me sick to my stomach. All I thought, “Why in the world did she decide that running into the fire was a better than climbing over the rail?

Today, three weeks later we got word that she had passed away. Could have be us, just as easily I thought.  Five more minutes with no warning and these words would not hit your ears. There’s no denying we were spared.

My office is fifty feet from the local fire department so this morning I decided to pay the fire fighters a visit and thank them; what I learned was just shocking.

“Why did she decide to run into the fire verses away from it?” I asked.

She could not get over the rail, one said. What? Yes, she was so out of shape she physically could not get over a thirty two inch balcony rail. The only choice she had in her world was take a chance a run back into the burned out apartment.

I have not posted on here for a few months. The truth of the matter is I’m burned out too, only in a much different. I have been a fitness trainer for almost thirty years now. I’ve seen it all. Lived all over the country and traveled the world as preventative health care advocate; encouraging and trying desperately to get people to listen to what is coming or already happening inside of them.

I’m an outsider here in Louisville looking in. I did not grow up here. And Louisville probably is no different now-a-days than most other cities, but there are statistics that back up what I am about to say.

For the first time in my career I have given up on a city; but not my profession. Never have I lived in a place where there is more prideful, denial filled, and just plan lazy people when it comes to their health as here. Everywhere you go, resentment, envy and legalism fills the air. Comparing one self to another; governed mainly by where you went to high school or who you know; all the while like politicians, eating your own to make your point that solves nothing other than stroking of ones ego.

What also intrigues the soul is, Louisville proclaims to have a cutting edge medical community, yet Kentucky ranks in the top five in almost every health problem and addiction there is. Have you every thought of that? Medicine despises the preventative heath care approach. Have you ever thought of that too? God forbid someone gets healthier by a proactive, self confidence building, lack of entitlement way of doing something. God forbid that approach takes one person out of the pill pushing, doctor shopping system that has been created. God forbid someone gets well by instilling goals, dreams, aspirations in ones soul.

Today your biggest bragging right is the most McDonalds per capita in the nation. Now there’s something to hang your hat on boys and girls!

Dead at 33, she is. Not so much by the fames that torched her body, but by the denial of her health that scorched her soul so many months and even years before.

Yes, I’m the outsider looking in. I’m the person who went to a small little high school up in a blue collar town in Michigan. I’m the guy who himself has struggled with his weight his entire life. I’m the self made person that has not relied on entitlements or felt like a victim in any way shape or form. Yes, I’m the guy who has tried get people to do the right thing when its not popular. And yes, I’m the guy who watched a thirty three year old woman burn to death because she denied the fact she was over weight and out of shape.

Today, the center for disease control says, forty percent of you reading this is obese; not just over weight, but obese. Yikes! Ever thought about that?

So what’s it going to be Louisville? Are you going to be the lady on the balcony who one day soon will have to make a choice to jump or burn? Or maybe you will just take my point of view, the outsider, and watch your city’s health burn down through pride, denial and pure laziness?  Either way, you will be dead emotional much before your time; and that is the worst death of all!

Greg Ryan is an accomplished author, personal trainer, life coach and owner of Resolutions Preventative Health Care through Fitness for Seniors and Diabetics in St. Matthews. www.resolutions.bz

Greg’s latest book on the burning of America’s Health!