As Edwin got older and faced the rigors of medical school, residency and fellowship training in the US and Canada, he became less particular about diet and regular exercise. Living on his own and outside of a family structure, he gained a lot of weight and became hypertensive without realizing what was happening.
Edwin reflects that he only recognised what had happened on his return to Jamaica. “I had become very fat. Not liking my new body image, I began to ‘watch my diet carefully’ and started playing tennis. And within the course of a year, I lost 40 pounds.” However, that weight loss was not sustained, and his weight slowly crept back up with the stress and time commitments of building a new medical practice.
Edwin’s next wellness-related “aha” came after a trip to Japan for a conference, as he developed pains in his shins which were quite disturbing.
An orthopaedic colleague informed him that he had ‘shin splints’, not uncommon after doing a lot of walking. In checking Edwin’s joint mobility, he told Edwin that his tendons are ‘tight’, that he needed to stretch, and that just walking for exercise was inadequate. He made an appointment for Edwin to see his own personal trainer, and that turned out to be turning point for Edwin’s commitment to a physical activity program which included aerobics, weights, calisthenics and stretching.
Edwin laughs, “My shins splints disappeared, and I became a convert! Physical activity is now a way of life for me. It clears my mind, energises me, allows me to sleep soundly, helps to keeps stress in check. In short, I feel so much better overall when I have enough activity in my day.”
The challenge of a busy medical practice and the demands of patient care are still very much present for Edwin. He has however made up his mind to practice what he preaches and try to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Edwin declares that his wife Katrine is someone who lives wellness. “Having a supportive spouse has made this path lighter and more fun. Wellness is something we do together, whether it’s taking long walks, preparing a delicious nutritious meal at home or making sure that we both disconnect from work and get adequate good quality rest!” As he concludes, it is so much easier to sustain a healthy lifestyle when your life partner is equally committed.