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Salesman seeks heart-healthy habits

David Peck

David Peck
David Peck

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CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta checks the weekly progress of Kimberley, David, Kathryn, Pam and Michael in the 'New You Resolution.' (January 13)
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Diet and Fitness
  • Bolster current cardio workout
  • Lose weight
  • Craft a workout to use while on the road
  • Stem the stress

    Source: Elizabeth Larkham, Western Athletic Clubs
  • (CNN) -- David Peck knew joining CNN's New You Resolution program would help him get on a healthy track. But he didn't realize that the program would uncover a potentially threatening health risk.

    David Peck's father died of a heart attack at age 49; his brother had triple bypass surgery at a similar age. As David approaches 50, he is extremely concerned about his own heart health.

    "[I] want to know what I can do better for me, my heart, for my body," Peck says. "I think it's something that if you can prolong your life and be with your kids and your family longer, then you should probably do it."

    With his family history in mind, Peck decided to visit his cardiologist for a stress test and echocardiogram, part of the preliminary steps of his New You Resolution program. The results were as he feared.

    His doctor told him that the results suggested that some part of a heart artery was not getting enough blood flow, and there was a good chance in the future he might have a heart attack.

    Peck said he's concerned about the findings, but hopeful that it was caught early.

    "I guess 'bummed' would be the word, but actually I feel good that I did the right thing," he said. "I think this was the right approach and I'm hopefully cutting it off at the pass."

    And possibly cutting off a part of history with his father that he doesn't want. An angiogram -- where blood vessels are examined using X-rays -- and other tests are planned in the near future by David's cardiologist.

    Peck says staying healthy while traveling for business is his biggest challenge. As the head of sales at a small and busy start-up company in Silicon Valley, Peck spends several days a month on the road for his job.

    Cold calls, corporate lunches and high-stress scenarios are staples of his day, along with frequent flying, fatty road food and overeating. It all makes this father of two feel like he's checking extra baggage.

    But he is taking steps in the right direction. Three times a week, he heads to the gym, lifting weights and doing aerobics. But he admits that sticking to a routine is hard, especially on the road, and that exercise won't balance out his bad eating habits.

    "I've taken the first step -- working on getting a routine down ... but that's just part of it," Peck explains. "There's the whole eating right and making sure what you're eating is the best thing for you. And I've kind of been oblivious or turning away, not focusing on what I'm eating."

    Another obstacle Peck faces is what he calls his evening "grazing," when he snacks on popcorn, crackers or beef jerky while watching television with his wife and young children. And he knows he doesn't watch his portion sizes.

    "If they tell me it's low-fat, low-calorie, then I'm like, 'OK, double it up,' " he jokes.

    Making good food choices while on the road -- and off -- is something Peck hopes to learn as one of the five people tracking their progress publicly as part of CNN's eight-week New You Resolution program.

    "I'm one of those people who needs to set a goal and have motivation," he says. "[It's] one of those things where there's a part missing and I want to change how I eat, work, live. ... That's my goal."

    If changes don't happen, Peck fears family history might repeat itself, and he doesn't want his kids to grow up without a father or to develop his bad habits.

    "I'm sure this will have a big impact on them, too. They won't forget this," Peck says. "... So hopefully, I'm setting an example for both of them ... so we'll all learn."

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