Earlier this year I received a wake-up call at the doctor’s office. I was getting my blood pressure checked and it came back the highest its ever been in my life 152/78. What. The. Hell???? This was pretty shocking considering my blood pressure is normally 110 - 115 over 65 -70. It didn’t seem to matter what my weight was, my blood pressure would stay the same (same with my cholesterol which always hovers near 150).
Maybe I should clarify a bit. My blood pressure stayed in this nice low range until my spouse retired from the military in the Fall of 2014. I didn’t realize it was starting to climb until my yearly physical in early 2015 when I received a reading of 125/70. Hmmmm.... that seems a bit high for me?? I’d never been in the 120’s.... ever.... but I chalked it up to getting older (I was in my late 30’s at this time) and didn’t pay much attention to it.
As the years went on, my blood pressure continued to creep up. We had a lot of things happen during this time. Transitioning from the military, buying our first home, finding services for my son who has Autism, deciding to homeschool, us just learning what it means to live somewhere...... more permanently. It was kinda a lot for me. Oh.... and did I forget to mention that from 2015 - 2019 I packed on a good 80lbs. Yes.... 80 damn pounds. I think it’d be safe to say I ate my way through the stress???
So there I was, at the doctor’s office in early 2019, expecting another 120ish over 70ish when she came back with 152/78. I had her check me again. Same numbers. F*#$. My doc addressed the blood pressure and said I could try to lose weight if I wanted too, but that consistent exercise would be what ultimately brings my blood pressure numbers down. He warned me if I kept creeping up, I’d need to consider medication. Blech.
After this infamous doctor visit, I called my mom to cry about how fat and unhealthy I was. She listened but answered with “well, you better figure this out because high blood pressure runs in the family.” Well damn mom, way to make me be responsible for my life when I was hoping for a magic pill.
And so it began.... I started off with Weight Watchers, but it just didn’t stick for me. Then I complained to a friend of mine who said she kinda saw me doing something a bit extreme at first, but that I’d eventually end up with a more plant-based diet. I scoffed. I didn’t have anything against a more plant-based diet, but I just didn’t want to let go of my cheese. I love cheese.
For the first time ever I wasn’t just focusing on weight loss, my main focus was first lowering my blood pressure and second was losing some weight. Having a stroke scared me more than comfortably fitting in an airline seat.
In May of 2019 I decided to wing it and started following my own plan, I started exercising consistently and kept a food journal. I kept this plan over the summer and in late August at my blood pressure follow up appointment, my blood pressure had dropped to 130/75. This was OK. I was expecting a bigger drop. My doc was pleased with the progress and encouraged me to keep going.
Last October I kicked things up a notch. My spouse and I decided to try and add more sleep in our lives by going to bed earlier, start meditating, and oh..... go 70 to 80% vegan.
Ohhhh Lort. My friend was right after all.
The decision to go mostly plant-based was due to a lot of factors. I can’t say I chose to go plant-based because I thought it’d lower my blood pressure. I actually didn’t know how it’d affect my health. I just knew I needed to start adding a lot more fruits and veggies in my life.... and that’s what it kinda ended up looking like.
I had only been eating more plant-based for two weeks when my next blood pressure follow up appointment was due. I went hoping for something in the 120’s over 70’s. What I really got was a major surprise 102/68. YES 102/68!!!!!!!
I. Was. SHOCKED!!!
I don’t know if there was one particular thing that made my blood pressure drop that low. I feel like I may have set the table my first focusing on consistent exercise and slightly modifying my eating habits. I couldn’t have gone more plant-based AND started exercising at the same time because it would have been way too overwhelming.
I do know that I‘m 100% sold on consistent exercise, 10 min of daily meditation, and eating 80% vegan. I don’t know that this will work for everyone, but I do know it happens to work for me.
Oh and if your wondering, I have lost some weight, about 30 pounds as of this morning. Nothing major, especially considering the previous 80lb weight gain.
To be honest, my focus is centered around the goals I wrote about in the previous post with exercise, meditation, and eating more plant-based. It’s almost a relief not to make weight loss the sole focus on my wellness journey. Would I be mad if I lost a few more of those 80lbs?? Nope, but I would be mad if I didn’t follow my plan and my blood pressure jumped again (deathly afraid of stokes, heart attacks... you know all that scary stuff).
I’d love to hear your thoughts! What are you wellness goals and have they changed as you’ve gotten older?? Check me out on instagram or send me an e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org