Imperfect Wellness Series: If not dieting, then what? Creating healthy habits, without moralization of those habits, has been harder than I thought.
For most of my life, I've had pretty good blood pressure... well I've had pretty good health overall. However, as my 40th birthday slowly creeped closer and closer, my blood pressure started to change... and not in a good way.
Each year I try to get in for a physical, get blood work done just to make sure there's nothing funky going on. Normally my blood pressure is 110/60 and has been this way no matter what the number on the scale read. So imagine my surprise when I went into my most recent Doctors appointment and it read 147/79. What. The. Hell???? I asked the nurse if her blood pressure machine was broken? She said no. I asked her to do it again. She looked at me like a woman knee deep in blood pressure denial and I scowled back at her. Just take the blood pressure lady. She took it again and it had dropped to 141/78. I didn't believe the machine.
When the doc came into my room I asked him to take my blood pressure AGAIN. He was a bit confused but humored me, and the damn thing read 142/ 80. I. Was. PISSED! Doc was a bit confused as to why I was so upset about my blood pressure, but I explained to him my history of low blood pressure. He seemed mildly concerned. He suggested I start exercising more and come back in two weeks to see if it had gone down any.
I realize this seems silly... me getting so obsessive about my blood pressure, but I believe this is the first time I've honestly felt like my body was betraying me. I seriously love being the fat unicorn with the amazing blood work and blood pressure numbers. The medical field could shame me all they wanted about losing weight, but the minute I asked them THEIR numbers they shut up. I knew my numbers were good, and I had no problems shoving these numbers into their fat phobic medical practitioner faces.
Letting go of fat unicorn status
As much as I love being the asshole that gives the medical establishment the finger when it comes to weight, I realize that my health isn't something to shove in their faces. High blood pressure does run on my dad's side of the family and its not because they are large like I am. For some reason, as they get older their blood pressure jumps higher.
I'm not saying the medical establishment is perfect and that its ok to shame people for any reason, but I wonder who is benefiting from my fat unicorn status and who is losing? If I'm constantly coming from a space of trying to prove my worth to a biased medical professional, am I really going to change that person's mind? I am basically looking for validation from someone who will never validate me unless they have their own come to Jesus moment (which most likely will not happen with our interaction). Is being vindictive and using my health as a weapon really effective?
I am in a constant state of being defensive about all aspects of my health and its time to take the armor off. My health is my own, and I'm not sure I've ever felt that my health is something that simply belongs to me... not my doctors, not my spouse, not my kids..
Since my doctor's appointment in early April, I've continued to stay on track with my habits and add some foods higher in magnesium to my food intake (pumpkin seeds) as well as create and drink a tea that helps support the cardiovascular system and lower blood pressure. My blood pressure support tea is made with hawthorn berries and leaves, lemongrass, peppermint, and hibiscus.
Fortunately, as the weeks have progressed I've seen my blood pressure go from the dreaded 140's to the 130's and now I'm in the 120's. Hopefully I can even get it lower and into the 110 arena.
Here is a list of my initial habits and I've tweeked them to what I'm currently doing below.
1. Adding fruits and veggies to every meal.
2. Cut meat out completely (except broth) for 90 days (started Apr 8th 2019). Revisit meat consumption post 90 days.
3. Keep a food, sleep and period journal to gather data on my patterns and habits.
4. Walk 3x's a week after my kids are done with school. (Started a walk/run program using Jeff Galloway's method)
5. Practice yoga 2x's a week after my kids are done with school.
6. Dry up for 90 days (started Apr 8th 2019). Give alcohol a rest.
7. Utilize a therapist to help me process everything that's kicked up in this process.
8. Ask for help or find someone outside of the family to support my exercise and food habits. (ack! haven't done yet!)
9. Add foods that are higher in magnesium to help lower blood pressure. (New)
10. Drink tea that supports cardiovascular system. (New)
If your wellness is lookin' as imperfect as mine, I'd love to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org). Send me a message! Let me know how you're doing!
May you find your imperfect wellness,