So, if you read almost any of my previous posts… you know, I’m trying very hard to lower and control my blood pressure. It was at it’s best in July when I was working out consistently and eating/snacking on a regular schedule. I was also unemployed so I had more than enough time in my day to do that. Since returning to work and adding a 40 mile commute (around 2 hours) each way (so double that)… it’s been hard to squeeze in my workouts. I get home usually at 7pm, and I try to spend some time with my son to put him to bed and play with him or read to him. Sadly some days I can’t even do that. There are a lot of factors that have been making my blood pressure go up…
This commute is literally the biggest stress factor in my life right now… and I hate it. I hate sitting in the car for up to 4 hours a day wasting time, money, gas, and TIME! and I’m not doing anything but sitting. It’s so frustrating, and I’ve been involved in more accidents that I’m willing to admit to since starting – 1 bad one and 2 that shouldn’t even be considered accidents (no damage)… My job is great, I love it. Driving to and from it is horrible. I had my blood pressure tested when I got off the freeway (getting to our work wellness center)… and it was 150/100. That’s what I start my day at. I wake up, get ready, get my son ready, drop him off and when I get to work (some days) my blood pressure is high. At least my work environment is pretty subdued and laid back… I had it tested after work and it was about 130/100… still high but not as alarming. Average should be 120/80. My resting number (100) is usually high because I’m a high-strung person. I’m trying to really learn how to relax.
This month has been really stressful for me. On top of work, being a mom, being a wife, paying bills – my best friends wedding is in a little more than a week – and it’s in Michigan so I’ve had to plan a trip and get all my bridesmaids stuff add looking for an apartment closer to work to the list and you can guess how stressed I am. not that those aren’t both good things – they just involve time and money – both of which i waste when I’m on the freeway… sitting. A lot of people say oh the food you eat – it’s the food… but no. I cut out all that sodium and processed food earlier this year. Occasionally I’ll think I can eat tortilla chips like the rest of the world and I get a instant headache – and I can’t – I know my limits with food. And if I slip – my body reminds me with a headache. So I just stay away from that stuff. It’s not worth the trouble and I just don’t want to deal with it. For me it’s stress. Limit stress… how the heck do you do that? Relax? I don’t know how… that doesn’t involve alcohol… what relaxes me? Think. Painting (no time)… Eating (can’t eat a lot of things because it raises my blood pressure – can’t “indulge”)… Music… Yes that’s good. I’ve been singing along more. It helps me – release. I also have let a lot of negativity go. I am changing my life and changing my ways to be healthier. Also, I got stress ball – it’s at work but I use it in the morning after the traffic. I try not to yell. I feel my blood pressure go up when I get mad or upset. I’m developing a very Zen/Karmic lifestyle. Just thinking and writing about traffic raised my blood pressure a little bit… I feel it. So, I pulled out my stress ball and am taking some deep breaths. I wake up at 5 am every morning… and am out the house with toddler in tow… at 6… I get to work around 8. Lucky me, right? I would love nothing more than waking up and doing yoga, and taking my time getting ready for work and oh yeah letting my son get the sleep he needs. I tell myself that this will all be rectified and my reality when we move. I am putting a lot of pressure on moving because I cannot take this drive too much longer. I have increased the amount of walks I take in a day to at least 2. not to mention I park pretty far from my job and go up and down 3 flights of stairs to my car. But this isn’t enough for me and I wish I could do more. I am still losing weight and inches though – even though I’m not working as hard… I feel somewhat guilty about it. I wish I was making the progress I was making in July. But then – I had all the time in the world and now I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.
I guess what I’m trying to achieve with this post is – know your body. Some things that work for others might now work for you. Some things that stress other people out might not stress you out. I know I could try and squeeze some workouts in more days than just the weekend… but what will I be sacrificing? Time with my son? That’s what I don’t have enough of. I’m trying to get rid of this commute. Because I don’t need the stress and I’d like my life back and my money too.
I can finally say that I’m back on track! I feel so much better. This second Challenge, really pushed the limits of my mental health and my internal well-being. I went through a lot, and I still am. It’s hard not to let things/people/situations get to me and stress me out or get me down. I mean that’s a part of life. I grew up in a sort of negative family where we always looked at the bad things. That outlook made me depressed and life didn’t seem like it was worth living. I started to change how I see things when I moved to California and since then – not everything has been cheery-perfect-sunshine but finding the good has left me a more happy person – and has given my mind a break to focus on more important things.
Dealing with my Cholesterol, and High Blood Pressure have really been so hard. It’s been stressful and as I think of the stress – I can feel my blood pressure go up! It’s important for me to relax, and be optimistic and easy going… part of it is my personality (easy-going) – the other part I have to seriously try to do… but it’s important for my health. Taking different approaches to things will be good for me. Instead of arguing or yelling at my son for coloring on the table…. (thinking about my blood pressure) I’ll just make him clean the table – he’ll do this until he doesn’t color on the table anymore. (magic erasers work wonders with crayon)…
I never would have thought that I’d be worried about this stuff at 28. But our country has a serious problem with obesity. And with Obesity comes: High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Diabetes, High Cholesterol, Stroke & Heart-Attacks. It’s really hard for anyone (not just me) to take responsibility for what they did to their body. Eating habits and not working out and just not caring. I don’t think I really loved myself before. I didn’t care how healthy I was – only that I wasn’t past a certain size. And if my weight fluctuated “oh well – that happened, right?”.
Becoming a parent has made me aware: that my son will look to me and my husband for how to pattern his health/nutrition/wellness among other things. I remember growing up and seeing my grandparents super sick, and then as I got older my parents. I don’t ever want to be like that. This is serious. Why did I only start to care once I became a mother? When you become a parent some switch flicks in your head and it says “I have to be around for this kid – for a long time”. And a lot of issues were found when I was pregnant. Doctors and nurses make you paranoid when you are pregnant – if you eat certain things or too much of this or that – you will harm your baby in someway. And you become a mother when you’re pregnant – that mother’s instinct flips on and you must protect your baby no matter what.
I’ve been doing really good- walking every day, drinking 1+ gallon of water every day, and drinking my 2 Body By Vi Shakes a day. I haven’t been bloated (besides that time of the month), and since I started added Magnesium and Calcium supplements – I’ve noticed a drop in my blood pressure. However eating something with a lot of sodium or getting stressed and/or upset/angry can send it up (and I can feel that change). But I haven’t been getting the headaches! So just that alone makes me fee tons better!
Last week sometime my husband made dinner – it was hamburgers and fries – I didn’t eat the fries (I did a baked potato instead) because I knew my blood pressure would go up. But I did eat the burger… and I had a headache shortly after (I wasn’t taking the calcium/magnesium then)… So I asked how much salt did you put on this? He said “none, I only used Lawry’s” … I said “baby, that’s seasoned salt”… Then he made a good point, “Throw it out, if you can’t eat it.” So that’s my advice to you. If you can’t eat it or shouldn’t eat it… don’t have it in your house. I threw away perfectly good and usable food. I would’ve got in so much trouble growing up if I did that… but I’m the adult now – and I’m the one who shops so why am I bring this crap into our house where it can be mistakenly used in cooking? I think about the episodes of the Biggest Loser when the contestants go home – and they throw out everything in the cabinets and refrigerator and they say “I can’t eat this.” Those words have never rung more truer in my mind. We are at fault for eating poorly. We are at fault for not working out. It’s my fault I got up to 286 pounds. But it’s my responsibility to change myself and I am.
Health isn’t just about fitness – it’s about mental and internal wellness too. Looking nice and being a certain size is nice. It’s flattering when people cheer me on, or tell me I look great and it’s a confidence booster – but for me my real results are my numbers. Not the ones on the scale. My blood pressure readings, my cholesterol count, my BMI, and my measurements. I donated blood yesterday and felt good doing it… It has a lot of health benefits, but it’s a good deed too. They took my blood pressure and other vitals before I gave blood and my blood pressure was 128/82… Not horribly high – and it’s still not in the ideal range – but it’s lower than my reading last month (132/88)… I’m on my way and so are you!
So figuring out what to eat has been more than complicated. I can defienatly tell when my blood pressure is high. But high cholestorol is something you can’t really see of feel. My sugar levels have been fine so I can keep not eating sugary foods. Haha!!! I actually feel really good today. The past two days I’ve drank a gallon of water each, and I’ve made dinner for my family that not only tasted good but didn’t raise my blood pressure. I’ve noticed even if I don’t add salt to my cooking – almost anything processed in the meal leaves me with a headache.
Maybe some of you are wondering why I haven’t gone to the doctor. I don’t currently have insurance, so I’m tackling this on my own right now (with support from family, friends and everyone reading this – thank you!).
I also fear that once I go to the doctor he may want to prescribe medication- and I don’t want that. I’m too young to be diagnosed with high blood pressure. I do know what could happen if I’m unable to control this I could possibly be put on medication, or could leave to a heart attack, stroke- or kidney failure and dialysis.
This all brings me back to my goals. Size, losing weight that’s all good… But my number one goal is to be healthy. I think about my son, and how I don’t want him to grow up with an unhealthy, medicated mom. This is why I must change and stick with my changes. No matter how comfortable, no matter how emotional or complacent I get I have to keep going.
Change happens when your uncomfortable. If it doesn’t challenge you – it doesn’t change you. Everyday is a challenge.
So you know those eureka moments you have in life, where you’ve totally figured something out!? I had one of those yesterday and I have to share it with the world (that’s where my blog comes in).
I figured out why I have been so tired!!! My husband thought I was depressed, I thought I was in the early stages of pregnancy… But neither of us were right. My high blood pressure was to blame. High Blood pressure is known as the silent killer. Because 2/5 people have it and don’t know it. I had no idea high blood pressure could cause fatigue. I could barely stay awake these past 3 weeks let alone work out. I blamed getting up at 4am and running around after work. I could not get enough sleep- that’s why I felt pregnant if you’ve ever been- you know the feeling. When I’m depressed, I don’t want to do anything so that’s why my hubby was worried. But nope. I knew it caused bloating/swelling and headaches but I never knew until I decided to google it. Thank you google for all that you do.
I’ve also looked up how to combat/control it with food. It’s not just what your not eating people. Yes avoid salt/sodium… But you need to include potassium, magnesium and calcium!!! I’ve decided to take thes supplementally and try to balance out my diet. There are foods I have to avoid eating too much of because of the sugar content (don’t want to develope diabetes/empty calories/trying to lose weight) like bananas, potatoes, and oranges… But these foods are rich in potassium! I decided to do an experiment. I woke up this morning and felt my feet were slightly swollen and I had a slight headache – my blood pressure was high. My shoes fit tight. We stopped to get gas and I got an orange juice. 840 grams of potassium. Drank it. And when I got to work and put my shoes back on- my feet were no longer swollen. The potassium helped lower my blood pressure within an hour. I wouldn’t do this everyday- because citris is a trigger food for my IBS and OJ has too much sugar in it for me… But I’m considering an alternative like Trop 50. Everyone is different and I’m not a doctor or health professional. But I’m defienatly going to try adding these supplements while on my weightloss journey. I can’t eat bananas, oranges, and potatoes everyday. I was sharing a banana with my son until he got sick of them (me 1/3 him 2/3)… And I went through a 2 week phase where all I wanted to drink was orange juice… I believe that craving was my body trying to tell me something was wrong and I just didn’t know what.
I also came up with a list of rules that I’m going to abide by for my new eating habits. (Another post)… It will help me increase my good cholestorol, lower my bad, low sugar, and will help combat my high blood pressure. This has been super complicated. It required me to do a lot of research about what vitamins and minerals are in the foods I plan on consuming and when to consume them. For example- if I want some orange juice- I should drink it before I work out. The little bit of sugar will burn off while I’m working out but the real boost I’ll get is from the potassium and calcium lowering my blood pressure. I won’t feel like I’m over doing it or be extremely exhausted afterwards. Working out lowers blood pressure in the long run- but it’s hard to get moving when your body is working so hard and pumping your blood so fast it makes you exhausted. Think about it? It’s like taking a ballon that was already blown up, deflating it and trying to blow it up again but bigger- it’s going to pop!!
I’ve decided to give up the bottle… Of Hotsauce that is. This is a big deal because I love Hotsauce. But I know it’s crammed with sodium. I’ve decided to make my own chile (my grandpa’s recipe) and either make or buy only fresh salsa. I love hot and spicy food and I can’t live without these, so I need healthier/lower sodium alternatives.
I also want to say that today I really wanted to eat extra… But I didn’t. That is because I was so tired and wanted a pick me up that food would provide. I went to bed at 12:30 and had to be up at 4… It’s 11:30 and I’m still not fully awake. I’ll be glad when our car is fixed and I can resume my regular schedule.
I believe this is part of the reason I’m unmotivated and been eating more- including my poor choices… It’s hard to stay awake let alone move when you are falling asleep standing up… Yesterday I got my hair cut, and my stylist said I looked great (she knows I’m on a weightloss journey)… And I said thank you but took a minute to think that just because people say that doesn’t mean I should stop what I’m doing and get comfortable. In my head I thought, I’m still not where I want to be… And that needs to be my mindset.
Also I noticed that food is very accessible at work (and cheap or free)… I used to not have cash on me because of vending machines at work – or avoid the cafeteria. But I’m in a department that has a little snack table and people bring in treats all the time… Also Friday bagels at my old job are Friday donuts at my new one… I never liked bagels but donuts seem to be harder to resist since I craved them during my pregnancy… I guess I just have to remember there’s no nutritional value in a donut.
Also the cafeteria, has home cooked amazing food and snacks at wholesale prices and you don’t need money- only your badge to deduct the food cost from your payroll… I’ve been eating more eggs- when I’m hungry- not horrible but I should really substitute for egg whites. I need to think of my cholestorol. I also have been drinking pop (soda) more… Because it’s there and fizzy and like $.60… Not good reasons… But they were justified in my head at the time. I don’t think I can say goodbye completely to pop… But I do think I will limit it to once a week (8oz only) and only if I crave it. More like a treat than something that I know won’t actually quench my thirst because its a dehydrant. I haven’t been doing horrible on my water intake- somewhere between a half gallon and gallon- but not good since it’s been in the 90’s and 100’s for 3 weeks… I’m most likely retaining water.
And instead of falling asleep on the couch when I get home- I’m going to make myself do a biggest loser workout. I’ve been neglecting my DVDs.
We decided to move, and that we’ve been batshit crazy for commuting so long. We’ve been wasting time sitting in traffic for 4 hours a day and spending basically rent getting to and from work in a month. We’re moving to Orange County because we work there… And no matter how much cheaper Riverside and Corona are than OC we’re spending double because of gas and tolls. So come December… I’ll have 4 more hours in my life and 400 more dollars in our bank. I plan to get a quick workout in before work when this happens.