I’ve always loved veggies. I’ve been watching my sodium intake for quite awhile–at least a year, if not more… I study the nutritional labels of foods before choosing which one to buy, looking at the sodium content, cholesterol, fats, and ingredient lists (and even then often walk away empty handed, determined to make my own–like chicken and turkey stocks). I avoid processed foods 90% of the time. I rarely have specialty coffees, sticking to teas instead (no cream or sugar, thank you). I avoid carbs and starches. (Central Market’s fresh tortillas are my weakness.) I rarely eat red meat, and when I do, it is less than a serving. I am active in my daily life, but yeah, I could add more exercise to my routine (who couldn’t?).
But even with all that… I was told that my blood pressure was so high, so very incredibly, dangerously high, that if I was older with a weaker heart, I could collapse if I tried walking up a hill. (Plus my cholesterol was a smidge high.)
Not at all what I wanted to hear.
I was asked if I use a lot of sodium or eat a lot of processed foods (nope), red meat (nope), carbs (nope), etc. I was already doing what I was supposed to and still had a dangerous BP level. Talk about frustrating. My Dr told me that blood pressure is a tricky thing–they don’t fully understand how it works, why some people have high BPs while others don’t.
So I was put on medication… well, it worked! A little too well. I couldn’t mow my lawn without getting light headed and nearly passing out. Even setting up for the Dog Day a few weeks ago forced me to lay down before I fell down. (So embarrassing.)
I’ve also amped up my vegetable intake, trying to make veggies the bulk of my meals. I bought a couple of cookbooks (Eat to Beat High Blood Pressure and The Low GI Guide to Living Well with PCOS) and started exercising more (I’ve slacked recently, but need to get back into it). I semi use My Fitness Pal, mostly to track my weight but I enter in what I eat on occasion. I even bought a little scale from Target to weigh my veggies to help visualize what a serving size really is. I actually found that I could eat a LOT more veggies than I thought!
So, the good news? I’ve lost 10+ pounds so far, which also helps with the BP. My Dr agreed to reduce my BP med dose so hopefully my nearly fainting/passing out issues will go away and I can be as active as I want. And my family and boyfriend have been super supportive, even looking into new recipes and ways to cook things.
I’ve also been monitoring my BP and tracking it with an iPhone app (yay technology!)… it’s still on the low end of normal and I have to be careful.
I hate the word “diet” because when people say “I’m on a diet” it usually means it’s a temporary thing, and if you eat something not included in the “diet” it’s “cheating.” I hate the guilt tied to food.
So I’m not on a diet. Really, I eat pretty healthy as it is. I just need to amp it up a bit, refine it, be more aware of serving size and moderation. A brownie is OK every now and then if it’s balanced by lots of veggies.
It’s not just about weight (although better fitting clothes is definitely a big incentive). It’s truly about health and quality of life.