Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Update

Where do I begin? So much to share and all interconnected and I'm probably not going to let it all out in a coherent manner, and might have to do this in a series of posts, but here goes.

Last time I wrote, I was talking about long-term goals, my goal for better health. My mind has since kind of changed this idea into ultimate health and a doctor's appointment has reminded me about this focus and even my desire to live to at least 100--and not just live, but still be active and in great health.

This bring's me to my doctor's appointment. It was supposed to be very quick. They didn't even weigh me when they called me in, so I figured they weren't going to check blood pressure. But as I was sitting, reading, in the room, a nurse comes in and says she wants to check my blood pressure. My insides went, "What?!" I normally get nervous  when my blood pressure is taken, for whatever reason, and I spend the minutes waiting for it by relaxing and preparing myself for it. I didn't get that this time. First reading: 143/something. "WHAT?!" My BP in the past has typically been 110/70-120/80. Anything over 139/89 is seen as a problem here. (I did some looking online; it seems different countries and places have different standards). Last year, when it was sweltering hot and I could actually feel my BP was high, my upper number (systolic) was 135, but they weren't concerned.

The nurse said she would let the machine run through all its cycles. Well, at that point, I was worrying, kind of freaking out. Second reading: 175/something over 110. Yeah, great! (sic) Final average was something like 153/something above 90. ACH! (German pronunciation here.;) ) I explained my nervousness during it all and how I was panicking about the first reading being high and asked if I should do it again later or what and try to calm myself down a bit. She decided to have me take my reading 4 separate times at a drug store over the next week and see her again. Well, we were leaving camping the next day; that was going to be a problem. I ended up getting an appointment 11 days after the original appointment, which gave me time to go camping and do the readings.

But the precedent had been set. She told me to wait 5 minutes when I got to the machine, so that I could relax, and then take the reading. Waiting didn't help. I had had the initial high reading and was nervous. And I hate those machines--when your arm is feeling painfully squeezed, how can your pressure not go up? In any case, I went the very next morning before we left for our camping trip. 140-something over I don't remember what (I have it written down). Those 5 minutes didn't make me feel calm. Mypulse was 107, I remember that. My usual resting rate is about 75, just to give an idea of my state at the time I was taking my blood pressure.

We went camping and although we were in town once, I didn't go into a drug store so I didn't check my blood pressure. The day after we got back, I went again and was very nervous and anxious. Still a bit high and I did more than one reading. Diastolic over 90 each time. Well, then I started getting nervous about how my anxiety was affecting my blood pressure reading. Which didn't help any, as you can imagine. Every time I even thought about having to take my blood pressure, I got anxious. The next day, this past Sunday, I dropped my son off at his cousins' and stopped at a grocery store with a pharmacy section. I walked around until I felt calm, but as soon as I sat down, the calm was gone. Tried to take some readings there, but they had the darn thing set up so that your back was to the pharmacy and everything (nothing like hearing people and noises behind you to help you relax,eh?). First reading was 140-something/something (I should grab my notes, shouldn't I? lol), second reading--when somebody had come up to the pharmacy behind me and was talking and things were falling in the pharmacy--was 175/something. Bah. Took a 3rd reading but it was so clear I was the furthest thing from relaxed, it was high, I left there and decided I would go to the drug store after getting my small amount of groceries.

Got to the drug store and the readings were lower, but still above 139/89. This actually triggered anxiety that would hit without me even thinking about taking my blood pressure! I tried all kinds of things to make it go away but to no avail. Finally, Monday, I just took a position of ignoring it. Was at a different grocery store with a pharmacy and sat down. Could feel the tightness in my chest from the anxiety, but I was otherwise feeling calm. It was strange. But it gave me a reading under 139/89. And by evening, I realized the anxiety had left completely. Took some more readings yesterday, but I was feeling rushed. Not anxious, though, so my pulse was high from feeling rushed, but the BP readings were all under 139/89.

That said...

These "normal" readings are too high. Optimal is nothing over 120/80, which is where I was for years and years. This all has helped my focus on making health improvements in my life. I'm not sure how much improving my diet would help with the BP, since my diet isn't horrendous and hasn't changed for the worse over the past few years, but my exercise levels... That's another matter. I've said in the past here how I've noticed I'm weak cardiovascularly. I get winded too easily. This, I believe, is tied with this increased blood pressure. My heart/cardiovascular system just isn't as strong as it used to be and I need to help it.

Now, all of this has managed to filter into my thoughts about my long-term health. How do I expect to live to at least 100 and still be healthy at that point if, now, my blood pressure is higher and I'm getting winded and my knees/IT band problems aren't taken care of and I'm not eating anywhere near as well as I could and... This "bad" event of high blood pressure has been a good kick in the butt to get myself more motivated and focused.

I've gotten on the treadmill once this week so far. Meant to this morning and forgot (not habit yet!). It's not too late. Off I go!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Setting Long-Term Goals

I will start off by admitting that I did manage to fulfill my 30-day challenge. We had an unexpected trip out of town right and then having visitors stay with us a few days after that affected things more than I had anticipated! We are going to be gone camping soon, too, which will really make my Pain Free routine impossible!

I have, however, started thinking about long-term goals for myself. As in, what I would like to accomplish in the next year and how can I make sure I work on it. We are going to Hawaii next summer and I have some desires for my state of health and fitness by the time we leave:
  • IT band problems gone or under control: This requires a commitment to Pain Free and yoga, as well as strengthening necessary muscles (like the glutes).
  • Improved fitness: I know I need to work out specific goals for this but only have general ideas at the moment. I want to be able to hike a long time, run on the beach without feeling immediately winded and my daughter and I would like to learn to surf, if possible, which means the IT band problems above need to be taken care of, but I'd also like to explore what other kinds of exercise would be helpful. I'm thinking things at the moment like running 5K as a goal and a certain number of crunches or burpees or something.
  • New bathing suit: This is a combined goal because I want my new bathing suit to be a smaller size :), which means not only improved fitness, but getting a handle on my food and food sensitivities and lose these extra pounds once and for all. Target? 10 lbs minimum to a maximum weight loss of 15 lbs. This is another area where I need to have specific goals, or perhaps actions, to work on. Things like raw food intake and perhaps even having a look at how many calories I'm actually consuming in a day! My ideal goal would be that 80-90% of the time, I'm eating as healthily as I can with vegan, whole foods, and that portion being mostly raw fruits and vegetables. Doing this will also help my environmental allergies, which means I will feel pretty much allergy-free.
In essence, I want to look great and more importantly, feel great. I would actually prefer to be IT band problem-free and be stronger and more fit than I would to still be in the same fitness shape but 10 lbs lighter! I want to be able to do things.

The big question is how to make sure I monitor my progress. And what am I monitoring? I might have to figure this out as I go along because if I have to figure it all out first, I might never get started!

At the moment, though, we appear to have a leak somewhere. Could be plumbing, could be roof. In The Sims 3, there is an option of using points to make your house fireproof; I wish there were a way to make realy houses leakproof!