So do you want to hear the good news or the bad news first? Isn't that usually how it starts? You get choices. I don't know about you, but I like to hear the bad news first. Let's just get it over with! "Give me the bad news first." Response, "So you have high blood pressure." Okay, so no, I'm not sharing about book stuff this week, for certain. Let's go there, on health challenges and healthy living, today!
What Do You Do With the Bad News?
You ever know what you're going to hear and just brace yourself for the bad news? And if you know, what do you preplan to do once you hear it? This was me this week as I was planning for my follow up blood pressure doctor's appointment. First, let me take you back to more than 10 years ago when it all started. What started? My health journey. So I was in the doctor's office, and I don't know how many times before that, when I heard "Your blood pressure continues to be in the mid-130s over low 90s." My doctor would give me that look and I'd say, "I know. I'll work on it." Until I was told, "Okay, but this is it; the last time." when I asked for one last chance. This was my version of rock bottom where I had to make significant changes in my lifestyle. You see, if you read my book, Battling the Flames, you know that high blood pressure (HBP) runs in my family. My mom, dad, and grandparents have it and who knows how many other relatives that I just don't know about. Needless to say, I did NOT want to be, yet, another family member on high blood pressure medication for the rest of my life, or any other medication for that matter. So when I was told to start exercising, lose a little bit of weight, and watch what I put in my body, I took it seriously. As a result of taking massive action, I worked out regularly, reduced my calorie intake as well as processed foods and lost MAD weight. I looked A-mazing, if I do say so myself, and the scale and blood pressure monitor were my proof as my readings were around 120/80 and below which is where they needed to be. I thought, this is it. This is how I break the cycle of blood pressure medication and others, by practicing prevention measures! I also started taking supplements and this contributed to my health transformation. I mean I had sooo much energy, I could easily play/keep up with my young children. I felt so powerful and looked it too! I knew what it took and I continued on my health journey and later became the Health Coach that I am today.
Now fast forward to current times and I'm reliving the doctor's growing concerns but this time it's not hypertension, it's high blood pressure. Ugh, not what I wanted to hear, AT ALL. I mean I know I had been practicing a healthy lifestyle but lately I had been craving more salty foods, hence eating them. And of course I had my two binge days (eat whatever I want) on the weekends, for certain, but the salt intake had to be contributing to the HBP, no doubt, on top of some other added stressors. So I made a deal with my doctor again. I told her to give me two months to level up my healthy lifestyle by making some shifts/tweaks, AND that I would agree to take the lowest dosage of HBP medication (5mg) in the meantime (to bring down my HBP quickly) and to see how things look after 2 months with a check up in between. You see, I had been here a few summers ago because of salt intake and took HBP medication for 30 days while adjusting my diet and came right off of them because I made lifestyle adjustments and got rid of my HBP naturally. So once again, if things improve, then I'll come off of the meds to see if it stays normal and if so, I come off of them completely. However, if not, then that would tell me I've done everything I can do, and it's just hereditary. Basically, I would have fought the good fight but can't get rid of the HBP without longer term assistance this time. Not where I will want to be in the future so I'm taking this seriously, once again to get it together!
Mindset Shift to the Possibilities and Even Then, If Not
Here we are, April of 2021, over 10 years from the first bad news and I'm here again, still prepared to fight the good fight because I know that my health is worth it. To me, the long term medication is the last resort if I have tried everything possible. Like last time, I tried everything possible and it worked so what do you think? Of course I'm going to try it again because of my mindset that had shifted years ago. Worst case is that my blood pressure still doesn't normalize in spite of my efforts. But then, and only then, would I be okay that I have to do whatever ELSE it takes and not have a heart attack or stroke from HBP because of stubbornness in not wanting to take medication. And honestly, that is where I almost was before I walked into that doctor's office. A mindset of, I don't care what the doctor says, I'm not going on medication because I don't believe in it. But, then I read up more closely on HBP and thought, oh this could definitely be me in the future (the bad outcome) and that would just be stupid to risk my life/my future with my children. We are going to experiment again before I just fold, just like last time. My mindset is that I'm it it to win it (get the BP down and off these temporary meds) 4 real 4 real! Even if I lose, my mindset of living a healthy lifestyle won't change. It will just be further solidified that our health is so important and not to let anything jeopardize it, if at all possible. This means, keep that fire and keep going with living as healthy a lifestyle as you can because sometimes you can't reverse the effects of your past living or change your genes and the last thing you want to do is make things worse by developing other health issues. Sometimes it is what it is but you don't have to just say "What the hell, it is what it is." And just pop the pills and keep it moving by not practicing healthy habits/living. NO WAY JOSE because we ONLY GET ONE BODY! We must still put in the work that after a while, just feels like it's just what we do to live a healthy life through exercise, putting the right foods in our bodies, and practicing self-care in many other ways,
Put New Healthy Living Habits in Place
So what am I doing? Well, I'm tracking my sodium intake. No more than 2g/2000 mg per day. Taking my blood pressure 3 times a week to see if it's improving. I just bought a juicer and lots of fruits and vegetables that I prep right when I get home from the grocery store. Prepping right away is one way of setting up conditions for success so that follow through happens and you make your life easier in the future by the actions you take today (prepping). I don't drink juice, just water, but now I do and it's the purest of any I'd buy in a bottle and spend way more money for it! Gosh darn it, I've discovered heaven in liquid. It's that good! And I use the pulp/meat from the fruits and veggies and cook patties out of them with nothing but a little egg to bind them. Sooo flavorful with no seasoning!! Oh, you know what else I'm doing, I'm increasing my cardio from 3 to 5 days a week. I will also lose a few pounds to help with the HBP. I did it before, and it helped, so I'm gonna do it again along with longer/more quiet time and meditating for stress management. Yes, it's TOTALLY ON (full throttle) like DONKEY KONG!! I'm, NO JOKE, in determined mode because I refuse to quit without finding out what possibly could be, AGAIN, and then sustaining that which keeps me healthy/thriving.
Do you ever find yourself in this level of "determined mode" in any area of your life but yet feel stuck at the same time around staying motivated? I can tell you that when it comes to health, this is the area where you really have to push yourself to stay focused and do the work because you have to think "my life depends on my efforts." This is the mode I'm in now. It's so important for us to put our health first because without it, nothing else really matters?
I shared all this to be transparent AND vulnerable. I always say, "You can't take anyone where you have not gone or are not willing to go." Yes, I'm a Health Coach, but you can see, by what I've shared, I'm still on my own health journey. I'm not perfect and not trying to be! I don't have it all together and not sure if I ever will but I'm determined because I know what it takes and I'm willing to do whatever it takes.
Sometimes we need help to do what it takes though. Are you dealing with your own health challenges? What's been getting in your way? If you've tried before but got stuck, I am here to help. I invite you to have a conversation with me and it's free. Click here Work With Me | Life Chapters Coaching.
If anything I've shared resonated with you or you have blog topic recommendations, I welcome you to leave a comment below.
To learn about upcoming events: Events | Kenya Carr