Saturday, February 28, 2009

Back Due to a Sound Spanking

I called Aussie Paul Friday afternoon (his Saturday morning). I had not talked to him in forever and vow to call more often. He is so good about sending me cards and notes and I am so bad at doing this! Aussie Paul seems to be going through a lot of the same things I am so this post is for you my darling Paul!

I have been working on changing my life and this is part of why I haven't posted much in the past couple of months. Paul mentioned that he checks my blog and noted the lack of updates so I promised myself that I would post something this weekend!

For the past 13 years I have been putting people and things much higher on my priority list than my own health and well being. I mulled this over a lot once I got back from South America and in October I began making small changes. In November I decided that 2009 would be the year of ME. That sounds so self-absorbed. Really it isn't. If I drop dead from self-neglect it isn't going to do my company any good.

In 1996 I met my ex and he became my priority. He was extremely high maintenance and I focused every bit of energy I had on him. In 2001 I kicked his miserable ass out and embarked on beginning my recovery. I found a new job (my present one) and put everything into it. I worked the long hours, traveled, and lived far outside my comfort zone which for me was an awakening. I am truly not the person I was even a handful of years ago. The problem was I put job at #1 and this after putting the ex at #1. So I found myself in December looking at a fat, pasty, out of shape, unhealthy person.

I decided to make 2009 the year of ME because it suddenly sank in that I am not getting any younger, I want to live a long and healthy life, and I want to be the best I can possibly be.

I know I have a family history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart problems. This was heavy on my mind when I came back from Santiago after spending 6 months eating every meal in restaurants and red meat for practically every meal! I am quite sure I gained at least 20 pounds while there and I was carrying too much weight to begin with. The last cholesterol test I can remember the numbers of was in my late 20s and it was 216 at that time.

I function with lists. If I make a list I can generally tick off the items. If I don't things never are attended to. I knew I needed to begin exercising. I knew I needed to add supplements to my daily routine. So I made a weekly checklist. It's all on there. I print one out every Sunday night and it gets posted on my whiteboard. Every single day, as I do the things I need to do for my own health, I check them off my list.

So here is what I've been doing. At least 4 times a week I get on the treadmill and walk for one hour - 3 miles+. I wear my Polar heartrate monitor which tracks my caloric expenditure which I then upload on the web so I have a diary of my accomplishments week by week. I highly recommend this little device. I want to lose weight but just getting on a treadmill isn't going to do it. It takes me 10 full minutes to get my heartrate up to aerobic zone. With the monitor I can see exactly what I am doing and add to my walking if my heartrate drops below the aerobic zone (increase incline, add light handweights, etc). It allows me to use every second of my hour for maximum bang.

I take a daily multivitamin, 2 baby aspirin, omega 3 fish oil, two tums (for calcium) and red yeast rice to lower my cholesterol. And yes I did take a full list of everything I am taking in to my doctor and got his blessing and praise for what I am doing. I also drink a concoction of 3 tbsp apple cider vinegar with a teaspoon of raw unfiltered honey with 8 ozs of water every day. And I drink at least 2 cups of high quality green tea each afternoon.

Since Christmas, and as of this morning, I have lost 22 pounds. I had a full bloodwork done 3 weeks ago and my cholesterol is at 182 total (HDL is 49 and LDL is 114). All other results are smack dab in the middle of the acceptable range. My attitude is mostly excellent, I have at least twice the energy I did 6 months ago, and rather than sit and worry about my health I feel so good about it!

I still have a way to go. I would like to lose more weight. My doctor and I rarely have differences of opinion. He thinks I should ideally be at 150. I think 140 would be acceptable and 135 preferable. Whatever. What I will NOT do is starve myself or kill myself to get to 135. What I WILL do is continue what I am doing now. I will turn 47 on June 30 and if I can continue to lose 2.5 - 3 pounds a week I will turn 47 at a healthy weight. If I can get to this goal I will get a tattoo. A small, discreet tattoo. I will also buy some decent clothing. For years I have refused to buy clothing because really the next step is Lane Bryant. The day I walk into Lane Bryant is the day I get into bed and refuse to get out.

I also want to get my LDL below 100 and maybe in the bargain raise my HDL a few points. I highly (highly highly) recommend red yeast rice. Note that it must be taken with niacin but the brand I take has the niacin built in. I am certain that I was courting a cholesterol count of at least 230 or 240 by the time I returned from Santiago so to get my results and see 182 was nothing short of amazing for me. I am certain this was due to the red yeast rice.

I do not ever want to have to be on regular medication if this is possible but I am now taking a low dose blood pressure med and hopefully if I can keep up the exercise and good dietary changes I can back off of it in 6 months or a year. I have a BP machine and I monitor myself a couple of times a week to keep track of my progress. I would rather take a pill every morning temporarily than have to hire someone to wipe my ass for the rest of my life.

So there it is. The year of ME. It takes only about 90 minutes a day to add my checklist items to my routine and you know what? I think I am worth 90 minutes a day.

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