One of my college friends contacted me recently with an unexpected note of thanks. He has been following my journey, and he found my progress motivational. I asked him if he would be willing to share his story with you, and he agreed.
On Feb 9th, I went to my doctor because I had some minor, but persistent, back pain. In my mini exam, my blood pressure was found to be high. I knew it was on the rise, but had been in denial about it for over a year. I had been brushing it off as “I just had a salty lunch” or “It was a stressful day at work” or some other excuse.
During that year, by the way, I was working a HEALTH EDUCATOR for UAMS about STROKE prevention and response. The irony of the situation is NOT lost on me. Interesting fact: Arkansas is NUMBER ONE in the nation in stroke-related deaths. One of the leading factors? Undiagnosed/untreated hypertension.
My physician was kind enough to give me 90 days to get my B/P under control on my own. A week later, a coworker nurse checked my pressure after a particularly (no, really, it was – not an excuse this time!) stressful afternoon. It was so high, if I had been a patient in the back of my own ambulance (I’ve been a paramedic for 13 years), I would have initiated treatment on myself.
After a month of trying to “fix” it through small dietary changes alone, I accepted the fact that I needed to start exercising. No weight was coming off and my pressure wasn’t dropping. There is a new Health and Wellness Center associated with a local hospital, and I joined. I have been making myself submit to 1-hour cardio workouts, five times per week. I’ve also started tracking intake and exercise on myfitnesspal.com.
At the end of my 2nd week, I discovered that I had lost 9 pounds, and that my blood pressure has dropped THIRTY points!
I don’t know what will become of this progress in the long term, but for now, I have a small victory to celebrate. A fitness assessment today told me that I need to lose another 40 pounds. After the recent milestone I have enjoyed, and the accountability and encouragement from NeedlessPounds.com, I know that is a VERY reachable goal!
PS: The back pain was a simple muscle spasm, cured in 3 days with a heating pad and Aleve.