Monday, October 6, 2008

Stef's Story

So.... here's my scenario.

I'm 33 and overweight, and I have been pretty much my whole life. I love food - I'm one of those people that can feel rapture from a good meal, and food is my comfort when I'm stressed, sad, happy, bored, or otherwise feeling *anything* - and I don't like exercising. I prefer napping. You can see wherein the problem lies.

Up until the last year or so, though, all my usual health stats were pretty good. But, in the summer of 2007, my Dad had a surprise health emergency as routine tests revealed that he'd had a silent heart attack and had almost complete blockage of his arteries. So he very quickly went in for a triple bypass - at age 59 - and came through with flying colors. He's now lost a lot of weight, is incredibly active, and just a few weeks ago climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. Go Dad! So, he's become both an inspiration and a bit of a cautionary tale in my life.

Following his health scare last year, I went in for a complete physical and found out that I had officially reached the level of hypertension (aka high blood pressure) and my cholesterol was too high. My doctor put me on medication to control the hypertension, and it's been doing a good job. But -- I'm not all that comfortable mentally knowing that I'm relying on a drug to keep my health in check. I was able to lower my cholesterol significantly last year through diet, so I know that I *can* make positive changes when I really focus.

I know the things I need to do:

- Lose weight.

- Exercise more.

- Eat more nutritiously - with fruits, veggies, and lean proteins.

- Reduce sodium overall - which is hard, cuz my favorite snacks are salty, and I don't cook much so most of my meals are either purchased or come from a box.

- Cook more. (See the previous two.)

- Cut back on portion size. (I grew up in a house where dinner came on a platter, not a plate.)

- Reduce stress. (Any ideas????)

I have found that I'm much better at accomplishing a goal when I intellectualize it, so for me it's been helpful to learn more about the science behind health and nutrition. Understanding causes helps me produce the desired effect, or something like that. And that makes it easier to take a lot of the sometimes overwhelming emotion out of all of this.

I'm looking forward to having a buddy as I start this new adventure, so I'm really grateful to T for coming up with this idea!

My next goal: I have my annual physical and blood work ONE MONTH from today. I hope to lose a little weight and have my cholesterol at a healthy level by then.

3 comments:

Emily said...

I love this idea! I intellectualize things too, and working at a natural foods/supplements co-op has provided a great venue for my health interests. Let me know if there's any regular contribution I could make to this site! I know a lot. I can post easy recipes...health tidbits...words of encouragement!

Stef said...

Em - yes, yes, yes! I'd love for you to send stuff - recipes and healthy nutrition things would be a huge help. I'll post any good stuff you want to share! :-)

Emily said...

They're always telling you to eat more green, leafy vegetables...so did you know you can eat KALE RAW? I sub it in sometimes for lettuce. Like, I'll make a wrap for myself, and chop up a little kale and add it to the lettuce. 1.) More fiber (so more filling, and better for digestion) 2.) More antioxidants and vitamins, etc. Amazingly, it has a really mild flavor, and while you do have to chew more...what are your teeth for, anyway?

It lasts forever in the fridge, but to retain freshness on all your fruits and veggies you can use these special bags that absorb the gases responsible for spoilage.