Monday, January 17, 2011

Me and My Health

Last January at my annual physical the nurse mentioned that my blood pressure was elevated. She said it could be the stress of coming to the doctor but that I should look at it.
In September I had a really bad sinus infection. When the doctor took my vital signs she told me that my blood pressure was a little high and that I should keep an eye on it. She said it could be the medicine the allergy medicine that I was taking but, with my family history of diabetes and hypertension, I should be careful about what I take. This freaked me out. I figured that two warnings was all I needed. I bought a blood pressure cuff so I could measure my readings at home and track my progress as I lost weight.
The findings weren't great. My blood pressure was as high as 145/103 which definitely put me in the hypertensive category. My husband has a similar family history as mine and started tracking his readings as well. His blood pressure wasn't as high as mine but it was definitely wasn't ideal.
My husband and I do not work out consistently. There have been times, when training for a big race, when we run 25-20 miles in a week. We have also gone several weeks without running or going to the gym. Consistency is our biggest problem. I often worry that we won't get serious about our health until one of develops diabetes or heart disease.
In the past 11 weeks I have lost 8 pounds. I didn't get really serious about working out until 3-4 weeks ago when I was preparing to teach zumba. I haven't run at all during this time because of some nagging knee and ankle problems but today I got my new running shoes in the mail and I plan to hit the treadmill either tonight or tomorrow. I also will start lifting weights again so I'm not so prone to injury. Getting back into doing yoga regularly will also help with my injuries.
My husband has lost 6 pounds during this same time period. He hasn't worked out much during this time but he has gotten better about not letting himself indulge in all the junk food that is available to him at work. He plans to cut back on his work hours (from 40 hours to 32 hours) for the next month so he can figure out ways to fit working out and studying into his schedule. I am confident that once he establishes a routine he will be able to maintain it. Before we got together, my husband worked 50-60 hours a week and still found time to run after work three times a week. No, he didn't have a wife, two dogs and a cat at that time but he was married to drinking at the bars with his friends...
Since I've been tracking my blood pressure I was prepared to leave the doctor's office today with a prescription to help reduce my blood pressure. Imagine my surprise when the nurse told me my blood pressure was 110/68 (perfect) and that the wrist blood pressure cuff that we were using was completely inaccurate. Part of me is aggravated that we spent money on such a piece of crap. At the same time I don't know if I would have jumped back into fitness with such enthusiasm if I didn't think I was on the fast track to hypertension like the rest of my family.
The doctor gave me a referral to see a dietitian to help me plan my meals better and with a sleep specialist to try to get me into a better sleep pattern which could be contributing to my inactive metabolism. I am looking to teach Zumba 5 days a week and get back to being the serious athlete that I once was. I want my husband and I to be that fit couple that we always envy.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Finding Myself

Just a few months ago I was in a rut. I was lonely and depressed. I felt like my life had no direction. I wrote my own little manifesto titled The Dream.

In this blog I laid out what I wanted my life to include and brainstormed about how I was going to achieve those goals. In September I took a big step towards achieving one of those dreams when I became a certified Zumba instructor.

Since becoming certified I have attended several Zumba events that I never would have attended on my own before. I have put myself out there in a way that I haven't done in a while. I sent out a number of resumes to different gyms in the area. In late December I was offered a job teaching 2 days a week at a local gym. I started teaching the first week of January. I can't tell you how nervous I was teaching that first day but I was also excited beyond belief.

All my fears went away after class when people came up to me telling me what a great class it was. One woman even hugged me and thanked me for such a good workout. I think the best moment of the class me came when a woman walked up to me and told me that her goal was to get down to my size. Even though I am not at my ideal weight, when people look at me they aren't seeing someone who is 50 lbs overweight. They are seeing an energetic fitness instructor.

My overall attitude has changed so much since I started teaching. I am more positive in other aspects of my life. I don't dwell on the negative as much. My social life through Zumba and my participation in meetup groups has also changed for the better. Maybe it's because I'm more approachable now or maybe it was inevitable after almost a year of attending meetup events and meeting other Zumba instructors.

I am still very much a work in progress but I am loving the progress that I am making!