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dashHow sad is it that I know the date that I had my last donut? One of my attorneys brought in breakfast on that particular Friday. It was the Friday when all my health and wellness upheaval began. I had been to the Doctor that morning to try to find out why I felt unwell, why my ankles were swelling and why my blood pressure was 180/101 even though I was on two different blood pressure medications.

I came in to the office late, discouraged and scared, knowing that I wasn’t healthy and I needed to change things and that further tests were coming. Knowing that I am a fan of chocolate frosted, white cream filled donuts, my attorney friend made sure to leave one for me on my desk, even though I was late that day. Being scared (and yes, being a pig), I ate that donut. It was my last one. There will be no more. That was October 23, 2015.

On November 2nd, the cardiologist would mention the word “death” more than once when he told me I had to get my blood pressure down or I wouldn’t be around many more years. That was the day I began the combination of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, poultry or fish). I have lost seven pounds since then. It’s not coming off very fast, and some days it goes back up a pound, but I am trying.

I have not had any red meat since November 1st. I did decide that once per month, I will let my hubby take me out for a steak and salad dinner. I can have red meat once per month, and if I’m going to have it, I’m going to have it done well. I’m not wasting my once a month extravagance on a greasy burger or fast food.

med dietI am still struggling to add in more fruits and vegetables, and I’m doing better with it. It still does not come naturally to me and it probably never will. I was raised on meat and potatoes, and the fruit and vegetables were few and far between. The vegetables we had were overcooked mush so I never developed the habit of eating them. I think the only fruits we had were occasional apples, raisins, bananas or canned peaches.

I have not had any white bread, white pasta or white rice since November 2nd. Everything has been whole grain. My stomach has been slowly adjusting. Let’s just say that anti-gas medicine has been my friend. The food hasn’t been as much of a challenge as I thought it would be, and I feel better with the healthy food I am eating. The only difficult part has been making every meal myself. I can’t let anyone else make them anymore and that sucks.

I began walking this week since getting the “all-clear” from the cardiologist. My knees, shins and hip are not happy with me, either. I have purposely not overdone it. I take it slow, and I sit when I get tired. I know it’s only been three days and that my fat, flabby body will adjust and muscles will remember how to move. Right now it’s hard, and I hurt, but it will come around. I’ve done this before. I do love getting out every day. I decided not to walk today (because I was sore) and ended up going outside at lunchtime anyway because I enjoy the fresh air.

newbalanceMy blood pressure has come around wonderfully. My Doctor adjusted my medication doses and with the diet and exercise, I got a reading tonight of 120/74 with a pulse of 61. I’ve been consistently getting normal blood pressure readings and that’s wonderful. I see the cardiologist for a follow-up next week, and I’m hoping my weight might budge a pound more before then.

All in all, I do feel that I am on the road to wellness. I’m hoping that I can keep it going. The best incentive has been remembering how I felt when I “failed” the stress test. There’s nothing like terror to change the way you view the world. I don’t recommend it, but it seems to have finally woken me up to how badly I was treating my body.

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