VIRGINIA LUCAS HART

Run Your Day

advice, healthVirginia Hart1 Comment

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My new mantra: Either you run the day, or the day runs you. We all have control over how we spend our lives, and more importantly, how we spend our day-to-day. Despite not having control over some things, we actually DO have quite a bit control over our individual health and the mindset we choose.

Recently I was diagnosed with hypertension. It's a fancy word for your blood pressure is too high, girlfriend. According to my nifty blood pressure monitor, it's consistently higher in the evenings. A normal blood pressure reads 120/80. High is considered anything at or above 140/90. Last night, mine was 161/108. And that was after taking the first personal health day in, like, 5 years. Watching Frozen in the middle of seven fluffy pillows shouldn't result in that reading, you know? I'm 28, female, normal weight, never smoke, and hardly drink. So why me? Well my genes are a big contributor (it runs in the fam), but I refuse to blame it all on something I can't control. Another big contributor could possibly be stress levels. While I'm the first to admit that yes, I have a lot going on, that's not an excuse. I'm not over here saving lives, I'm not a mother, I'm not dealing with some sort of crisis. I have no right to blame stress. Regardless, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned. My test results indicate it's affecting my kidneys' functionality and it's obviously not healthy for my heart to proceed in this state. I have to get this under control.

While I realize that medication is created for a reason, I also detest the thought of being on something for the rest of my life. Apparently, once you're on blood pressure medicine, doctors are very hesitant to take you off ... and I'm very much hoping for the opportunity to see if I can control this myself. So! If there was ever a time for a HUGE lifestyle change, it's now. I've been working with a trainer and nutritionist, eating mostly vegetables/fruit/grains, increasing water intake, cutting out a lot of foods (goodbye deli meat, canned soup, pickles, red meat, anything processed or with high sodium/sugar/fat content) and clocking at least 5 days of exercise per week of cardio, weight training, and yoga. I'm - well, sore -  and still trying to hammer out a new routine since leaving the gym at 9:30PM isn't helping me in the getting-more-sleep department, but it feels like a good shift. This isn't something where I'll be fine to stop after a month, though - this shift needs to be permanent and one that continues to evolve based on my body's needs. I'm trying to see this whole thing as a wake-up call and blessing in its motivation to lead a much healthier lifestyle, making it my number one priority when it definitely wasn't before. While I wouldn't have identified myself as "unhealthy", I didn't realize my system had different standards than what I had assigned it. I have no idea if these changes will be enough on their own to lower my bp to safe levels. They might not. But I sure am going to try my hardest. Wish me luck!

P.S. Do you know your blood pressure numbers? Most pharmacies offer a free reading and I highly recommend you getting it checked out. I happened to have mine checked at the gym one day and was told to make a doctor's appointment immediately. Thankful I did.

P.P.S. Run your day.