I stepped on the scale at the doctor’s office last Monday. The only time I ever weigh myself anymore is at the doctor’s, and well, that doesn’t really count because they need to weigh me. The scale read a number a few pounds heavier than what I was used to, but I shrugged it off because 1. my shoes were still on, 2. I knew I’d been eating more sugar and processed foods lately, and 3. well, it’s just a number.
When I stepped off, the nurse took my blood pressure.
The number on the scale didn’t bother me, but these numbers did. Being interested in all things medical, I knew that under 120/80 was considered a normal blood pressure…which meant that I was on the very high end of normal and borderline prehypertensive.
My blood pressure has always hovered around 105/70, give or take a few. It’s always been pretty consistent, and my doctors would always encourage me to keep on keepin’ on. This time, the nurse said nothing about it, but I knew that I needed to re-evaluate things.
Yes, I was under a lot of stress leading up to that doctor’s visit. I had been running around like a headless chicken to get Homecoming together, I had 2 exams and paper due the week before, I had a few stressful decisions to figure out…and I also have let the quality of foods I’ve been eating drop. Immensely.
Pastries began making their way into my daily breakfasts.
Dessert became the norm rather than the exception.
Mounds of refined carbs found their way into my bloodstream.
I’d consistently wake up in the mornings, still in a sugar coma.
Sure, I’ve had good days. Days where everything I eat is “healthy” (I use that term loosely), days when I only have one slice of cake rather than three.
But I’ve also had bad days. Really, really bad days. I don’t tend to write about them a lot here, and considering I got back from a blogging hiatus not too long ago, I’ve barely written about any food struggles since.
But they’ve been there. And up until that doctor’s visit, they were all too common.
It doesn’t take a lot for “oh…just one more serving” to become an overeating habit. And it doesn’t take long for an overeating habit to turn into health problems, whether just a small cold or more serious problems.
So I’m addressing them. The doctors whom I shadowed this past summer saw patients who were on so many medications for so many preventable health problems–diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the list goes on. I don’t want to be 50 years old and taking half as many medications as my age.
I’m making healthy eating a priority in my life. I’m making dessert and “unhealthy” snacks the exception rather than the rule. I’ve been trying to make smarter choices lately, like the coconut “kookies” from the Farmers Market instead of the actual cookies a few booths down.
That’s not to say that I won’t enjoy myself when I want to, especially with the holidays coming up. Last night, our residential college had our college-wide Thanksgiving dinner, and the stuffing was way too good not to have thirds of. I’m not going to skimp on Thanksgiving with my family because it’s delicious homecooked food and it’s Thanksgiving.
But I want to make the days that I go to bed stuffed special days, not normal days. I want those days to be days that I look back on fondly, remembering the good food and good company around me, instead of days that I look back on with guilt as I inhaled buttered roll after buttered roll, trying not to think about the paper awaiting me.
So here’s to recommitting myself to a healthier lifestyle. To making sure my body is getting the nutrients it needs. To making sure I’m the best me I can be.